As the pandemic rages to new heights and we gear up for a new administration, there’s an important step President-Elect Joseph R. Biden could take right away to protect our most vulnerable population: He could restore the ability for nursing home residents to sue their facilities for poor health standards.
Though coronavirus cases for people living in long-term care facilities total just 8% of cases, that demographic accounts for 45% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. through August, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The state-level data is even more grim. Nursing home deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota and Rhode Island, for example, accounted for 81% of coronavirus deaths in those states as of early June, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation data. Long-term care facilities are a major driver of COVID-19 deaths in the country.
Seniors at long-term care facilities and their families have little legal recourse when it comes to fighting for better conditions.
But seniors at long-term care facilities and their families have little legal recourse when it comes to fighting for better conditions.
Trump stripped seniors of those protections his first year in office. He rescinded a rule President Obama had put in place in 2016 which would have prevented corporate-run facilities from receiving federal funding if residents were forced into arbitration after suffering harm in their care. That rule also would have prevented facilities from making arbitration agreements a condition of admission or continued care.
The Obama administration found significant evidence that pre-dispute arbitration agreements negatively impact the quality of patient care and create negative incentives on staffing and care because there is no threat of a substantial jury verdict for sub-standard care—findings that team Trump did not dispute.
The move to erode protections for seniors prompted a group letter by 17 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia to the HHS in 2018. The letter urged the agency not to “lower the level of regulatory oversight” by “rolling back reforms to improve the safety and wellbeing of nursing home residents.”
The new rule, finalized in mid-2019, has been promoted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Trump administration has taken an extra step to line the coffers of the corporations running these facilities. Since May, HHS has dedicated some $10 billion to facilities as incentive pay for “curbing” COVID-19 deaths and infections, among other things. Long-term care facilities have not blunted the spread of coronavirus, but they are taking the money.
Anti-masker mom defends 250-teen homecoming party: ‘Conservatives are ready to embrace freedom again’
After a Georgia high school canceled this year's homecoming dance, as schools did nationwide due to the coronavirus, some parents decided to host one themselves.
Social media posts show hundreds of students from Ola High School gathered together Nov. 14 to dance and sing as the pandemic was setting daily records for new cases, but some organizers told The Daily Beast they had no regrets in hosting the mass gathering.
“It’s my daughter’s senior year, so I hosted a dance -- it was terrific,” one parent, Beth Knight, told website over Facebook messenger. “We sold over 300 tickets, but only about 250 kids actually showed up because they were warned by teachers and coaches that they should not attend because of the virus. The kids who came had fun.”
GOP ‘snake-oil salesmen’ are still pushing Trump’s favorite discredited COVID-19 cure: public health expert
A top public health expert on Tuesday shredded Senate Republicans for continuing to push President Donald Trump's favorite COVID-19 treatment, despite mountains of medical studies showing it is not effective.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, wrote an editorial for the New York Times in which he took Senate Republicans to task for devoting an entire hearing to anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which Trump months ago pushed as a "game changer" despite the fact that subsequent research found that it did little to mitigate the effects of the novel coronavirus in most patients.
Fox News host never told staffers he got infected with COVID-19: report
Todd Piro, the co-host of "Fox & Friends First," recently came down with COVID-19 and reportedly never bothered telling his staffers about it.
Fox News staffers tell The Daily Beast that they were never given any kind of explanation when Piro stopped showing up to work in Fox's Manhattan studio earlier this month, only to learn later that he'd been infected with the novel coronavirus.
"They’re doing the minimum with regard to COVID to not get sued," one staffer said. "Everyone is talking about him [Piro] being positive. Some are wondering why his co-anchor is still allowed in the building. Most are worried that the company is too lax with its COVID response."