Legislation aimed at increasing COVID-19 case reporting requirements and oversight of assisted living operators is gaining support among Democrats in Congress.
The Assisted Living Facility Coronavirus Reporting Act (S. 4184 and H.R. 7463), introduced in July by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and Aging committees; Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA); and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Report, now has 47 co-sponsors from 23 states, all Democrats, in the House, as well as Warren and Markey in the Senate.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) is one of the latest in Congress to express support for the bill.
“Residents of assisted living facilities are among the most vulnerable to the health effects of COVID-19, and we must do more to protect them,” she said, adding that the bill would hold facilities accountable and give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services the data and information the agencies need to inform the public.
The lawmakers said they introduced the measure to address issues related to COVID-19 infections, hospitalization and fatality rates, sick leave policies for employees, testing and personal protective equipment in senior living communities. The legislation would subject assisted living communities to similar reporting requirements established for nursing homes by HHS.
One association representing the industry characterized the report on which the legislation is based as misleading. Lawmakers introduced the bill after requesting details from the CEOs of 11 large senior living companies on the extent of COVID-19 and mitigation efforts in their communities.
Industry trade associations said they hoped the lawmakers’ report would help assisted living operators obtain the resources they need to fight the coronavirus.