State Rep. Dan Ryan, along with his colleagues in the House of Representatives, recently passed legislation to require long-term care and housing facilities to report and track COVID-19 positive cases and mortalities to public health officials during the public health emergency.
“The House and Senate are working on collecting a myriad array of public health data including health disparities in Gateway Cities, communities of color as well as among the aging,” he said. “These vulnerable groups are not mutually exclusive. In an interconnected society what effects one population effects many others.
“I want to thank Speaker DeLeo, Chairwoman Balser and the COVID-19 leadership team for addressing one of the more pressing issues facing our response to this health crisis,” he continued. “Chelsea is home to several, quality long-term care facilities. These institutions care for our parents and grandparents. Data shows the elderly, and others in similar care, have been overwhelmingly impacted by this disease. Continuous, robust data collection will help us tell the whole story moving forward. We will be able to steer resources where they are most needed and give our residential homes the tools they need to ensure the safety of their staff and those in their care.”
Said Speaker Bob DeLeo, “In an effort to protect those most in need, we seek accurate and daily data on COVID-19 cases and mortalities at our long-term care, assisted living, and senior housing facilities, which have been difficult to obtain since the outbreak began. I am grateful to Chair Balser for her advocacy on behalf of the older adult community s work to act on this crucial legislation.”
The legislation includes the following provisions that apply to facilities including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences, elderly housing facilities, and specifically the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke.
•These facilities shall report daily to local departments of health and to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) the number of known COVID-19 positive cases and mortalities among residents and staff at the facility.
•DPH shall make the data publicly available on its website and update it daily, including the name of the facility, the number of known COVID-19 positive cases and mortalities of both resident and staff cases and mortalities.
•Facilities shall report daily to residents’ families, guardians, and legally-authorized representatives the number of know COVID-19 positive cases and mortalities among facility staff and residents.
•DPH shall report weekly the number of COVID-19 positive cases and mortalities at these facilities – including demographic data including race, age and sex in aggregate form – to the House and Senate Committees on Ways & Means.
The bill will now go to the Senate.