Today, June 25, 2020, Center for Medicare Advocacy Senior Policy Attorney Toby Edelman provided invited testimony before the House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee at a hearing entitled “Examining the COVID-19 Nursing Home Crisis.”
Below is the introduction to Ms. Edelman’s full written testimony.
I want to acknowledge the deaths of more than 50,000 nursing home residents and hundreds of nursing home staff from COVID-19. We grieve for residents, staff, and families who have been barred from visiting their relatives for more than three months.
These past several months have brought to fuller public awareness the deadly consequences of poor care, inadequate staffing levels, and treatment of regulations intended to ensure good care for residents as burdens on facilities that need to be eliminated. Although many of these problems in nursing facilities have been identified for decades, they have been made worse by recent deregulatory actions and the coronavirus pandemic. Essential changes are needed.
From its earliest days, the Trump Administration has taken steps to weaken and dismantle the regulations and guidance that have been developed over the past 30 years to implement and enforce the federal Nursing Home Reform Law. Many of the most significant changes were made to the enforcement system, without notice and public comment. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic and national health emergency, the Administration has unilaterally decimated longstanding statutory and regulatory protections for residents. It has waived multiple resident protections and suspended surveys and enforcement for all but the most egregious violations. The Administration could not have implemented such changes unilaterally in non-emergency times. Many of these changes have been sought by the nursing home industry over the years.
The full testimony is available at: https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/