Wyden, Casey Sound Alarm on Growing PPE Shortages in Nursing Homes

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Aging Committee Ranking Member Bob Casey, D-Pa., today highlighted worsening shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) reported by nursing homes across the country in recent weeks.

A new analysis of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data by the minority staffs of the U.S Senate committees Finance and Aging found that roughly one out of every 12 nursing homes in the United States reported having no current supply of one or more type of PPE as of August 9—a nearly three-fold increase since July 5.

“The Trump Administration’s continued failure to provide nursing homes with adequate supplies of PPE is one in a long line of decisions that has put residents and workers in unnecessary danger,” the senators wrote. “Nursing homes and other congregate settings have been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning. With CDC warning that the United States may be headed for the ‘worst Fall from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had,’ it is far past time for the Trump Administration to robustly respond to the supply shortages facing nursing homes.” 

In the letter, sent to Vice President Mike Pence in his capacity as the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the minority staff’s analysis furthermore found that all 50 states and the District of Columbia had at least one nursing home report being out of stock of one or more type of PPE as of August 9. In more than 40 states, the number of facilities that reported being out of supplies has increased since the beginning of July.

As the U.S. battles the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes have been among the hardest hit. Recent reports indicate more than 70,000 residents and workers in long term care facilities, including nursing homes, have lost their lives to COVID-19, and more than 420,000 have been infected. The minority staff analysis of CMS data shows significant increases in shortages among all types of PPE, including N95 respirators, eye protection, masks, gowns, gloves and hand sanitizer.

The analysis also includes PPE shortage trends for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The full letter can be found here.

A web version of this release is here.