Congress now has an official bipartisan caucus on long-term care infection control and prevention.

The Infection Prevention and Control in Long-Term Care Caucus was established by Florida Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Darren Soto (D-FL) to spur “much-needed” infection control reform in the sector and protect it against future public health crises, Bilirakis’ office announced Monday. 

In a statement, the congressmen noted that more than 70% of long-term care communities were cited for infection control lapses prior to the pandemic. The rise of COVID-19 has further highlighted residents’ susceptibility to serious infections, they said.

“Throughout the pandemic, it has been evident that seniors in long-term care facilities are uniquely vulnerable to infection, and that there are many opportunities to improve coordination of public policies to strengthen protections and drive better health outcomes for seniors,” Bilirakis said.

The new IPC-LTC Caucus will work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other regulatory agencies. Members also plan to engage long-term care associations and the industry at large. The goal is to identify legislative opportunities and create protective federal policy “while reducing the overall cost to taxpayers and the long-term care industry,” the representatives said.