Maryland U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced that they, along with more than 30 Democratic colleagues, pressed 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.
“Everything we have seen about COVID-19 has made clear that our seniors, especially those in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are at greatest risk during this pandemic. We must ensure their health and safety,” said Senator Cardin.
“During this time, we must take clear, decisive steps to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, including seniors and individuals with disabilities. The Administration must ensure they continue to receive critical support services and accessible information, and that care providers have what they need to keep patients safe and healthy,” said Senator Van Hollen.
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.