March 17, 2020

Cortez Masto, Rosen Press Coronavirus Task Force on Situation in Nursing Homes and Preparedness for Seniors, People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) joined Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and more than 25 U.S. Senators to press the Coronavirus Task Force on their preparedness and response plans for seniors and individuals with disabilities. The Senators sent three letters to the Trump Administration regarding the safety of people living in nursing homes, the ability of seniors living in the community to maintain critical services including delivered meals and home care, and ensuring that up-to-date and accurate information is easily accessible to seniors and people with disabilities.

“It is vital that our most vulnerable, including seniors, those with disabilities, home health care workers, and individuals with limited proficiency in English are protected during this pandemic,” said Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen. “The Administration should waste no time ensuring there are plans in place to keep these populations safe.” 

In an effort to guard against the spread of the virus in nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in an unprecedented move, directed states to suspend nearly all nursing home inspections and oversight unrelated to infection control or instances of abuse and neglect. One of the first known outbreaks of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred in a Washington state nursing home, Life Care Center, which has accounted for more than 20 of the state’s coronavirus deaths. 

The Senators’ requested information on steps that are being taken to protect nursing home residents, staff, and their families. They also urged the Trump Administration to outline its plans for ensuring that older adults who receive services in their homes and communities through their local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and other community organizations will remain safe from the virus, and to what extent the Administration is taking action to ensure that information about the virus is accessible to everyone, including people who are deaf or have limited English proficiency.

Read the letter on nursing homes here.

Read the letter home and community based services here.

Read the letter on accessible information for people with disabilities here