Staffing During Pandemic Harmed Nursing Home Residents, House Panel Says
At a Sept. 21 hearing, the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis discussed its findings that nursing home understaffing during the pandemic resulted in patient neglect and harm. According to the subcommittee, "Many nursing home facilities were severely understaffed during the early months of the pandemic, leading to deficient care, neglect, and negative health outcomes for residents." Among other things, the subcommittee reported complaints about the lack of personal protective equipment, employees who tested positive for the coronavirus being denied sick time, employees required to come to work with high temperatures, and employees and patients not wearing masks. This comes as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services works to develop minimum staffing standards for nursing homes. The nursing home industry has argued that the proposed minimum staffing regulations would cost $10 billion annually, spur additional reductions in available beds, and require 187,000 new workers to be hired amid a severe health-care staffing shortage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 157,000 nursing home residents and 2,686 staff have died from COVID-19.
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