Sánchez Pushes for Virtual Visits at Nursing Homes

February 3, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez today introduced The Facilitating Virtual Visitation for Nursing Home Residents Act, a bill that would require skilled nursing facilities to provide a means for residents to conduct virtual visits with loved ones during the pandemic.

“It is awful for both families and people in nursing homes not to see each other during the pandemic,” said Congresswoman Linda Sánchez. “Because of COVID-19, families are understandably being told they can’t see family members in person – my family included. Social isolation in our nursing home residents is a real concern, so I’m pleased to reintroduce this legislation that would require facilities to provide televisitation services. We’ve seen the videos of loved ones visiting outside windows, but that cannot be the only way residents communicate with those most important to them during the pandemic.”

The Facilitating Virtual Visitation for Nursing Home Residents Act was introduced last May by Congresswoman Sánchez and was included in the Heroes Act and the updated Heroes Act, which both passed the House of Representatives last Congress. The legislation would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to nursing homes on how to provide residents timely and equitable access to televisitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing homes would also be required to tell residents, representatives of residents, and relatives of residents of the rights for these services.

Congresswoman Sánchez has long championed legislation to protect nursing home residents since first elected to Congress, including reintroducing the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act in 2019, a bill that would prohibit long-term care facilities from requiring or soliciting residents to enter into pre-dispute, mandatory, binding arbitration agreements.

Supporters of the Facilitating Virtual Visitation for Nursing Home Residents Act include the Long-Term Care Community Coalition, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, and the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR).

Full text of the Facilitating Virtual Visitation for Nursing Home Residents Act is here.

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