Governor’s veto picks politics over people
LANSING, Mich. — A bill sponsored by Sen. Peter J. Lucido that would prohibit the transfer of people who have COVID-19 into nursing homes and long-term care facilities was vetoed Friday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“I am very disappointed and saddened that the governor vetoed this extremely important and commonsense legislation,” said Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “Politics should not prevail over the health and safety of our seniors and health care workers, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate and House to consider passing a veto override. We owe this to our citizens, especially the seniors and vulnerable members of our communities who cannot speak for themselves.”
Lucido said every state that followed COVID-19 nursing home guidelines like that of the Whitmer administration has since changed course to a policy similar to what was included in his bill.
Senate Bill 956 would have prohibited individuals from being admitted or retained for care in a nursing home if they tested positive for COVID-19 and had not since recovered, unless the nursing home was able to provide a preapproved designated area and a program to demonstrate its ability to retain the individual in their facility and provide the safe, appropriate care necessary for the patient that was consistent with adequate supply, staffing and operational capacity at the facility at the time of the individual’s diagnosis — with the prior consent of the state Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
The bill would have required MDHHS to develop and submit a plan to the House and Senate health policy committees describing its process to ensure there were dedicated facilities to provide care for COVID-19-positive patients in each of the eight health care regions. The dedicated facilities would have been intended for those patients who were COVID-19-positive and were ineligible for admission into a hospital, nursing home or adult foster care facility.
It would have also required MDHHS to evaluate the COVID-19 Regional Hubs that were previously implemented and operated during the state’s response to COVID-19 in nursing home facilities and provide a report to the House and Senate health policy committees on the evaluation.
According to the federal government, several of the state’s nursing homes serving as regional hubs for COVID-19 patients received low-quality ratings as determined by a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rating system.
More than 35% of the people who have died from COVID-19 in Michigan were patients from nursing homes.