Sarbanes, Maryland Congressional Delegation Urge Trump Administration to Release COVID-19 Funds for Nursing Homes

Trump Administration Has Failed to Distribute Federal CARES Act Funds for Nursing Homes, Even As Nursing Home COVID-19 Outbreaks Increase
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2020
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and the Maryland Congressional Delegation today urged the Trump Administration and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to immediately distribute funds included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

“As you know, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act [P.L. 116–136] included $200 million for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to assist nursing homes with infection control and support states’ efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes,” the Members wrote. “However, CMS has not yet released any of these funds. Given the significant challenges facing these facilities during this pandemic, we strongly urge you to disburse this funding as expeditiously as possible.”

The Members continued: “Out of Maryland’s 227 long-term care facilities, more than 150 of those facilities had COVID-19 cases as of April 20. Earlier this month, a 200-bed facility in Northwest Baltimore announced that it had 170 positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff, making it one of the largest long-term care facility outbreaks in the country. This follows a large outbreak at a Carroll County, Maryland nursing home where nearly 30 residents have died and more than 120 residents and staff tested positive.”

The Members conclude: “It is imperative that nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have the resources they need in order to prevent more of these devastating outbreaks. We believe that the disbursement of these CARES Act funds is an important first step in bolstering their ability to prepare and respond to COVID-19.”

See below for a full copy of the letter to Administrator Verma.

* * *
April 23, 2020

Seema Verma
Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington DC 20201
 

Dear Administrator Verma:

We write today to express our strong support for ensuring that nursing homes and other long-term care facilities receive the resources they need to effectively respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and prevent outbreaks in their facilities. As you know, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act [P.L. 116–136] included $200 million for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to assist nursing homes with infection control and support states’ efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. However, CMS has not yet released any of these funds. Given the significant challenges facing these facilities during this pandemic, we strongly urge you to disburse this funding as expeditiously as possible.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, we have seen the devastating results when an outbreak occurs in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Unfortunately, Maryland facilities have not been spared. Out of Maryland’s 227 long-term care facilities, more than 150 of those facilities had COVID-19 cases as of April 20. Earlier this month, a 200-bed facility in Northwest Baltimore announced that it had 170 positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff, making it one of the largest long-term care facility outbreaks in the country. This follows a large outbreak at a Carroll County, Maryland nursing home where nearly 30 residents have died and more than 120 residents and staff tested positive.

It is critical that we protect residents and staff at long-term care facilities. We know how vulnerable older Americans and individuals with underlying health conditions are to COVID-19 and how high the risk of spread is once the virus enters one of these facilities. It is imperative that nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have the resources they need in order to prevent more of these devastating outbreaks. We believe that the disbursement of these CARES Act funds is an important first step in bolstering their ability to prepare and respond to COVID-19.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this issue. We look forward to working with you to support these facilities and protect their residents and staff.
 

Sincerely,

/signatures/
 

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