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Sens. Hassan, Warren, Casey, Schumer call for answers on nursing homes’ access to adequate personal protective equipment

By Staff | Jun 23, 2020

FILE - In this May, 3, 2019, file photo, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., speaks at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. The federal government has decided to delay changing the way it determines funding for rural education after a bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Hassan and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the move would hurt hundreds of schools. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are calling for answers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about nursing home and long-term care facility access to personal protective equipment following reports that FEMA is shipping insufficient and defective personal protective equipment to these facilities.

“We write today to express our concern about the availability and adequacy of personal protective equipment (PPE) for nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the United States,” wrote the Senators. “As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. Recent data show that approximately 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States are residents or workers at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This is alarming.”

The Senators’ letter discusses an earlier announcement that the FEMA made about shipping personal protective equipment to nursing homes. “However, we have heard from constituents who live and work at long-term care facilities that they do not have adequate supplies. Recent public reports also indicate that some of the PPE shipped through FEMA’s recent initiative has been defective, inadequate, and unusable. Additionally, we have questions about how FEMA and the Supply Chain Stabilization Taskforce determine which facilities are eligible for shipments and track the receipt of these shipments to these facilities,” wrote the Senators.

The Senators are calling for the FEMA and the Supply Chain Stabilization Taskforce to answer a number of questions about efforts to assess the need for personal protective equipment at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, what facilities have received this equipment, and mechanisms for quality control.

The letter is part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts to press the administration on the production and distribution of personal protective equipment. Under pressure from Senator Hassan at a recent hearing, the FEMA agreed to make public a document showing some of the agency’s supply and demand projections. Senator Hassan recently heard from long-term care administrators in New Hampshire about ongoing concerns over access and quality of personal protective equipment.

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