Opinion: AARP WV calling on West Virginians to stop SB 277 – COVID Liability Immunity

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — AARP WV is calling on West Virginians to express opposition to Senate Bill 277 – COVID Liability Immunity. State Director Gaylene Miller is asking residents to reach out to West Virginia legislators

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From Gaylene Miller, AARP WV State Director:

Senate Bill 277 will strip away the rights and protections of nursing home and long-term care residents.

Nearly 700 West Virginia nursing home residents and staff have died from COVID-19.

Gaylene Miller

This is a crisis. And how is the Legislature responding? By trying to remove a nursing home’s liability for all negligent care that harms or results in the death of residents, including harm totally unrelated to COVID-19. 

That’s right – Senate Bill 277 will grant blanket immunity to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities for substandard care, neglect or abuse that occurred during the pandemic.

West Virginia’s state-level and industry response to this pandemic has exceeded that of the rest of the country. Many facilities performed admirably under tough conditions – but it is clear that other facilities endangered their residents, including some that had long-term understaffing problems and lack of infection control prior to the pandemic. Those facilities should not escape culpability for harming their residents. 

We cannot sit by and let this happen. Let our lawmakers know that you want them to protect the legal rights of nursing home residents – not the nursing home industry.

The Legislature should not strip away the rights and protections of nursing home residents. If these legal rights are removed, the families of nursing home residents who die due to the negligent actions of these facilities will have little recourse. We must fight this together.

Your voice is important. Will you tell the Legislature to protect nursing home residents?

Tell us what you think.  Please click here to take our brief survey. We will make sure that your voice is heard.

It only takes a moment — click here to let us know how you feel about this attempt to strip away the legal rights of nursing home residents and their families.

Sincerely,

Gaylene Miller
AARP West Virginia

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