COVID-19 Updates

Higher Priority Status Given To Long-Term Care Providers For PPE, Other Federal Relief


Higher Priority Status Given To Long-Term Care Providers For PPE, Other Federal Relief

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (4/30, Brown) reports, “Long-term care providers have finally been given a higher priority status to receive personal protection equipment and other relief from the federal government during the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.” Earlier “this week it was revealed that Vice President Mike Pence told governors Friday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will soon start shipping supplies of PPE to every nursing home across the country.” In a press briefing on Wednesday, Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, said “Our message today is that it is beyond time – but certainly time right now – for state and federal government leaders to rally around our residents and our caregivers in the same way that the country has rallied around hospitals over the last several months.”

The Bucks County (PA) Courier Times (4/30, Ciavaglia, 69K) reports “new federal guidelines this week moved long-term care residents and employees to the highest priority for COVID-19 testing, as more organizations call for wider testing in the hard-hit centers.” AHCA/NCAL’s Parkinson said, “We are hopeful (the guidance change) will immediately improve our ability to get those tests and get test results quickly,” as he added that in some cases, testing results have been delayed for as long as one week.

FEMA Planning To Send PPE To Nursing Homes Across Nation

CNN International (4/29, Alvarez, Santiago) reports that “a FEMA spokesperson told CNN the agency is preparing to coordinate shipments of PPE, like surgical masks, gowns and gloves, to nursing homes across the nation.” The agency’s “distribution of PPE to nursing homes is expected to kick off around May 1, or early next week, according to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.” In a call with reporters Wednesday morning, AHCA/NCAL president and CEO Mark Parkinson said, “Obviously we wish that we’d had that same focus on them starting in February, but we haven’t, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re pleased that we have it [COVID-19].”

Politico (4/30, Roubein, 4.29M) reports Parkinson said in Wednesday’s press call, “The inability of long term-care facilities to obtain equipment, particularly face masks, over the last few weeks and few months has proven to have tragic results.” Politico says “the first deliveries will target metro areas hit hard by the coronavirus, such New York City, northern New Jersey, Boston, Chicago and Detroit.” According to Politico, “The supplies will be sent to nursing facilities that are certified by Medicare and Medicaid, a decision the FEMA document says was based on input from the American Health Care Association.”

AHCA Asks For $10 Billion Federal Relief Funding For SNFs

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (4/30, Brown) reports, “Providers are calling on the federal government to create a dedicated fund for skilled nursing operators – like it did for hospitals – to aid them in their coronavirus response.” Mark Parkinson, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living president and CEO, said, “Skilled nursing facilities have received some funding from the initial allocations of the $70 billion, but nowhere near what’s necessary to adequately fight the fight.” Specifically, AHCA is “calling for the federal government to set aside $10 billion in relief funding for skilled nursing facilities.”

Meanwhile, in a separate piece, McKnight’s Senior Living (4/30) reports, “The American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living on Wednesday repeated a call to state and federal governments to prioritize COVID-19 testing, staffing and emergency funding to help support residents and caregivers in the nation’s assisted living and skilled nursing facilities throughout the country.” During the conference, AHCA/NCAL president and CEO Mark Parkinson said, “When you look back over the last couple of months, the long-term care profession has been left out, forgotten, and residents have not had the resources they need in this battle. … It’s time to turn that around.”

Parkinson Warns Against States Reopening Too Soon

Skilled Nursing News (4/29, Spanko) reports, “Citing current patterns of COVID-19 infection rates at nursing homes, the leader of the nation’s largest post-acute and long-term care association on Wednesday warned against states opening their economies too early – a move that he said could only worsen the crisis.” American Health Care Association president and CEO Mark Parkinson said in a call with reporters, “We are very concerned about states opening up too early for this simple reason: When you look at the facilities that have COVID-positive residents in them, the correlation isn’t any particular thing about the facility – its size, whether it’s a [for-] profit or not-for-profit. It’s not even particularly related to its survey history. … Instead, there’s a direct correlation between the prevalence of COVID in the community and the prevalence of COVID in long-term care facilities.” According to Parkinson, “If we open up too soon, the results will not be good.”

AHCA/NCAL Develops COVID-19 Resource Tools For Operators

McKnight’s Senior Living (4/30, Novotney) reports “the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living has developed a resource guide for operators. The tool will help users better manage options to grants and loan programs during the current pandemic.” The association’s “guidance includes federal cost reporting guidelines as well as recommended financial management approaches for association members,” and “will be updated as the federal government and states release new or revised guidance, the organization said.” Association “members also are encouraged to take advantage of AHCA / NCAL’s newly developed COVID-Related Loss and Cost Calculator,” which “may be particularly useful with reporting on and documenting use of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants, AHCA / NCAL said.”

Long-Term Care Providers May Have To Repay Funding To Federal Government

CQ Roll Call (4/30, Clason, 154K) reports, “Long-term care hospitals and other medical providers could be asked to return some payments from $175 billion in emergency funding that Congress provided as the Trump Administration seeks to balance the allocations.” CQ Roll Call adds, “The twist in the allotments is the latest in an ongoing tussle over the emergency funding – a $100 billion program created under the third economic aid package due to the COVID-19 pandemic that cleared in March and infused with $75 billion more in a fourth law earlier this month.” According to CQ Roll Call, “Certain providers who benefited from the first round of payments could see their fortunes reversed as more money is calculated and distributed.” Mark Parkinson, CEO of AHCA/NCAL, told reporters, “It’s entirely possible that they will have a negative payment.”

Parkinson Addresses Work Of Long-Term Care Facilities Amidst Pandemic

One America News Network (4/30, 28K) broadcasts an interview between One America’s Stephanie Myers and American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living president and CEO Mark Parkinson. Parkinson spoke of the “unbelievable challenge” faced by skilled nursing facilities and assisted living buildings across the country. Specifically, he said, “The workers have been incredible…putting their own lives at risk and really being heroic.” However, Parkinson said, “They need help,” particularly in the areas of testing and equipment.

The Washington Examiner (4/30, Hogberg, 448K) reports the American Health Care Association “said in a statement to the Washington Examiner that ‘facilities are following government orders to limit visitors and restrict group activities, such as communal dining.’” In AHCA’s statement to the Washington Examiner, the association stressed that “outbreaks are not the result of inattentiveness or a shortcoming in nursing homes. It’s the combination of the behavior of this virus and the unique threat it presents to the people we care for.” AHCA’s Parkinson “said the problem lies in a broken regulatory system.”

McKnight’s Senior Living (4/30, Bowers) reports “the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living has been very public in its call for PPE, testing and funding to be provided to assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities in addition to settings such as hospitals, with President and CEO Mark Parkinson being featured on national networks such as CNN and Fox News.”

Member Organizations Continue Coronavirus Work Throughout Country

For instance, The Washington Examiner (4/29, Picket, 448K) reports “California Gov. Gavin Newsom received a proposal from the California Association of Health Facilities asking he sign an executive order of liability protection similar to those signed by the governors in” a variety of other states. In a statement, the organization said, “Skilled nursing facilities have been on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and have suffered from a lack of access to testing and personal protective equipment, diminished nurse staffing and inconsistent directives from county, state and federal agencies.” The statement added, “We are seeking baseline protection from the expected surge in litigation that will inevitably engage in the second-guessing of caregivers seeking to do their best under impossible circumstances.”

WUSA-TV Washington (4/27, Abbott, Fischer, 98K) reports, “President of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, Joe DeMattos, said they have been preparing centers since January, but they’re dealing with a vulnerable population with health conditions that make them highly susceptible to contracting and spreading the virus.” DeMattos said, “What we’re learning now is that many of the defensive measures that we took in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living measures, were only partly successful because of the absence of the prioritization of testing, and testing health care workers.”

In an op-ed published in O’Brien County’s Bell-Times-Courier (4/30), Iowa Health Care Association president and CE Brent Willett wrote, “The women and men on the front lines of this fight who are caring for members of the greatest generation and others amongst our most vulnerable need the tools to confront, contain and ultimately defeat the virus.” He added, “There is reason to be hopeful. … Caregivers can do even more amazing work if we collectively get them the basic tools they need: protective equipment, testing and staffing.”


Experts Provide Ways For Care Providers To Make Hospital, Emergency Department Transfers Safer For Residents During Pandemic

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (4/30, Lasek) reports that “care providers can take action to make hospital and emergency room transfers safer for residents during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a group of eldercare experts.” These experts “have published a comprehensive guideline on safe and effective transitions that includes certain checklist points.” Specifically, among a variety of points, the checklist recommends, “Medically stable patients who are appropriately isolated should not be transferred to the emergency department,” and “Carefully weigh the risks and benefits of transferring residents with a febrile respiratory illness to an emergency department.”