Arizona Ensures In-Person Clergy Visitation to Long-Term Care Facilities

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law on Monday that requires the accommodation of in-person spiritual care visitations for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and hospices.

The bill, HB2449, had bipartisan support. It passed 57-2 in the House of Representatives and 18-10 in the Senate.

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Minnesota Has the Most Long-Term Care Facilities with Staffing Shortages, National Report Says

Minnesota’s share of long-term care facilities reporting staffing shortages is the largest in the country, Seniorly reports.

Seniorly’s April 8 report indicated about two of every five long-term care facilities in the North Star State are experiencing staffing shortages this year, up 18.4% since 2020.

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Bill Would Force Ohio Long-Term Care Facilities to Allow Visitors During Pandemics

Ohio nursing home residents are a step closer to having visitors during the next pandemic or state of emergency after the General Assembly passed a bill that requires long-term care facilities to create a visitation plan to allow compassionate caregivers to enter facilities.

Substitute House Bill 120 outlines criteria for compassionate care visitations in long-term care facilities under CMS guidance during any future epidemic, pandemic and state of emergency.   

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Legislative Committee Members Grill Michigan Health Director over Nursing Home COVID Deaths

Michigan may never know the actual number of deaths resulting from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order to place COVID-19 patients in long-term care (LTC) facilities.

That conclusion was the only verifiable takeaway from Thursday’s Senate and House Joint Oversight Committee meeting, where state senators and representatives grilled Michigan Auditor General Doug Ringler, Deputy Auditor General and Director of Audit Operations Laura Hirst, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel.

The committee meeting spotlighted sharp differences between the Democratic Whitmer administration and the nonpartisan Auditor General (AG). It also brought into stark view thepartisan divisions between Senate and House legislators; namely, Democrats who either disparaged the AG’s methodology or defended Whitmer’s EO 2020-50; and Republicans, who argued the governor erred when she issued the order, and depicted the administration’s underreporting of the number of LTC deaths as a cover-up for her failed policy.

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U.S. Senators Call for Investigation into Michigan and Other States that Sent COVID Patients to Nursing Homes

Republican members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Friday urged that committee’s chair to commence an investigation into the decisions of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) and several other governors to discharge COVID-19-infected patients into their states’ nursing homes in 2020.

In addition to Whitmer, Tom Wolf (D-PA), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and Phil Murphy (D-NJ) are specifically criticized in the letter written to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL).

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Vaccinations in Virginia Are Lagging Behind Distributed Doses

Coronavirus vaccination efforts by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have been ongoing since December 15, but the number of administered doses is significantly less than the amount distributed throughout the Commonwealth.

According to the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, as of Thursday, Virginia has distributed 388,100 doses, but only 64,882 have actually been administered so far.

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True COVID-19 Long-Term Care Death Toll a Mystery in Michigan

Michiganders still don’t know how many lives COVID-19 claimed in all categories of long-term care facilities, although the state has been collecting the data since May 29.

Other states such as Minnesota have already reported the information, breaking down the deaths in nursing homes, memory care, and hospice facilities. 

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Senator Warns of ‘Major Crisis’ in Minnesota Nursing Homes, Says No Indication Trend Is Reversing

A state senator warned of a “major crisis” in Minnesota’s long-term care facilities in a letter sent last week to Gov. Tim Walz.

State Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Mary’s Point), chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee, applauded the governor for releasing a “five-point plan” earlier this month on addressing the crisis, but said she has seen “few indicators the trend is reversing.”

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Lawmaker Requests Investigation into COVID-19 Order for Long-Term Care Facilities, State to Provide More Data This Month

A Michigan lawmaker has requested an investigation into Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-84, which forces some nursing homes below an 80 percent capacity to create a unit dedicated to caring for residents with COVID-19.

That order expires after Wednesday.

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Analysis: Minnesota Has Highest Percent of COVID-19 Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities in the Nation

About 81.7 percent of Minnesota’s COVID-19 deaths were in nursing homes and residential care communities, the highest percentage state in the nation that reports such data.

That’s according to data from The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), a Texas-based nonprofit think tank.

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