AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Ahead of House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Hearing on the Impact of COVID in Long Term Care

COVID-19; Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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 statement ahead of the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing, “Examining Long-Term Care In America: The Impact Of The Coronavirus In Nursing Homes.”

The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL: 

“We appreciate the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis for holding this important hearing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation’s nursing homes. Long term care staff, resident and families are still grappling with the effects of the historic pandemic. 

“At the outset, long term care was forgotten by the public health sector. This led to devastating consequences, as facilities lacked essential resources, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and staffing support. Long term care residents were disproportionately affected by the virus because of their age and underlying health conditions, and we learned that community spread was closely correlated with outbreaks in communities in and around long term care. 

“Our dedicated caregivers worked day in and day out to combat the deadly virus. We implemented unprecedented infection control policies to keep our most vulnerable safe. We repeatedly called on lawmakers to prioritize seniors for resources and funding. When the vaccines became available, we launched a nationwide campaign to encourage vaccinations, leading to a dramatic decline in hospitalizations and deaths.  

“Despite the tremendous progress we’ve made, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. The pandemic has amplified long-standing challenges – many of which have been raised by the long term care profession for years – that must be solved. Our profession is facing historic staffing and financial challenges – due in part to inadequate Medicaid funding – which have left many facilities struggling to keep their doors open. Hundreds of nursing homes have closed as a result, and more will follow without additional support. 

“We have proposed comprehensive reforms to address these challenges and help create a brighter future for current and prospective residents. We look forward to working with lawmakers on meaningful solutions to ensure our nation’s seniors continue to have access to the highest level of care.”