President Trump announced the formation of an independent commission last week to address the troubling number of coronavirus cases in nursing homes across the country. The Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to the pandemic.
The commission will also focus on discovering innovative approaches to facilitate coordination between nursing homes and federal, state and local entities, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The effort builds upon a five-part plan unveiled in April 2019 to verify safety and quality in nursing homes across the country.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the commission will “identify best practices, and also provide recommendations for how we go forward to protect our nursing home residents and make sure we are providing the best quality of life.”
The group is expected to convene in late May and come up with recommendations on the following primary areas:
- Protecting residents from COVID-19 and improving the responsiveness of care delivery;
- Ramping up efforts to enable rapid and effective identification and mitigation of virus transmission, and;
- Improving compliance with infection control policies.
Following the President’s announcement, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued a new executive order this week requiring long-term care facilities to report the number of coronavirus positive cases and deaths within 24 hours of confirmation to residents, admits or transfers in the facility.
Maricopa County nursing homes reached a grim milestone earlier this week, passing 100 virus-related deaths in long-term care facilities. Residents of these facilities account for about 66% of the county’s 168 coronavirus deaths.
Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of Maricopa County Public Health, told the Arizona Republic that nursing home residents have the highest risk of complications, saying:
As long as COVID-19 is circulating and health-care workers are exposed, we will continue to see some cases.
Check out the CMS site for more on the initiative.
Also take a look at Skilled Nursing News for more on the President’s announcement.
And check out The Arizona Republic for the state’s angle.