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LETTERS / NC lawmakers strip rights from nursing home residents and their families

In 2020, North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation that gave nursing home, assisted living and other long-term care companies’ immunity from liability related to COVID-19—a move that resulted in stripping rights from residents and their families.

Recently we have learned of preventable deaths and injuries which have occurred in North Carolina nursing homes and which call for revisiting this policy. COVID related emergencies are one thing, but that should never excuse providers when it comes to gross negligence, understaffing and other instances where problems could have been avoided.

Our aging population in the High Country deserve high quality long-term care. An “emergency provision,” in a state law should not permanently shield long-term care businesses from their failure to provide adequate quality services. Policymakers must re-define this “immunity” and address nursing home staffing shortages or patient care will continue to suffer.

Alan Briggs

AARP-NC Executive Council – West Jefferson, NC