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Rep. Hall votes to protect nursing home residents from avoidable COVID-19 exposure
RELEASE|July 22, 2020
Contact: Matt Hall

Legislator: Governor’s ongoing policy is reckless, wrong and jeopardizing lives

State Rep. Matt Hall, of Marshall, today helped advance a plan that corrects Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s policy that puts the health of vulnerable senior citizens at risk.

Senate Bill 956 would put an end to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s current policy of placing COVID-19 patients into nursing homes and other long-term care facilities – under the same roof as healthy, uninfected residents. Instead, they must be placed in a physically separate facility that is exclusively dedicated to COVID-19 patient care. If a nursing home does not have a separate facility, a patient must be placed in another dedicated structure or field hospital until they have recovered.

Nearly 2,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 since cases first arose in Michigan, representing at least 30 percent of COVID-19 deaths statewide.

“Seniors are most at risk of serious health consequences caused by COVID-19. The first outbreak in Washington state was at a nursing home, which shows how susceptible nursing homes are to the spread of COVID-19,” Hall said. “Other states like New York which have attempted these policies have reversed course, but shockingly Gov. Whitmer still continues this practice to this day. We’re taking a stand by formulating a smarter plan, while stopping the governor’s reckless practice of putting our most vulnerable citizens at risk.

“Reckless decisions can have tragic consequences. As a result of this senseless policy that is still in effect, more people have died than should have.”

The legislation requires the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), along with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, to complete an evaluation and report of current policies regarding COVID-19 patients and nursing homes by Aug. 15.

The plan also tasks DHHS with developing a new plan by Sept. 1 which creates at least one dedicated regional facility within each of the state’s eight health regions for use as COVID-19 patient centers. The placement of individuals with COVID-19 in any long-term care facility when the facility doesn’t have a separate, dedicated building for patients to be properly quarantined and cared for would be prohibited.

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