Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) announced two bills meant to improve oversight over long-term care centers and harden such facilities against future outbreaks.
“While nursing facility residents are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, there were not only existing gaps and deficiencies that went unaddressed, but the Trump administration was actively rolling back many of the protections and rights of nursing home residents,” Pascrell said. “These actions have allowed long-standing issues to fester in nursing facilities, callously endangering millions of seniors.”
The first bill, the long-winded Promoting Restoration of Emergency Preparedness and Advancing Response to Epidemics in Long-Term Care Act (PREPARE LTC Act), would reinstate Obama-era infection control and emergency preparedness regulations.
It would mandate long-term care facilities create emergency response plans and requires such sites report data about outbreaks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases on their premises.
The Protecting Residents with Oversight, Transparency, and Enforcement for Compassionate Treatment in Long-Term Care (PROTECT LTC Act) would penalize nursing homes for staff shortages, overcrowding and a lack of personal protective equipment.
It also $100 million to fund increased oversight and purchase PPE. Under the bill, state health agencies must make assessments of long-term care centers within four weeks of an outbreak and every six months thereafter.
“The rollbacks of protections by this administration made the spread of COVID in nursing homes far worse than it needed to be,” Sherrill said. “This bill will provide critical funding for the resources and direction needed to catch outbreaks early and hold bad actors accountable.”