COVID-19 Updates


AHCA/NCAL Offers COVID-19 Grant, Loan Management Primer, Along With Loss, Cost Calculator

Provider Magazine (4/29, Connole, 151K) reports, “The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has developed a basic primer (login required) for organizing oversight and day-to-day management of the array of federal grants and loans available to long term care providers during the COVID-19 emergency.” In addition, “available to AHCA/NCAL members is a COVID-Related Loss and Cost Calculator (login required).” The aim “of this Excel Workbook is to offer a basic tool for providers to assess allowable costs already reimbursed by pre-COVID payers, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and compare such reimbursement to shortfalls where grants and loans fill funding gaps.”


Providers Should Regularly Call For Help, Document Calls When Facing Supply And Staffing Shortages, AHCA/NCAL Advises

Provider Magazine (4/29, Connole, 151K) reports “the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has developed brief guidance for facilities facing personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing shortages, as well as other challenges in receiving assistance.” AHCA/NCAL “said most long term care providers do not have access to the adequate supplies or staff to provide the level of care needed to contain the virus.” In order “to help remedy this situation, long term care providers need to regularly call for help and need to document these calls were made.”


AHCA/NCAL Urges DHS To Create Specific Long-Term Care Fund

Provider Magazine (4/29, Connole, 151K) reports, “The head of the nation’s largest advocacy group for skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities on Wednesday said future rounds of COVID-19-related government funding should prioritize long term care, the health care setting most impacted by the devastation of a pandemic that has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the United States in less than three months.” AHCA/NCAL president and CEO Mark Parkinson “said funding thus far has gone to all health care providers, but ‘future rounds of funding should be focused on where COVID is being fought, and the center of that is in skilled nursing and assisted living.’” Parkinson “said the association has asked for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a specific fund for long term care like it did last for hospitals.”



Coronavirus-Related Liability Protections Announced By Department Of Labor

McKnight’s Senior Living (4/29, Novotney) reports, “In a move that may provide leverage in the battle for legal immunity for long-term care providers, the Department of Labor released a statement Tuesday providing some liability protections for meat industry employers if workers contract coronavirus on the job.” Some Republicans on Capitol Hill, and some Administration officials, “have said businesses that are reopening need liability protection from lawsuits employees might file if they become sick.” Industry associations, such as the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, support “legal immunity for providers across the continuum of aging services for all claims that would arise out of actions related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

AHCA/NCAL Continues To Call For Long-Term Care Funding

For instance, The Washington Post (4/29, A1, Jacobs, Mulcahy, King, Cenziper, 14.2M) reports AHCA/NCAL “is pressing for more government support to address the outbreaks, including additional staff, supplies, emergency funding and widespread testing to identify residents and staff members who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus.”

The Atlantic (4/29, Godfrey, 3.47M) reports, “Many long-term-care facilities still need much more PPE, says Mark Parkinson, the president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.” According to The Atlantic, “The majority of facilities still don’t have easy access to testing, and are still woefully short-staffed.” Parkinson said, “We just need to be made a priority. … If we can do that, we can change the outcome of this.”

MarketWatch (4/29, Malito, 1.67M) reports AHCA/NCAL’s Parkinson said, “This virus is so infectious and so insidious – it will make its way into long-term care facilities.” Parkinson also “said opening states too quickly could result in another spike in COVID-19 cases in these centers, or any congregate care setting,” adding, “There is a direct correlation between COVID in the community and the presence of COVID in long-term care facilities.” According to Parkinson, “Without adequate funding and resources, long-term care facilities will not be able to overcome this unprecedented health crisis and protect our residents and caregivers. … We need the financial resources to support expanded testing and securing vital personal protective equipment.”

The Baltimore Sun (4/29, Dance, 1.33M) reports Parkinson said in a statement, “Our industry has been sounding the alarm for weeks and weeks, but we have largely been forgotten by the public health sector. … If we are not made a top priority, this situation will get worse with the most vulnerable in our society being lost.”

Monster, Massachusetts Senior Care Association, And State Team Up To Fill Long-Term Care Jobs

Senior Housing News (4/28, Regan) reports, “Online job search company Monster is teaming up with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and the MIT-based Covid-19 Policy Alliance to help fill more than a thousand jobs in long-term care – and the state of Massachusetts is offering $1,000 in potential bonuses for new recruits.” For “the new initiative ‘From Home to Help,’ Monster is listing 1,200 senior care jobs, including resident care assistants, certified nursing aides, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.” Each “of the jobs offer competitive salaries, and many require no experience in the senior care field at all, according to Monster.”

State Affiliates Continue Coronavirus Response

For instance, McKnight’s Long Term Care News (4/29, Brown) reports that “the decision to reopen several states during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could put long-term care workers at an increased risk to catch the disease and see it spread throughout their facilities, according to several state associations.” For example, Georgia Health Care Association director of communications Devon Barill said, “We have advised our members to empower and encourage staff to maintain social distancing. We have also encouraged them to consider implementing specific programs to make social distancing easier, such as assistance with acquiring groceries, offering transportation, and providing housing as examples.” Barill also said, “The highest priority for GHCA is the safety and wellbeing of all those residing in a long-term health care setting, and our members are making heroic efforts to keep their residents safe amid COVID-19.”

The Havasu (AZ) News-Herald (4/29, 26K) reports California Association of Health Facilities spokeswoman Deborah Pacyna said, “We mourn the senseless, tragic loss of skilled nursing residents who have been victimized by a killer virus that targets innocent, elderly individuals. … Our number one focus is the protection of our residents and dedicated staff and we need personal protective equipment and prioritized testing to fight COVID-19.”

WANE-TV Fort Wayne, IN (4/28, 56K) reports Zach Cattell, of the Indiana Health Care Association, said, “Trust in these nurses [and] trust in these health care professionals to do the right thing is paramount. … We hope that individuals will give everybody that understanding of how much caring is going on within our building.”

The Salem (MA) News (4/29, Wade, 64K) reports “Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, said there is a critical need for more gear in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and it will ‘only continue to grow for many months to come.’” Gregorio added, “Therefore continued efforts by all entities involved will be critical to ensure the safety of our staff and our residents.”

Newsweek (4/29, Slisco, 1.53M) reports “nursing homes will also be required to create ‘emergency surge staffing plans’ if staff becomes depleted due to the virus.” Maryland “has contracted new ‘bridge teams,’ each composed of a nurse practitioner [and] several aides, to help potential staffing shortages.”


Expert: “Test Before You Move” Is Number One Recommendation For Cohorting In Long-Term Care Facilities

Skilled Nursing News (4/28, Spanko) reports, “No matter where a given facility may be along the COVID-19 trajectory, leaders face incredibly difficult decisions when working to comply with a federal imperative to keep residents who test positive for the virus away from others, in a process known as ‘cohorting.’” Aside from “widespread lack of test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE)…operators must contend with a variety of potential roadblocks, from keeping staffers separate to aging physical plants that cannot easily accommodate the social distance required to stop the spread.” In terms of cohorting, one expert in care transitions said “the number-one suggestion out there is: Test before you move,” as “patients can be positive and asymptomatic, and if you’re moving a positive asymptomatic patient, you may be unknowingly spreading the disease from one unit to another.”

Report Highlights Long-Term Care Struggles, Potential Solutions

McKnight’s Senior Living (4/29, Bowers) reports that “a new report offers some reasons why long-term care leaders have been struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it also provides some potential solutions to those challenges, according to PHI,” a nationwide research and consulting organization. The recent “report does not address the pandemic specifically but says that one current issue exacerbated by the pandemic is the difficulty in ramping up training due to regulatory requirements and conflicting interests, PHI said.” Some “solutions that could help providers and direct care workers include reforming the long-term care financing system and rethinking how the long-term care sector is organized and regulated, PHI said.”

Providers In Some States May Be Protected From Future Civil Lawsuits Related To Coronavirus, But They Aren’t Immune From Potential Federal Investigations, Legal Expert Says

McKnight’s Long Term Care News (4/29, Brown) reports that “providers won’t be immune from potential federal investigations that arise from bad outcomes during the coronavirus pandemic, even though several states have agreed to protect them from future coronavirus-related civil lawsuits, a legal expert warned.” In addition to Florida providers, who asked the state’s governor “for absolution from any future lawsuits,” Bloomberg Law reported the states of “New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan and Arizona have issued executive orders that protect health care facilities, including nursing homes from being found civilly liable for COVID-19 patients who die or get injured while in their care,” but “facilities may still be held liable for gross negligence under the orders, the report noted.”