The public should know how many nursing home residents are dying of coronavirus — and where

If the Baker administration won’t publicize nursing home COVID-19 information, it falls to the Legislature to step in.

By The Editorial BoardUpdated May 21, 2020, 11:11 a.m.

As public policy goes, it’s pretty simple. Families with loved ones in nursing homes and other senior living settings deserve to know the whole truth about COVID-19 testing results and the actual death count in any specific facility.

And so does the public. After all, Governor Charlie Baker just announced the state will give nursing homes — which are already taxpayer-subsidized — another $130 million to bolster their response to the coronavirus. It’s only fair to expect transparency in exchange for that money.

But right now, there’s no way for the public to get that information. The state’s official coronavirus dashboard reports “confirmed cases” of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, not COVID-19 deaths in each facility. And even with confirmed cases, there’s no precise tally, just three broad reporting categories: more than 30, 10 to 30 and fewer than 10. Nor does the dashboard report how many residents have recovered from the virus, or provide any breakdown of employee versus resident statistics.Get Today in Opinion in your inboxGlobe Opinion’s must-reads, delivered to you every Sunday-Friday.Sign Up

If the Baker administration won’t publicize that data, it falls to the Legislature to step in. Simple transparency was the goal of legislation proposed by state Representative Ruth Balser of Newton.  Click here to read more.

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