Rep. Sarah Lightner of Springport yesterday voted to help protect nursing home residents by rectifying the governor’s policies that have put them in danger during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Whitmer’s mandate to put COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities alongside uninfected residents was decided by her alone through executive orders — without any legislative input. The plan approved by the House yesterday is designed to end that mistake and help better protect residents of long-term care facilities.
Nearly 2,000 of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths have been nursing home residents – roughly a third of the state’s total virus-related fatalities.
“The Legislature is stepping up to make a commonsense change to the governor’s misguided and failed policy,” Lightner said. “We’ve got to do more to protect our seniors during this pandemic. This is an important change to help keep people healthy.”
The legislative plan requires the state’s Health and Human Services Department (DHHS), along with the state department for Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, to complete an evaluation and report of the current policies regarding COVID-19 patients and nursing homes by Aug. 15.
Additionally, the legislation requires DHHS to develop and implement a new plan by September 1 creating at least one dedicated regional facility within each of the state’s eight health regions for use as COVID-19 patient facilities. Senate Bill 956, unlike the governor’s plan, protects nursing home residents by prohibiting the placement of individuals with COVID-19 in any long-term care facility unless it has a separate dedicated building where affected patients can be properly cared for and quarantined.
The legislation – Senate Bill 956 – now returns to the Senate for further consideration.
Rep. Sarah Lightner of Springport this week joined the state House in advancing several measures that will help guide Michiganders through the COVID-19 pandemic – including extended benefits to help the unemployed and better protections and quality of life provisions for nursing home residents.
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