Press Releases

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AHCA/NCAL Issues Policy Statement Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations of Long Term Care Personnelaspx7/29/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country, released the following policy statement today regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for those working in long term care facilities&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>America’s nursing homes, assisted living communities and other long term care facilities have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of effective and safe vaccines has dramatically reduced COVID-19 cases and the severity of illness in long term care. However, as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, unvaccinated individuals remain at high risk and can spread the virus to others, including vaccinated individuals. Our residents are some of the most vulnerable individuals to the consequences of contracting COVID-19.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>To protect all residents, staff and others in our communities from the known and substantial risks of COVID-19, AHCA/NCAL strongly urges the vaccination of all health care personnel. COVID-19 vaccines protect health care personnel when working both in health care facilities and in the community. They provide strong protection against workers unintentionally carrying the disease to work and spreading it to patients and peers.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Long term care providers have worked tirelessly to improve uptake among both residents and staff. In December, AHCA/NCAL launched the #GetVaccinated campaign to encourage uptake among both residents and staff. Providers continue to work with their staff and residents to educate, offer and encourage COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, we have seen a steady increase in vaccination rates, but more needs to be done.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL also supports all providers that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for health care personnel, with state and local regulations and circumstances shaping whether and how these policies are implemented. Each state and facility must make the best decision for their specific circumstances. The pandemic has already exacerbated workforce challenges that long term care providers has faced for years. Vaccine mandates may further challenge providers trying to recruit and retain a qualified workforce. We renew our call for state and federal governments to enact solutions to help address these long-standing workforce challenges.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL encourages long term care providers who are implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies to&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Provide exemptions for medical reasons and accommodations consistent with Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines (e.g., a sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance);&#160;</li><li>​Follow relevant Centers for Disease Control &amp; Prevention (CDC) infection control guidelines, Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements, and other federal and state regulations regarding use of personal protective equipment and other infection control practices for unvaccinated staff receiving an exemption or accommodation. For example, unvaccinated personnel may be required to wear a mask at all times even if CDC guidelines and OSHA requirements were to relax mask requirements for vaccinated personnel;&#160;</li><li>Ensure the policy is implemented in a manner consistent with local and state laws;&#160;</li><li>Follow requirements and guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC on which individuals are eligible and should be prioritized for vaccination;&#160;</li><li>Monitor national safety and efficacy data for all FDA authorized or approved vaccines in use;</li><li>Continue providing education about the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines to encourage staff to obtain the vaccine voluntarily in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner; and&#160;</li><li>Offer scheduling flexibility and/or time off to ensure personnel have time to obtain the vaccine and recover from its possible side effects.</li></ul></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" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released the following policy statement today regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for those working in long term care facilities.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement in Response to the Choose Home Care Act of 2021aspx7/29/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​</p><div><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 other long term care facilities across the country, released the following statement today in response to the Choose Home Care Act of 2021&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>“We adamantly oppose this bill in its current form. The complex Choose Home Care Act would supplant existing benefits, create duplicative payments, confuse beneficiaries, and increase out-of-pocket costs. At the same time, this legislation lacks clear quality and safety provisions, leaving patients vulnerable to inadequate care.&#160;&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“AHCA/NCAL strongly supports rational population health framework approaches to offer beneficiaries preferred care options.&#160; We need proposals that add options for Medicare beneficiaries, not limit them. We hope to work with members of Congress to bring forth a solution that promotes choice and flexibility while streamlining services and generating savings to the system.”&#160;&#160;</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" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released the following statement today in response to the Choose Home Care Act of 2021.
AHCA Issues Statement on the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System Final Ruleaspx7/29/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>Washington, D.C.</strong> — Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), made the following statement regarding the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) Fiscal Year 2022 final rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today.&#160; &#160;&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“CMS proposes to increase Medicare rates to skilled nursing facilities 1.2 percent in the next fiscal year, which would result in an increase of approximately $411 million in Medicare Part A payments to nursing homes in Fiscal Year 2022. We would like to thank CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure for this increase and for delaying any potential parity adjustment actions until Fiscal Year 2023.&#160; &#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“Nursing homes across the country continue to dedicate extensive resources to safeguard their residents and staff from COVID-19, especially with the highly contagious Delta variant spreading in communities around the U.S. The ongoing costs to fight the pandemic have left the majority of nursing homes struggling to stay afloat. Long term care providers need sustained support to keep residents and staff safe, and it is vital that Medicare remain a reliable funding source and reflect the increasing costs providers are facing.”&#160;</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" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA, made the following statement regarding the SNF PPS Fiscal Year 2022 final rule released by CMS today.
AHCA/NCAL Names CDC Professionals Recipients of the Champion of Quality and Pioneer Awardsaspx7/28/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has named Nimalie Stone, MD, as the recipient of the 2021 <a href="/Quality/Recognition-Programs/Pages/Champion-of-Quality-Award.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award</a> and Ruth Link-Gelles, PhD, as the recipient of the 2021 <a href="/Assisted-Living/Awards-Programs/Pages/Jan-Thayer-Pioneer-Award.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">NCAL Jan Thayer Pioneer Award</a>. Both currently serve at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and have played critical roles in helping long term care residents and staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Nimalie and Ruth were there at the CDC focused on long term care from the very beginning of the pandemic and have continued to be an invaluable resource,” said AHCA/NCAL President &amp; CEO Mark Parkinson. “They recognized that our residents would be the most severely impacted by this crisis and dedicated themselves to bringing forth meaningful and life-saving solutions. Nimalie and Ruth provided the leadership, guidance, and partnership necessary to help keep our residents and staff safe and allow our providers to continue delivering the highest quality care. We are tremendously grateful for everything they have done.”&#160; &#160; &#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Dr. Stone serves as the Senior Advisor for Long-Term Care Partnerships in the Prevention and Response Branch of the CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. An experienced and empathetic leader, she was instrumental in coordinating federal and state strike team activities in long term care (LTC) facilities during the pandemic, providing ongoing and evolving guidance tailored for LTC providers to respond and contain COVID-19 infections. Her laudable work also extends beyond COVID-19. Her contributions to research, innovation, advocacy, performance improvement, and education have measurably impacted quality advancement for all LTC stakeholders, including residents.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Dr. Stone will receive the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award, intended for an individual who has made significant national contributions to advancing quality performance in long term and post-acute care. Recipients display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable outcomes.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Dr. Link-Gelles is a Doctoral Epidemiologist and was in charge of the CDC’s Pharmacy Partnership for LTC. Under her leadership, nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country had access to vital COVID-19 vaccines in just a few short months. She developed this program quickly and with very few resources, resulting in a tremendously successful, monumental public health program with life-saving results. She was also incredibly supportive of LTC, engaging with the community and always making herself available to stakeholders.</div><div><br></div><div>Dr. Link-Gelles will receive the Jan Thayer Pioneer Award, which recognizes individuals who have moved the senior care profession forward, positively affecting the lives of those served and those who serve. Recipients demonstrate dedication, leadership, and considerable contributions to the profession.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Both recipients will be presented with their respective awards at <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcaconvention.org/" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">AHCA/NCAL’s 72nd Convention &amp; Expo</a> in Washington, D.C. (held at National Harbor), October 10-13, 2021.</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" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>Drs. Nimalie Stone and Ruth Link-Gelles Honored for Contributions to Long Term Care During the COVID-19 PandemicAHCA/NCAL has named Nimalie Stone, MD, as the recipient of the 2021 Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award and Ruth Link-Gelles, PhD, as the recipient of the 2021 NCAL Jan Thayer Pioneer Award.
AHCA/NCAL Requests Remaining Provider Relief Funding Be Released To Long Term Careaspx7/26/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The funding nursing homes and assisted living communities have received through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) has been instrumental in helping them survive during the pandemic. Long term care facilities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion that Congress allocated to the PRF, but there are still funds in the PRF that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not distributed to health care providers.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>In a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/AHCANCAL-Issues-Statement-On-Need-For-Provider-Relief-Funds-To-Be-Released-To-Long-Term-Care-Providers.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">statement</a>, American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) President and CEO Mark Parkinson called for remaining funds to be distributed&#160; to long term care providers&#58;</div><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“Long term care providers are still facing a historic clinical and financial crisis, and they desperately need assistance to address the impact of the pandemic. We greatly appreciate the Provider Relief Funds that have been distributed thus far, but more is needed as we continue to battle COVID-19.&#160;</div></blockquote><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“The Provider Relief Fund is meant to be used to support health care providers through this pandemic, and we urge policymakers to distribute the remaining funds to help our residents and staff. Repurposing unused funds is responsible, but the remaining Provider Relief Funds should not be considered unused, as they have not been made available in 2021 and are desperately needed.</div></blockquote><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>​“With the Delta variant spreading rampantly throughout the U.S., now is not the time to divert resources away from health care providers in order to pay for other legislative packages. We strongly encourage Congress to look for alternative ways to pay for the infrastructure package and for the Administration to swiftly deliver the aid to providers as it was intended.&quot;</div></blockquote><div><br></div><div>The costs to fight the pandemic have left the majority of nursing homes and assisted living communities struggling to stay afloat. Personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, additional staffing and other necessities – coupled with chronic Medicaid underfunding and fewer resident admissions – have put long term care providers in a severe financial crisis.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Only <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Only-One-Quarter-Of-Nursing-Homes-Confident-They-Will-Make-It-Through-to-Next-Year.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">one-quarter</a> of long term care providers are confident that they will make it through to next year. In fact, nearly 2,000 nursing homes could close permanently over the course of the pandemic without help federal assistance, putting thousands of seniors in jeopardy of losing the care they rely on.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>That’s why the PRF has been so important. An AHCA/NCAL <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Only-One-Quarter-Of-Nursing-Homes-Confident-They-Will-Make-It-Through-to-Next-Year.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">survey</a> found that 92 percent of nursing homes and 62 percent of assisted living communities said the PRF has been helpful during the pandemic. The initial funding in 2020 has helped to offset pandemic-related costs and has been the difference between many facilities closing or staying open. But as the pandemic persists and economic recovery within the industry remains slow, more help is needed.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The fight is not over. Vulnerable seniors are still at risk, and long term care providers need sustained support to keep residents and staff safe. The HHS must release the remainder of the PRF to long term care providers so our nation’s health care heroes can protect themselves and their residents.</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" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>The funding nursing homes and assisted living communities have received through the PRF has been instrumental in helping them survive during the pandemic.
A Strong Workforce Is Essential In Caring For America’s Long Term Care Residentsaspx7/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">During the pandemic, dedicated caregivers worked more than ever before to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents. Staff members worked day in and day out to provide additional one-on-one care and help prevent transmission of the virus, all while serving as surrogate family members for their residents. But the pandemic also exacerbated workforce challenges that have plagued long term care facilities for years.&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">A recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-94-Percent-of-Nursing-Homes-Face-Staffing-Shortages.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">survey </a>from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found that more than half of the nursing home and assisted living providers have lost key frontline staff due to workers leaving last year, including certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and dietary staff. Close to 75 percent of nursing homes and nearly 60 percent of assisted living communities say their overall workforce situation has gotten worse since 2020.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">As our elderly population grows, it is <a href="https&#58;//www.marketwatch.com/story/a-quarter-of-65-year-old-americans-will-have-severe-need-for-long-term-care-11624896814" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">expected </a>that four-fifths of Americans 65 and older will need long term care services. But workforce challenges are a direct threat to access to care. Without enough workers, providers will be unable to meet the anticipated increase in demand, leaving seniors with fewer options for care. Providers are scrambling to fill important roles, but many are struggling just to <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Only-One-Quarter-Of-Nursing-Homes-Confident-They-Will-Make-It-Through-to-Next-Year.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">keep their doors open</a>. Lack of financial resources prevents providers from being able to invest in strengthening their workforce.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">Medicaid underfunding is the primary contributor to the workforce challenges.&#160; Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), <a href="https&#58;//www.cnn.com/2021/06/27/us/nursing-homes-staff-shortages/index.html" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">said</a>, “Everyone knows that Medicaid underpays … Salaries are about 70 percent of our [expenses] overall and so we just can't offer competitive salaries compared to hospitals and other settings.”&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">Eighty-one percent of nursing home providers and 75 percent of assisted living communities stated that higher reimbursement to offer better staff pay and benefits would help improve the facility’s ability to recruit and retain staff members.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">AHCA and LeadingAge released a comprehensive reform package, the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a>, which includes a multi-tiered approach to address workforce challenges. This includes solutions that will help recruit and retain the best caregivers to join the front lines, such as loan forgiveness and tuition reimbursement programs for graduates who work in long term care, as well as tax credits and programs for affordable housing and childcare assistance for licensed long term care professionals.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">Our health care heroes deserve our support. With proper funding, providers can offer meaningful jobs with competitive wages and in turn, enhance the overall quality of care for their residents. It’s time for federal and state governments to make long term care facilities a priority.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">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.</span></div><div><br></div>During the pandemic, dedicated caregivers worked more than ever before to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement On Need For Provider Relief Funds To Be Released To Long Term Care Providersaspx7/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<div><strong>​WASHINGTON, D.C. </strong>– As Congress continues negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure framework, long term care providers are concerned about preliminary discussions that remaining Provider Relief Funds may be used as a pay-for in the final agreement.&#160;&#160;<br></div><div>&#160;</div><div>The following is a statement from Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“Long term care providers are still facing a historic clinical and financial crisis, and they desperately need assistance to address the impact of the pandemic. We greatly appreciate the Provider Relief Funds that have been distributed thus far, but more is needed as we continue to battle COVID-19.&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“The Provider Relief Fund is meant to be used to support health care providers through this pandemic, and we urge policymakers to distribute the remaining funds to help our residents and staff. Repurposing unused funds is responsible, but the remaining Provider Relief Funds should not be considered unused, as they have not been made available in 2021 and are desperately needed.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“With the Delta variant spreading rampantly throughout the U.S., now is not the time to divert resources away from health care providers in order to pay for other legislative packages. We strongly encourage Congress to look for alternative ways to pay for the infrastructure package and for the Administration to swiftly deliver the aid to providers as it was intended.&quot;</div><div><br><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">​</span><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div><strong><br></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 www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.<br></div><div><br></div>As Congress continues negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure framework, long term care providers are concerned about preliminary discussions that remaining Provider Relief Funds may be used as a pay-for in the final agreement.
Long Term Care Must Be Included In Infrastructure Packageaspx7/21/2021 4:00:00 AM<div>​​As Congress continues to negotiate a bipartisan infrastructure package, America’s seniors must be prioritized. Lawmakers must allocate support for providers to make capital improvements to nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country, so residents can receive the highest quality of care and additional protection against infectious diseases and other emergency events.<br></div><div><br></div><div>Too many facilities remain in dire need of upgrades. Nursing homes would like to evolve and make infrastructure investments, like improving technology, indoor air quality and energy backups, but many cannot afford to do so.</div><div><br></div><div>Chronic Medicaid underfunding left the average nursing home barely able to break even—even before the pandemic. Now, the industry is grappling with an economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Only-One-Quarter-Of-Nursing-Homes-Confident-They-Will-Make-It-Through-to-Next-Year.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">one-quarter</a> of nursing homes and assisted living communities are confident they will make it through to next year due to the financial strain caused by responding to the crisis. Facilities are struggling just to make ends meet—they cannot afford to provide much needed infrastructure improvements without additional help from lawmakers.</div><div><br></div><div>There must be significant upgrades to ensure long term care residents are protected, connected, and well cared for. Specifically, AHCA/NCAL is advocating that the infrastructure package include funding for long term care to make improvements in&#58;</div><div>&#160;</div><div><ul><li><strong>Indoor Air Quality</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> Upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as humidification and air pressure helps prevent the spread of airborne infectious diseases and reduces respiratory issues, improving the health and comfort of both residents and staff.</li><li><strong>Technology&#58; </strong>Expanding access to broadband would help rural long term care providers ensure residents stay connected with their loved ones as well as enhance telehealth options.</li><li><strong>Emergency Preparedness&#58; </strong>In the face of escalating, unpredictable weather events and other natural disasters, long term care facilities need back-up energy solutions to maintain day-to-day operations, such as enhanced generator capacity, additional battery power sources, and solar panels.&#160;</li><li><strong>Enhanced Sanitization &amp; Monitoring&#58; </strong>Long term care facilities could implement more infection control best practices with UVC lighting and wastewater monitoring to catch and address potential risks more efficiently.</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div>With the proper government support, nursing homes can invest in their workforce, clinical services, and infrastructure to continue to improve residents’ quality of life. AHCA and LeadingAge’s <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> includes immediate and long-term strategies to address Medicaid underfunding for nursing homes, as well as other reforms that will help boost the workforce, modernize physical structures, and enhance infection control procedures.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>We must learn from this pandemic and other national emergencies. Congress must prioritize our seniors in the infrastructure package and help provide much needed funding so long term care facilities can provide better care and be better prepared. Every resident deserves a modern, clean facility that will offer them safety and connectivity.&#160;&#160;<br></div><div><br></div><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 www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.<br><br></div></div>As Congress continues to negotiate a bipartisan infrastructure package, America’s seniors must be prioritized.
HHS Must Release Remainder of Provider Relief Fund so Long Term Care Facilities Can Stay Afloataspx7/13/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div>Nursing homes and assisted living communities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion in the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) established by the CARES Act. This funding has been instrumental for long term care facilities struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, but the remainder of the funds must be released so providers can continue to provide quality care to our nation’s seniors.</div><div><br></div><div>A recent survey conducted by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Survey-Only-One-Quarter-Of-Nursing-Homes-Confident-They-Will-Make-It-Through-to-Next-Year.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">found</a> that 92 percent of nursing homes and 62 percent of assisted living communities said the PRF has been helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. The same survey found facilities continue to face significant ongoing economic challenges. Only one-quarter of long term care providers were confident they will make it through to next year. Without additional government support, facilities may be forced to close. In fact, a recent AHCA/NCAL <a href="https&#58;//d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ahca/attachments/protect%20access%20to%20long%20term%20care_ib.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">analysis</a> found that nearly 2,000 nursing homes could shut their doors for good over the course of the pandemic.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Increased costs from the pandemic for personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and additional staffing, among other necessities, have put a strain on providers. Coupled with fewer new residents and patients as well as long-standing Medicaid underfunding, many facilities are struggling to stay afloat. These facilities are home to millions of frail seniors who cannot afford for them to abruptly shut down and be forced to find new care.</div><div><br></div><div>“The Provider Relief Fund was a lifesaver for many in long term care last year,” said Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Whether it helped acquire PPE to protect residents and staff from COVID-19 or allowed providers to offer hero pay to workers who went above the call of duty, we are grateful to the federal government for helping us during this historically challenging time. While overall the situation has improved, this battle with the virus is not over, and now we face a new battle. Our sluggish economic recovery puts thousands of facilities in danger of closing, threatening access to long term care for vulnerable seniors and individuals with disabilities. We call on the Administration to distribute the remaining aid that was intended for health care providers and help bring stability to our sector, so we can continue serving our residents.”</div><div><br></div><div>The PRF aid allows for facilities to offset some of the exorbitant costs of care stemming from the pandemic and relieve some of the burden providers face on a daily basis. The initial funding in 2020 has been the difference between many facilities closing or being able to stay open, but in 2021, as the pandemic persists and the economic recovery of the industry is slow, more is needed.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Members of Congress agree that long term care facilities need more federal aid. A <a href="/Reimbursement/Documents/Congressional%20PRF%20Request%20to%20HHS.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">letter</a> sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) led by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL-07), co-signed by more than 50 Democrat and Republican Members of Congress, requested an additional $10 billion from the PRF to be allocated to long term care facilities.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The PRF aid has already made a major impact on facilities across the nation, but the road to recovery does not end here. Continued support is needed to win the fight and protect long term care residents and staff. Lawmakers must make long term care a top priority, and that begins with HHS releasing the remainder of the PRF so our nation’s health care heroes can continue serving our most vulnerable.</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" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>Nursing homes and assisted living communities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion in the PRF established by the CARES Act.
NCAL Names LaShuan Bethea as Executive Directoraspx7/9/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><br></p><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> – The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) announced today that LaShuan Bethea will become the new Executive Director on September 1, 2021. Bethea will join NCAL from Genesis HealthCare where she is currently serving as vice president of legislative affairs and reimbursement.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">“I am thrilled to have LaShuan lead our team at NCAL,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Her experience in clinical care, reimbursement, and legislative and policy issues will be essential in the months ahead as long term care providers continue to deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">Bethea, a registered nurse and attorney, has a depth of long term care experience. She began at Genesis HealthCare in February 2007 and quickly advanced to the director of regulatory and program development before being promoted in 2015 to vice president of legislative affairs. She assumed a dual role as vice president of reimbursement in 2020.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">With over 25 years of experience in health care, Bethea has worked with health care providers across the country to advocate for laws and regulations that improve patient care outcomes within long term care. She has worked on issues surrounding Medicare and Medicaid, tele-medicine, workforce and labor challenges, the regulatory environment, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in long term care. She also has represented the long term care industry on “Patients Over Paperwork” as part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) ongoing initiative to reduce regulatory burden on healthcare providers. At Genesis, Bethea became chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in June 2020. She is the 1st Vice President of the Maryland Nurses Association, Division 2.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">“I am grateful for my 14 years at Genesis HealthCare,” said Bethea. “I’m excited about the new leadership at Genesis and the great turnaround progress that has already been made. While I am sad to leave during this transformation, I look forward to working with my Genesis colleagues and long term care providers across the country in this new capacity to ensure the best outcomes for our residents.”</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">“LaShuan is an accomplished leader and tireless advocate who has brought valuable insight and experience to Genesis,” said Harry Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis HealthCare. “I am confident the long term care profession will benefit from her leadership during this critical time, and we look forward to continuing to work with her at ACHA/NCAL.”</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">Scott Tittle, who has served as NCAL Executive Director since 2015 will soon leave the association to join VIUM Capital as a Managing Director and the firm’s first Head of Government Relations and External Affairs. VIUM is a national lender providing capital and financing for seniors housing, long term care, and other healthcare providers. VIUM is headquartered in Columbus, OH with offices in Austin, TX, Boca Raton, FL, and Carmel, IN.&#160; Tittle’s last day at NCAL will be August 6.</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">“Scott has provided exceptional leadership for NCAL during the last six years,” said Parkinson. “We’ve accomplished a great deal during Scott’s tenure and I look forward to collaborating with LaShuan to build on that work.”</span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">​<br></span></div><div style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;"><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></span></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;">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.</span></div><div><br><br></div><p>​</p>The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) announced today that LaShuan Bethea will become the new Executive Director on September 1, 2021.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement on Nursing Home Industry’s Staff Vaccination Goalaspx6/30/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><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 long term care facilities across the country, released a statement on the nursing home industry’s goal of getting 75 percent of staff vaccinated by June 30.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer of AHCA/NCAL&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Since the beginning of the year, the industry has made significant progress toward increasing the number of nursing home staff who are vaccinated, and we commend the thousands of facilities that have met the goal to vaccinate three-quarters of their staff. However, the current, national results indicate that more work needs to be done.</div><div><br></div><div>“Vaccination rates among long term care staff continue to mirror other health care settings and general population rates, especially in certain parts of the country, because there continues to be a large amount of misinformation circulating around these safe and effective vaccines. Ongoing vaccine education and outreach is critical in protecting our vulnerable population from COVID-19, and we remain focused on sharing credible information through our <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated campaign</a>.</div><div><br></div><div>“We are steadfast in achieving our goal to have 75 percent of staff vaccinated, and meanwhile, we must continue to be vigilant against this virus and ensure we are doing everything necessary to protect those in our care.”</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>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released a statement on the nursing home industry’s goal of getting 75 percent of staff vaccinated by June 30.
Survey: Only One Quarter of Nursing Homes Confident They Will Make it Through to Next Yearaspx6/29/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><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, assisted living communities, and other long term care facilities across the country, announced the release of a recent survey of providers across the U.S. Results from the survey showcase the urgent need to address the economic crisis facing the profession.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Key findings include&#58;</strong></div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>​Only a quarter of nursing homes and assisted living communities are confident they can last a year or more.&#160;</li><li>More than half of nursing homes and nearly half of assisted living communities say their organization is operating at a loss.&#160;</li><li>Nearly half of nursing homes and assisted living communities have had to make cuts in 2021 due to increased expenses or lost revenue.&#160;</li><li>The top three costs facilities have incurred due to COVID-19, regardless of whether they have had cases or not, are additional pay for staff, hiring additional staff, and personal protective equipment (PPE).&#160;</li><li>In 2021, 84 percent of nursing homes said they are losing revenue due to fewer post-acute patients coming from the hospital.&#160;</li><li>Ninety-two percent of nursing homes and 62 percent of assisted living facilities said the Provider Relief Fund has been helpful during COVID.&#160;</li><li>More than half of nursing homes and more than one-third of assisted living communities say that Medicaid fee-for-service is problematic in covering the actual cost to provide care to residents. Of those, more than one-quarter of both providers qualify it is a serious problem.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div>“Even though COVID cases in long term care are at historic lows, providers are struggling to recover from the economic crisis the pandemic has induced. Too many facilities are operating under shoestring budgets simply because policymakers have failed to dedicate the proper resources, and this can have devastating consequences,” said <strong>Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL</strong>.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>An <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Financial-Infographic.pdf" target="_blank">analysis</a> by AHCA/NCAL earlier this year estimated that the nursing home industry is expected to lose $94 billion over the course of the pandemic, and more than 1,800 facilities could close their doors. Closures are hard on vulnerable residents who are forced to move, their family members who must often travel farther to see their loved ones, and dedicated caregivers who are out of a job.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Lawmakers and public officials across the country must prioritize the residents and caregivers in our nursing homes and assisted living communities,” continued <strong>Parkinson</strong>. “This starts by sending immediate resources through what remains of the Provider Relief Fund, and it continues by finally addressing the chronic underfunding of Medicaid, which only covers 70 to 80 percent of nursing home care. We have laid out key proposals in our Care For Our Seniors Act to transform America’s nursing homes, but without the help from Congress and state legislators, these necessary reforms will not be possible.”</div><div><br></div><div>“We look forward to working with federal and state governments to ensure the stability of our care economy, so that every provider has the ability to deliver the highest quality of care. From being able to have an adequate supply of PPE to compensating caregivers for their heroic work, long term care facilities need financial assistance from lawmakers to keep serving our vulnerable residents,” concluded <strong>Parkinson</strong>.</div><div><br></div><div>Link to a pdf version of a one page executive summary of the results can be found <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Financial-Survey-June-2021.pdf" target="_blank">HERE</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>.<br></div>Majority of nursing homes, nearly half of assisted living communities operating at a lossAHCA/NCAL announced the release of a recent survey of providers across the U.S. Results from the survey showcase the urgent need to address the economic crisis facing the profession.
Survey: 94 Percent of Nursing Homes Face Staffing Shortagesaspx6/23/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​​<br></p><div><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 long term care facilities across the country, announced the release of a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Workforce-Survey-June2020.pdf" target="_blank">recent survey</a> of nursing home and assisted living providers across the U.S. The results from the survey showcase the urgent need to invest in the long term care workforce, specifically to help recruit and retain staff.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Key findings include&#58;</strong></div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Ninety-four percent of nursing home providers said they have had a shortage of staff members in the last month. In assisted living communities, 81 percent said they had similar staffing shortages.&#160;</li><li>​More than half of nursing home and assisted living providers lost key members of their staff last year during the pandemic due to workers quitting, including among certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or direct caregivers and dietary staff.&#160;</li><li>Close to 75 percent of nursing homes and nearly 60 percent of assisted living communities said their overall workforce situation has gotten worse since 2020.&#160;</li><li>Eighty-one percent of nursing home providers and 75 percent of assisted living communities stated that higher reimbursement to offer better staff pay and benefits would help improve the facility’s ability to recruit and retain staff members.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div>“The survey results clearly indicate that the long term care workforce is facing serious challenges, and our country must make significant investments to help address these shortfalls,” stated Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care to ensure the profession has the necessary resources to maintain a strong workforce. This begins with addressing chronic underfunding of Medicaid for nursing homes, which currently only covers 70 to 80 percent of the cost of care. We have laid out proposals in our <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> that would enable our providers to address staffing shortages, but without help from Congress and state legislators, this will not be possible.”</div><div><br></div><div>“We look forward to working with federal and state governments to ensure every facility has the ability to recruit and retain the necessary staff to ensure our residents receive the level of care they need and deserve. Caregivers are the backbone of nursing homes and assisted living communities, and we need to make sure they are being adequately supported so they can provide the highest quality care to our elderly population,” concluded Parkinson.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>A one-page executive summary of the results can be found <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Workforce-Survey-June2020.pdf" target="_blank">HERE</a>.&#160;</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>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL announced the release of a recent survey of nursing home and assisted living providers across the U.S.
AHCA/NCAL to Hold #GetVaccinated Virtual Town Hallaspx6/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div><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 long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, will hold a virtual town Hall event today, Tuesday, June 22, 2021 as part of its #GetVaccinated campaign.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Panelists will speak to long term care staff about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccines and answer questions from attendees. The event aims to provide staff with the information they need to make informed decisions regarding vaccines in an effort to help reach the industry’s goal of getting 75 percent of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Who&#58;</strong> Dr. Sarah Berry, academic geriatrician in musculoskeletal health at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston</div><div>&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer at AHCA/NCAL</div><div>&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; Long term care staff members&#58; Brenda Carter, dietary director in Ky.; Teresa Haynes, LPN in Neb.; Miles Lee, life enrichment aide in&#160;</div><div>&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;&#160;​Washington, D.C.</div><div><strong>What&#58;</strong> #GetVaccinated Virtual Town Hall</div><div><strong>When&#58;</strong> Today, Tuesday, June 22, 2021</div><div><strong>Time&#58;</strong>&#160;4&#58;30PM – 5&#58;30PM ET</div><div><strong>Where&#58;</strong> <a href="https&#58;//us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ghy9zKyMQ6q9yExyijCjVg" target="_blank">Click here</a> to register and attend the live virtual event or watch on <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/ahcancal" target="_blank">AHCA/NCAL’s Facebook</a>.</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL’s #GetVaccinated campaign, funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offers a dedicated website – <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">www.getvaccinated.us</a> – to help educate and encourage caregivers and staff at long term care facilities to get the COVID-19 vaccine.&#160;</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>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL will hold a virtual town Hall event today, Tuesday, June 22, 2021 as part of its #GetVaccinated campaign.
AHCA/NCAL Holds #GetVaccinated Virtual Town Hall to Help Improve Vaccine Confidenceaspx6/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), 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, held a virtual town hall event today as part of its nationwide #GetVaccinated campaign. The event brought AHCA/NCAL leadership together with long term care staff from across the country to discuss the importance of the COVID-19 vaccines.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The COVID-19 vaccines have been the life-saving turning point long term care residents and staff have been waiting for,” said AHCA/NCAL Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gifford. “Since vaccine rollout began last Decenber, the number of COVID cases and deaths within long term care facilities have reached historic lows. We are extremely encouraged by the progress we’ve made, but we still have more work to do. There are some who still have questions about the vaccines, and we remain committed to doing all that we can to improve vaccine confidence.”</div><div><br></div><div>The virtual town hall panel included Gifford and Dr. Sarah Berry, an academic geriatrician in musculoskeletal health at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston. Panelists spoke to hundreds of long term care staff members about the safety and efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccines, the positive impact they have made on the sector and reinforced the fact that getting vaccinated is free and easy to do. The town hall supports the White House’s National Month of Action to encourage as many Americans as possible to get at least one shot by July 4. Additionally, AHCA/NCAL hopes that the event will bring them one step closer to reaching the industry goal of getting 75 percent of all nursing home staff vaccinated.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Education has really been the key in boosting uptake rates among long term care staff,” continued Gifford. “Our goal from the beginning was to equip long term care residents, staff and families with the facts so they can make an informed decision. We hope today’s event answered important questions, alleviated concerns and persuaded people who have not yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. The more people we can get vaccinated, the better we can protect ourselves and those around us, especially vulnerable long term care residents.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL’s #GetVaccinated campaign, funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offers a dedicated website –<a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank"> www.getvaccinated.us</a> – to help educate and encourage caregivers and staff at long term care facilities to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The website includes credible information from renowned medical professionals, public health officials, and scientists to help answer common questions about the vaccines. It also encourages vaccinated staff to share their personal experience and reasons for getting vaccinated on social media.</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>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL held a virtual town hall event today as part of its nationwide #GetVaccinated campaign.