The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will boost enforcement against nursing homes after federal statistics indicated some 26,000 residents of these institutions nationwide have died from coronavirus, the Daily Caller reported.
"This data, and anecdotal reports across the country, clearly show that nursing homes have been devastated by the virus," CMS Administrator Seema Verma and Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield wrote in a letter to U.S. governors over the weekend.
Since nursing homes that scored low on CMS health survey scores before the coronavirus outbreak are more likely to have more cases among its residents, the letter said the agency will increase penalties for those institutions with longstanding violations of infection control practices.
"While many nursing homes have performed well and demonstrated that it's entirely possible to keep nursing homes patients safe, we are outlining new instructions for state survey agencies and enforcement actions for nursing homes that are not following federal safety requirements," Verna said in a statement, according to the Daily Caller.
The figures released by CMS are at least 14,000 deaths too low, according to NBC News, which tracked almost 40,000 nursing home coronavirus deaths in nursing homes nationwide, representing some 40% of all coronavirus deaths in the country.
New Jersey and New York lead the United States in coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents, according to CMS's figures.
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