Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Keeping Nursing Home Residents Safe

On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), I’d like to thank all those who work in nursing facilities -- doctors, nurses, food preparers, housekeepers, and others -- for their unwavering dedication to compassionately caring for the vulnerable residents who are relying on them during the COVID-19 pandemic. These facilities have been on the front lines of the pandemic, and our hearts are with all of those who have been affected by this virus and their families.

We at CMS share the goal of keeping nursing facility residents safe and healthy. Under President Trump’s leadership, we are using CMS’s regulatory authority to facilitate residents’ care and ensure that long-term care facilities have the guidance they need to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The best thing nursing facilities can do to keep residents and themselves safe is to ensure they’re following effective infection-control practices. These are outlined in our guidance and include recommendations that employees wash their hands properly; separate ill residents from well residents; use personal protective equipment correctly; get screened for illness; and stay home if they’re sick.

By employing effective infection control and prevention, coordinating with local and state health authorities, and showing patience and kindness to others, we can beat the virus, reopen America, and keep our nursing home residents safe and healthy.

Seema Verma

Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Washington, D.C.

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