AHCA Highlights Need to Prioritize Long Term Care Residents and Staff

Documentary outlines meaningful reforms for nursing home industry

​WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Health Care Association (AHCA), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released today Why It’s Time To Transform Nursing Homes, a short-length documentary about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long term care and the urgent need for reform.

“Nursing homes have been at the epicenter of the global health crisis since the very beginning due to this vicious virus,” said AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson. “This documentary illustrates how the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing issues within the industry, including chronic Medicaid underfunding and workforce challenges. Without strategic, swift action from policymakers, the crises we face will continue and vulnerable seniors will be at risk of losing the care they need.” 

The documentary features AHCA leaders and long term care providers, including Parkinson, AHCA Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gifford, Health Management CEO Debbie Meade, and Marquis Companies President and CEO Phil Fogg, Jr. who discuss how public health officials failed to support nursing homes at the outset of the pandemic, limiting their ability to access critical resources. The lack of government prioritization, coupled with the unique susceptibility of the residents to the virus and rampant community spread, tragically led to more than 100,000 lives lost in nursing homes.

The rollout of safe and effective vaccines was a turning point for residents and caregivers, but the work continues and persistent challenges still linger. Looking forward, the documentary gives an overview of AHCA and LeadingAge’s Care for Our Seniors Act​, a four-pronged reform proposal that will address some of the enduring challenges within long term care and prevent future tragedies from happening again.

“We must heed the lessons of this pandemic, and that means we must make our nation’s seniors and their caregivers a priority,” continued Parkinson. “We hope that lawmakers and health care leaders watch this documentary and are compelled to act. This global pandemic is far from over, and the profession is facing a worsening economic and workforce crisis. We are eager to work with federal and state policymakers to help providers through the pandemic as well as enact meaningful reforms that will improve the quality of care for our residents today and tomorrow.”  

To watch Why It’s Time To Transform Nursing Homes, please visit www.ahcancal.org/solutions.  

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 www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.