Let's learn from Katrina. Fix nursing home preparedness now!
  • Petitioned Ms. Marilyn Tavenner

This petition was delivered to:

Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Ms. Marilyn Tavenner
Director, Office of Disability Integration and Coordination
Ms. Marcie Roth
Director, Media Relations Group, CMS
Mr. Brian Cook
Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy
Mr. Kareem Dale
Secretary of Heath and Human Services
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Assistant Secretary for Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Ms. Kathy Greenlee
Rep. Brad Sherman
Rep. Alan Grayson
Rep. Danny Davis
Rep. Joe Pitts
Sen. Chris Murphy
Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Bob Corker
Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Rep. Karen Bass
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Rand Paul
South Carolina-04
Rep. Trey Gowdy

Let's learn from Katrina. Fix nursing home preparedness now!

    1. Petition by

      Disaster Accountability Project

The Associated Press shed light on a new report by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services exposing major gaps in nursing home preparedness. These gaps could lead to many of the same horrific events that followed Hurricane Katrina where "a Houston Chronicle investigation found that at least 139 nursing home residents died during the hurricane or its aftermath." Many died in their beds.

Six years after Katrina, nursing homes are still failing and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Administration on Aging (AoA) are turning their backs on their critical oversight and enforcement responsibilities.

"Of the 24 emergency plans examined by the federal government, 23 did not describe how to handle a resident's illness or death during an evacuation."

"Twenty-two had no backup plans to replace staff members unable to report for work during a disaster."

"Seventeen had no specific plan for working with local emergency coordinators to decide whether to evacuate or shelter in place."

As a partial solution, "the report recommends that Medicare and Medicaid add specific emergency planning and training steps to the existing federal requirement that nursing homes have a disaster plan. Many such steps are now in nonbinding federal guidelines that investigators found were disregarded."

Since Hurricane Katrina, thousands of policy recommendations have been published by dozens of government agencies, hundreds of nonprofit organizations and thousands of academics, all calling for systemic improvements to prevent a repeat of the problems that killed thousands and forever changed the lives of millions. Unfortunately, most of those recommendations continue to collect dust and few have been implemented.

"In a written response, Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner agreed with the recommendation, but gave no timetable for carrying it out."

Ms. Tavenner can do better than that!

Join Disaster Accountability Project in calling on Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and Assistant Secretary Kathy Greenlee to immediately implement these common sense recommendations and improve safety and preparedness for millions of nursing home residents nationwide.

Read the AP Story: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-04-16/nursing-homes-disaster-plans/54309490/1
Read the OIG Report: http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-06-09-00270.pdf

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Mary Bennett EARLETON, FL
      • over 2 years ago

      Before I left my last job several years ago, I designed a plan for the elderly and special needs populations to be identified in a variety of ways for a variety of disasters, so that they could be quickly found and checked on or evacuated. I"m sure there is a much better system in place now, but at the time it was a prototype on the computer. Since then, as a native Floridian, I still am interested in this subject as well as epidemiology subjeccts such as understanding foodborne outbreaks, denge fefever Niles virus, and pandemic flu, Norovirua is a particularly dangerous one for nursing homes.

    • Karen Hendrickson WAITE PARK, MN
      • over 2 years ago

      Many nursing home patients are as helpless as a new born baby, only they have the senses to be afraid, or panic. Some may know exactly what is going on. How awful!!! In ALL cases we the American people and POLITICIANS need to have a sincere regard for the well being of the elderly and sick.

    • Sheryl Goodwin OLD ORCHARD BEACH, ME
      • over 2 years ago

      Our Elders deserve better it is morally our duty. Vice President Hurbert H. Humphrey said, that "the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. "

    • Aurea Walker-Cortes LOS ANGELES, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      My mother who is 88 with dementia and unable to walk unassisted could face the same challenge in Los Angeles if or when we get a big earthquake. Am not to comfortable with how prepared the employees are at the nursing hospital.

    • Denise Villareal COLUMBUS, OH
      • over 2 years ago

      I am the Executive Director of The Coalition for Emergency Preparedness and People With Disabilities


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