Congressman Panetta Continues to Fight For Oversight to Improve Pandemic Response in Long-term Care Facilities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) cosponsored two pieces of legislation to restore infectious disease standards and increase oversight of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The Promoting Restoration of Emergency Preparedness and Advancing Response to Epidemics in Long-Term Care Act (PREPARE LTC Act) would restore Obama-era infection control regulations to require nursing and long-term care facilities to maintain infection prevention programs and emergency plans to protect residences during an emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The Protecting Residents with Oversight, Transparency, and Enforcement for Compassionate Treatment in Long-Term Care (PROTECT LTC Act) would provide $100 million to State Survey Agencies for increased oversight of nursing homes and increase penalties for those that fail to provide adequate protection to residents during public health crises and other emergencies.
“COVID-19 continues to threaten the vulnerable Americans living in our nation’s nursing homes, including those enduring ongoing outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Santa Cruz and Watsonville,” said Congressman Panetta. “Long-term care residents are especially vulnerable to this disease, which is why we must change how these facilities are financed, monitored, and supported to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents and staff. As I continue to monitor ongoing outbreaks in Central Coast nursing homes, I’m glad to cosponsor these critical pieces of legislation to ensure long-term care facilities have the resources and oversight necessary to protect residents during this pandemic and in any future public health crises.”
While less than 0.5% of the U.S. population live nursing homes, residents account for 40% of COVID deaths overall nationally, and in some states, account for more than 70% of COVID deaths. Prior to cosponsoring the PREPARE LTC and PROTECT LTC Acts, Congressman Panetta identified an immediate need to provide greater support to long-term care facilities. In May, he introduced the Sending Outside Support Act (SOS Act) to provide immediate support to nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 cases. The legislation authorizes the Health and Human Services Secretary to allocate funding to states for the creation of strike teams of clinical and non-clinical staff to assist nursing homes with the management and treatment of COVID-19 outbreaks.