Booker, Gottheimer introduce bicameral legislation intended to help nursing home patients

Nursing Home Pandemic Protection Act of 2020 would require increased levels of transparency

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer on Friday announced the Nursing Home Pandemic Protection Act of 2020, legislation they said would require long-term care facilities to have what seemingly should be expected, including a crisis plan to manage an outbreak and a stockpile of personal protective equipment.

The legislation, which is now being introduced by Booker (D-N.J.) in the Senate, was first introduced in the House of Representatives by Gottheimer (D-5th Dist.) and originally cosponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.).

“Long-term care facility residents, staff and their families deserve to have the peace of mind that their facilities are prepared to deal with pandemics like the one we’re facing today, and that includes requiring all facilities to implement comprehensive reporting measures, crisis planning, and ensuring adequate PPE is available,” Booker said in a statement.

“I am proud to work with Congressman Gottheimer on this legislation to ensure our long-term care facilities have the resources they need to protect residents and staff during this public health crisis and beyond.”

Gottheimer said the legislation would protect everyone involved.

“When this virus hits these vulnerable populations, if a facility doesn’t have the proper precautions and plans in place, it can spread like wildfire,” he said. “I’ve also heard too many devastating stories from across North Jersey that families didn’t know their loved ones might be infected until it was too late.

“Ensuring facilities are communicating outbreaks to the CDC, to their residents and to loved ones, and ensuring crisis plans and stockpiles of PPE are in place are vital protections our seniors and veterans need as we enter the fall, winter and flu season. With this bicameral legislation, I’m proud to be partnering with Sen. Booker to help protect seniors throughout New Jersey and nationwide.”

There have been more than 39,410 positive COVID-19 cases within more than 700 long-term facilities throughout New Jersey. New Jersey’s long-term care facilities have reported more than 7,198 deaths thus far.