Press Releases

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Transforming Long Term Care: Strengthening and Supporting Our Workforceaspx4/19/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><br></p><div>This week is <a href="https&#58;//www.geron.org/programs-services/careers-in-aging-week" target="_blank">Careers in Aging Week</a>, and the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is shining a light on the long term care workforce. Strengthening and supporting the long term care workforce is one of the four strategies laid out in the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act​</a>, a comprehensive policy proposal announced by AHCA and LeadingAge.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Workforce recruitment and retention has been a persistent challenge for long term care providers for years. There is an ongoing shortage of trained caregivers for a variety of critical roles. Although nurses and nurse aides are among the fastest growing occupations, supply is not keeping up with demand.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL has been calling attention to staffing shortages for years, including testifying before Congress twice in 2019. Now, the workforce crisis has worsened amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Illness or lack of childcare options forced many staff members to miss work, leaving those who were able to work stretched thin.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The Care for Our Seniors Act offers a multi-tiered approach to attract, retain and develop the long term care workforce leveraging federal, state, and academic entities. Proposed solutions include&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Financial assistance&#58;&#160;</strong></div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Provide student loan forgiveness for licensed health care professionals who are new graduates and work in long term care.&#160;</div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Develop assistance programs for affordable housing, housing down payments, and childcare.&#160;</div><div dir="ltr" style="text-align&#58;left;">•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Provide career ladder scholarships that would encourage staff to work their way into the registered nurse (RN) or other positions in aging services.&#160;<br></div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Funding for universities who have shown graduation rates with direct correlation to long term care hires with retention of two years or more.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Regulatory solutions&#58;&#160;</strong></div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Create a pathway (including training and testing) for temporary nurse aides allowed by the current Public Health Emergency to become certified nurse aides.&#160;</div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Ensure the Nurse Licensure Compact is available in every state to be able to &quot;share&quot; RNs across state borders.&#160;</div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Expedite the progression in licensed practical nurse to RN bridge programs to increase the number of RNs.&#160;</div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Pass common-sense immigration reform that increases opportunities for foreign-born individuals to work in the long term care profession.&#160;Expand the ability for international nurses to come to the United States.&#160;<br></div><div><br></div><div>With a rapidly growing aging population, now is the time for substantive reform. The federal government estimates nearly 27 million people will need some kind of long term care by 2050. Our workforce must be prepared to meet this demand. We are ready to work collaboratively with Members of Congress to implement meaningful solutions that will help recruit and retain more health care heroes to serve in long term care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Read more about the workforce proposals in the Care for Our Seniors Act <a href="/Advocacy/Documents/Workforce-Strategies.pdf" target="_blank">HERE​</a>.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>This week is Careers in Aging Week, and AHCA/NCAL is shining a light on the long term care workforce.
Long Term Care Providers Urge Members of the Public to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus and #GetVaccinatedaspx4/14/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The number of COVID-19 cases across the country is <a href="https&#58;//www.cnn.com/2021/04/08/health/us-coronavirus-thursday/index.html" target="_blank">rising at an alarming rate</a>, and the long term care industry is concerned that it may cause a correlating spike of new cases in nursing homes and assisted living communities. Even though the vaccine was prioritized for long term care residents and staff and yielded a sharp decline in nursing home cases and deaths, the pandemic persists, and we are not yet out of the woods, industry officials warn.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Increasing cases in the community can have a devastating impact on long term care residents and staff. <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Analysis-COVID-Outbreaks-in-Nursing-Homes.pdf" target="_blank">Independent research</a> from our nation’s top academic institutions and the federal government indicate that the rate of spread within a surrounding community is a primary factor in the likelihood of an outbreak in a nursing home.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The latest <a href="/Data-and-Research/Pages/default.aspx#covid-dashboard" target="_blank">data</a> from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that as of March 30, 177 counties in the U.S. have a community positivity rate of higher than 10 percent, a 43 percent increase in three weeks. More than 1,100 nursing homes are in those 177 counties. This is nearly double the amount of nursing homes in red counties from the previous week, which was 620.&#160;<br></div><div><br></div><div><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Long-Term-Care-Providers-Urge-Members-of-the-Public-to-Slow-the-Spread-of-Coronavirus-and-GetVaccinated/County-Positivity-Classification.png" alt="County-Positivity-Classification.png" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><br></div><p>​</p><div>“This is not the time to let our guard down,” said <strong>Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).</strong> “We call on members of the public to respect our elders by doing their part&#58; wear a mask, avoid large groups of people, practice social distancing, and get vaccinated as soon as you are able. We understand that everyone is tired of this pandemic, but it is our most vulnerable who pay the ultimate price by our complacency. We must remain vigilant, and together, we can protect our nation’s seniors and end this nightmare.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Local reports have already begun to <a href="https&#58;//www.mcknights.com/news/covid-19-variant-fuels-outbreak-among-nursing-home-residents-vaccinated-or-not/" target="_blank">trickle in</a> and industry officials are concerned more will soon arise. Specific causes for new cases and deaths in nursing homes and other long term care facilities can be determined by state public health officials, but some of the reasons may include&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>The time it takes for vaccinated individuals to develop protective antibodies, which usually takes 10-14 days. Residents could be become infected with COVID during this window of time.&#160;</li><li>The vaccines do not always prevent infection from happening, but they are extremely effective at preventing symptomatic disease. Therefore, some residents may test positive during regular, surveillance testing, but never develop symptoms.&#160;</li><li>The vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing severe illness (90-95 percent), but they are still not 100 percent. Given that millions have been vaccinated and the ongoing spread of the virus, it is possible that vaccinated individuals may contract COVID.&#160;</li><li>Long term care residents were not included in the vaccine clinical trials, so we must continue to monitor their efficacy among this population. AHCA/NCAL <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/CDC-Letter-Vaccines-Reopening.pdf" target="_blank">wrote</a> to the CDC in February urging that vaccine research on the long term care population be prioritized.&#160;</li><li>While there is promising data about the vaccines’ ability to prevent transmission—not just severe illness—of the virus, this is still being determined by scientists and experts.&#160;</li><li>The rise of new variants of the vaccine continue to remain a threat, especially if community spread remains rampant, more variants will continue to emerge.&#160;</li><li>According to CMS guidance for nursing homes, indoor visitation is allowed, no matter the vaccination status of residents or visitors.&#160;</li><li>​While a vast majority of residents were vaccinated during the on-site clinics that took place between December and March, not every resident was vaccinated and new, unvaccinated residents are being admitted on a regular basis.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div>Industry officials are particularly <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/With-Johnson-%26-Johnson-Vaccine-Paused,-the-Long-Term-Care-Industry-Urges-Federal-Officials-to-Prioritize-Residents,-Staff-f.aspx" target="_blank">concerned</a> about the lack of steady, rapid access to additional vaccines, especially with federal officials pausing the use of the Johnson &amp; Johnson vaccine yesterday, which was primarily being allocated to long term care through partnering pharmacies. Nursing homes frequently accept new patients from the hospital, and assisted living communities welcome new residents from the community, and many of these individuals may not yet be vaccinated.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“There is this notion among some that vaccines were administered in long term care, so we’re done, and that would be a perilous mistake,” said <strong>Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer of AHCA/NCAL.</strong> “We need federal and state public health officials to continue to prioritize long term care for vaccine allocations and other support for the foreseeable future and until this virus is eradicated.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The long term care industry also recognizes the addressing vaccine hesitancy is critical. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AHCA/NCAL launched the <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/">#GetVaccinated</a> campaign to help educate residents, staff and families about the vaccines and help reach their nationwide goal of getting <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Set-Goal-To-Get-75-Percent-Of-Staff-Vaccinated-By-June-30.aspx" target="_blank">75 percent</a> of all staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021. Education is proving to be an effective approach, and vaccine uptake and confidence is increasing. A recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/New-Survey-Finds-94-Percent-Increase-In-Willingness-Of-Long-Term-Care-Staff-To-Take-COVID-19-Vaccine.aspx" target="_blank">survey</a> from OnShift shows that staff willingness to get the vaccine has increased by 94 percent since December.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>While the vaccines are the best hope we have to ending the pandemic as quickly as possible, we also need members of the public to help flatten the curve. Public health officials must also continue to keep long term care its top priority for resources and support, so we can protect our most vulnerable citizens and heroic caregivers.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong>&#160;</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>The number of COVID-19 cases across the country is rising at an alarming rate, and the long term care industry is concerned that it may cause a correlating spike of new cases in nursing homes and AL communities.
With Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Paused, the Long Term Care Industry Urges Federal Officials to Prioritize Residents, Staff for Other Approved Vaccinesaspx4/13/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/04/13/johnson-and-johnson-vaccine-blood-clots/" target="_blank">news today</a> of federal officials calling for a pause on the use of the Johnson &amp; Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has left nursing homes and assisted living communities questioning how they will acquire COVID-19 vaccines for their residents and staff. Long term care industry officials are calling on the Biden Administration to promptly allocate Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to these settings in order to fill the gap caused by the Johnson &amp; Johnson pause.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Unfortunately, today’s development essentially halts vaccinations in long term care, as the federal government was primarily allocating the Johnson &amp; Johnson vaccine to nursing homes and assisted living communities,” said Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). “Without swift action to replace these vaccines, we could see tragic consequences. We appreciate federal and state officials ensuring our most vulnerable and their caregivers have steady and rapid access to vaccines.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Long term care facilities are working with long term care pharmacies to facilitate vaccinations for new and existing residents and staff, but as attention shifts to vaccinating more of the general population, vaccines for long term care are not always readily available. Last month, AHCA/NCAL sent letters to White House Senior Advisor <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/Joint-Letter-WhiteHouse-Vaccines.pdf" target="_blank">Andy Slavitt</a>, White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity <a href="https&#58;//leadingage.org/sites/default/files/Cameron%20Webb%20Letter_3921.pdf" target="_blank">Dr. Cameron Webb</a> and the <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/NGA-Letter-Vaccines-3.11.21.pdf" target="_blank">National Governors Association</a>, requesting that long term care residents and staff remain a priority for the vaccines as the next phase of distribution begins. The federal government had begun to allocate primarily Johnson &amp; Johnson vaccines to the long term care population, but not at the levels necessary to ensure all facilities and pharmacies had consistent and immediate access.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“There is this notion among some that vaccines were administered in long term care, so we’re done, and that would be a perilous mistake,” said Dr. David Gifford. “Nursing homes and assisted living communities have a constant flow of new residents, whether coming from the hospital or the community, and many of them haven’t been vaccinated yet. Long term care facilities also have new staff members and existing staff who have since decided to get vaccinated. We need federal and state public health officials to continue to prioritize long term care for vaccine allocations and other support for the foreseeable future and until this virus is eradicated.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Beyond new residents and staff members, the long term care industry is also working diligently to address vaccine hesitancy. AHCA/NCAL launched the <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated</a> campaign to help residents, staff and families make an informed decision about getting the COVID vaccine and, with LeadingAge, has a nationwide goal of getting <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Set-Goal-To-Get-75-Percent-Of-Staff-Vaccinated-By-June-30.aspx" target="_blank">75 percent</a> of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021. With <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/New-Survey-Finds-94-Percent-Increase-In-Willingness-Of-Long-Term-Care-Staff-To-Take-COVID-19-Vaccine.aspx" target="_blank">increasing vaccine confidence among staff</a>, long term care providers remain confident that we can meet this goal as long as access to the vaccines remains viable.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Public health officials must continue to prioritize long term care for vaccines, so we can protect our most vulnerable citizens and their heroic caregivers.&#160;<br><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>The news today of federal officials calling for a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has left nursing homes and AL communities questioning how they will acquire COVID-19 vaccines for their residents and staff.
Now is the Time to Reimagine and Reinvest in America’s Nursing Homesaspx4/12/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated systemic issues in America’s long term care system, such as workforce shortages, chronic underfunding and aging physical plants. More than five million seniors and individuals with disabilities each year rely on the round-the-clock care and enriching social environment in long term care facilities. They deserve the highest quality care, and long term care industry officials are calling for meaningful, bold reforms.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> to address some of the long-standing issues in America’s nursing homes and improve the overall quality of care. There are four main principles&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li><strong>​Clinical&#58;</strong> Enhance the quality of care in nursing homes by developing robust standards for infection preventionists, requiring that each nursing home have a registered nurse on-staff, 24 hours per day, and requiring a minimum 30-day supply of personal protective equipment in all nursing homes.&#160;</li><li><strong>Workforce&#58;</strong> Strengthen and support our frontline caregivers by implementing a multi-phase tiered approach to attract, retain and develop more long term care professionals leveraging federal, state and academic institutions.&#160;</li><li><strong>Oversight&#58;</strong> Establish a more resident-driven system that is focused on improvement to ensure nursing homes are in compliance and providing high quality care. This would include implementing a process to help turn around or close facilities that are chronic poor performers and adding customer satisfaction to the government’s five-star rating system to help guide potential residents and family members.&#160;</li><li><strong>Structural&#58;</strong> Modernize nursing homes by conducting a national study on how to shift to more private rooms, which promote resident privacy, autonomy and dignity, as well as support infection control best practices.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div>Lawmakers must support seniors no matter which setting they choose or is deemed most appropriate for their care needs. AHCA and its sister organization, the National Center for Assisted (NCAL), applauds the Biden Administration for taking steps to expand home- and community-based services (HCBS), such as in assisted living communities, in its <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/04/02/caregiving-elderly-white-house-infrastructure/" target="_blank">American Jobs Plan</a>. However, the plan does not provide support for nursing homes. It is critical that Congress and the Administration not only look at ways at expanding HCBS but support those settings that care for more clinically complex individuals.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>More than half of long term care residents are over the age 85 and suffer from multiple chronic diseases, including dementia. Residents depend on dedicated staff to help them with daily activities, monitor their clinical conditions, facilitate critical therapy, and offer life-affirming social activities. Not all individuals can receive this care at home, and what’s best for the individual is often what is most cost effective to government payers—as individuals who receive long term care in the appropriate setting are less likely to make frequent, expensive trips to the hospital.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>We can and must do both&#58; expand HCBS and reimagine America’s nursing homes. But we need a proper investment in our nation’s seniors and individuals with disabilities to do it. Many of the challenges nursing homes are facing is due to chronic underfunding of Medicaid. With the proper government support, nursing homes can invest in their workforce, clinical services, and infrastructure to continue to improve residents’ quality of life. The Care For Our Seniors Act includes immediate and long-term strategies to address Medicaid underfunding for nursing homes.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>We must not let something like the pandemic happen in long term care ever again, and we must prepare for a growing elderly population. AHCA/NCAL is eager to work collaboratively with the Biden Administration and Congress to implement significant reforms that will protect and improve the lives of our nation’s seniors.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>To learn more, please visit <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated systemic issues in America’s long term care system, such as workforce shortages, chronic underfunding and aging physical plants.
Nursing Homes Face Imminent Closures Without Financial Support from Congressaspx4/8/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Nursing homes across the country are in economic turmoil. Long-standing financial shortfalls, largely due to Medicaid underfunding, have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the pandemic has worsened chronic workforce shortages and has contributed to a drastic decline in patient census. Many nursing homes were already operating at a loss, and without immediate financial assistance, closures are imminent.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>As Modern Healthcare <a href="https&#58;//www.modernhealthcare.com/post-acute-care/pandemic-prompts-rethinking-long-term-care-models" target="_blank">reports</a>, “The pandemic has thrown the long-term care industry into a tailspin.” Andy Edeburn, a principal at consulting organization Premier, said, “Not all nursing homes are going to come back,” and added, “I don’t know that the nursing home industry will ever go back to the way it was … It’s an industry in crisis for a number of reasons.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) <a href="https&#58;//d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ahca/attachments/protect%20access%20to%20long%20term%20care_ib.pdf" target="_blank">estimates</a> that within a two-year period (2020-2021), the long term care industry will lose $94 billion due to the increased costs needed to fight the pandemic and declining revenues. For example, in 2020 alone, nursing homes spent roughly $30 billion on personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional staffing.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Nursing homes experienced fewer short-term stays amid the pandemic, such as patients coming from the hospital for physical therapy and rehabilitation. From 2020 to 2021, nursing home occupancy declined by 16.5 percent to 68.5 percent.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>More than <a href="https&#58;//d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ahca/attachments/protect%20access%20to%20long%20term%20care_ib.pdf" target="_blank">1,600 nursing homes</a> could close this year as a result of mounting financial challenges. Closures have a devastating impact on residents, their families, and staff. When a nursing home closes, vulnerable seniors are uprooted from their communities and forced to find new care options. The average age of a nursing home resident is 85 – most of whom have multiple underlying health conditions. These residents require a high level of specialized care that in-home care is often unable to provide.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="https&#58;//www.mcknights.com/news/clinical-news/nursing-home-advocates-urge-24-hour-nurses-ppe-mandates-in-sweeping-reform-agenda/" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> – a package of policy reforms that will help address many of the long-standing challenges in America’s nursing homes. However, implementation will not be possible without a significant investment from Congress and state governments – this includes immediate and long-term solutions to address chronic Medicaid underfunding. Sixty percent of nursing home residents rely on Medicaid for their daily care, and without a commitment from lawmakers to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, most nursing homes will be unable to afford the substantive reforms required to continue improving quality of care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Nursing homes care for our nation’s most vulnerable population, and demand for long term care services will only increase in the years to come. Without support from federal and state lawmakers, financial challenges will continue. We must work together to improve nursing home care and ensure all seniors have access to high-quality long term care options.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>Nursing homes across the country are in economic turmoil.
AHCA Statement on Proposed Rule for Skilled Nursing Facilities’ Medicare Rates and Vaccination Reporting Requirementsaspx4/8/2021 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) FY 2022 proposed rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today.&#160;&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“CMS proposes to increase Medicare rates to skilled nursing facilities 1.3 percent in the next fiscal year which would result in an increase of approximately $444 million in Medicare Part A payments to SNFs in FY 2022.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Nursing homes across the country continue to dedicate extensive resources to protect their residents and staff from COVID-19. This ongoing work makes government support and robust reimbursement rates more important than ever. With the skilled nursing profession grappling with an economic crisis and hundreds of facilities on the brink of closure due to the pandemic, it is critical that Medicare remain a reliable funding source and reflect the increasing costs providers are facing.&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“We also recognize the importance of quality measures associated with COVID-19 including a proposed measure of the COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage among health care personnel. We thank Acting Administrator Richter and the Administration for their support through the pandemic.”</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA, made the following statement regarding the SNF PPS FY 2022 proposed rule released by CMS today.
Long Term Care Providers Continue To Encourage Staff And Residents To Get Vaccinatedaspx4/7/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The COVID-19 vaccines provide hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us. As distribution continues, long term care providers remain focused on encouraging residents and staff to get vaccinated. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched the <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated</a> campaign to help educate residents, staff and families about the vaccines and help reach their nationwide goal of getting <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Set-Goal-To-Get-75-Percent-Of-Staff-Vaccinated-By-June-30.aspx" target="_blank">75 percent</a> of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Vaccine education is proving to be an effective approach to increasing uptake, particularly among staff. Following AHCA/NCAL’s #GetVaccinated campaign, a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/New-Survey-Finds-94-Percent-Increase-In-Willingness-Of-Long-Term-Care-Staff-To-Take-COVID-19-Vaccine.aspx" target="_blank">survey</a> from OnShift shows that staff willingness to get the vaccine has increased by 94 percent since December.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The <a href="https&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2021/03/28/health/nursing-home-covid-19-vaccine.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a> reported how one facility in Washington, D.C. successfully improved vaccine confidence and uptake. Less than half of staff at Forest Hills of D.C. chose to take the vaccine in January, but by March, nearly 80 percent had accepted. Tina Sandri, the facility’s chief executive, credited a multi-pronged approach tailor made to understanding and addressing each employee’s questions, concerns and motivations as the key to persuading more staff to get vaccinated.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that the vaccines are working. A recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Mar7-2021.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> by AHCA/NCAL shows a 96 percent decline in COVID cases and a 91 percent decline in COVID deaths in nursing homes since mid-December when the on-site vaccination clinics in long term care began. This vast improvement has made it possible for residents to begin safely reuniting with their loved ones in person and reengage in meaningful activities with other residents.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>It is critical that long term care facilities have ongoing and rapid access to the vaccines in order to accommodate new and existing residents and staff who want to get vaccinated. Last month, AHCA/NCAL sent letters to White House Senior Advisor <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/Joint-Letter-WhiteHouse-Vaccines.pdf" target="_blank">Andy Slavitt</a>, White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity <a href="https&#58;//leadingage.org/sites/default/files/Cameron%20Webb%20Letter_3921.pdf" target="_blank">Dr. Cameron Webb</a> and the <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/NGA-Letter-Vaccines-3.11.21.pdf" target="_blank">National Governors Association</a>, requesting that long term care residents and staff remain a priority for the vaccines as the next phase of distribution begins. Fortunately, federal and many state officials have allocated and prioritized additional vaccines for long term care, but AHCA/NCAL will be monitoring this as attention shifts to vaccinating more of the general population.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>While we have made considerable progress, we must remain vigilant. We must continue to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated and ensure every individual has the resources to make an informed decision. We must also continue to keep long term care first, so we can protect our most vulnerable citizens and heroic caregivers.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</strong><br></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>The COVID-19 vaccines provide hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us.
Long Term Care Sector Calls for Support for America’s Nursing Homesaspx4/6/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div>Systemic issues facing America’s nursing homes have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for reform. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, lawmakers must shift their focus on improving long term care options for our seniors.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>President Biden has released the <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/04/02/caregiving-elderly-white-house-infrastructure/" target="_blank">American Jobs Plan</a>, which proposes $400 billion in spending on home or community-based care. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) welcomes the Biden Administration taking steps to support senior care. However, the plan does not provide support for nursing homes. As nursing homes face ongoing Medicaid underfunding and workforce shortages, it is critical that lawmakers dedicate funding and resources for this important sector of long term care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> to address some of the long-standing issues in America’s nursing homes and improve the overall quality of care. There are four main principles&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Clinical&#58; Enhance the quality of care in nursing homes by developing robust standards for infection preventionists, requiring that each nursing home have a registered nurse on-staff, 24 hours per day, and requiring a minimum 30-day supply of personal protective equipment in all nursing homes.&#160;</li><li>Workforce&#58; Strengthen and support our frontline caregivers by implementing a multi-phase tiered approach to attract, retain and develop more long term care professionals leveraging federal, state and academic institutions.&#160;</li><li>Oversight&#58; Establish a more resident-driven system that is focused on improvement to ensure nursing homes are in compliance and providing high quality care. This would include implementing a process to help turn around or close facilities that are chronic poor performers and adding customer satisfaction to the government’s five-star rating system to help guide potential residents and family members.&#160;</li><li>Structural&#58; Modernize nursing homes by conducting a national study on how to shift to more private rooms, which promote resident privacy, autonomy and dignity, as well as support infection control best practices.&#160;​​<br></li></ul></div><div>These necessary reforms require a significant investment in our seniors and their long term care. Investment strategies include both immediate and long-term plans to help address chronic Medicaid underfunding of nursing homes, as 60 percent of residents rely on the program for their daily care. Moreover, nursing homes are now facing an economic crisis due to the pandemic, as providers have dedicated tens of billions of dollars to acquire the necessary testing, personal protective equipment and staff support to battle the virus. Without government support, thousands of nursing homes could close this year, and most nursing homes will be unable to afford meaningful change.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>In order to strengthen the entire long term care sector, we must apply the lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic. AHCA/NCAL is eager to work collaboratively with the Biden Administration and Congress to implement significant reforms that will protect our nation’s seniors, create meaningful jobs for caregivers, and prepare for a growing elderly population.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>To learn more, please visit <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>Systemic issues facing America’s nursing homes have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for reform.
Nursing Homes See 96 Percent Decline in COVID Cases Since Vaccine Rolloutaspx3/30/2021 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, released a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Mar7-2021.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a rapid decline in new COVID-19 cases thanks to initial vaccine allocations prioritized for nursing homes and called on Congress to consider the industry’s <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> to address systemic issues facing the nursing home sector and prevent another COVID-type crisis.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Recent CMS data shows that nursing homes have seen a 96 percent decline in new COVID cases among residents since the peak during the week of December 20 of last year when there were more than 30,000 new resident cases. Along with the lowest number of new COVID cases, AHCA/NCAL’s new report shows COVID related deaths in nursing homes declined by 91 percent since December 20, 2020.&#160;<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-96-Percent-Decline-In-COVID-Cases-Since-Vaccine-Rollout/CHART.jpg" alt="CHART.jpg" style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;margin&#58;5px 145px;" /><br></div><div><br><br>​<span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">“We are not out of the woods yet, but these numbers are incredibly encouraging and a major morale booster for frontline caregivers who have been working tirelessly for more than a year to protect our residents,” </span><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">said</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"> </span><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">. “This trend shows that when long term care is prioritized, as with the national vaccine rollout, we can protect our vulnerable elderly population. Now we need Congress to prioritize our nursing homes for the long-term by considering the initiatives in the </span><a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank" style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Care For Our Seniors Act</a><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"> to improve the quality of care for our residents.”&#160;</span></div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge, recently released the reform agenda, the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a>, to address long-standing challenges affecting the quality of care provided in America’s nursing homes. The organizations say the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated systemic issues impacting the nursing home sector, such as workforce shortages, aging physical plants and underfunded government reimbursements for care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> focuses on four key areas for improvement, which include enhancing the quality of care with enhanced standards for infection preventionists, requiring that each nursing home have a registered nurse on-staff, 24 hours per day and requiring a minimum 30-day supply of personal protective equipment in all nursing homes. The initiative also calls for a multi-phase, tiered approach to attract, retain and develop more long term care professionals leveraging federal, state and academic institutions.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>While recommending several new ways to improve oversight and processes to support better care and protect residents, the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> also aims to modernize nursing homes by looking at how the industry could shift to more private rooms, promoting resident privacy and supporting infection control best practices.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge say reform will be costly, but is long overdue. The nursing home sector has been facing a financial crisis for years even before COVID due to low Medicaid reimbursements, the primary coverage for nursing home residents. The <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> calls for an increase in federal Medicaid funds provided to states and bringing the Medicaid rate up to equal the cost of care. Currently, Medicaid only covers 70 to 80 percent of the costs to care for a nursing home resident.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“With a growing elderly population soon needing our services, the moment is now. We must pay tribute to all those who lost their lives to this vicious virus and resolve to bring forth a brighter future,” <strong>concluded Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL</strong>. “We have already seen what progress can be made when policymakers come together to make long term care residents a priority and through these reforms, we can significantly improve the quality of care for our current residents and generations to come.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>To learn more about the Care For Our Seniors Act, please visit <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>As COVID Cases in Nursing Homes Decline Rapidly, Industry Calls on Congress to Take on Needed Reform to Address Systemic Issues Facing Industry, Learn From On-Going CrisisAHCA/NCAL released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a rapid decline in new COVID-19 cases thanks to initial vaccine allocations prioritized for nursing homes.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following House Ways And Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearing On Private Equity In U.S. Health Systemaspx3/25/2021 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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement following the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Ninety-five percent of nursing homes in the United States were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and less than 10 percent of total nursing homes are owned by private equity firms. There are many factors that affect the quality of care in nursing homes, and focusing solely on ownership structure will not achieve better outcomes for residents and staff.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“In order to continue improving the overall quality of care, we must work toward solutions that increase our nation’s investment in our long term care facilities and incentivize providers to generate great outcomes. That’s why AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> – a package of reform proposals that will address long-standing challenges within our industry and usher in a stronger long term care system.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated systemic issues that our industry has been calling attention to for years, such as widespread workforce shortages and chronic Medicaid underfunding. The financial crisis nursing home providers are facing has left many struggling to keep their doors open and restricts them from being able to attract more workers, make enhancements to care delivery or modernize their structures. That is why a small number of providers have sought the help of private investors when they can barely stay afloat.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“As we begin to turn a corner in our fight against the pandemic, we now have an opportunity to create a brighter future for our seniors. We must apply the lessons we have learned from the past year to make substantive reform in our industry. We stand ready to work collaboratively with lawmakers to find solutions that will ensure our current residents and future residents have access to quality long term care options.&quot;&#160;</div><div>&#160;</div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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 the following statement following the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”
AHCA/NCAL Announces COVID-19 Honors Programaspx3/24/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Washington, DC</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"> –The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced today a new program to commemorate the heroic efforts of long term care staff during the pandemic. The AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program allows long term care facilities to recognize staff who battled COVID-19 on the frontlines, staff who contracted COVID-19 and survived, and those staff members who ultimately succumbed to the illness.<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>“In the face of COVID-19, our health care heroes are working around the clock to provide physical, psychological, and compassionate care to residents during this incredibly stressful time. Not only are these heroic staff providing one-on-one care, they are also filling the void of residents’ families and supporting them by giving them a shoulder to lean on. They are putting their lives on the line every day by coming to work to care for those most vulnerable to this virus, and we have seen their extraordinary commitment to residents during this pandemic. Tragically, too many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” </span><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">said AHCA/NCAL President &amp; CEO Mark Parkinson</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">.&#160;<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>“The AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program allows facilities to pay tribute to the phenomenal staff who were a beacon of light to their colleagues, residents, and the greater community. They are true heroes,” said Parkinson.&#160;<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>The AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program is open to any long term care facility, including non-AHCA/NCAL members. Honors include a pin for staff who fought COVID-19 in their building, a medal for staff members who developed COVID-19 and recovered, and in memory of those staff who lost their lives due the virus, a medal and a United States flag flown over the U.S. Capitol may be presented to their surviving loved ones. Interested facilities may order their desired honors for staff through the <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcapublications.org/products.asp?dept=39" target="_blank">AHCA/NCAL bookstore</a>.&#160;Plans for efforts to honor residents and their families are being formulated.​</span></p><div>&#160;</div><div><strong></strong></div><div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent 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></div>AHCA/NCAL announced today a new program to commemorate the heroic efforts of long term care staff during the pandemic.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Ahead of House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Private Equity in U.S. Health Systemaspx3/24/2021 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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement ahead of the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The COVID-19 pandemic affected 95 percent of nursing homes, regardless if they were nonprofit, for-profit or owned by private equity firms. In the long term care sector, private equity companies own less than 10 percent of nursing homes, and large investor acquisitions are decreasing. However, the small number of nursing homes that have turned to alternative revenue sources underscore the financial and staffing crisis that nursing homes are facing due to the fact that Medicaid does not cover the cost of care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Chronic Medicaid underfunding and unfunded government mandates have pushed many nursing home providers to the brink, making the average nursing home barely break even. Unfortunately, the pandemic has only worsened these financial challenges. For a small number of providers, private equity firms have been the only viable solution to prevent them from permanently closing their doors.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Rather than focus on ownership structure, we should focus on solutions that will increase our nation’s investment in long term care. AHCA/NCAL partnered with LeadingAge on the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a>, a package of reforms that will strengthen our profession and ensure the best outcomes for residents and staff. We remain committed to working with Members of Congress on meaningful changes that will improve the overall quality of care in our nursing homes.&quot;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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 the following statement ahead of the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”
New Survey Finds 94 Percent Increase in Willingness of Long Term Care Staff to Take COVID-19 Vaccineaspx3/23/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Like members of the public, long term care staff are becoming more confident in the COVID-19 vaccines. A <a href="https&#58;//www.streetinsider.com/Globe+Newswire/New+OnShift+Research+Reveals+94%25+Increase+in+Willingness+of+Long-Term+Care+and+Senior+Living+Employees+to+Take+the+COVID-19+Vaccine/18151858.html" target="_blank">new survey by OnShift</a> reveals that between December 2020 and March 2021, willingness of long term care staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine increased by 94 percent, and plans to decline decreased by 41 percent.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The survey also examined the reasons behind vaccination decisions and employee perceptions of the value of vaccine education. Additional key findings include&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>The respondents’ primary reasons for vaccination are to help prevent infection in family and friends (30 percent), to avoid getting COVID-19 themselves (13 percent) and to put an end to community lockdowns, gathering restrictions and/or virtual schooling (12 percent).&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>The respondents’ primary reasons for declining vaccination include concerns that the vaccine is too new (26 percent) and potential safety and side effects (23 percent). Another 10 percent believe getting the vaccine is unnecessary because they have already had COVID-19.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Sixty-two percent of respondents expressed their willingness to take the vaccine in the March 2021 survey, up from 32 percent in December 2020.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div>The results of the OnShift survey follow the launch of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living’s (AHCA/NCAL) #GetVaccinated campaign. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the campaign now has a dedicated website – <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">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 medical professionals, public health officials and scientists to help answer common questions about the vaccines among staff members and other individuals. The campaign also aims to help the nursing home industry reach its <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Set-Goal-To-Get-75-Percent-Of-Staff-Vaccinated-By-June-30.aspx" target="_blank">nationwide goal</a> to get 75 percent of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>In response to the survey, Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said, “This growing acceptance for the vaccines among long term care staff is extremely encouraging and echoes what we have heard from providers across the country who saw increasing uptake with each round of on-site vaccination clinics. Now, we need public health officials to ensure long term care is prioritized for a steady, ongoing allocation of vaccines for new hires and admissions as well as current residents and staff who have since decided to get the vaccine.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The vaccines have made a remarkable impact on long term care facilities thus far. A recent AHCA/NCAL <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Feb7-2021.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> showed an 82 percent decline in the number of new COVID cases in nursing homes since late December when cases were at their peak. Now, long term care facilities are seeing the lowest number of weekly cases since the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking back in May 2020.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL remains focused on ensuring that as many residents and staff get vaccinated as possible. They are partnering with other advocacy and professional organizations as part of the #GetVaccinated campaign, to help expand its reach, share materials and educate more long term care staff across the country on the vaccines’ safety and importance.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong>&#160;</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>Like members of the public, long term care staff are becoming more confident in the COVID-19 vaccines.
Long Term Care Sector Advocates For Substantive Change With New Reform Agendaaspx3/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on many systemic issues facing nursing homes across the country. Ongoing challenges such as underfunded government funding for care, workforce shortages and aging physical structures have worsened throughout the pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for reform.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge released the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> to address some of these long-standing issues and improve the overall the quality of care provided in America’s nursing homes. The Care For Our Seniors Act includes four main principles with policy proposals in each of the key areas&#58;&#160;</div><div><span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span></div><div><ul><li>Clinical&#58; Enhance the quality of care in nursing homes by developing clearer standards for infection preventionists, requiring that each nursing home have a registered nurse on-staff, 24 hours per day, and requiring a minimum 30-day supply of personal protective equipment in all nursing homes.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Workforce&#58; Strengthen and support our frontline caregivers by implementing a multi-phase tiered approach to attract, retain and develop more long term care professionals leveraging federal, state and academic institutions.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Oversight&#58; Implement improvements establishing a more resident-driven system by developing an effective oversight system and processes that support better care and protect residents. This would include implementing a process to help turn around or close facilities that are chronic poor performers and adding customer satisfaction to the government’s five-star rating system to help monitor the quality of a facility for family members and guide consumer choice.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Structural&#58; Modernize nursing homes by conducting a national study on how to shift to more private rooms, which promote resident privacy, autonomy and dignity, as well as support infection control best practices.&#160;​<br></li></ul></div><div>Along with determining key areas that need improvement, AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed several interrelated investment strategies to help reinvest in America’s nursing homes to ensure quality care. Reform will be costly, but is long overdue. The investment strategies include&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ol><li>​Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (EFMAP)&#58; Increased federal Medicaid funds are provided to states to pay for the mandatory nursing facility benefit, with requirements that additional federal funds be used for nursing facility rates. <br><br></li><li>Federal Framework for &quot;Allowable Cost&quot; or &quot;Reasonable Cost&quot;&#58; Establish federal guidelines for state allowable cost definitions. <br><br></li><li>Medicaid Rate Adequacy Requirement&#58; Medicaid rates are brought up to equal the cost of care and subsequently updated regularly to keep pace with increases in costs of care. <br><br></li><li>State Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Committee &amp; Required Design Report&#58; The state will be required to form and maintain a state health plan and nursing facility VBP committee with specific guidelines and deadlines to submit reports. This offers the potential for additional resources.&#160;</li></ol></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Long term care facilities have experienced devastating losses throughout the past year, and now it’s time to apply the lessons we’ve learned to strengthen our industry. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Release-Reform-Agenda-To-Address-Systemic-Issues-Facing-Long-Term-Care-Sector,-Learn-From-On-Going-Crisis.aspx" target="_blank">said</a>, “With a growing elderly population soon needing our services, the moment is now. We must pay tribute to all those who lost their lives to this vicious virus and resolve to bring forth a brighter future.” AHCA is eager to begin working hand-in-hand with Congress to implement bold solutions that will ensure all seniors have access to high-quality long term care options.&#160;</span><br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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>The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on many systemic issues facing nursing homes across the country.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following Senate Finance Committee Hearing On COVID-19 In Nursing Homesaspx3/17/2021 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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement following the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s hearing, “A National Tragedy&#58; COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.”</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer of AHCA/NCAL&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>“Once again, we appreciate Members of the Senate Finance Committee holding this hearing and their important questions about how we can learn from this national tragedy and seek to improve the care provided in America’s nursing homes.</div><div><br></div><div>“One of these primary challenges is how to tackle the workforce crisis in long term care. The need to attract and retain more quality caregivers to serve our nation’s most vulnerable could not be more paramount than it is right now. While we support efforts to offer more competitive wages as well as increase the number of staff at the bedside, we cannot hope to accomplish this without a considerable investment in our long term care system.</div><div><br></div><div>“As a labor-intensive health care provider that relies almost entirely on government reimbursement (Medicare and Medicaid), nursing homes need the support of policymakers and resources to make workforce improvements. That is why the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a>—a reform plan we issued alongside LeadingAge—offers a comprehensive approach of how Congress and other policymakers can prioritize long term care in order to help our facilities better compete for highly dedicated and trained caregivers.</div><div><br></div><div>“We also seek to improve the care provided in nursing homes for our seniors and individuals with disabilities. The most important thing is to address poor care and incentivize better care. The Care For Our Seniors Act also looks at how we can address chronic poor performing facilities, no matter their business structure. We need to identify why certain facilities are persistently struggling, get involved with these facilities, and if they don’t improve, they should not continue to operate.</div><div><br></div><div>“We support transparency of federal resources directed to nursing homes. But the most meaningful way to improve care is by focusing on infection control and increasing our workforce availability, so more nurses and caregivers can help create great outcomes for residents.</div><div><br></div><div>“We look forward to a continued conversation with lawmakers on how we can work collaboratively to make nursing homes a priority, address these systemic challenges, and ensure a stronger long term care system moving forward.”</div><div><br></div><div>Read Dr. Gifford’s full written testimony to the committee <a href="/Advocacy/Testimony/Testimony/Dr.%20David%20Gifford%20Senate%20Finance%203.17.2021.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>released the following statement following the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s hearing, “A National Tragedy: COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.”