State Rep. Hank Vaupel, chair of the House Health Policy Committee, today supported a plan to protect nursing home residents from avoidable coronavirus exposure.
Earlier this year, the governor implemented a plan to put COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities alongside uninfected residents. That plan was made without any legislative input.
Soon after, the number of COVID-related deaths in Michigan nursing homes grew to more than 1,900.
“Those who reside in long-term care facilities should not have to worry that they will contract COVID-19 from another individual who was placed in that facility,” said Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “I’m proud to support this plan to rectify this flawed approach.”
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.
Finally, Senate Bill 956 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 quarantined and cared for.
“Our vulnerable nursing home residents need us advocating on their behalf,” Vaupel said. “The impact this virus has had on our elderly population, especially those living in nursing homes, has been horrific. We must give them a voice.”
The legislation now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
“We must work together if we want our people to stay healthy and safe and our state to return to normalcy and overcome this health crisis,” Vaupel said. “People’s lives and livelihoods are on the line and we must all work in tandem toward a common goal to prevail.”
“The plot being made by this dangerous and hateful group was despicable. Violence and acts of hate are unacceptable in our society. No matter how much anyone disagrees with a government official, this response is unwarranted and those responsible should be persecuted to the highest extent of the law.