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AARP Arizona Will Continue Fight For Nursing Home Transparency Despite Court Ruling

Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - 7:50am
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 12:58pm

On Friday, a judge ruled that Arizona health officials do not have to publicly reveal the number of coronavirus cases and deaths among residents living in long-term care facilities. But the fight for transparency is not over.

AARP Arizona State Director Dana Marie Kennedy says she’s disappointed in the ruling, but vows to continue fighting for residents in long-term care — and that pledge extends to staff at these facilities. 

"It’s still not clear nor have they made it clear if there is an outbreak or a person has tested positive with COVID in a facility that they share that information with the staff. Now, Let’s keep in mind Staff also have families and live in the community.

KJZZ has asked the Arizona Department of Health if facilities are obligated to tell staff if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus. It has yet to respond. 

Kennedy says she's also concerned about access to nursing homes. 

While many parts of Arizona have opened back up following a two month shutdown due to the coronavirus, families still cannot visit their loved ones living in long term care. Families are often the eyes and ears and will report issues to the state, triggering an inspection. 

Kennedy says her organization will now push to ensure that long-term care ombudsmen have access to these places. 

"And are able to physically go into these facilities and be able to monitor the situation and make sure the facilities have adequate personal protective equipment and testing and that the staff are being well cared for and that they have enough staffing ratios," she explains.

Several long-term care facilities are testing their residents and staff for the virus. The exception: assisted living facilities. Kennedy says, ideally, the state should be testing all long-term care staff at least once a week.

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