President Donald Trump announced a series of new initiatives to ensure nursing homes and elder care facilities, a source of devastating death rates among senior citizens from COVID-19, do the best job possible of protecting the elderly who live there.
He announced the provision of $81 million in funds to step up inspections of nursing homes to ensure they are providing the best means of dealing with coronavirus, The Hill reported.
"My administration will never waver in its relentless commitment to America's seniors," President Trump, speaking from the East Room of the White House, said. "We owe them a sacred and unbreakable obligation, and we will fulfill that obligation with every resource and power that we have."
In addition, a new commission, formed of industry experts, officials, and patient advocates, is scheduled to meet in May to issue new guidelines for protecting senior citizens in nursing homes, and nursing homes will be required to report new coronavirus cases. They also will be required to post new cases online and report cases to residents and family members.
At least 7,000 deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in nursing homes, The Washington Times reported.
"The tragic reality is the coronavirus seemed almost tailor made to put major pressure on nursing homes," Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said.
For example, the New York Department of Health reported 3,688 deaths in nursing homes, while California noted 40% of their coronavirus deaths are linked to nursing homes, and South Carolina noted 44 deaths at long-term care facilities, which amounts to 23% of the state's total coronavirus death count.
"Things are happening at the nursing homes that we're not happy about," President Trump said. "We don't want it to happen, so we're checking that out very carefully and very methodically."
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