AL Industry News

Provider TOP STORIES May 12, 2020


CDC NHSN COVID-19 Mandated Reporting For PPE, Staffing Has Started

Provider Magazine

(5/11, Connole, 151K) reports, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Health care Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19-mandated reporting for nursing centers has started, according to the latest update from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).” AHCA/NCAL “recommends that providers accurately report the staffing and personal protective equipment (PPE) situation at their facilities based on normal standards and guidance for PPE and staffing, not conservation guidance.” The association said, “Federal and state governments will use these data to hold nursing homes accountable for care and services provided and to identify who needs additional resources. … It is important that the data reported to NHSN give an accurate picture of staffing and PPE, as well as the other areas collected in NHSN.”



White House Recommends Testing Of All Nursing Home Staff, Residents



(5/11, Freking, Condon) reports that “the White House strongly recommended to governors Monday that all residents and staff at [nursing homes] be tested for the coronavirus in the next two weeks.” The nation’s “nursing home operators have said the lack of testing kits has left them nearly powerless to stop the virus from entering their facilities because they haven’t been able to identity silent spreaders not showing symptoms.” The American Health Care Association “welcomed the new testing recommendation but said the federal government needed to do more to make that possible, including allocating billions of additional dollars to the effort.”

Kaiser Health News

(5/11, Ungar) reports the American Health Care Association president and CEO Mark Parkinson said in a statement Monday, “What we need now is for state government leaders to help provide immediate and priority access to testing. … While universal testing in nursing homes is a good first step, it’s essential that testing, with rapid results, be widely available in forthcoming weeks. Testing will need to be repeated regularly.” AHCA’s chief medical officer Dr. David Gifford “said long-term care providers have been at the mercy of the CDC guidance, the availability of the kits, the doctors who order them and the labs that process them.” Gifford added, “For months, we have been begging for priority and searching for labs or hospitals to perform tests for our residents and staff.”


Extent Of COVID-19 Impact On Long-Term Care Facilities Remains Unknown

The precise number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities throughout the United States is still not clear, and AHCA/NCAL and its affiliates continue to address this issue. For instance,

Bloomberg Law

(5/11, Subscription Publication, 4K) reports The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living “acknowledges that not all coronavirus deaths have been counted, and says its members ‘are being as responsive as they can with the resources they have been given.’” In an email, spokesperson Cristina Crawford said, “Without additional testing, our nation’s providers have no way of knowing who has or may have succumbed to the virus, especially those who are asymptomatic. … Therefore, non-reporting is not necessarily due to a lack of willingness, but a lack of accessibility to tests.”


New Canaan (CT) Advertiser

(5/11, 12K) reports Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities president Matthew V. Barrett wrote in a statement with another organization, “The assisted living sector agrees with the public health reporting strategy and is rapidly increasing capacity to meet these new reporting obligations in a short time-frame. … Much progress has been achieved since the reporting initiative was launched less than two weeks ago and we expect that capacity for timely and accurate reports will be in place in the near future.”

Wisconsin Health News

(5/11) reports, “The Department of Health Services plans to begin naming nursing homes with COVID-19 cases this week, after previously saying they were hesitant to release the information.” The Wisconsin Health Care Association/Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living, along with another organization, “said Saturday that they have serious concerns about how the listing might be presented by DHS and interpreted by the public and media.” Wisconsin Health Care Association/Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living CEO John Vander Meer “said that nursing homes have been ‘proactive in informing’ public health departments, residents and their families, employees and state officials since the beginning of the public health emergency.” He added, “These caregiver heroes deserve our respect and support for the work they do.”


Commentary: Long-Term Care Employees Are Everyday Heroes

In a commentary in The

Portland (ME) Press Herald

(5/5, 244K), Maine Health Care Association vice president and director of communications Nadine L. Grosso writes, “A hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.” Grosso says, “As Maine health care providers continue battling this insidious, invisible and sometimes deadly intruder that is COVID-19, there has been a proper focus on our front line heroes. These include thousands of caregivers working in our nursing homes and assisted living communities, but their outstanding achievements and noble qualities didn’t begin during this public health crisis and won’t end when it is over.” Grosso adds, “Rather, their commitment to caring for their residents is standard practice that hasn’t changed despite difficult and unprecedented circumstances. We praise the everyday heroes who are our long-term care employees.”



Federal Government’s Public Reporting Of Nursing Home COVID-19 Data Still Weeks Away

McKnight’s Long Term Care News

(5/11, Brown) reports that “the federal government is still weeks away from publicly reporting nationwide COVID-19 nursing home data, according to an NBC News report.” The report noted that CMS “still hasn’t tallied the total number of nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks even after announcing, in April, an effort to track and publicly report the data.” In a statement to the news outlet, CMS said, “As nursing homes report this data to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], we will be taking swift action and publicly posting this information so all Americans have access to accurate and timely information on COVID-19 in nursing homes. This reporting requirement is the first action of its kind in the agency’s history.”


REITs Report Encouraging News Amid Pandemic

McKnight’s Senior Living

(5/11) reports, “Operators of independent living communities and operators of senior living communities targeting middle-income individuals have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that differ from other senior living and skilled nursing providers, according to executives of two real estate investment trusts.” One REIT reported an “encouraging trend” of “a 30% increase in virtual tours.” Meanwhile, another REIT indicated that “occupancy across the senior housing portfolio ‘held steady’ from March to April,” a development described as “really encouraging.”


COVID-19 Pandemic Reportedly Highlights Growing Appreciation Of Senior Living Among Adult Children, Industry Leaders Say

In a piece for

McKnight’s Senior Living

(5/11, Bowers), Lois A. Bowers writes, “Certain themes emerge when you listen to quarterly senior living company and real estate investment trust earnings calls, and there were 11 such calls last week.” According to Bowers, “one of the positive effects arising from this pandemic, some said, is a growing appreciation of senior living among people whose parents are the age of prospective residents.” For example, one COO said on an earnings call, “Our senior housing operators report that prospective residents and their children, after being in quarantine for several weeks and often together, are coming to the realization that they could not get the assistance needed in their homes and they couldn’t afford to wait to move into assisted living.”