Gov. Whitmer vetoes nursing home bill; says based on ‘false premise’


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday vetoed Republican-sponsored legislation that would have let nursing homes house coronavirus-infected residents — but only in a building separate from other residents.

In a letter to senators, the Democratic governor said she has protected nursing home residents and the bill was “based on the false premise that isolation units created within existing facilities are somehow insufficient to protect seniors.” The measure had attracted some Democratic support in the GOP-led Legislature.

It would have required the state health department, by Sept. 1, to ensure there is at least one dedicated facility for COVID-19 patients in each of eight regions to care for people ineligible for admission to a hospital, nursing home or adult foster care facility.

“The legislation fails to explain how such facilities would be staffed or paid for, or how frail residents would be protected during the potentially traumatic transfer from one facility to another,” Whitmer wrote.

The bill was a response to the governor’s order that lets people with the virus be transferred and isolated in nursing homes that also have non-infected residents. Critics worry the practice has led to infections among vulnerable, elderly residents — though there is no direct evidence.

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