Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced the creation of an independent commission to address safety & quality in nursing homes, that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Center for Elder Law & Justice welcomes the commission and are pleased to see resident advocates and families as members. We hope that the commission would include nursing home residents, in addition to advocates and families, and that they have an active role in the commission. However, the commission is too little too late to help the thousands who have died during the pandemic due to government inaction and active reduction of resident protections that occurred prior to the pandemic. CMS and the Administration have been rolling back vital nursing home regulations and enforcement actions since January 2017, most recently this past summer when they proposed to reduce necessary infection control and prevention regulations that were “too burdensome.” Resident safety can never be considered a burden.

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