State Representative Ed DeLaney urges state officials to finally release nursing home COVID-19 data

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) called on the Holcomb administration to reveal hidden COVID-19 statistics after a Monday report showed 420 coronavirus-related deaths tied to individuals in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

State officials recently committed to broad, weekly updates on the COVID-19 dashboard, but unlike Indiana's four neighboring states, refuse to make facility-level data public. Without a state mandate, legislators and the Hoosier public are left dependent upon the will of individual facilities.

“COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat to Hoosiers, especially the individuals who call nursing homes and assisted-living facilities home,” DeLaney said. “At a time when the free flow of information could help families save lives, Governor Holcomb is hiding behind privacy laws intended to protect individuals, not nursing homes or regulators. No one is asking that the state divulge potentially identifying information as to individuals, we're asking to know what is happening inside of these facilities.

“Without good, real-time data about the successes and failures of these facilities, it is impossible to make the informed decisions required during a pandemic. Hoosiers need facility-level data to make decisions about placement for themselves and their loved ones. At the same time, the state legislature needs facility-level data to make decisions about matters of safety and funding.”

The nursing home and assisted-living industry is mostly funded by Medicare and Medicaid dollars, the latter being partly from state funds. The state of Indiana is responsible for the inspection, regulation and licensing of these facilities.

“We are in the business of protecting people, not facilities,” DeLaney said.

“The information we need will bring joy to no one and may well set some facilities or regulators back. This is the price of democracy and the path to correcting problems. The Governor must release this information.”

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