Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) said that Democrat governors’ policies to put coronavirus patients in nursing homes “wreaked havoc” on America’s long-term care facilities, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
Loeffler sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and CMS administrator Seema Verma regarding the disproportionate rate of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Citing data from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, Loeffler noted that 43 percent of all coronavirus “deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities, despite representing only .6% of the US population.”
Loeffler noted that many Democrat governors, such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, implemented “policies mandating that nursing homes take in patients who tested positive for the coronavirus, regardless of whether or not these facilities were adequately prepared to care for these individuals.”
Loeffler said these “misguided policies have wreaked havoc.”
CMS administrator Verma told Breitbart News’s Matthew Boyle in an exclusive interview that these Democrat governors contradicted federal guidelines discouraging public officials from putting coronavirus patients in nursing homes.
Verma told Boyle, “In the states that you mentioned, they have some of the highest nursing home deaths in the nation. I think they’re in the top ten: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Michigan. They’re all in the top ten. If there was a policy that required a nursing home to take a COVID-positive patient that they weren’t prepared to take care of, then that is a gross misinterpretation of our policies—of federal policies.”
Loffler wrote in her letter to Verma and Azar that many states even admitted coronavirus patients as “hundreds of emergency hospital beds provided by state and federal resources sat unused.”
“The results have been catastrophic,” she added.
She continued, “In Pennsylvania, as of June 20, over 67 percent of the state’s deaths have occurred in long-term facilities. In New Jersey, roughly half of the deaths have stemmed from outbreaks in these facilities.”
She added, “While the spread of the virus has slowed, it is still infecting individuals. In order to ensure we are adequately prepared to respond to any future spread, additional evidence-based guidance may be needed, and strict enforcement of existing guidance is critical to implementing effective strategies for states to protect nursing home patients. The effects of the virus on this population have been tragic, and collaborative efforts on state, local, and federal levels are key to prevent this crisis from worsening.”
Loeffler urged the CMS to “examine” which state policies “hampered” the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, which put America’s senior citizens at risk.
“The effects of the virus on this population have been tragic, and collaborative efforts on state, local, and federal levels are key to prevent this crisis from worsening,” she added.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.