WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With more than half the deaths from COVID-19 connected to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma says the Trump Administration is calling for mandatory staff testing.
“This is just going to improve the safety and quality inside the nursing homes and better protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Verma said.
While nursing homes are required to report the testing done on staff and residents, hospitals nationwide must now report other daily data, like the number of ICU beds in use, availability of supplies and confirmed COVID-19 positive patients.
“If we don’t have that information from hospitals, then we’re not able to direct supplies appropriately,” Verma said.
Verma says if hospitals do not comply with this change, both their Medicare and Medicaid funding will be cut.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey saying penalizing hospitals does more harm than good.
“What they should do is convey the urgency of getting that data correct,” Casey said. “The administration has to, I think, demonstrate, certainly to me, but any member of Congress that they actually have an action plan that will work.”
Casey says the administration needs to be more proactive to protect Americans in nursing homes.
“We should not be talking four to five months from now and saying that another 70,000 Americans have died in nursing homes in long-term care centers,” Casey said.
The administration says they expect the new requirements to save lives.