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Gov. Whitmer vetoes law to ensure elderly safety, creates task force

Quarantine order lifted for nursing homes
Quarantine order lifted for nursing homes(KGNS)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 4:41 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Governor Whitmer vetoed Senate Bill 956, which would have jeopardized the health of Michigan’s nursing home residents and other COVID-19-positive patients. 

“Protecting the health and safety of nursing home residents and their staff continues to be a top priority for my administration,” said Governor Whitmer. “Senate Bill 956 is nothing more than a political game that would relocate vulnerable seniors without any requirement for consent, doctor’s approval, or notification to patients and their families.” 

Following federal CMS guidance to establish a system of regional hubs and dedicated isolation units, the Whitmer administration has procured tests and PPE to keep seniors safe.

With the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19, Whitmer created the nursing home preparedness task force. The task force will produce a report on August 31.

Finally, the stay-home and safe-start orders have dramatically cut the infection rate and limited community spread.

“Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens require unique medical care and living assistance to keep them safe and healthy. This legislation puts seniors at greater risk by failing to provide the enhanced and qualified staffing needed for their protection,” said Linda Cook MacDonald, Chairperson for the Michigan Senior Advocates Council. “We support the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 956 and express our gratitude to her for protecting the health and safety of all Michiganders during this difficult and unprecedented time.” 

Last week, Governor Whitmer extended protections by continuing limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into all the following facilities: health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities.

Gov. Whitmer has since created the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The task force is there to analyze data on COVID-19 risks and threats in nursing homes; making recommendations to the governor on improving data quality and releasing periodic reports to the governor on its findings and recommendations.

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