Senate approves Lucido bill protecting nursing home residents from COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday unanimously approved Sen. Peter J. Lucido’s latest legislation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan nursing homes.

The bill is part of multiple measures to address the pandemic in the wake of a Michigan Supreme Court ruling striking down the governor’s coronavirus-related executive orders.

“This is a renewed effort to protect our seniors, especially those living in nursing homes and other elder care facilities, who have been disproportionately affected by this deadly virus,” said Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “This comprehensive measure combines aspects from my previous legislation that the governor unfortunately vetoed this summer and recommendations from Gov. Whitmer’s Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force.

“This reform is part of a process to work with the governor to put critical protections in law to prevent the spread of the virus among our most vulnerable people.”

Under Senate Bill 1094, 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 area to provide care for people with the virus.

The bill would also require the state Department of Health and Human Services, by Nov. 1, 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 task force recommendations 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 used for the placement of COVID-19-positive individuals who are not eligible for admission at a hospital, nursing home or adult foster care facility.

“It’s our moral duty as a society to protect our elders — far too many of whom have died from COVID-19 in nursing facilities,” Lucido said. “With this commonsense reform, we can help save lives by ensuring the health and safety of our seniors in nursing facilities and the staff who care for them. I also hope this illustrates the positive results we can achieve for the people of Michigan by working together.”