LANSING, Mich. — In a renewed effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan nursing homes, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday approved new legislation sponsored by Sen. Peter J. Lucido that leverages previous reforms passed by the Legislature and that incorporates additional recommendations from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force.
“This is a good compromise that closely resembles my previous bill that passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support,” said Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “I am confident that this new bill, with additions from the Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force recommendations, will become law. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected seniors, especially those living in nursing homes and other elder care facilities, and we must act to prevent the spread of the virus amongst these vulnerable populations.”
Under Senate Bill 1094, beginning Nov. 1, restrictions would be put in place on the return of COVID-19-positive residents to nursing facilities in order to reduce the spread of the virus to other residents. Individuals would be permitted to be readmitted or retained in a nursing facility only if they have recovered from the virus, or if the nursing home has established a state approved, dedicated facility to provide care for people with the virus.
The bill would also require the state Department of Health and Human Services, by Oct. 15, to:
- Conduct an evaluation of the COVID-19 regional hubs used in response to COVID-19 infections in nursing home facilities.
- Develop a plan that follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and recommendations from the task force to determine a process for how to implement dedicated facilities for COVID-19-positive patients in the state’s eight health care regions.
- Describe in the plan how health care systems and hospitals with excess surge capacity can be utilized for the placement of COVID-19-positive individuals that are not eligible for admission at a hospital, nursing home, or adult foster care facility.
“Too many of Michigan’s vulnerable seniors have died from COVID-19,” Lucido said. “This important compromise legislation is a commonsense way to help ensure the health and safety of our seniors residing at nursing homes, and the staff who care for them. I appreciate the willingness of my colleagues and the governor to work together on this solution and I am confident we can get the bill approved and signed very quickly.”
The bill now advances to the full Senate for further consideration.