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Texas Nursing Homes Still Don't Have Enough PPE To Keep Residents Safe From Coronavirus

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Seven months into the pandemic and many nursing homes across Texas still do not have enough protective equipment to keep their residents safe.

The CBS 11 I-Team first reported on the PPE shortage at nursing homes back in June.

Now a new report from the consumer advocate group, TexPIRG, said since then the shortages "have actually become much worse."

TexPIRG analyzed data submitted by 15,000 nursing homes nationwide to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and found more than 20% of nursing homes had less than one-week supply of one or more types of PPE, which represents a critical shortage by industry standards.

According to the report, in Texas, 12.7% of nursing homes had a critical shortage of N95 masks, of which 10.9% had none at all, which is higher than the national average.

"It is absolutely unconscionable that Texas is dealing with severe PPE shortages at this point in the pandemic," said Bay Scoggin, the state director of TexPRIG.

Rosie Davis, whose mother was a resident at an Irving nursing home when she died from COVID-19 in May, said not enough is being done protect those in nursing homes.

"These are our parents, our grandparents, and they have literally been swept under the rug as if their life doesn't matter," she said.

Davis' mother, Mary Castro, was a retired nurse. She was 75 years old when she died.

"She was a part of a generation that built this country," Davis said. "They took care of us and now it's our turn, as their children and grandchildren, to help take care of them."

TexPIRG and other advocates said the PPE shortage in nursing homes can be solved with two federal policy actions.

One, the president, using his authority under the Defense Production Act, can increase PPE production.

Then, Congress can pass a bill creating a national PPE distribution plan.

Advocates say this would streamline the supply chain and stabilize prices by keeping states and federal government from competing with each other for PPE supplies.

According to the to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, more than a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have come from people living in nursing homes.





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