Long Term Care Providers Need Help From Congress To Defeat COVID-19 Released:February 22, 2021 AHCAPressOffice@ahca.org Page ContentThe long term care industry has been one of the hardest hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. The residents of nursing homes and assisted living communities are more susceptible to the virus because of their age and underlying health conditions, leading to devastating losses nationwide. While vaccines are bringing hope to millions who live and work in long term care, the pandemic is far from over and will remain at the center of how these facilities operate for the foreseeable future.COVID-19 has left an indelible mark and pushed the long term care industry to the financial brink. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) conducted an analysis that estimates that the nursing home industry is projected to lose $94 billion over a two-year period (2020-2021).All long term care providers have had to deal with increased costs of care, including routine COVID testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing. Coupled with declining revenue and historically underfunded Medicaid reimbursement rates, providers are operating on shoe-string budgets. Thousands of facilities may be forced to close their doors in 2021 without additional financial resources. This threatens access to long term care for tens of thousands of frail seniors and individuals with disabilities who require round-the-clock care.Congress must focus on America’s most vulnerable population and their dedicated caregivers. The pandemic is not yet behind us, and long term care providers must have the necessary resources to continue protecting residents and staff. As discussions around the next COVID relief package continue, AHCA/NCAL is requesting lawmakers to prioritize the long term care industry by:Continuing to make long term care residents and workers a top priority for vaccine distribution.Allocating $20 billion to the long term care industry either through an enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage for long-term services and supports, or through a dedicated portion to the Provider Relief Fund.Continuing to prioritize long term care facilities' access to testing and proper equipment.Long term care providers continue to do all they can to keep staff and residents safe. The vaccines are making a positive impact, but the virus is still a considerable threat. Nursing homes and assisted living communities need lawmakers to act now. We must rally together to put dedicated frontline workers and vulnerable residents first. ABOUT AHCA/NCALThe 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.