Nursing Homes Request Priority and Funding From Congress in Next COVID Bill to Protect Residents and Caregivers
- Nursing homes and assisted living communities ask for
funding for testing, PPE supplies and workforce, and priority for vaccine
- Nursing homes received only 4.3 percent of $175 billion
Provider Relief Fund from CARES Act; zero funding for assisted living
- By nearly a five-to-one margin (71 percent), women
voters ages 34 to 65 say long term care facilities need more support from
the government to save lives and take care of loved ones.
D.C. - 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, called on Congress today to ensure
dedicated funding and priority attention is given to long term care residents
The long term care industry is requesting 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 cover the enormous costs
associated with protecting vulnerable residents and staff from the virus,
including constant testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing.
Currently, nursing homes have only received approximately 4.3
percent of the $175 billion funding allocated from the CARES Act Provider
Relief Fund for healthcare providers. Meanwhile, assisted living communities
have yet to receive any direct federal aid.
“With the recent major spikes of COVID cases in many states across
the country, we are very concerned this trend will lead to a dramatic increase
in cases in nursing homes and assisted living communities,” stated Mark
Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association and
National Center for Assisted Living. “Without adequate funding and
resources, the U.S. will end up repeating the same mistakes from several months
ago. We need Congress to prioritize nursing homes and assisted living communities
in this upcoming legislation.”
According to a recent national survey of women voters ages 35
to 64 undertaken by AHCA/NCAL, a key voting block in the upcoming November
percent felt that the government did not make long term care
facilities a top priority. By nearly a five-to-one margin,
these voters (71 percent) say that long term care
facilities need more support from the government so they can save lives and
take care of our loved ones.
Parkinson said PPE supply shortages and a lack of access to
reliable, rapid testing is still a major issue for many nursing homes.
Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) nursing homes and assisted living communities
said obtaining test results back from the lab companies is taking two days or
longer (63 percent – two to four days, 24 percent five days or more) according
to a recent survey. Nearly 12 percent
of nursing homes report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
that they have less than a one-week supply of N-95 masks, and more than half of
assisted living communities have less than a two-week supply of N-95 masks and
gowns. N-95 masks were not included in the last FEMA shipments to nursing
homes and remain difficult to acquire.
Recent independent research by Harvard
Medical School, Brown University’s School of Public Health and University of
Chicago showed the level of COVID cases in the surrounding community was the
top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes.
AHCA/NCAL recently sent a letter last week 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
“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,” Parkinson wrote in the letter.
As part of their funding request to Congress, the long term care
industry is requesting a $5 billion fund to which labs and nursing homes or
assisted living communities can apply to cover the costs of any testing ordered
by a governmental entity. At present, it is not clear who is covering the
cost of surveillance testing and how much needs to be done, especially for
staff. AHCA/NCAL said funding for testing should be available until an
effective vaccine is fully deployed.
AHCA/NCAL also requested Congress to direct the CDC to ensure that
nursing home and assisted living residents and staff are the first and highest
priority for vaccine distribution since they are the most vulnerable and at
A full list of the long term care industry’s request for Congress
in the next stimulus package can be found here.
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.