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

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:
Read the OIG Report:

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

Disaster Accountability Project started this petition with a single signature, and now has 182 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.