More than 50 percent of the behavioral health facilities have at least one COVID-19 case while 14 percent have had 10 or more cases, according to a recent report released by U.S. Sens. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA).
The infection rate among patients was 1.8 percent, in line with the general public, while the infection rate among staff was 3.3 percent. The higher rates among staff could be the result of insufficient paid sick leave policies.
Of the facilities surveyed, one makes paid sick leave accessible to all employees, two offer six days of paid sick leave per year, and several do not offer coverage to part-time workers. This means between 10 percent and 30 percent of employees have no paid sick leave.
Every not-for-profit facility provides two weeks of paid leave to employees diagnosed with COVID-19, but some for-profit facilities do not.
The report results from an investigation into the effects of the pandemic on residential behavioral health and addiction treatment facilities and what the facilities have done to prevent and mitigate outbreaks.
The investigation also found that fewer patients have received inpatient care, none of the facilities conduct routine COVID-19 testing of staff or patients, and most larger facilities do not systematically report any COVID-19 cases and fatalities to the federal government.