April 21, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Nursing home providers will soon be required to notify the families of patients within 12 hours if a staff member or a resident at a home tests positive or dies from COVID-19.
The announcement made by the Trump administration on Sunday follows calls from Congresswoman Grace Meng urging the federal government to mandate a similar requirement.
The new rule also requires nursing home providers to notify the CDC within the same 12-hour time frame. Additionally, families of residents must be notified within 72 hours if three or more people at a facility come down with respiratory symptoms.
It is unclear as to when these new rules will go into effect.
Meng urged the president on Saturday to follow Governor Andrew Cuomo’s order last week requiring nursing home providers to notify families of positive cases or deaths within a facility within 24-hours.
She penned a letter to the president asking him to make this a national requirement. She noted that is critical for family members to be kept up to date so they can make preparations or arrangements regarding their loved ones.
Nursing homes in Queens have been ravaged by COVID-19. As of April 20, 637 Queens residents had died from COVID-19 in nursing homes facilities, or about 22 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths in the borough.
Hard hit nursing homes include the Franklin Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Flushing where 45 residents have died. Meanwhile, 44 residents have died at Parker Jewish Institute in New Hyde Park.
Meng said the new requirement would help families take care of their elderly relatives and protect seniors throughout the country.
“We must do all we can to safeguard the health and safety of our elderly population,” Meng said in a statement Monday following the Trump administration’s announcement.
Meng also welcomed Trump’s announcement Sunday that he would use the Defense Production Act to boost the manufacturing of swabs that are needed to increase COVID-19 testing– although noting he should have done so weeks ago.
“We need the DPA desperately in our fight against COVID-19,” she said. “The president must now follow through to make sure this actually happens, and I will watch closely to ensure that it does,” she said.