Senate Testimony Spotlights COVID-19 and Senior Care Communities

By By Dan Hounsell
March 23, 2021

Senior care communities nationwide have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving families to deal with the aftermath. The death toll also prompted a review of the pandemic’s impact on these facilities in the hopes of improving performance and preventing further deaths and future problems.

What would prompt federal officials to more actively police and demand transparency from U.S. nursing homes? Citing 175,000 deaths of long-term care residents and staff tied to COVID-19, Denise Bottcher, state director of AARP's Louisiana office, recently testified during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on nursing homes, according to AARP. It was part of a series of congressional events exploring the pandemic's impact on long-term care facilities and older Americans.

Bottcher testified that long-standing issues related to oversight and transparency contributed to the pandemic's disproportionate impact on residents and staff. While recent vaccination efforts have contributed to a dramatic drop in nursing home COVID cases and deaths, she said, vaccines aren't enough to address the industry's problems.

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