Just last week, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) issued an announcement, “New Nursing Homes COVID-19 Transparency Effort.” Disability Rights Texas strongly supports the measures that CMS is taking to ensure transparency and information about infections and deaths in nursing homes. These critical steps include:
- Requiring nursing homes to inform residents, their families, and representatives of cases of COVID-19 in their facilities;
- Requiring nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as to state and local officials;
- Requiring nursing homes to provide at least weekly updates to residents, their families, and representatives; and
- Requiring nursing homes to fully cooperate with CDC surveillance efforts around COVID-19 spread.
But it is equally as critical to protect the safety and welfare of people in all institutional settings as they are for residents of nursing homes.
Therefore, we are calling on Texas Governor Greg Abbott to do the same for all institutional settings in Texas. People with disabilities and older adults are, and will be, particularly at risk for COVID-19, facing a high risk of complications and death if exposed to the virus. Like nursing facilities, there have been similar outbreaks and deaths in Texas’ State Supported Living Centers, State Hospitals, and group homes.
Our letter to the Governor (see attached below) urges Texas Health and Human Services to extend the same requirements to all institutional settings in Texas such as State Supported Living Centers and psychiatric treatment facilities, as well as other Medicaid-funded congregate settings where older adults and people with disabilities live, including group homes and assisted living facilities.
We welcome the Governor’s consideration of our request and immediate action to protect the lives of Texans with disabilities during the pandemic.