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As Thanksgiving Approaches, AHCA/NCAL Urges Americans To Exercise Caution Around Holiday Gatherings To Protect The Most Vulnerablehttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/As-Thanksgiving-Approaches,-AHCANCAL-Urges-Americans-To-Exercise-Caution-Around-Holiday-Gatherings-To-Protect-The-Most-Vuln.aspxAs Thanksgiving Approaches, AHCA/NCAL Urges Americans To Exercise Caution Around Holiday Gatherings To Protect The Most Vulnerable11/24/2020 5:00:00 AM<p>​</p><div>The number of COVID cases across the country is rising at an alarming rate, resulting in a correlating spike in cases in long term care settings. Recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Nov23-2020.pdf" target="_blank">data</a> from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that nursing homes continue to see a record number of weekly new cases, surpassing previous peaks since CMS started tracking nursing home cases. The Midwest region in particular has seen a staggering 275% increase since September.</div><div><br></div><div>Independent research from our nation’s top academic institutions indicate that the rate of spread within a surrounding community is a primary factor in the likelihood of an outbreak in a long term care facility. Dr. Tamara Konetzka, a professor of health policy at the University of Chicago <a href="https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-only-on-ap-chicago-nursing-homes-596ef4bfe18313ae72368e2c86e85f27" target="_blank">explains</a>: <br><br></div><blockquote style="margin:0px 0px 0px 40px;border:none;padding:0px;"><div>“Trying to protect nursing home residents without controlling community spread is a losing battle … Someone has to care for vulnerable nursing home residents, and those caregivers move in and out of the nursing home daily, providing an easy pathway for the virus to enter.”</div></blockquote><div><br></div><div>Long term care workers continue to do everything they can to keep their residents safe, but they cannot fight this battle alone. With Thanksgiving two days away, members of the public must exercise caution and discipline as they partake in their celebrations.</div><div><br></div><div>Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said, “We understand everyone wants to see their family and friends during the holidays, but we really need to consider our parents and grandparents who are living in our nation’s long term care facilities. Even though you may feel fine, more than half of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and the people you encounter at the Thanksgiving table or out at the grocery store may work in a nursing home or assisted living community. Wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing not only protects you, but it is sign of respect for our elders and our health care heroes who care for them.”</div><div><br></div><div>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html" target="_blank">guidance</a> around hosting or attending holiday gatherings, including:</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Checking the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where attendees live on state, local, territorial, or tribal health department websites.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Limiting the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least six feet apart at all times.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Hosting outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Avoiding holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons who are not in your household.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Requiring guests to wear masks.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Encouraging attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Provide guests information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and steps that will be in place at the gathering to prevent the spread of the virus.​<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>​Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.</li></ul></div><div><span style="font-size:11pt;">This holiday season, we must continue to think about our most vulnerable populations. We urge all Americans to help slow the spread of the virus within their communities so we can protect long term care residents and staff.</span><br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>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 millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>The number of COVID cases across the country is rising at an alarming rate, resulting in a correlating spike in cases in long term care settings.
Updated Report: Nursing Home Cases Through November 8, 2020https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Nov23-2020.pdfUpdated Report: Nursing Home Cases Through November 8, 202011/23/2020 5:00:00 AMNew nursing home cases continue to tick up in Midwest states; 275% increase in the region since September
Nursing Homes See Continued Record Number of New COVID Cases as Community Spread Increases Across the U.S.https://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US.aspxNursing Homes See Continued Record Number of New COVID Cases as Community Spread Increases Across the U.S.11/23/2020 5:00:00 AM<p style="text-align:center;"><strong>​Calls Continue For Congress To Replenish Emergency Funding For Hospitals And Long Term Care Facilities And For States To Take Additional Measures To Control Community Spread</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:left;"></p><div><br><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> - 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 <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Nov23-2020.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a record number of weekly new cases this month due to the community spread among the general population, surpassing previous peaks since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking cases in nursing homes.</div><div><br></div><div>Recent data released by Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases are also on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, weekly new COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 229 percent to 796,761 new cases the week of November 8. A correlating uptick in new cases in nursing homes occurred when cases in the surrounding community started rising back in mid-September.</div><div><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/1.jpg" alt="1.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></div><p style="text-align:left;"><br></p><p style="text-align:left;"></p><div>As <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Analysis-COVID-Outbreaks-in-Nursing-Homes.pdf" target="_blank">experts</a> have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. University of Chicago's Tamara Konetzka, a nationally recognized expert on long-term care, recently <a href="https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-only-on-ap-chicago-nursing-homes-596ef4bfe18313ae72368e2c86e85f27" target="_blank">said</a>, “Trying to protect nursing home residents without controlling community spread is a losing battle.” Dr. David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School recently <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-19-surges-back-into-nursing-homes-in-coronavirus-hot-spots/2020/08/13/edbff5fe-dd75-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html" target="_blank">stated</a>, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”</div><div><br></div><div>“Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread,” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Our health care heroes are doing everything they can to prevent it from spreading further, but this level of COVID nationwide puts serious strain on our workforce, supplies, and testing capacity. If everybody would wear a mask and social distance to reduce the level of COVID in the community, we know we would dramatically reduce these rates in long term care facilities.”</div><div><br></div><div>During the second week of November, nearly half (49 percent) of new COVID cases in nursing homes were from Midwest states with major spikes in community spread in the upper parts of the region. As a result, the Midwest region saw a 275 percent increase in weekly COVID cases in nursing homes since mid-September.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/2.jpg" alt="2.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></div><div><br>​After seven weeks of declining cases in nursing homes through mid-September, nursing home cases began to increase as nearly all 50 states have started to see rising levels of COVID cases. New weekly cases in nursing homes grew by more than 110 percent nationwide between mid-September and the week of November 8.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/3.jpg" alt="3.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br><br></div><p style="text-align:left;">The report also showed COVID-related deaths in nursing homes are starting to rise, 69 percent increase since late September. Nursing home residents are typically older adults with multiple chronic conditions, making them most vulnerable to COVID-19. Residents of long term care facilities account for only eight percent of the nation’s cases, yet 40 percent of its deaths. While mortality rates have decreased compared to the spring due to a better understanding of the virus, better treatments, and government resources to help reduce spread, industry leaders remain deeply concerned that the rising number of new COVID cases in facilities will ultimately lead to an increasing number of deaths.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/4.jpg" alt="4.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br><br></p><div>“We are especially concerned that this situation will only get worse with Thanksgiving just around the corner,” continued Parkinson. “The public must realize that their actions not only endanger our nation’s most vulnerable, but also trigger government lockdowns of facilities, keeping these residents from their loved ones. This is detrimental to their health, wellbeing and happiness. We urge everyone to do their part to slow the spread immediately and <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Two-Weeks-Before-Thanksgiving,-AHCANCAL-Urges-Americans-To-Exercise-Caution-Around-Holiday-Gatherings-To-Limit-Community-Sp.aspx" target="_blank">exercise caution when celebrating Thanksgiving</a>.”</div><div><br></div><div>With rising new COVID cases across the country, Parkinson said Congress must prioritize frontline health care workers and long term care residents during the lame duck session. Last week AHCA/NCAL released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Stimulus-4-Asks.pdf" target="_blank">list of actions​</a> that Congress should urgently take to help nursing homes and assisted living communities respond to the uptick in new cases.</div><div><br></div><div>Most of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act back in April has already been distributed and Parkinson said health care providers, including long term care facilities, will need additional funds to continue the response to the COVID pandemic heading into the cold and flu season. The financial aid is crucial in helping long term care facilities acquire personal protective equipment, conduct regular testing, and hire additional staff or reward current caregivers for their heroic efforts.</div><div><br></div><div>“Congress must fulfill its duty,” stated Parkinson. “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. is repeating the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package during the lame duck session on Congress.”</div><div><br></div><div>For more information, please visit <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/pages/coronavirus.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus</a>.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>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 millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a record number of weekly new cases this month due to the community spread among the general population, surpassing previous peaks.New Nursing Home Cases Continue To Tick Up In Midwest States; 275% Increase In The Region Since September
Long Term Care Closures Mount As COVID-19 Exacerbates Financial Shortfallshttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Long-Term-Care-Closures-Mount-As-COVID-19-Exacerbates-Financial-Shortfalls.aspxLong Term Care Closures Mount As COVID-19 Exacerbates Financial Shortfalls11/19/2020 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Dedicated caregivers in long term care facilities across the country continue to do everything possible to protect their residents. But as nursing homes and assisted living communities have invested in the resources needed to keep their residents and staff safe, the financial impact on providers has grown. Already some facilities have been forced to close, and more could soon follow if lawmakers don’t act.</div><div><br></div><div>The long term care sector has long faced financial struggles, but the pandemic has exacerbated these severe challenges. Medicaid is the primary payer for nursing homes, covering more than 60 percent of all nursing home residents and approximately 50 percent of costs for all long term care services. However, Medicaid reimbursements only cover 70 to 80 percent of the actual cost of nursing home care. This chronic gap in funding has resulted in shoestring budgets and ongoing operating losses for nursing home providers.</div><div><br></div><div>Coupled with the current need to acquire more personal protective equipment (PPE), regular COVID testing and staffing needs associated with the pandemic, these facilities are being pushed to the brink of closure. Already, facilities in <a href="https://www.kcra.com/article/woodland-nursing-home-covid-19-close-ceo/33395043" target="_blank">California</a>, <a href="https://newcountry991.com/estes-park-nursing-home-faces-possible-closure/" target="_blank">Colorado</a>, <a href="https://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2020/07/nursing-home-employees-shocked-after-learning-about-facilitys-closure-in-mlive-article.html" target="_blank">Michigan</a>, <a href="https://www.unionleader.com/news/health/merrimack-assisted-living-facility-closing-its-doors/article_ac8b9f8b-ee5e-55cf-a155-0ddc4d46c2ac.html" target="_blank">New Hampshire</a>, <a href="https://westchester.news12.com/105yearold-ossining-nursing-home-to-close-doors-for-good-42409607">New York</a> and <a href="https://www.wpri.com/health/coronavirus/providence-nursing-home-to-close-citing-covid-19-losses/" target="_blank">Rhode Island</a> have announced permanent closures or have warned that closures are looming.</div><div><br></div><div>A nursing home in Pennsylvania also recently <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RybMX_V6ClI&amp%3bfeature=youtu.be" target="_blank">announced</a> that the facility will be closing in January because of financial difficulties. The Charles Morris Nursing Home cited the increased cost of care during the pandemic combined with low Medicaid reimbursement rates as the cause for the closure. As <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/04/us/rural-nursing-homes-closure.html" target="_blank">The New York Times</a> highlighted last year, facility closures will hit rural communities especially hard has families will be left with few options for the care of their loved ones.</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) conducted a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Survey-SNF-COVID-Costs.pdf" target="_blank">survey</a> that found that more than half of nursing homes are currently operating at a loss and 72 percent of operators say they won’t be able to sustain operation another year at the current pace.<br></div><div><br></div><div><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Long-Term-Care-Closures-Mount-As-COVID-19-Exacerbates-Financial-Shortfalls/11.19.jpg" alt="11.19.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br><div>Nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country face the same fate as Charles Morris Nursing Home if more is not done to support the long term care sector. Congressional funding is needed to help facilities combat the ongoing pandemic, but long term solutions are also called for, such as higher Medicaid reimbursements rates that reflect the actual cost of care so nursing homes and assisted living communities no longer have to face these financial difficulties. Abruptly moving elderly patients out of their communities and forcing them to find new care takes a heavy toll. We must ensure every facility has the means to provide the highest quality of care for our most vulnerable population. </div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>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 millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.​<br></div></div>Dedicated caregivers in long term care facilities across the country continue to do everything possible to protect their residents.

  • COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Coverage and Claim Coding in SNF
    11.24.2020
    ​​​On November 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy, bamlanivimab
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  • AHCA/NCAL’s Infection Preventionist Training is Important for LTC Administrators and Directors Too
    11.24.2020
    ​AHCA/NCAL’s expanded version of its popular Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO Version 2) online training now includes COVID-19 bonus content.
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  • New to Long Term Care? Take AHCA’s Affordable SNF VBP Training
    11.24.2020
    AHCA has an education program designed to help skilled nursing facilities succeed under the CMS value based purchasing payment program (SNF VBP).
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  • Video: Staying Safe During the Holiday Season
    11.24.2020
    In a new video for frontline long term care workers, AHCA/NCAL’s chief medical officer Dr. David Gifford is joined by Dr. Shari Ling, Deputy Medical Director at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
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