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Governor signs effort to increase transparency at Indiana nursing homes

Senate Bill 292 signed by Governor
Nursing Home
Posted at 11:25 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 11:34:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A plan to increase transparency at Indiana nursing homes has passed the state legislature and was signed Thursday by the Governor.

Senate Bill 292 will require long-term care facilities to report COVID-19 case and death data to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The state would then be required to publish the information on the Indiana State Department of Health website.

In the early months of the pandemic, WRTV Investigates brought you stories from families who said they could not find out where COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths were occurring.

Amid pressure, the state agreed to create a dashboard on July 1, months after WRTV Investigates and state lawmakers began fighting for the release of nursing home data broken down by facility.

Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, wanted to make sure these types of delays never happen again and authored Senate Bill 292.

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“This legislation will guarantee transparency for folks who are entering long-term care facilities on the backend of this pandemic, and simply want to be sure that their safety is a priority wherever they choose to live,” Sen. Breaux said. “What we’re doing with this legislation is ensuring that people have the data they need to make responsible, safe decisions for themselves and loved ones. Really, we’re protecting families.”

AARP State Director for Indiana, Sarah Waddle, supported the effort to increase transparency.

“When the Governor decides to end his emergency order, I still think it’s going to be very important for families to be able to see what his happening with COVID inside these facilities with residents and workers,” said Waddle.

Waddle said while it’s important to visit the state’s nursing home dashboard, you should also ask more questions.

"I think it's going to be important that you ask your facility what they're doing to make sure that new workers, because we know there's a lot of turnover in the workforce, as well as new residents,” said Waddle. “What they're doing to ensure the continuous ongoing need for vaccination. I think that will be an important thing to talk to the facility about."

AARP recommends that anyone with a family member or loved one in a nursing home be prepared to ask eight key questions.

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