Long Term Care Needs More Testing to Protect Residents and Save Lives

AHCA/NCAL Response to Dr. Birx’s call for states to provide more COVID-19 testing for nursing homes:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes, assisted living communities and other long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement in response to Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, and her call for states to prioritize more COVID-19 testing for long term care facilities during her comments in Tuesday's White House coronavirus briefing.
The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA and NCAL.
“According to a Washington Post article​ this week, ‘one out of 10 nursing homes have publicly reported cases of the coronavirus…with a death count that has spiraled into the thousands.’” 
“We’re hearing from our nursing homes and assisted living communities that have undertaken expanded testing that they are finding a high number of residents and staff who are positive, but without symptoms.  Without access to more testing, long term care providers are at a severe disadvantage in identifying more of these asymptomatic residents and staff.  And without more personal protective equipment our staff is at a serious disadvantage in protecting themselves so they can care for the vulnerable population who reside in our facilities. 
“Plain and simple, whether it’s our federal, state or local health agencies, long term care facilities need adequate testing kits and personal protective equipment.  And we need them now.   
“It is time to rally around nursing home and assisted living residents the same way we have around hospital patients and workers.  The profession will continue to work with local, state and federal health officials to ensure all possible actions are taken to protect our nation’s most vulnerable and our heroes on the front lines. It is time to make America’s long term care residents a priority.” 
For more information on the profession’s response, please visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus​

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 nearly 5 million seniors and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our facilities each year. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org​.​​ ​