Industry leaders call on public health officials to send resources to long term care facilities and on Congress to provide additional funding in next COVID legislation
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living
(AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living
communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million
people each year, released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S.
have experienced an alarming spike in new COVID cases due to community spread
among the general population according to recent data recently released from
the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The CMS data shows COVID cases in nursing homes significantly increased last
month after having dropped significantly throughout the month of June.
As experts have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases
in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. Dr.
David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
recently stated, “According to preliminary research presented, larger
facilities located in urban areas with large populations, particularly in
counties with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 cases, were more likely to have
“With the recent
major spikes of COVID cases in many states across the country, we were very
concerned this trend would lead to an increase in cases in nursing homes and
unfortunately it has,” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American
Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. “This is
especially troubling since many nursing homes and other long term care
facilities are still unable to acquire the personal protective equipment and
testing they need to fully combat this virus.”
The report also showed COVID-related deaths in
nursing homes had declined significantly but have started to uptick again in
AHCA/NCAL recently sent a letter to the National Governors Association
(NGA) warning states of imminent outbreaks at nursing homes and assisted living
facilities given the major spikes in new cases in several states across the
U.S., combined with serious PPE shortages and significant delays in getting testing results
for long term care residents and caregivers which has been taking up to five
days or more.
“Given the fact we are several months into the response of this pandemic and
the lack of PPE supplies is still an issue is very concerning. We request
governors and state public health agencies to help secure and direct more PPE
supplies to nursing homes and assisted living communities, especially N95
masks,” Parkinson wrote in the letter.
Using data from Johns Hopkins University, AHCA/NCAL released a state-by-state breakdown showing 33 states
with a positive COVID-19 test rate of higher than five percent and data from CMS indicating many nursing homes
are still facing significant PPE supply shortages especially for N95 masks and
AHCA/NCAL is calling on public health officials to take immediate steps to
protect nursing homes and assisted living communities especially in areas with
significant uptick in new COVID cases.
Parkinson is also urging Congress for an additional $100 billion for the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund, which is
accessible for all health care providers impacted by COVID-19, and that a
sizeable portion of the fund be dedicated to helping nursing homes and assisted
living communities acquire resources associated with protecting vulnerable
residents and staff from the virus, including constant testing, PPE and staff
“Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will end up repeating the
same mistakes from several months ago. We need Congress to prioritize our
vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living
communities in this upcoming legislation.”
For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the nearly 5 million seniors and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our facilities each year. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.