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First Survey of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Residential Behavioral Health & Addiction Treatment Programs

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Senate Aging Committees, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Calif.), a member of Oversight and Reform Committee, released the findings from their investigation into the effects of the novel coronavirus in residential behavioral health and addiction treatment facilities, and the actions these facilities are taking to prevent and mitigate outbreaks when they do occur.

The lawmakers' investigation, the first national survey of coronavirus in residential behavioral health and addiction treatment facilities, revealed that more than half of residential behavioral health facilities covered by the survey had at least one coronavirus case, while one in seven facilities had larger outbreaks. The investigation also found that limited testing capacity has prevented residential behavioral health programs from conducting routine testing of their patients and staff, that facilities' paid sick leave policies do not provide sufficient coverage for all workers, and that fewer patients have been able to receive inpatient care during the pandemic despite an increased need for services. These findings highlight the need for greater federal support for residential behavioral health programs during the pandemic. Read more

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