A Brief Overview of COVID-19 Related Legislation in 2020
In 2020, states took a variety of COVID-19 related actions affecting assisted living. Most of these actions were taken by state regulators and dealt with operational issues pertaining to reporting requirements, guidelines for infection control, and reporting. But regulators were not the only ones taking action. State legislators reacted as well, adopting 68 pandemic-related laws affecting assisted living. Some notable actions are listed below:
At least three states enacted liability waivers for assisted living providers against injury and death suits related to COVID-19. In Louisiana and Virginia, providers are immune from liability as long as they did not act with gross negligence or willful misconduct. Iowa enacted a similar liability waiver unless the exposure was caused by reckless disregard, malice, or an intentional act.
Funding & Resources
Many states tried to find ways to direct additional funding or resources to assisted living providers. South Dakota makes funding from the CARES Act available to assisted living facilities. Vermont provided grants to facilities so they could pay their employees hazard pay. And Minnesota made funds available for facilities to purchase PPE and pay additional staffing costs for overtime, training, and the like.
Louisiana recognized the importance of ministering to assisted living residents and passed a law to require that clergy be allowed into facilities.
Vermont amended its Worker’s Compensation Act to provide that if a front line worker – including those in residential or long term care facilities – experiences death or disability due to COVID-19, it is presumed that it is an on the job injury so they can receive workers compensation benefits.
Figure 1: States adopting legislation related to COVID-19 in 2020
As a reminder, always be sure to check with your state and local regulators to keep up-to-date with all the requirements affecting your residential assisted living business.