We commend the nurses and medical personnel on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as long time advocates for nursing home patients, we are aware of some of the issues developing in already problematic nursing homes. Some of these issues are being revealed by the media.

As most of us know, family members are being foreclosed from contact with their loved ones in nursing homes in order to help prevent the spread of the disease. But some facilities are also keeping the residents’ representatives in the dark as to the condition of the residents when they attempt to inquire by phone or email. In fact, in light of some of these notice issues, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memorandum in which they instruct facilities to notify residents and their representatives to keep them up to date on the conditions inside the facility, such as when new cases of COVID-19 occur or when residents and/or staff have symptoms of the disease. In addressing the memorandum, CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated, “Today’s action supports CMS’ longstanding commitment to providing transparent and timely information to residents and their families.” Providing this kind of information to families can save lives, since many Americans are now working from home and can provide safer environments for their loved ones.

You can report any issues to the Department of Health and/or the Attorney General’s office which has been charged with investigating these matters that are unfolding. You can also contact our office with any questions.