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Consumer Voice and Other Advocates Oppose Immunity for Long-Term Care Facilities; New Issue Brief Available

July 21, 2020

Since it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to have its most devastating impact on residents of long-term care facility residents, the long-term care industry has been seeking to not be held accountable for negligent care that harms residents during the pandemic.  First on the state level, and now in Congress, the industry has petitioned governors and legislators to remove both civil and criminal liability for its substandard care that harms residents.  The Consumer Voice along with other resident advocates oppose immunity for facilities, as it removes necessary protections for residents, and will result in the further harm to residents.  We sent a letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy opposing H.R. 7059, which would allow nursing homes to escape accountability for their negligent care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new issue brief, created by the Coalition for the Protection of Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities, makes clear that immunity for long-term care facilities:

  • Rewards bad actors, who for years have cut staff and quality care in order to maximize profits.
  • Removes one of the last remaining oversight protections for residents.
  • Places workers and communities at risk.
  • Removes incentives for facilities to comply with laws and regulations.
  • Perpetuates racial disparities in health care.

Importantly, long-term care facilities that adhered to standards of care and made good faith efforts to obtain necessary staff and infection control supplies are already protected from liability in court.  Immunity laws are about excusing negligent care and allowing harm to residents to go unaddressed, and not about protecting facilities that acted in good faith.  We must send a message to our governors, state legislators, and Congress that we need more protections for residents of long-term care facilities, not less.  Their lives depend on it.

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