Protecting Arizona Nursing Home Residents is Goal of Sinema’s Bipartisan Recommendations to Federal Government Commission

May 13, 2020

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine) outlined recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to adopt and use as part of the recently announced Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes.
“Every day, my office hears from Arizona families, health care workers, and seniors worried about the spread of coronavirus. The federal government must take action now to stop the spread of coronavirus in senior living facilities,” said Sinema.
The federal government’s Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes is expected to convene this month and develop recommendations for nursing homes on care delivery responsiveness, identification and mitigation of COVID-19 transmission, and infection control compliance. It will include leading industry experts, family members, resident advocates, clinicians, medical ethicists, administrators, academics, infection control and prevention professionals, and state and local authorities. 
Senators Sinema and Collins urged that the federal government take into account the following considerations to help protect older adults in nursing homes:
1. Include one representative from a state Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program.
2. Address how health care providers in LTC facilities and in-home care settings can access adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and consider how the federal government, in collaboration with states, might take into consideration these needs when planning to procure and distribute PPE. 
3. Consider how the federal government, in collaboration with states and local communities, might support testing capacity and policies to ensure that appropriate testing takes place at LTC facilities and during transitions of care.
4. Encourage further data collection and reporting relative to not only residents, but also staff of LTC facilities, in order to provide the transparency necessary to assess situational outcomes and needs within these facilities.
5. Highlight models for state-level pandemic response teams that focus on activities that affect residents at LTC facilities, including best practices on how states can establish such models.
6. Expedite the development of recommended practices to transition residents from nursing homes and other congregate care settings to their own homes or other settings with appropriate home and community-based services in order to decrease the likelihood infection spread. 
7. Ensure that the unique health risks of older adults living in nursing homes is considered in the distribution plans for any future COVID-19 vaccines. 
Click HERE to read Sinema’s letter
Sinema has also added a resources page to her website,, with specific resources for Arizona seniors looking for the latest information on coronavirus.