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August 4, 2020

(WASHINGTON, DC) – In a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) requested a full investigation into the oversight by the Pennsylvania Department of Health of the COVID-19 outbreak at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center (Brighton) in Beaver County and the use of hydroxychloroquine at the facility.

Lamb sent a letter on May 7 requesting an immediate investigation into the management's performance. CMS subsequently completed an inspection of Brighton on May 14, which resulted in a series of fines.

In a follow-up letter sent on August 3, Lamb wrote: "That inspection found Brighton was not in substantial compliance with Federal requirements related to implementing proper infection prevention and control practices to prevent the development and transmission of COVID-19. As you are aware, residents at Brighton have been seriously exposed to COVID-19 with at least 332 residents testing positive and at least 82 resident deaths linked to the pandemic, according to Pennsylvania Department of Health data."

The letter also raises the issue of recent media reports that Brighton gave 205 of its 435 residents hydroxychloroquine with zinc without State approval.

"These findings were included in a State inspection report and directly violate State nursing home regulations that prevent experimental research or treatment without approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and from each resident after full disclosure," added Lamb.

"At this point, the Pennsylvania Department of Health does not appear to have imposed any accountability or punishment on Brighton for the use of hydroxychloroquine without permission. For this reason, I request you investigate the State's response to this unnecessary tragedy at Brighton," urged Lamb.

Lamb has advocated for many provisions for senior and long-term care facilities throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis. Lamb was joined by Representative Mike Doyle in a letter to CMS urging additional oversight of nursing homes and senior care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lamb also advocated for additional protections for seniors in an April 15 letter calling for the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS to collect and publicly report facility-level data on the number of long-term care residents affected by the COVID-19. Lamb also joined other Members of Congress to request that a portion of the $25 billion emergency funding appropriated by Congress in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act be allocated to states specifically for the development, purchase, administration, or provision of COVID-19 diagnostic tests for long-term care facilities.

Click here to view a copy of the Lamb's follow-up letter to CMS.