Biden HHS nominee moved mother out of care facility as she directed nursing homes to take COVID patients

Biden HHS nominee moved mother out of care facility as she directed nursing homes to take COVID patients

Biden
administration
nominee
Rachel
Levine
faced
scrutiny
last
May
after
she
moved
her
mother
out
of
a
personal
care
facility
shortly
after
she
implemented
a
policy
directing
Pennsylvania’s
nursing
homes
and
certain
care
facilities
to
admit
recovered

COVID-19
patients
who
were
treated
at
nearby
hospitals.

Levine
implemented
the
policy
last
March
in
her
role
as
Pennsylvania’s
health
secretary.
President-elect
Joe
Biden
nominated
Levine
this
week
to
serve
in
his
administration
as
assistant
health
secretary
in
the
Department
of
Health
and
Human
Services.

In
May,
a
spokeswoman
for
the
Pennsylvania
Dept.
of
Health
told

PennLive.com
that
Levine
and
her
mother
were
notified
that
residents
in
her
personal
care
facility
had
tested
positive
for
the
virus.

Levine
stressed
to
the
outlet
that
her
mother
had
lived
at
a
personal
care
facility,
which
is
distinct
from
a
nursing
home,
and
that
the
facility
did
not
fall
under
the
jurisdiction
of
her
agency.

By
last
May,
Levine
introduced
strict
guidelines
in
her
state,
including
mass
testing,
in
response
to
data
that
nearly
70%
of
Pennsylvania’s
COVID-19
deaths
at
the
time
were
linked
to
nursing
homes
and
long-term
care
facilities.
That
same
month,
local
news
outlet
WHTM
in
Harrisburg,
Pa.,
reported
that
Levine
had
helped
her
mother
to
vacate
a
personal
care
home
within
the
state.

“My
mother
requested,
and
my
sister
and
I
as
her
children
complied
to
move
her
to
another
location
during
the
Covid-19
outbreak,”
Levine
said

in
a
statement
to
the
outlet
at
the
time.
“My
mother
is
95
years
old.
She
is
very
intelligent
and
more
than
competent
to
make
her
own
decisions.”
 

The
Biden-Harris
transition
team did
not
immediately
respond
to
a
request
for
comment.

Levine
faced
criticism
over
the
policy,
which
directed
long-term
care
facilities
and
nursing
homes
to
accept
COVID-19
patients
who
were
unable
to
return
home
or
who
had
lived
at
the
facilities
prior
to
their
hospitalization.
The
guidance
noted,
“this
may
include
stable
patients
who
have
had
the
COVID-19
virus.”

Critics,
including
Pennsylvania
State
Sen.
Doug
Mastriano
and
State
Rep.
Seth
Grove,
called
out
Levine
for
her
handling
of
the
virus,
with
some
demanding
her
resignation.

“Our
secretary
of
health,
Dr.
Levine,
decided
that
it
would
be
good
to
allow
covid-positive
patients
to
be
returned
to
elder-care
facilities.
And
as
a
result
of
that,
it
broke
out
like
fire,”
Mastriano
said
at
a
May
rally,
according
to

TribLive.com.

Several
states
reported
COVID-19
outbreaks
at
nursing
homes
and
long-term
care
facilities
in
the
early
days
of
the
pandemic.
In
August,
the
Department
of
Justice

asked
governors
in
states
that implemented
such
orders,
including
Pennsylvania
and
New
York,
to
submit
data
on
whether
they
may
have
contributed
to
nursing
home
deaths.

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The
Biden-Harris
transition
has
emphasized
the
incoming
administration’s
plans
to
combat
the
coronavirus
pandemic.
President-elect
Biden
has
set
a
goal
to
deliver
100
million
coronavirus
vaccine
doses
within
his
first
100
days
in
office.

Levine
will
become
the
first
openly
transgender
federal
official
if
confirmed
by
the
Senate.

“Dr.
Rachel
Levine
will
bring
the
steady
leadership
and
essential
expertise
we
need
to
get
people
through
this
pandemic

no
matter
their
zip
code,
race,
religion,
sexual
orientation,
gender
identity,
or
disability

and
meet
the
public
health
needs
of
our
country
in
this
critical
moment
and
beyond,”
Biden
said
in
a
statement
on
her
nomination.
“She
is
a
historic
and
deeply
qualified
choice
to
help
lead
our
administration’s
health
efforts.”

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