State Senate Introduces COVID-19 Survey and Reporting Legislation  

Situation Report | September 28, 2020

Senate Health Committee Chairman Gustavo Rivera introduced highly anticipated legislation (S.8999) last week following a series of COVID-related hearings that took place over the summer. The bill, which promotes the transparency of collected state data during public health emergencies, does not yet have an Assembly sponsor. If passed and approved by the Governor, the bill would take effect immediately.

The legislation would require the state Department of Health to report the number of COVID-related deaths in nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs); report transfers of individuals to institutions or facilities; and make survey data requested and required by DOH publicly available.

HCA assisted the Senator’s office in the development of the provision related to the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) and data reporting requirements. HCA members, as well as other providers, are subject to current reporting requirements for data that is not at this time made publicly available. The surveys, though burdensome, provide data to the state on the status of home care agencies, hospices, and other providers regarding their census during the public health emergency.

Since the onset of these survey this past spring, HCA, sister associations, organizations, and individual advocates have requested that state agencies make public the information outlined in the Senate legislation. To date, state officials have not released COVID-related survey data results. This data would assist associations and providers to develop situational awareness, locate gaps in care, assess the needs of agencies and their patients, and identify trends for COVID-19 response.

HCA supports the legislation and will work to ensure its passage. Please see our memo of support here.

Members are encouraged to use the language in HCA’s memo to create their own memos of support and share our message with lawmakers’ district offices. To find your state lawmakers’ contact information, visit HCA’s State Advocacy website and insert your contact information and follow the appropriate links to e-mail or call your state Senator.

HCA members should be on the lookout for additional grassroots advocacy opportunities later this week related to this legislation.

Please contact HCA’s Director for Advocacy & Policy Alyssa Lovelace with questions or concerns related to this legislation and grassroots advocacy initiatives.