In a letter sent on Wednesday to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, the AARP called on the Ducey to utilize federal funding for the inspection of Arizona long-term care facilities.
The letter marked their fourth letter sent to Ducey by the group.
Director for Arizona AARP Dana Marie Kennedy asked Ducey to appropriate funds from Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to advance inspections and offer the facilities resources to respond to the coronavirus outbreak with more personal protective equipment, staffing and testing.
“As a result of your action, facilities began restricting access in an effort to slow the spread,” Kennedy wrote.
“However, in doing so, Long Term Care Ombudsmen have not been allowed inside facilities to identify, investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents in LTC facilities.”
Federal data released last week revealed that at least 129 residents have died from the coronavirus in Arizona nursing homes. Of the 129 deaths, 85 occurred within Phoenix area nursing homes.
The data report began on May 8th and only accounted for nursing homes. It did not include COVID-10 cases or death totals from assisted-living facilities and other senior living centers. Many say the numbers are skewed and are actually higher than reported, given the other type of long-term care facilities data numbers being excluded.
Despite a potential lawsuit and heavy criticism, the state of Arizona cited privacy concerns and refused to release information regarding long-term care facilities and COVID-19 cases and deaths. A state judge ruled in favor of the state of Arizona’s policy on May 29th.
Click here to view letter.