Updated May 28, 2020 - Health

Pennsylvania Sen. Casey calls for action plan to contain coronavirus infections in nursing homes

Axios' Mike Allen chatting with Sen. Robert Casey

Screenshot: Axios

The federal government needs to provide more oversight when it comes to monitoring nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) told Axios' Mike Allen on Thursday during an Axios digital event.

What Casey is saying: "Tens of thousands of people are dying in nursing homes without an action plan, which has to start at the federal level — the administration and Congress doing more to combat this problem."

  • More than 36,000 people in nursing homes have died from complications of the coronavirus.
  • Casey said the action plan should include more resources and funding for testing, protective personal equipment, and hiring more nurses, doctors and certified assistants at nursing homes.
  • Casey, who has introduced legislation to create and fund such a plan, said, "That would include new reasons for Medicaid and because of that, there is a lot of Republican resistance."
  • An aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an email that "coronavirus legislation Congress has passed addresses this issue and nursing homes just received $4.9 billion."

The feeling of isolation is also negatively affecting nursing home residents, according to Casey.

  • When visitors are allowed, "That resident feels that they are connected to someone. It breaks apart that isolation and at least reduces it.
  • "The family member or members, plural, becomes the eyes and ears of that person, if the care isn't good or if the resident has a question."
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