Daines introduces bill to provide federal emergency relief for nation’s nursing homes

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) on July 2 introduced legislation that would provide nursing homes with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and would reauthorize funding for programs under the Elder Justice Act of 2009.

“This bill is critical to ensuring that our senior care facilities have the resources necessary to continue serving and keeping Montana’s seniors safe especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Daines.

The Emergency Support for Nursing Homes and Elder Justice Reform Act of 2020, S. 4182, introduced by Sen. Daines along with U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Martha McSally (R-AZ), would provide personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing in nursing homes and increase resources to investigate elder abuse and neglect and extend services to victims, according to a one-page bill summary provided by Sen. Daines’ office.

If enacted, the bill also would establish strike teams to ensure that “a portion of any payments received or federal relief funds made available on or after July 1, 2020, for responding to the COVID-19 emergency period, must be devoted to statewide or regional strike teams that can promptly respond to COVID-19-related crises in nursing homes that are overwhelmed by the pandemic,” the summary says.

Additionally, S. 4182 would promote tele-visitation for nursing home residents; stress transparency regarding COVID-19-related fatalities and staffing levels in nursing homes; and review and upgrade the federal rating system to better measure and report quality of nursing homes, among other provisions, according to the summary.

The bill has been referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

“My purpose for introducing the bill today is twofold: first, I want to confirm that this issue, nursing home relief, is a top priority for all Republicans,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Grassley. “Second, my hope is that a version of this bill can be included in the next relief package our chamber adopts.”

The legislation is endorsed by the Elder Justice Coalition, the National Adult Protective Services Association, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and the Alzheimer’s Association, among others.