Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and U.S. Congressman Lloyd Smucker (Pa.-11th) are pressing the Pennsylvania Department of Health on its significant shortcomings in protecting long-term care residents from COVID-19 during the pandemic.
In a letter to Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam, Senator Toomey and Congressman Smucker wrote:
“The results have been tragic. More than half of Pennsylvanians whose deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 were nursing homes residents. In May of 2020, nearly 70 percent of all fatalities related to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania had occurred in long-term care facilities, compared to just 37 percent nationwide. According to the New York Times, four of the top twelve long-term care facilities with the most COVID-19 deaths nationwide are located in Pennsylvania.
“One facility, the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center (Brighton), had a well-documented history of infection control deficiencies. The facility had received a violation for inadequate infection control procedures less than one year before the pandemic started. In fact, state surveyors from the Department certified that the facility had corrected its deficiencies just four months prior to the deadly outbreak at Brighton.”
Additionally, Senator Toomey and Congressman Smucker’s letter requests further information on how the department will strengthen protections for seniors in the future.
Joining Senator Toomey and Congressman Smucker in signing the letter were Pennsylvania Congressmen John Joyce (R-13th), Fred Keller (R-12th), Mike Kelly (R-16th), Dan Meuser (R-9th), Scott Perry (R-10th), Guy Reschenthaler (R-14th), and GT Thompson (R-15th).
You can read the full letter to Acting Secretary Beam here.