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As Thanksgiving Approaches, AHCA/NCAL Urges Americans To Exercise Caution Around Holiday Gatherings To Protect The Most Vulnerableaspx11/24/2020 5:00:00 AM<p>​</p><div>The number of COVID cases across the country is rising at an alarming rate, resulting in a correlating spike in cases in long term care settings. Recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Nov23-2020.pdf" target="_blank">data</a> from the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that nursing homes continue to see a record number of weekly new cases, surpassing previous peaks since CMS started tracking nursing home cases. The Midwest region in particular has seen a staggering 275% increase since September.</div><div><br></div><div>Independent research from our nation’s top academic institutions indicate that the rate of spread within a surrounding community is a primary factor in the likelihood of an outbreak in a long term care facility. Dr. Tamara Konetzka, a professor of health policy at the University of Chicago <a href="https&#58;//apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-only-on-ap-chicago-nursing-homes-596ef4bfe18313ae72368e2c86e85f27" target="_blank">explains</a>&#58;&#160;<br><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“Trying to protect nursing home residents without controlling community spread is a losing battle … Someone has to care for vulnerable nursing home residents, and those caregivers move in and out of the nursing home daily, providing an easy pathway for the virus to enter.”</div></blockquote><div><br></div><div>Long term care workers continue to do everything they can to keep their residents safe, but they cannot fight this battle alone. With Thanksgiving two days away, members of the public must exercise caution and discipline as they partake in their celebrations.</div><div><br></div><div>Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said, “We understand everyone wants to see their family and friends during the holidays, but we really need to consider our parents and grandparents who are living in our nation’s long term care facilities. Even though you may feel fine, more than half of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and the people you encounter at the Thanksgiving table or out at the grocery store may work in a nursing home or assisted living community. Wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing not only protects you, but it is sign of respect for our elders and our health care heroes who care for them.”</div><div><br></div><div>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued <a href="https&#58;//www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html" target="_blank">guidance</a> around hosting or attending holiday gatherings, including&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Checking the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where attendees live on state, local, territorial, or tribal health department websites.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Limiting the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least six feet apart at all times.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Hosting outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Avoiding holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons who are not in your household.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Requiring guests to wear masks.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Encouraging attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Provide guests information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and steps that will be in place at the gathering to prevent the spread of the virus.​<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>​Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.</li></ul></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">This holiday season, we must continue to think about our most vulnerable populations. We urge all Americans to help slow the spread of the virus within their communities so we can protect long term care residents and staff.</span><br></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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>The number of COVID cases across the country is rising at an alarming rate, resulting in a correlating spike in cases in long term care settings.
Nursing Homes See Continued Record Number of New COVID Cases as Community Spread Increases Across the U.S.aspx11/23/2020 5:00:00 AM<p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​Calls Continue For Congress To Replenish Emergency Funding For Hospitals And Long Term Care Facilities And For States To Take Additional Measures To Control Community Spread</strong><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"></p><div><br><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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Nov23-2020.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a record number of weekly new cases this month due to the community spread among the general population, surpassing previous peaks since the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking cases in nursing homes.</div><div><br></div><div>Recent data released by Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) show that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases are also on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, weekly new COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 229 percent to 796,761 new cases the week of November 8. A correlating uptick in new cases in nursing homes occurred when cases in the surrounding community started rising back in mid-September.</div><div><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/1.jpg" alt="1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"></p><div>As <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Analysis-COVID-Outbreaks-in-Nursing-Homes.pdf" target="_blank">experts</a> have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. University of Chicago's Tamara Konetzka, a nationally recognized expert on long-term care, recently <a href="https&#58;//apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-only-on-ap-chicago-nursing-homes-596ef4bfe18313ae72368e2c86e85f27" target="_blank">said</a>, “Trying to protect nursing home residents without controlling community spread is a losing battle.” Dr. David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School recently&#160;<a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-19-surges-back-into-nursing-homes-in-coronavirus-hot-spots/2020/08/13/edbff5fe-dd75-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html" target="_blank">stated</a>, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”</div><div><br></div><div>“Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread,” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Our health care heroes are doing everything they can to prevent it from spreading further, but this level of COVID nationwide puts serious strain on our workforce, supplies, and testing capacity. If everybody would wear a mask and social distance to reduce the level of COVID in the community, we know we would dramatically reduce these rates in long term care facilities.”</div><div><br></div><div>During the second week of November, nearly half (49 percent) of new COVID cases in nursing homes were from Midwest states with major spikes in community spread in the upper parts of the region. As a result, the Midwest region saw a 275 percent increase in weekly COVID cases in nursing homes since mid-September.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/2.jpg" alt="2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></div><div><br>​After seven weeks of declining cases in nursing homes through mid-September, nursing home cases began to increase as nearly all 50 states have started to see rising levels of COVID cases. New weekly cases in nursing homes grew by more than 110 percent nationwide between mid-September and the week of November 8.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/3.jpg" alt="3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br></div><p style="text-align&#58;left;">The report also showed COVID-related deaths in nursing homes are starting to rise, 69 percent increase since late September. Nursing home residents are typically older adults with multiple chronic conditions, making them most vulnerable to COVID-19. Residents of long term care facilities account for only eight percent of the nation’s cases, yet 40 percent of its deaths. While mortality rates have decreased compared to the spring due to a better understanding of the virus, better treatments, and government resources to help reduce spread, industry leaders remain deeply concerned that the rising number of new COVID cases in facilities will ultimately lead to an increasing number of deaths.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-Continued-Record-Number-of-New-COVID-Cases-as-Community-Spread-Increases-Across-the-US/4.jpg" alt="4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br></p><div>“We are especially concerned that this situation will only get worse with Thanksgiving just around the corner,” continued Parkinson. “The public must realize that their actions not only endanger our nation’s most vulnerable, but also trigger government lockdowns of facilities, keeping these residents from their loved ones. This is detrimental to their health, wellbeing and happiness. We urge everyone to do their part to slow the spread immediately and <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Two-Weeks-Before-Thanksgiving,-AHCANCAL-Urges-Americans-To-Exercise-Caution-Around-Holiday-Gatherings-To-Limit-Community-Sp.aspx" target="_blank">exercise caution when celebrating Thanksgiving</a>.”</div><div><br></div><div>With rising new COVID cases across the country, Parkinson said Congress must prioritize frontline health care workers and long term care residents during the lame duck session. Last week AHCA/NCAL released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Stimulus-4-Asks.pdf" target="_blank">list of actions​</a> that Congress should urgently take to help nursing homes and assisted living communities respond to the uptick in new cases.</div><div><br></div><div>Most of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act back in April has already been distributed and Parkinson said health care providers, including long term care facilities, will need additional funds to continue the response to the COVID pandemic heading into the cold and flu season. The financial aid is crucial in helping long term care facilities acquire personal protective equipment, conduct regular testing, and hire additional staff or reward current caregivers for their heroic efforts.</div><div><br></div><div>“Congress must fulfill its duty,” stated Parkinson. “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. is repeating the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package during the lame duck session on Congress.”</div><div><br></div><div>For more information, please visit <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/pages/coronavirus.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus</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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>New Nursing Home Cases Continue To Tick Up In Midwest States; 275% Increase In The Region Since SeptemberAHCA/NCAL released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a record number of weekly new cases this month due to the community spread among the general population, surpassing previous peaks.
Long Term Care Closures Mount As COVID-19 Exacerbates Financial Shortfallsaspx11/19/2020 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Dedicated caregivers in long term care facilities across the country continue to do everything possible to protect their residents. But as nursing homes and assisted living communities have invested in the resources needed to keep their residents and staff safe, the financial impact on providers has grown. Already some facilities have been forced to close, and more could soon follow if lawmakers don’t act.</div><div><br></div><div>The long term care sector has long faced financial struggles, but the pandemic has exacerbated these severe challenges. Medicaid is the primary payer for nursing homes, covering more than 60 percent of all nursing home residents and approximately 50 percent of costs for all long term care services. However, Medicaid reimbursements only cover 70 to 80 percent of the actual cost of nursing home care. This chronic gap in funding has resulted in shoestring budgets and ongoing operating losses for nursing home providers.</div><div><br></div><div>Coupled with the current need to acquire more personal protective equipment (PPE), regular COVID testing and staffing needs associated with the pandemic, these facilities are being pushed to the brink of closure. Already, facilities in <a href="https&#58;//www.kcra.com/article/woodland-nursing-home-covid-19-close-ceo/33395043" target="_blank">California</a>, <a href="https&#58;//newcountry991.com/estes-park-nursing-home-faces-possible-closure/" target="_blank">Colorado</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2020/07/nursing-home-employees-shocked-after-learning-about-facilitys-closure-in-mlive-article.html" target="_blank">Michigan</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.unionleader.com/news/health/merrimack-assisted-living-facility-closing-its-doors/article_ac8b9f8b-ee5e-55cf-a155-0ddc4d46c2ac.html" target="_blank">New Hampshire</a>, <a href="https&#58;//westchester.news12.com/105yearold-ossining-nursing-home-to-close-doors-for-good-42409607">New York</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.wpri.com/health/coronavirus/providence-nursing-home-to-close-citing-covid-19-losses/" target="_blank">Rhode Island</a> have announced permanent closures or have warned that closures are looming.</div><div><br></div><div>A nursing home in Pennsylvania also recently <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=RybMX_V6ClI&amp;amp%3bfeature=youtu.be" target="_blank">announced</a> that the facility will be closing in January because of financial difficulties. The Charles Morris Nursing Home cited the increased cost of care during the pandemic combined with low Medicaid reimbursement rates as the cause for the closure. As <a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2019/03/04/us/rural-nursing-homes-closure.html" target="_blank">The New York Times</a> highlighted last year, facility closures will hit rural communities especially hard has families will be left with few options for the care of their loved ones.</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) conducted a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Survey-SNF-COVID-Costs.pdf" target="_blank">survey</a> that found that more than half of nursing homes are currently operating at a loss and 72 percent of operators say they won’t be able to sustain operation another year at the current pace.<br></div><div><br></div><div><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Long-Term-Care-Closures-Mount-As-COVID-19-Exacerbates-Financial-Shortfalls/11.19.jpg" alt="11.19.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><div>Nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country face the same fate as Charles Morris Nursing Home if more is not done to support the long term care sector. Congressional funding is needed to help facilities combat the ongoing pandemic, but long term solutions are also called for, such as higher Medicaid reimbursements rates that reflect the actual cost of care so nursing homes and assisted living communities no longer have to face these financial difficulties. Abruptly moving elderly patients out of their communities and forcing them to find new care takes a heavy toll. We must ensure every facility has the means to provide the highest quality of care for our most vulnerable population.&#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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.​<br></div></div>Dedicated caregivers in long term care facilities across the country continue to do everything possible to protect their residents.
Congress Must Prioritize Long Term Care Facilities And Secure Additional Fundingaspx11/16/2020 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>As Congress continues discussions around the next COVID relief bill, lawmakers must prioritize the health of long term care residents and their caregivers. COVID cases around the country continue to rise, and long term care facilities need more support to fight the virus.</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has made specific requests in the next stimulus bill, including&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>An additional $100 billion be added to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund, with a substantial portion dedicated to the long term care sector. This will help providers acquire essential resources, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff support.​<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>A $5 billion long term care testing fund to help nursing homes and assisted living communities alleviate the costs of testing.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Prioritized COVID-19 testing to the providers and population most at risk.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Vaccine priority.</li></ul></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Nursing homes and assisted living communities continue to work day in and day out to stop the spread of the virus, but without additional support, facilities could face the same hardships they did early on in the pandemic. The funding already distributed to long term care providers has been instrumental in helping combat the virus, but providers have exhausted most of these resources due to the high cost of PPE, regular testing and staff overhead.</span><br></div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/UPDATED-Nursing-Homes-See-Major-Spike-In-New-COVID-Cases-Due-To-Community-Spread.aspx" target="_blank">report</a> last week showing a spike in new COVID cases in nursing homes due to community spread. Independent research shows that community spread is the primary factor in the likelihood of outbreaks in long term care facilities. With the holidays and winter months ahead, reinforced support has never been more important.</div><div><br></div><div>Long term care residents are among the most susceptible to the virus. Congress must work swiftly and diligently to make residents and staff a priority and pass additional relief funding to help prevent further outbreaks. We cannot lose the progress we’ve made to reduce COVID rates. We must work together and ensure every facility has the resources necessary to protect their residents and staff.</div><div><br></div><div>For the full list of AHCA/NCAL stimulus requests, click <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Stimulus-4-Asks.pdf">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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>As Congress continues discussions around the next COVID relief bill, lawmakers must prioritize the health of long term care residents and their caregivers.
Two Weeks Before Thanksgiving, AHCA/NCAL Urges Americans To Exercise Caution Around Holiday Gatherings To Limit Community Spread Of COVID-19aspx11/12/2020 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>As the number of COVID cases rise across the country, cases in long term care settings are rising too. Recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Nov10-2020.pdf" target="_blank">data</a> from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that after a seven-week decline, nursing homes have seen a correlating uptick in cases since mid-September as a result of community spread.</div><div><br></div><div>Independent research from the country’s top academic institutions shows that the rate of spread within a surrounding community is a key factor in the likelihood of an outbreak in a long term care facility. Dr. Tamara Konetzka, a professor of health policy at the University of Chicago <a href="https&#58;//apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-only-on-ap-chicago-nursing-homes-596ef4bfe18313ae72368e2c86e85f27" target="_blank">explains</a>&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“Trying to protect nursing home residents without controlling community spread is a losing battle … Someone has to care for vulnerable nursing home residents, and those caregivers move in and out of the nursing home daily, providing an easy pathway for the virus to enter.”</div></blockquote><div><br></div><div>Preventing community spread is key to keeping seniors and caregivers safe. As the holiday season approaches and Americans come together to celebrate, we must take every necessary precaution to minimize the risk of an outbreak.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said, “We understand everyone wants to see their family and friends during the holidays, but we really need to consider our parents and grandparents who are living in our nation’s long term care facilities. Even though you may feel fine, more than half of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and the people you encounter at the Thanksgiving table or out at the grocery store may work in a nursing home or assisted living community. Wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing not only protects you, but it is sign of respect for our elders and our health care heroes who care for them.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued <a href="https&#58;//www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html" target="_blank">guidance</a> around hosting or attending holiday gatherings, including&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Checking the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where attendees live on state, local, territorial, or tribal health department websites.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Limiting the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least six feet apart at all times.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Hosting outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Avoiding holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons who are not in your household.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Requiring guests to wear masks.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Encouraging attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Provide guests information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and steps that will be in place at the gathering to prevent the spread of the virus.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div>Long term care facilities cannot lose the progress we’ve made to reduce COVID rates. In order to protect vulnerable seniors and long term care staff, members of the public must do their part to keep the virus from spreading. Exercising caution around holiday gatherings is one way Americans can help our communities stay COVID-free.&#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" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>As the number of COVID cases rise across the country, cases in long term care settings are rising too.
UPDATED: Nursing Homes See Major Spike In New COVID Cases Due To Community Spreadaspx11/10/2020 5:00:00 AM<p><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Nov10-2020.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> today showing new COVID cases are increasing in nursing homes in the U.S. due to the community spread among the general population.<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>Recent data released by Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) show that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases are also on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, weekly new COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 61 percent to 391,527 new cases the week of October 18. A correlating uptick in new cases in nursing homes occurred when cases in the surrounding community started rising back in mid-September.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/UPDATED-Nursing-Homes-See-Major-Spike-In-New-COVID-Cases-Due-To-Community-Spread/1.jpg" alt="1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></span></p><div><div>As <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Analysis-COVID-Outbreaks-in-Nursing-Homes.pdf" target="_blank">experts</a> have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. Dr. David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School recently <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-19-surges-back-into-nursing-homes-in-coronavirus-hot-spots/2020/08/13/edbff5fe-dd75-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html" target="_blank">stated</a>, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”</div><div><br></div><div>“As we feared, the sheer volume of rising cases in communities across the U.S., combined with the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus, has unfortunately led to an increase in new COVID cases in nursing homes.” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “It is incredibly frustrating as we had made tremendous progress to reduce COVID rates in nursing homes after the spike this summer in Sun Belt states. If everybody would wear a mask and social distance to reduce the level of COVID in the community, we know we would dramatically reduce these rates in long term care facilities.”</div><div><br></div><div>During the week of October 18, 41 percent of new COVID cases in nursing homes were from Midwest states with major spikes in community spread in the upper parts of the region. As a result, the Midwest region saw a 120 percent increase in weekly COVID cases in nursing homes since mid-September.</div><div><br>​<img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/UPDATED-Nursing-Homes-See-Major-Spike-In-New-COVID-Cases-Due-To-Community-Spread/2.jpg" alt="2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></div><br></div><p>​After seven weeks for declining cases in nursing homes through mid-September, nursing home cases began to increase as more than 35 states started to see rising level of COVID cases. New weekly cases in nursing homes grew by 44 percent nationwide between mid-September and the week of October 18.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/UPDATED-Nursing-Homes-See-Major-Spike-In-New-COVID-Cases-Due-To-Community-Spread/3.jpg" alt="3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br>The report also showed COVID-related deaths in nursing homes have risen slightly. Nursing home residents are typically older adults with multiple chronic conditions, making them most vulnerable to COVID-19. Residents of long term care facilities account for only eight percent of the nation’s cases, yet 40 percent of its deaths. While mortality rates have decreased compared to the spring due to a better understanding of the virus, better treatments, and government resources to help reduce spread, industry leaders remain deeply concerned that the rising number of new COVID cases in facilities will ultimately lead to an increasing number of deaths.​<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/UPDATED-Nursing-Homes-See-Major-Spike-In-New-COVID-Cases-Due-To-Community-Spread/4.jpg" alt="4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br><br></p><div>With rising new COVID cases across the country, Parkinson said Congress must prioritize frontline health care workers and long term care residents during the lame duck session starting next week.</div><div><br></div><div>Most of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act back in April has already been distributed and Parkinson said health care providers, including long term care facilities, will need additional funds to continue the response to the COVID pandemic heading into the cold and flu season, which provides new challenges. The financial aid is crucial in helping long term care facilities acquire personal protective equipment, conduct regular testing, and hire additional staff or reward current caregivers for their heroic efforts.</div><div><br></div><div>“Congress must fulfill its duty. Health care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, are already experiencing an uptick in new COVID cases, and they need every possible resource heading into what promises to be a challenging winter,” stated Parkinson. “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package during the lame duck session on Congress.”</div><div><br></div><div>For more information, please visit <a href="/Survey-Regulatory-Legal/Emergency-Preparedness/pages/coronavirus.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus</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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.​<br></div>120% Increase In New Cases In Nursing Homes From Midwest StatesAHCA/NCAL released a report today showing new COVID cases are increasing in nursing homes in the U.S. due to the community spread among the general population.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following The 2020 Electionaspx11/9/2020 5:00:00 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 that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement regarding the results of the 2020 election.</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>“We congratulate President-elect Biden and all those elected to Congress. We look forward to working with the new Administration and discussing the challenges long term care facilities have faced in recent years, but most especially during the pandemic. We will call on the Biden Administration and Congress to help us address the immediate crisis at-hand and ensure that facilities have the resources they need to protect our nation’s most vulnerable. We must also reflect upon the lessons to be learned and welcome a national discussion on how to improve the country’s long term care system for a growing elderly population.&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“However, with record breaking COVID cases across the country just this past week, our nation’s seniors and their caregivers cannot wait until January to bring about the assistance facilities need right now. We urge lawmakers to take action immediately, during the Lame Duck Session, and pass a COVID relief package that includes additional funding for our health care providers, including those in long term care. Our health care heroes need help acquiring substantial personal protective equipment, testing and staff support to keep the virus at bay and protect our nation’s Greatest Generation.”&#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" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>​.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released the following statement regarding the results of the 2020 election.
Congress Must Prioritize Additional Relief Funds For Long Term Careaspx11/9/2020 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>With Congress resuming discussions around the next COVID relief bill, lawmakers must prioritize the health of long term care residents and staff. COVID cases are rising across the country, and long term care providers need more funding to combat the virus. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is encouraging lawmakers to legislate and keep the long term care residents and staff top of mind.</div><div><br></div><div>In July, AHCA/NCAL <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Request-Priority-and-Funding-From-Congress-in-Next-COVID-Bill-to-Protect-Residents-and-Caregivers.aspx" target="_blank">requested priority</a> in the next stimulus bill, which includes&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>A two-pronged approach to testing that provides financial support for increased and prioritized testing for staff and residents.</li><li>​An additional $100 billion to the Provider Relief Fund with a substantial portion dedicated to long term care, which will help providers acquire essential resources such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing.</li></ul></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Nursing homes and assisted living communities have worked hard to stop the spread of the virus, but without additional support, facilities could face the same devastation they did earlier on during the pandemic. The funding providers have received thus far has been instrumental in helping them combat the virus, but many facilities have already exhausted these resources due to the high cost of personal protective equipment, regular testing and staff overhead. Most of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided in April by the CARES Act to all types of health care providers has already been distributed.&#160;</span><br></div><div><br></div><div>Last week, AHCA/NCAL released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-COVID-Cases-Increasing-Due-To-Community-Spread.aspx" target="_blank">report</a> showing new COVID cases are increasing in nursing homes across the country due to the community spread among the general population. Independent research shows that community spread is a primary factor in the likelihood of outbreaks in long term care facilities. Long term care leaders are deeply concerned that the increase in cases will result in an increase in mortality.</div><div><br></div><div>With an uptick in cases, long term care providers need more support. Adequate PPE, including N95 masks, gowns and gloves, and timely testing are the most effective ways to keep residents and staff safe. However, these resources are costly and are still in short supply for many providers. A recent <a href="https&#58;//uspirg.org/feature/usp/nursing-home-safety-during-covid-ppe-shortages" target="_blank">study</a> by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) found that one in five nursing homes were dangerously low on one or more items, like N95s and gloves. Congressional funding would help replenish these essential supplies.</div><div><br></div><div>We cannot forget that the virus is still rampant, and our seniors are among the most susceptible. Congress must work together to approve additional funding to help the long term care sector prevent further outbreaks. We have already seen the positive outcomes that can occur with federal support. We must keep that momentum and ensure every facility has the means to protect their residents and staff.&#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" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br><br></div>With Congress resuming discussions around the next COVID relief bill, lawmakers must prioritize the health of long term care residents and staff.
AHCA/NCAL Applauds The Keeping Seniors Safe From COVID-19 Through Home Design Actaspx11/5/2020 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> - The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released the following statement on H.R. 8540, the Keeping Seniors Safe from COVID-19 Through Home Design Act. The bill, introduced by Representative John Katko (R-NY) and cosponsored by Representatives Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Max Rose (D-NY) and Ann Kuster (D-NH), would commission a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would develop best practices in senior housing design to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.</div><div><br></div><div>The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>“We applaud Representative Katko for introducing this bipartisan measure that will help protect long term care residents. Since the start of the pandemic, long term care providers have done everything in their power to protect residents and staff, but the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 in congregate settings like long term care facilities has contributed to the disproportionate impact the virus has had on our nation’s seniors. Examining ways we can improve the design of long term care housing is a positive first step in preventing the spread of communicable diseases and keeping our most vulnerable citizens safe.</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“As we look to the future, we must take the lessons from we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to adopt meaningful reforms that will ensure long term care providers are equipped to handle future public health crises. We look forward to working with Members of Congress on long-term solutions that will help strengthen the high-quality care we provide.&quot;</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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released the following statement on H.R. 8540, the Keeping Seniors Safe from COVID-19 Through Home Design Act.
ICYMI: Long Term Care COVID Cases Increasing Due To Community Spreadaspx11/4/2020 5:00:00 AM<p><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">In case you missed it, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a </span><a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-COVID-Cases-Increasing-Due-To-Community-Spread.aspx" target="_blank" style="font-size&#58;11pt;">report</a><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"> this </span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">week that shows new COVID cases are increasing in nursing homes across the country as a result of community spread among the general population.</span></p><div><br></div><div>Data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that COVID cases among the general U.S. population rose by 61 percent to 391,527 cases the week of October 18. A correlating uptick in new cases in nursing homes occurred when cases in the surrounding community started rising back in mid-September.<br></div><p>​<br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/ICYMI-Long-Term-Care-COVID-Cases-Increasing-Due-To-Community-Spread/1.jpg" alt="1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><div>The report also showed that COVID-related deaths in nursing homes have risen slightly. While mortality rates have decreased compared to the spring, long term care leaders are concerned that the rising number of new COVID cases in facilities will ultimately lead to an increasing number of deaths.</div><div><br></div><div>Experts have repeatedly pointed to community spread as a top factor in the likelihood of outbreaks in long term care facilities. Dr. David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-19-surges-back-into-nursing-homes-in-coronavirus-hot-spots/2020/08/13/edbff5fe-dd75-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html" target="_blank">stated</a>, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”</div><div><br></div><div>The AHCA/NCAL report was covered by multiple outlets nationwide, including <a href="https&#58;//www.cnn.com/2020/11/02/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/covid-19-cases-rising-in-nursing-homes" target="_blank">Washington Examiner</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.mcknights.com/news/community-spread-triggers-growing-number-of-covid-19-cases-in-nursing-homes-ahca/" target="_blank">McKnight’s Long-Term Care News</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.albanyherald.com/news/rise-in-covid-cases-at-nursing-homes-correlates-with-uptick-in-general-population/article_45671ffc-1d23-11eb-9140-bf55f9a8f4e8.html" target="_blank">The Albany Herald</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/live/covid-coronavirus-cases-pa-philadelphia-nj-de-updates-testing-hospital-news-20201102.html" target="_blank">Philadelphia Inquirer</a>, <a href="https&#58;//app.criticalmention.com/app/#/clip/public/49409cb5-fde5-49a9-b8e6-722c67cb6cbb?show_sentiment=false" target="_blank">WXYZ (ABC - Detroit, MI)</a>, and <a href="https&#58;//app.criticalmention.com/app/#/clip/public/fb1194b2-6251-412c-81f0-b0e97ec9f01f?show_sentiment=false" target="_blank">News 12 New York</a>, among others.</div><div><br></div><div>As cases continue to rise, it’s important that members of the public do their part to contain the virus. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said, “It is incredibly frustrating as we had made tremendous progress to reduce COVID rates in nursing homes after the spike this summer in Sun Belt states. If everybody would wear a mask and social distance to reduce the level of COVID in the community, we know we would dramatically reduce these rates in long term care facilities.”</div><div><br></div><div>Additionally, Congress must provide additional funding for the long term care sector. Parkinson added, “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package during the lame duck session on Congress.</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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br><br></div>In case you missed it, AHCA/NCAL released a report this week that shows new COVID cases are increasing in nursing homes across the country as a result of community spread among the general population.
Independent Research Confirms That A Long Term Care Facility’s Location Is A Key Factor In The Likelihood Of A COVID-19 Outbreakaspx10/30/2020 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>COVID-19 has taken a disproportionate toll on long term care residents despite every effort by their caregivers. David C. Grabowski, professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School, R. Tamara Konetzka, professor of health services at the University of Chicago and Vincent Mor, professor of health services policy and practice at Brown University have conducted <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Analysis-COVID-Outbreaks-in-Nursing-Homes.pdf" target="_blank">independent research</a> that shows that the location of a nursing home, asymptomatic spread and availability of testing are determining factors in COVID-19 outbreaks – not quality ratings, infection citations or staffing.</div><div><br></div><div>In an <a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=16db127d3acb4a6b93bd5b4116afe515&amp;_e=GutCrp64i4EwIfV-QRjqRpd50XNHC8M-2FDZHF0857XQdcrdHKXfXkLhO-6FRSMqgrIpiCKUhZW1gX44KHIHyOKmX8kpfr9S5wLqVYAcmnDVG_DY_p9-TEnZFuct1tQtfHEpgc8HqmwpKuhs8saz5eJzCBH8dyjcS2tMMeJes_r3eFw0Gb86zC7QhadRjZ8wk9wrd8UjnPKgFpbYZwCq89Qb0jF-QmJdRzUtbqFoFPVtaS07MhTXmzYX9gQqAhsX88m8C32FT7x-9XQuATCt1NyvkdXh218q8rhdz_wBUaL0qM3427pF7jcbbTizbdoRRlAbEksnwwxHxW9hLfHgoPtjukZ2mBvBXSEJ2VsNG89kvY9j6NTpcRJDjTaf1j4_" target="_blank">op-ed</a> in The Washington Post, Drs. Grabowski, Mor and Konetzka write&#58;&#160;<br><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“[A]ccording to our research, location and facility size matter much more than prior quality in predicting whether a nursing home will have a serious covid-19 outbreak. The most important factors influencing whether and how large an outbreak occurs in a nursing home are the population density of the county in which the facility is located, the prevalence of the virus reported in the county and the racial distribution of the nursing home, which are all correlated.</div></blockquote><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“Location matters because the coronavirus that causes covid-19 often spreads without causing symptoms. Visitors have not been allowed in most facilities since March, but staff members still go to work. If a covid-19 outbreak is underway in the community where staff members live, the pandemic will soon be in the nursing home where they work.</div></blockquote><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“Many nursing homes can improve their infection-control procedures. But the expectation that good nursing homes can stop transmission while poorly rated nursing homes cannot is unwarranted. Many top-rated nursing homes have been overwhelmed, while a lot of poorly rated ones are free of covid-19 largely because their staff members live in areas with low rates of infection.”</div></blockquote><div><br>Washington State’s Life Care Center of Kirkland (LCCK) is a prime example of a nursing home that experienced a widespread outbreak despite providers doing all they could to prevent it. The state filed a complaint against the facility, but a decision by Administrative Law Judge Matt Perkins confirmed that LCCK followed the appropriate public health guidelines.</div><div><br></div><div>In an <a href="https&#58;//morningconsult.com/opinions/legal-action-is-not-the-solution-to-improving-nursing-homes-response-to-covid/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTm1NeE5EVTVOekUwTkdRMSIsInQiOiJHV0p2cFFEdjUyeDd1VjJDMkpzczJ1dEJ5WnkwMG9RMUlqOVNhSmp6QmFhazNUbE1JTHRNMU14aUN6MWx4UVRSNGR2Y0pWS0RJNENRa3VpRUJGb1plNFc2SDNuaW55TnRYNkFZZGFMVEl0T0J3aWl6Y0dGeEE5ZHZhQ2VMQ2VpYSJ9" target="_blank">op-ed</a> in Morning Consult, Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) explains why taking legal action was not the appropriate response&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>​“Perkins’ decision proves that officials in the long-term care facility adhered to protocols and did everything in their power to protect residents from the vicious virus. What unfolded in Washington state demonstrates that pursuing legal action and imposing monetary penalties against long-term care providers, particularly in a crisis, is not a remedy to improve the overall quality of care. Instead, these actions oftentimes fail to account for the entirety of what unfolded in a particular facility.”</div></blockquote><div><br></div><div>We all need to work together to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable citizens and the heroic caregivers who watch over them. Containing the spread of the virus among the general population is paramount. As long term care workers come in and out of facilities, they risk exposing themselves to the virus and bringing it into their buildings. Members of the public can do their part to keep seniors and long term care workers safe by wearing a mask, keeping physical distance from others, and practicing proper hygiene.</div><div><br></div><div>In addition, nursing homes and assisted living communities must be equipped with the proper tools to prevent outbreaks. This includes adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and staffing. These are baseline resources that many providers still struggle to acquire months into the pandemic and will be further strained as the growing number of cases across the country increase demand for these resources.</div><div><br></div><div>Now is the time for reinforced support for long term care. Providers have been able to turn the tide on the virus because of the funding and resources they’ve received, but ongoing support is critical as the pandemic wages on. If we can continue to rally around the long term care sector, we can prevent another spike in cases.</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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>COVID-19 has taken a disproportionate toll on long term care residents despite every effort by their caregivers.
Nursing Homes Continue to Face PPE Shortages and Require Ongoing Support as the Pandemic Lingersaspx10/29/2020 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Long term care residents and staff have felt the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first few months of the public health crisis, nursing homes and assisted living communities, like many other health care facilities, grappled with severe personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages. These critical supplies are especially important in long term care settings because their residents are more susceptible to the virus. After months of continued calls for help and support, these facilities were finally able to acquire PPE and other resources to fight off the virus.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>However, with the country in the midst of a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases, many long term care facilities are again without adequate supplies of the most crucial protective gear.</div><div><br></div><div>A recent <a href="https&#58;//uspirg.org/feature/usp/nursing-home-safety-during-covid-ppe-shortages" target="_blank">study</a> conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) found that nursing homes are confronting shortages of equipment like masks and gowns. The study found several alarming data points, including&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>One in five facilities were dangerously low on one or more items, like gloves and hand sanitizer<br><br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>46 percent of all nursing homes nationwide reported at some point this summer that they didn’t have a one-week supply of at least one type of PPE</li></ul></div><div>&#160;</div><div><ul><li>226,495 nursing home residents in 2,981 nursing homes nationwide were at risk because the homes they resided in had dangerously low supplies of one or more types of PPE</li></ul></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>Already, nursing homes in Texas are <a href="https&#58;//dfw.cbslocal.com/2020/10/27/texas-nursing-homes-ppe-residents-safe/" target="_blank">facing critical shortages</a>. A study found, “More than 20% of nursing homes had less than one-week supply of one or more types of PPE” and “12.7% of nursing homes had a critical shortage of N95 masks.” Texan nursing homes are not alone – facilities all across the country are facing the same problem.&#160;</span><br></div><div><br></div><div>We can prevent further shortages from happening with more help. We have already seen what support from lawmakers can provide. When Congress and the Administration rallied around long term care facilities earlier this year, facilities were able to replenish their PPE supplies and better protect their residents and staff. We saw cases in these facilities drop and recoveries increase. We are extremely grateful for the support the long term care industry has already received, but we risk taking a step in the wrong direction if the emerging shortages are not addressed.</div><div><br></div><div>Janet Snipes, executive director of Holly Heights Care Center in Denver, Colorado recently made this point to <a href="https&#58;//art19.com/shows/weekend-roundup/episodes/48e5f4e9-3d85-479b-a90e-19e07fa0e363" target="_blank">CBS Radio</a>. “I do want to emphasize that we appreciate everything that we have received from CMS and from the government and public officials, but we need them to continue to prioritize long term care,” Snipes said. She also made the point that while they have some supplies, such as N-95 masks, they lack different sizes and the resources needed to ensure the masks are properly fitted to the wearer’s face.&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Congress-Must-Provide-Additional-Relief-Funds-For-Long-Term-Care-Providers.aspx" target="_blank">continues to call</a> on Congress to provide additional aid to the long term care industry to ensure every facility is equipped to protect their residents and the heroic staff caring for them. AHCA/NCAL also calls upon the private sector to support this effort, asking manufacturers and suppliers to make long term care facilities a priority for supplies. Individuals in these facilities cannot afford to wait any longer for equipment like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. They need help now.</div><div><br></div><div>As the country faces a rise in COVID cases, it’s critical that every nursing home and assisted living community receive the necessary PPE to fight off this deadly virus. We cannot wait for shortages to worsen and cases to rise before we act. We must continue to come together and rally behind the long term care industry – our elderly population depends on it.</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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>Long term care residents and staff have felt the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial Struggle of Nursing Homes Puts Medicaid Reimbursement Rates Back in the Spotlightaspx10/28/2020 4:00:00 AM<p><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Medicaid is the primary payer for nursing homes, covering more than 60 percent of all nursing home residents and approximately 50 percent of costs for all long term care services. However, Medicaid reimbursements only cover 70 to 80 percent of the actual cost of nursing home care. This chronic gap in funding has resulted in shoestring budgets and ongoing operating losses for nursing home providers.</span><br></p><div><br></div><div>As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, financial challenges have intensified&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nursing homes <a href="/Data-and-Research/Pages/default.aspx#occupancy" target="_blank">occupancy​</a> fell from 80.2 percent in December 2019 to 71.3 percent, where it has roughly remained since early September.&#160;</li><li>Personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns and gloves, are a significant driver of costs, as well as surveillance testing, additional staff and hero pay for workers. These are essential expenditures, but have contributed heavily to overburdened budgets.&#160;</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div>Without meaningful reform, the entire long term care sector will be in jeopardy. An August <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Survey-SNF-COVID-Costs.pdf" target="_blank">survey</a> conducted by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found that more than half of nursing homes are currently operating at a loss and 72 percent of operators say they won’t be able to sustain operation another year at the current pace.</div><div><br></div><div>Coast to coast, long term care residents are being forced to uproot and find alternative care. Facilities in <a href="https&#58;//www.kcra.com/article/woodland-nursing-home-covid-19-close-ceo/33395043" target="_blank">California</a>, <a href="https&#58;//newcountry991.com/estes-park-nursing-home-faces-possible-closure/" target="_blank">Colorado</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2020/07/nursing-home-employees-shocked-after-learning-about-facilitys-closure-in-mlive-article.html" target="_blank">Michigan</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.unionleader.com/news/health/merrimack-assisted-living-facility-closing-its-doors/article_ac8b9f8b-ee5e-55cf-a155-0ddc4d46c2ac.html" target="_blank">New Hampshire</a>, <a href="https&#58;//westchester.news12.com/105yearold-ossining-nursing-home-to-close-doors-for-good-42409607" target="_blank">New York</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.wpri.com/health/coronavirus/providence-nursing-home-to-close-citing-covid-19-losses/" target="_blank">Rhode Island</a> have announced permanent closures or have warned that closures are on the horizon.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Glen Roebuck, executive director of home, outpatient and senior services at Genesis Health explained how potential nursing home closures will have a detrimental effect on rural residents in particular. In an <a href="https&#58;//www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2020/10/25/nursing-homes-problems-create-big-risk-local-governments/3732572001/" target="_blank">op-ed</a> in the Des Moines Register he writes&#58;</div><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div style="text-align&#58;left;">“When the rural nursing home closes, children and spouses are forced to drive sometimes more than 50 miles to the nearest facility where their loved one may need to move. Both the nursing home resident and their family are negatively impacted by the closure and a forced move. The closure of rural nursing homes leaves a much larger impact on the small, local economy.”&#160;</div></blockquote><div><br></div><div>CARES Act funding has helped long term care providers with COVID-related costs, but more must be done – especially with a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Warn-of-Third-Spike-of-COVID-Cases-Due-to-Community-Spread.aspx" target="_blank">third spike</a> in cases looming. AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson recently told <a href="https&#58;//skillednursingnews.com/2020/10/parkinson-cares-act-will-keep-nursing-homes-above-water-in-2020-but-closures-loom-in-2021/" target="_blank">Skilled Nursing News</a>&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“If we don’t get assistance beyond that point, beyond the end of 2020 into 2021, that’s when you’re going to see that large percentage of buildings that say that they’re operating at a loss, that’s where you’re going to see potential closures.”</div></blockquote><div><br></div><div>As the demand for long term care grows, ensuring a stable financial footing will enable providers to continue delivering the high-quality care that our nation’s seniors depend on. A good place to start is by making sure Medicaid reimbursement rates keep up with the cost of care.&#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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br><br></div>Medicaid is the primary payer for nursing homes, covering more than 60 percent of all nursing home residents and approximately 50 percent of costs for all long term care services.
Preventing Community Spread Of COVID-19 Will Help Shield Long Term Care Residents From Potential Outbreaksaspx10/27/2020 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The rise in COVID-19 cases across the country could lead to a third spike in cases in long term care facilities. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is urging members of the public to help keep community spread down in order to protect long term care residents and staff from the virus.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Oct19-2020.pdf" target="_blank">data</a> from Johns Hopkins and the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that weekly nursing home cases rose in late September for the first time in seven weeks after new cases declined significantly throughout August and early September. According to Johns Hopkins, COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 62,139 cases per week in late September correlating with an uptick in nursing home cases during the week of September 27.</div><div><br></div><div>Academic experts have repeatedly noted that the rate of spread within a surrounding community is a key factor in the likelihood of an outbreak in a long term care facility. Dr. David Grabowski, professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School recently <a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=eadb4758b672452ca212af81dd0943d5&amp;_e=fvRdsBYHjIKDS91h2BAFLfmMSMncxtM3dXAGULwVLphSbP989Pb_oTaBVMWMtWA0t8Qr1niABE4CWiwSmWKXV9OafHQ7lewBiguuXithMgsr8uaHz5R8gZjyRc_dySCpeMcU0xkyD-eNpuZpniuCgeLeh3zXTlvqovkXPvhnuh9q_BpeEjzfX33a_Iq4tmzowht507hr2lTvlWfI7gHM91-4v8y3EVCoI9ZwNbFmOLKEFPKbf-k3WLjfxSXlExjmIiKmpF7TTGOuzqMc8MfiR7p5fMHyne-odrKkQGVy--gHSJsqJBGcPyjHi8GsLjclwpl9aIpolqQ8OBWm5_O9gJLOPB_QPR9mzBQRsUPrs0j6UUZjPUQeQU62TBIVIlvc5YI8kzYzW8rxN6qPHMOkzY9" target="_blank">stated</a>, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.</div><div><br></div><div>In an interview in The Hill, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson <a href="https&#58;//thehill.com/policy/healthcare/522694-nursing-homes-prepare-for-third-covid-19-surge" target="_blank">explained</a> how the virus can infiltrate nursing homes once it’s present within the general population. He said, “In virtually every community in the country there’s a lot of COVID in the general population and when our workers go home at night or go into the community … our workers are exposing themselves to the possibility that they could catch COVID. Every single day in a nursing home is a major test.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>American Enterprise Institute Resident Fellow Alex Brill also pointed out, “Kids are giving it to their moms or dads who are nursing home staff, or grandkids are giving it to grandma or grandpa — those are both risks that exist.”</div><div><br></div><div>This is not a hypothetical situation. The Washington Post <a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=eadb4758b672452ca212af81dd0943d5&amp;_e=pXkQWp-VxNmy2jWAcIKLuGs2yH3GYpCQB8wGpxY1wDivTI4y_r_8tzoxq2vWoOHHvnrrFTbfu0evVRx_K17IExJtdup3RnuVef1sEaRg0wl7MYntTi0KTBQY7lWpcQESUb8AxI2zyOPlmDJ4cHtrjsh5AJ4gCx2ayOxPkC-AnkNP9mSvpQXenEBwvQQBQAmij_GjtzkntkHdHlxI5-rvi6U-ecyJ3ar_E4fTFYm9ry86JGDyh58YynVfaqURhHVInUDCgK0NugUwuqXqLzzmQP0o3oFDsnD-sQOWzgD33d9qn51RakPpEnYY23ZYnWB8CwtnTE52Pd8Pgz5Xhj4RmzGyo3ZLJpvWNIvu0BPomns%3D" target="_blank">reports​</a> that a rise in COVID-19 cases among the predominant student population in La Crosse, Wisconsin has led to an outbreak in the city’s nursing homes. Nursing homes in La Crosse had not experienced any COVID deaths for most of 2020, but a “wildfire of infection” has spread throughout the college town and has led to a number of fatalities in recent weeks.</div><div><br></div><div>That’s why nursing home operators are sounding the alarm. Ray Perkins, chief operating officer at Joplin, Missouri’s Christian Horizons, <a href="https&#58;//www.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/community-spread-challenges-nursing-homes/article_13ac0132-6966-51fc-8e23-470731aaa6f6.html" target="_blank">said</a> he’s concerned about the increasing rates across the country. Because of community spread, indoor visitation at the facility remains limited. While outdoor visits are currently allowed, changes in cases in the community could potentially end them for a certain period of time.</div><div>&#160;</div><div>In order to prevent a third spike, members of the public must make a concerted effort to keep the virus from spreading among within their communities. The simplest way people can do their part is to wear a mask. Parkinson said, “It’s [a third spike] still preventable but it will require the public to do something that it has been unable to do until now, which is to show the discipline needed to stop the virus from spreading.&quot;</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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br><br></div>The rise in COVID-19 cases across the country could lead to a third spike in cases in long term care facilities.
Congress Must Provide Additional Relief Funds For Long Term Care Providersaspx10/26/2020 4:00:00 AM<p>​<span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">As discussions around the next stimulus bill continue, the health of millions of long term care residents and staff is at stake. Billions of dollars are on the line to help the country address the impact of COVID-19, and the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is <a href="https&#58;//www.wusa9.com/article/features/producers-picks/nursing-homes-worry-about-new-spike-in-deaths-as-cases-rise-again/65-02a75503-ed90-403a-bb27-0bf8edc0ab6e" target="_blank">encouraging</a> lawmakers to legislate and pass a relief package. In July, AHCA/NCAL <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Request-Priority-and-Funding-From-Congress-in-Next-COVID-Bill-to-Protect-Residents-and-Caregivers.aspx" target="_blank">requested priority</a> in the next stimulus bill, including&#58;&#160;</span></p><div><ul><li>A two-pronged approach to testing that provides financial support for increased and prioritized testing for providers and residents.</li><li>An additional $100 billion to the Provider Relief Fund with a substantial portion dedicated to long term care.</li><li>​Vaccine priority to residents and staff.</li></ul></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Most of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided in April by the CARES Act has already been distributed, but long term care providers will need additional funding to continue fighting the virus – especially with new COVID cases now rising among the general population in the majority of the country.</span><br></div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Oct19-2020.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> last week that showed that a third spike in cases could occur in long term care facilities due to increasing community spread. Recent data from Johns Hopkins and the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that weekly nursing home cases rose in late September for the first time in seven weeks after new cases dropped significantly throughout August and early September. According to Johns Hopkins, COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 62,139 cases per week in late September correlating with an uptick in nursing home cases during the week of September 27.</div><div><br></div><div>With a third spike looming, long term care providers need reinforced support. Adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gowns, gloves and N95 masks, and timely testing are the most effective ways to keep residents and staff safe. These supplies are especially important as some states move to resume visitation. But these resources come with considerable costs, which is why additional funding from Congress is so critical.</div><div>&#160;</div><div>Without replenishing funds, the country could repeat the same mistakes that were made during the initial outbreak in the spring and the major spike over the summer. Nursing homes and assisted living communities could find themselves unprepared for the challenges of the upcoming winter season, which could inevitably result in an uptick in new COVID cases.&#160; &#160;</div><div><br></div><div>We cannot forget that the virus still poses a considerable threat to long term care residents and staff. Congress must prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers by passing another bill as soon as possible. The funding long term care providers have received thus far has helped, but without another round of funding, providers risk losing the progress they’ve made.&#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> or <a href="/Assisted-Living/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ncal.org</a>.<br></div>As discussions around the next stimulus bill continue, the health of millions of long term care residents and staff is at stake.