COVID-19 has killed more than 50,000 people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. That is at least 40% of all U.S. coronavirus deaths.
The White House put in new measures recently to better protect residents.
“The numbers are continuing to rise. We're just beginning to get some of the numbers out of some of the states and so this is a real outrage,” said Bill Sweeney, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at AARP. “It didn't have to be this way, and this is a national disgrace.”
AARP says required virus case data from facilities is happening too late. They're about a week behind and testing isn't consistent.
Some facilities are still having issues with PPE, including training staff to wear it properly.
Both Republicans and Democrats want to give more help to nursing homes in the next relief bill.
AARP is concerned about the lack of inspections and oversight. It worries some facilities will get immunity from lawsuits.
“Without inspections, without the ombudsman being able to go in and find out what’s going on in the facilities, without family visits being allowed, there's been no accountability at all and if they give immunity to these nursing homes, there won’t ever be accountability,” said Sweeney. “There will never be justice for families whose loved ones were treated poorly.”
Before the pandemic, AARP says eight out of ten nursing homes were cited for infection control problems.
Meanwhile, AARP encourages family members to call their representative in Congress if they are worried about their loved one and are not getting answers.