Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) are asking federal health agencies to bolster efforts to protect residents and workers in nursing homes.

"Tragically, the experiences of some nursing homes in the country highlight the devastation that can occur in this population. In Pennsylvania, for instance, nearly 70% of fatalities associated with COVID-19 have occurred within nursing homes or other long-term care settings," the senators wrote. "We appreciate your attention to our previous calls for increased transparency into facilities that are candidates for the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, and we believe the circumstances facing nursing homes amid the pandemic require further attention and action. Two steps we are encouraging are enhanced coordination between federal and state regulatory agencies and targeted assistance to nursing homes."

Senators Toomey and Casey wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking that those agencies:

  • Provide individualized, facility-specific technical assistance;
  • Provide monthly updates on infection control surveys and outcomes;
  • Perform analysis of nursing homes with larger outbreaks;
  • Review all nursing home regulations and seek stakeholder input; and
  • Improve coordination among CDC, CMS, and states for nursing homes to report COVID-19 cases and deaths.

You can read the full letter here. The letter was also signed by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).