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Long Term Care Industry Urges HHS to Provide Extension for Provider Relief Fund Reportingaspx6/8/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Long term care facilities have been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic from the very beginning. To help fight the virus, nursing homes and assisted living communities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion in the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) established by the CARES Act.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>These federal dollars have gone towards critical resources such as personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, hiring additional workers, and providing hero pay and overtime wages. With this significant increase in expenditures, support from the PRF has been essential for long term care providers to maintain operations and keep their doors open.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>PRF recipients must report the to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) how their money was spent and return any unused funds by June 30, 2021. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) sent a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/HHS-Letter-PRF.pdf" target="_blank">letter</a> to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in April, requesting that the reporting deadline be extended to December 30, 2022. In the letter, AHCA/NCAL explains why an extension is needed&#58;&#160;<br><br></div><div><ul><li>Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and assisted living communities (ALCs) will experience ongoing higher operating costs while occupancy remains at record lows. The industry is expected to lose $94 billion over a two-year period (2020-2021) due to the skyrocketing costs to fight the pandemic. In 2020, nursing homes spent roughly $30 billion on PPE and additional staffing alone. Many SNFs and ALC providers faced financial struggles even before the pandemic, but the situation is becoming more dire with the industry anticipating record closures.</li></ul></div><div><br><ul><li>Declining occupancy has compounded financial challenges. SNF occupancy declined by 16.5 percent between January 2020 and January 2021. Occupancy rates for ALCs dropped to a record-low 77.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Our research estimates that more than 1,600 SNFs could close in 2021. A recent AHCA/NCAL member survey indicated that 56 percent of ALCs would not be able to maintain operations at current levels an additional 12 months without additional revenue or financial relief.</li></ul></div><div><br>Members of Congress also recognize the need for an extension. Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL-07) sent a <a href="/Reimbursement/Documents/Congressional%20PRF%20Request%20to%20HHS.pdf" target="_blank">letter</a> to Secretary Becerra specifically regarding long term care, citing the low Medicaid reimbursement rates and pandemic-related financial hardships that have negatively impacted long term care providers. The letter, which was co-signed by more than 50 Democrat and Republican Members of Congress, asked that the reporting deadline be extended to December 2022, and that an additional $10 billion from the PRF be allocated to long term care facilities. Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-IA-03) and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-02) also <a href="https&#58;//axne.house.gov/sites/axne.house.gov/files/Axne%20and%20Miller-Meeks%20PRF%20Deadline%20Letter%20to%20HHS.pdf" target="_blank">sent</a> a bipartisan letter to Secretary Becerra with nearly 80 co-signatures, requesting the June 30 deadline be extended for health providers. The American Hospital Association <a href="https&#58;//www.aha.org/lettercomment/2021-05-10-letter-americas-hospitals-and-health-systems-urging-hhs-extend-deadline" target="_blank">requested</a> an extension until the end of the public health emergency.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Restaurants have until 2023 to use COVID relief funding, and the federal government should take a similar approach with aid to health care providers. Although we have turned a corner on the pandemic, COVID-related measures, and therefore, costs will continue in the long term. Federal support has been instrumental in helping protect our vulnerable seniors and frontline caregivers. We must continue to rally around them and give them the support they need.</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><br></div>To help fight the virus, nursing homes and assisted living communities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion in the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) established by the CARES Act.
AHCA/NCAL Requests Extension for Provider Relief Fund Reportingaspx6/3/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The Provider Relief Fund (PRF) established by the CARES Act has been an instrumental resource for health care providers amid the pandemic. Long term care facilities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion in the PRF since the pandemic began, which has helped providers with the exorbitant costs associated with combating the virus. Personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, hiring additional workers and providing hero pay are just a few things the aid has helped pay for. For many providers, the funding was the difference between keeping their doors open or closing them for good.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Recipients of PRF funding are subject to reporting requirements set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS has set a deadline of June 30, 2021 for recipients to report how the PRF funds have been used and to return any unused funds.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) sent a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/HHS-Letter-PRF.pdf" target="_blank">letter</a> to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in April, requesting that the reporting deadline be extended to December 30, 2022. In the letter, AHCA/NCAL explains why the extension is needed&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and assisted living communities (ALCs) will experience ongoing higher operating costs while occupancy remains at record lows. The industry is expected to lose $94 billion over a two-year period (2020-2021) due to the skyrocketing costs to fight the pandemic. In 2020, nursing homes spent roughly $30 billion on PPE and additional staffing alone. Many SNFs and ALC providers faced financial struggles even before the pandemic, but the situation is becoming more dire with the industry anticipating record closures.<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Declining occupancy has compounded financial challenges. SNF occupancy declined by 16.5 percent between January 2020 and January 2021. Occupancy rates for ALCs dropped to a record-low 77.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Our research estimates that more than 1,600 SNFs could close in 2021. A recent AHCA/NCAL member survey indicated that 56 percent of ALCs would not be able to maintain operations at current levels an additional 12 months without additional revenue or financial relief.​<br></li></ul></div><div>AHCA/NCAL is not alone in requesting an extension. Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-IA-03) and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA-02) also sent a <a href="https&#58;//axne.house.gov/sites/axne.house.gov/files/Axne%20and%20Miller-Meeks%20PRF%20Deadline%20Letter%20to%20HHS.pdf" target="_blank">letter</a> to Secretary Becerra – co-signed by nearly 80 Republican and Democrat Members – asking that the June 30 deadline be extended for health providers to use the funds, and that remaining PRF funding be distributed as soon as possible. The American Hospital Association <a href="https&#58;//www.aha.org/lettercomment/2021-05-10-letter-americas-hospitals-and-health-systems-urging-hhs-extend-deadline" target="_blank">requested</a> that the deadline be extended until the end of the public health emergency.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Restaurants, which also experienced significant hardships over the course of the pandemic, have until 2023 to use COVID relief funding. AHCA/NCAL hopes that HHS takes the same approach with the PRF for health care providers.&#160; &#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Federal lawmakers rallied around long term care facilities and gave them some of the critical assistance they needed, but they still need support. COVID-related expenditures will remain constant for the foreseeable future. Extending the reporting deadline will help long term care providers maintain operations and continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens and frontline health care heroes.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</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 Provider Relief Fund established by the CARES Act has been an instrumental resource for health care providers amid the pandemic.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement in Support of the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Actaspx6/1/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> –&#160; The American Health Care Association and the 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 statement regarding the introduction of the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act.</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>&quot;We applaud Representatives Courtney, DelBene, Estes, and Glenn Thompson for introducing this important, bipartisan legislation today. The three-day hospital stay rule causes too many seniors who need follow-up care in a skilled nursing facility to be shackled with out-of-pocket costs in the thousands because they do not qualify for Medicare coverage. For years we have advocated to eliminate this confusing and devastating policy barrier.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The waiver of this requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency has benefitted thousands of Medicare beneficiaries and demonstrated that eliminating this policy can work. Now it is time this issue was fixed permanently. We greatly appreciate that this legislation will count observation stays toward the three-day stay requirement, ultimately helping our patients receive the quality care they deserve without worrying about how they're going to pay for it.&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) 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>AHCA/NCAL released a statement regarding the introduction of the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act.
AHCA Board of Governors Elects Two New Membersaspx5/25/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> –&#160; This week, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) expanded the size of its Board of Governors and elected two new members to at-large positions&#58; Reginald (Reggie) Hartsfield of Michigan and Tina Sandri of Washington, D.C. Hartsfield is president and owner of Advantage Living Centers, and Sandri is the chief executive officer of Forest Hills of D.C.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“We are fortunate to have Tina and Reggie joining our Board. They are both extraordinary leaders in long term care, and their knowledge and passion will be crucial for our sector during this extremely challenging time,” said AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson. “The long term care profession is facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts, and it is critical that our Board include new voices to help us navigate these difficult times and usher in a stronger, more inclusive future.”</div><div><br></div><div>Hartsfield has been in the long term care sector for over 20 years. His experience as a licensed nursing home administrator, owner, and operator adds great value to the AHCA Board. His company Advantage Living Centers includes 10 skilled nursing facilities and two assisted living communities. As an active leader at the state and national levels, Hartsfield is a proponent of high quality care, enhanced communication, and diverse viewpoints and inclusiveness. Prior to being appointed to the AHCA Board, Hartsfield served as Board Chairman for the Health Care Association of Michigan and on AHCA’s Independent Owner Council and Future Leaders.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>With more than 20 years of operations experience in health care, Sandri is committed to improving conditions for frontline caregivers and the public perception of careers in long term care. Sandri has diverse experience serving as a leader within hospitals, retirement communities, skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, and hospice care in for-profit, non-profit, chain and freestanding communities. Sandri also has extensive experience serving her community in civic, school and church organizations that focus on developing youth through immersive, hands-on experiential learning and community service.&#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) 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>Reginald Hartsfield and Tina Sandri Elected to AHCA Board of GovernorsAHCA expanded the size of its Board of Governors and elected two new members to at-large positions: Reginald (Reggie) Hartsfield of Michigan and Tina Sandri of Washington, D.C.
COVID-19 Vaccines Helping Long Term Care Facilities Rebound From The Pandemicaspx5/25/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><br></p><div>The COVID-19 vaccines represent a turning point for long term care facilities in their fight against the pandemic. New cases and deaths have declined dramatically, and facilities have begun safely reuniting residents with their loved ones and resuming social activities. As the U.S. House Energy &amp; Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee prepares to hold a <a href="https&#58;//energycommerce.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/hearing-on-a-shot-at-normalcy-building-covid-19-vaccine-confidence" target="_blank">hearing</a> this week on building vaccine confidence, it’s important to remember the positive impact the vaccines are making on long term residents and staff.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>A <a href="https&#58;//agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jgs.17224" target="_blank">study</a> published this month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by the Center for Health Policy and Evaluation in Long-Term Care (CHPE), the research division of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), confirms that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing new cases and deaths among residents and staff in long term care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>CHPE researchers found that these nursing homes experienced reduced spread of COVID-19 among both residents and staff as well as a decline in deaths among residents after their first vaccination clinics, especially five to six weeks after the clinics. Previous studies have confirmed effectiveness among the general population, but the CHPE study is the first to confirm effectiveness within nursing homes.</div><div><br></div><div>Vaccine confidence is also improving thanks to AHCA/NCAL’s national <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated</a> campaign. The campaign, launched with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has provided educational resources to help individuals make informed decisions about the vaccines, leading to an <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">increase in willingness</a> among long term care staff to get vaccinated. AHCA remains focused on reaching the industry’s goal to get <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>The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/AHCANCAL-Issues-Statement-Following-CMS-Interim-Final-Rule-Announcement.aspx" target="_blank">announced</a> that it will require all long term care facilities to report their vaccination rates. AHCA/NCAL, which has supported publicly reporting long term care vaccinations since the vaccines were first approved, said the data will help determine where additional support is needed. AHCA/NCAL has called on federal and state leaders to continue prioritizing long term care residents and staff for the vaccines, as facilities accept new residents and hire new staff members on an ongoing basis.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>There are many reasons to be optimistic, but the pandemic is not over. Those who are not vaccinated should do so as soon as they are able, and we must continue to educate the public about the benefits of the vaccine. In addition, lawmakers and public health officials must continue to put long term care first, so we can protect our seniors and health care heroes on the frontlines.</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>The COVID-19 vaccines represent a turning point for long term care facilities in their fight against the pandemic.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee Hearing On Workforce Shortages in Health Careaspx5/20/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a statement following the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor &amp; Pensions Committee hearing on workforce shortages in health care.</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>“Long term care workers are an essential part of our health care system. We thank <a href="https&#58;//www.help.senate.gov/hearings/a-dire-shortage-and-getting-worse-solving-the-crisis-in-the-health-care-workforce" target="_blank">Senator Collins</a> for bringing attention to the particular shortage of workers within the nursing home sector and how low Medicaid reimbursement rates hamper our ability to compete for medical professionals and caregivers. We are also encouraged that members of the committee recognize the need for an increased focus on geriatric medicine, given the rapid growth of our elderly population.</div><div><br></div><div>“From day one of the COVID-19 pandemic, heroic caregivers in our long term care facilities have stood on the front lines to protect our most vulnerable. Despite being forgotten at the outset, they worked day and night to protect our nation’s seniors and individuals with disabilities from this deadly disease. Their bravery and refusal to give up helped save lives.</div><div><br></div><div>“The long term care industry faced widespread staffing challenges long before the pandemic began. For years we have called on federal and state governments to implement policies that will help us recruit and retain more staff to our field. The pandemic has exacerbated these shortages, and employment in long term care is on a startling decline. The latest labor report shows that the health care sector lost about 19,500 nursing home and residential care jobs.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“There will be an increased demand for long term care services, and without more staff, we will be unable to meet that demand. It’s time for lawmakers to help us address this crisis. We and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care for Our Seniors Act</a>, which offers several solutions that will help us strengthen our workforce, and we support the reintroduction of the 2019 <a href="https&#58;//www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/2993" target="_blank">Ensuring Seniors Access to Quality Care Act</a> (S. 2993) to help retrain certified nursing assistants (CNAs). We are eager to work with lawmakers on these reforms that will create more meaningful jobs and ensure that America’s seniors receive the best care possible.”</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released a statement following the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing on workforce shortages in health care.
Addressing Shortfalls Within the Long Term Care Workforce Essential to Strengthening Nursing Homeaspx5/18/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Later this week the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor &amp; Pensions will hold a <a href="https&#58;//www.help.senate.gov/hearings/a-dire-shortage-and-getting-worse-solving-the-crisis-in-the-health-care-workforce" target="_blank">hearing</a> on workforce shortages in healthcare, a critically important focus for long term care providers across the country.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>A recent report in <a href="https&#58;//www.axios.com/nursing-home-jobs-b7266746-66bc-4b34-b508-eff8890b5bc5.html" target="_blank">Axios</a> sounded the alarm that health care employment is on the decline, with the nursing home industry in immediate danger. The article <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Strengthening-Long-Term-Care-Workforce-Key-To-Providing-Transformational-Change-In-Nursing-Homes.aspx" target="_blank">highlighted</a> “a drop of about 19,500 nursing and residential care facility jobs, according to the latest labor report.” This rapid decline in employment underscores the urgent need to invest in the long term care workforce to help attract and retain dedicated workers. This is especially important given our rapidly-growing elderly population and the anticipated increase in demand for long term care services.</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.</div><div><br></div><div>As members of Congress hold long overdue conversations about ways to strengthen the overall health care workforce, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge have released a comprehensive reform proposal, the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care for Our Seniors Act</a>, that offers several solutions to help build a strong long term care workforce. Solutions include&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Financial assistance&#58;&#160;</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.</div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Develop assistance programs for caregivers like affordable housing, housing down payments, and childcare.</div><div>•<span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span>Provide career ladder scholarships that would encourage staff to advance their career by becoming a registered nurse (RN) or other&#160;positions in aging services.</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.</div><div><br></div><div>Regulatory solutions&#58;&#160;&#160;</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.</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.</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.</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. Expand the ability for international nurses to come to the United States.</div><div><br></div><div>The long term care industry looks forward to working with lawmakers to strengthen the health care workforce to ensure every nursing home has the staff they need to provide the highest level of care to all residents.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>​.<br></div>Later this week the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions will hold a hearing on workforce shortages in healthcare, a critically important focus for long term care providers across the country.
New Study Shows Effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine in Nursing Home Settings, Reinforcing Need to Prioritize Residents and Staff for Ongoing Allocationsaspx5/13/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div>A new <a href="https&#58;//agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jgs.17224" target="_blank">study</a> published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by the Center for Health Policy and Evaluation in Long-Term Care (CHPE), the research division of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), finds that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing new cases and deaths among residents and staff in long term care. While previous studies have confirmed effectiveness among the general population, the CHPE study is the first to confirm effectiveness within nursing homes.</div><div><br></div><div>The study was conducted among 2,501 nursing homes that held a vaccine clinic from the first 17 states to initiate the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long‐Term Care Program. CHPE researchers found that these nursing homes experienced reduced spread of COVID-19 among both residents and staff as well as a decline in deaths among residents after their first vaccination clinics, especially five to six weeks after the clinics.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Marsida Domi, senior research analyst at CHPE and lead author of the study <a href="https&#58;//www.mcknights.com/news/clinical-news/nursing-home-study-is-first-to-affirm-feds-choice-to-prioritize-residents-staff-for-vaccines/" target="_blank">said</a>, “This data is extremely encouraging and shows that the vaccines are working,” and added that the results have positive implications for the future quality of life in nursing homes as the pandemic continues.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The results of the study confirm continued calls for vaccine prioritization for long term care residents and staff for the foreseeable future. AHCA/NCAL has asked federal and state leaders to ensure that long term care residents and staff remain first in line and have rapid access to the vaccines. Nursing homes and assisted living communities regularly accept new residents and hire new staff members – many of whom may not yet be vaccinated.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>With the findings of the study, ensuring as many residents and staff as possible get vaccinated has never been more important. AHCA/NCAL continues to promote vaccine education and uptake through their national <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated</a> campaign. The campaign, launched with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has helped improve vaccine confidence, leading to an <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">increase in willingness</a> among long term care staff to get vaccinated. AHCA is hopeful they will meet the industry’s nationwide goal to get <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;<br></div><div><br></div><div>In addition to support from federal and state governments, members of the public must also do their part to contain the virus, as outbreaks within the general population are a direct threat to long term care residents and staff. This means getting vaccinated as soon as they are able and continuing to practice CDC guidelines when it comes to social distancing and wearing masks.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>It has been a long road, but we cannot stop fighting until the pandemic is fully over. Lawmakers and public health officials must continue to make long term care their top priority for the vaccines and other resources, so we can protect our seniors and health care heroes on the frontlines.</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>A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by the CHPE finds that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing new cases and deaths among residents and staff in long term care.
Strengthening Long Term Care Workforce Key to Providing Transformational Change in Nursing Homesaspx5/11/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​</p><div>The latest jobs report from the federal government renews the need to address the U.S. long term care workforce crisis. Axios <a href="https&#58;//www.axios.com/nursing-home-jobs-b7266746-66bc-4b34-b508-eff8890b5bc5.html" target="_blank">reported</a> yesterday, “Health care employment in the U.S. remained sluggish last month, with a drop of about 19,500 nursing and residential care facility jobs, according to the latest labor report.” The economic crisis caused by the pandemic is apparent, and while policymakers should take immediate action to protect health care jobs, we should also develop a more substantial plan to ensure our nation’s seniors have the caregivers they need.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>This is especially important given our rapidly-growing elderly population and the anticipated increase in demand for long term care services. In fact, the federal government estimates nearly 27 million people will need some kind of long term care by 2050. Meanwhile, last week, the federal government reported historic declines in birth rates, leading many to <a href="https&#58;//nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/05/amid-pandemic-u-s-birth-rate-falls-to-century-low.html" target="_blank">worry</a> whether we will have enough caregivers to support an aging America.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>A strong workforce is a key element in improving quality of care in our nation’s nursing homes. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has long called for policies that will help attract and retain the most dedicated to work in the profession – now it’s time to implement them. AHCA and LeadingAge’s comprehensive reform proposal, the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care for Our Seniors Act</a>, offers several solutions that will help build a strong long term care workforce. Proposed solutions include&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>Financial assistance&#58;&#160;</div><div><ul><li>​Provide student loan forgiveness for licensed health care professionals who are new graduates and work in long term care.</li><li>Develop assistance programs for caregivers like affordable housing, housing down payments, and childcare.</li><li>Provide career ladder scholarships that would encourage staff to advance their career by becoming a registered nurse (RN) or other positions in aging services.</li><li>Funding for universities who have shown graduation rates with direct correlation to long term care hires with retention of two years or more.<br></li></ul></div><div>Regulatory solutions&#58;&#160;</div><div><ul><li>Create a pathway (including training and testing) for temporary nurse aides allowed by the current Public Health Emergency to become certified nurse aides.</li><li>Ensure the Nurse Licensure Compact is available in every state to be able to &quot;share&quot; RNs across state borders.</li><li>Expedite the progression in licensed practical nurse to RN bridge programs to increase the number of RNs.</li><li>Pass common-sense immigration reform that increases opportunities for foreign-born individuals to work in the long term care profession.&#160;<span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Expand the ability for international nurses to come to the United States.</span></li></ul></div><div>The COVID-19 pandemic has exemplified the critical role of long term care workers within our health care system, and we must work together to support them. With the assistance from Members of Congress and state lawmakers, we can create more meaningful jobs, ensure our nursing homes are adequately staffed, and in turn, ensure that all seniors are able to receive the best care possible.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.​<br></div>The latest jobs report from the federal government renews the need to address the U.S. long term care workforce crisis.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following CMS Interim Final Rule Announcementaspx5/11/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a statement following the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) interim final rule announcement on COVID-19 vaccine requirements.</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>“We have been supportive of publicly reporting COVID-19 vaccination rates in long term care since the vaccines were first approved, and we greatly appreciate CMS taking this step today. Reporting vaccination rates is critical to facilitating in-person visitations in nursing homes, tracking the effectiveness of the vaccines, and helping ensure the industry meets our goal to vaccinate 75 percent of staff by the end of June.</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“It is important that we not judge facilities with low vaccination rates, but instead, seek to understand whether additional resources or outreach can be done to encourage more staff and residents to get the vaccine, or help facilities acquire additional vaccines for new patients and hires.</div><div>&#160;</div><div>“We believe transparency on vaccination rates should be expanded to all Medicare providers, including hospitals, home health, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, where many of our nation’s seniors may also receive care and the virus can still remain a threat. All Medicare providers should have a streamlined effort to report their vaccination rates.”</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br></div>AHCA/NCAL released a statement following the CMS interim final rule announcement on COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
National Skilled Nursing Care Week Kicks off May 9-15aspx5/7/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> –National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW) kicks off this Sunday, May 9, through Saturday, May 15. The annual observance shines a light on the essential role of skilled nursing centers in caring for America’s elderly and disabled.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>This year’s theme, “Together Through the Seasons,” recognizes the heroic staff in skilled nursing centers across the nation for their dedication and sacrifice in keeping residents safe and protected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the many challenges faced, including lockdowns and the lack of personal protective equipment, staff also stepped in to provide emotional support to residents and their families impacted by visitation restrictions and social distancing rules.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“National Skilled Nursing Care Week is more special this year than any other year,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA). “As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, let’s take time this coming week to reflect, honor and celebrate every long term care staff member for their tireless commitment to caring for and protecting our vulnerable residents against one of the deadliest diseases in recent history.”</div><div><br></div><div>Created by AHCA in 1967, NSNCW is a time to celebrate staff and the special bonds they share with residents and their families. The week starts each year on Mother’s Day and is celebrated through the following Saturday.</div><div><br></div><div>Skilled nursing centers are encouraged to participate by hosting activities that follow the latest guidelines and share how they are celebrating being “Together Through the Seasons” on <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/NationalSkilledNursingCareWeek/">Facebook</a> and <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/ahcancal" target="_blank">Twitter</a> using the hashtag <strong>#NSNCW</strong>.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>NSNCW 2021 is proudly sponsored by Essity. For more information about NSNCW, please visit <a href="/Education-Events/Pages/NSNCW.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/NSNCW</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) 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>Annual Observance Honors The Essential Role Of Skilled Nursing Centers In Caring For America’s Elderly And DisabledNSNCW kicks off this Sunday, May 9, through Saturday, May 15.
‘Compassion, Community, Caring’ Revealed as Theme for National Assisted Living Week 2021aspx5/6/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) today revealed “Compassion, Community, Caring” as this year’s theme for National Assisted Living Week®. The annual, national observance – officially sponsored by First Quality in 2021 – provides a unique opportunity for residents, their loved ones, staff, volunteers, and local communities to celebrate the individuals who live and work in assisted living and learn more about this sector of long term care.&#160;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“This year’s National Assisted Living Week is special because of everything we have faced over the past year,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “‘Compassion, Community, Caring’ reflects the hard work and dedication of all the essential caregivers in assisted living communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also represents the importance of family and remaining connected, even when we could not physically be together.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Established by NCAL in 1995, National Assisted Living Week (NALW) will be held Sept. 12-18, 2021. “Compassion, Community, Caring” encourages assisted living communities around the country to host a variety of events that honor the individuals who reside, work, and volunteer in these communities while adhering to infection control requirements and precautions in place for COVID-19.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“First Quality is honored to be the official sponsor of National Assisted Living Week in 2021,” said Shelley Bache, First Quality Healthcare Leader. “After one of the most challenging years ever, it is imperative to remember and celebrate those in assisted living communities who did so much in the midst of so many unknowns. This week is a time to come together in a safe way and recognize the ‘Compassion, Community, Caring’ that could not be stopped by a pandemic.”</div><div><br></div><div>In the coming months, NCAL will issue a planning guide and products centered on ways to celebrate “Compassion, Community, Caring.” Participants are asked to share their celebrations throughout the week on social media with the hashtag <strong>#NALW</strong>. Visit <a href="/Education-Events/Pages/NALW.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/NALW</a> for updated information and resources.</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>National celebration to take place Sept. 12-18, 2021NCAL today revealed “Compassion, Community, Caring” as this year’s theme for National Assisted Living Week®.
Transforming Long Term Care: Maintaining Minimum Supply of Personal Protective Equipmentaspx5/4/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns and gloves, are an essential component in protecting long term care residents and staff from COVID-19. The continued use of PPE will be a standard practice in long term care facilities, even after the pandemic is far behind us.</div><div><br></div><div>PPE improves infection control outcomes and has the potential to reduce mortality rates associated with infectious disease outbreaks. This is especially important in protecting vulnerable long term care residents, whose average age is 85 and who have multiple underlying health conditions, making them especially susceptible.</div><div><br></div><div><a href="https&#58;//uspirg.org/feature/usp/nursing-home-safety-during-covid-ppe-shortages" target="_blank">Widespread shortages of PPE</a> due to global supply chain issues in the beginning of the pandemic led to <a href="https&#58;//khn.org/news/article/anthony-fauci-interview-health-care-workers-covid-pandemic-death-toll/" target="_blank">devastating consequences</a> in long term care and other health care settings. Providers were left scrambling trying to find PPE, competing against each other and businesses, and pleading for priority to public health officials. We cannot let this happen again.</div><div><br></div><div>The Care for Our Seniors Act – a transformational policy proposal introduced by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge – calls for every nursing home to maintain a minimum 30-day supply for PPE for average conventional use. This includes&#58;<br><br></div><div><ul><li>​​All PPE items (gloves, gowns, goggles/face shields, facemasks, N-95 masks)</li><li>Alcohol-based hand rubs and disinfecting supplies</li><li>Backup/reserve supply not in current circulation (but rotated out per expiration dates, etc.)<br></li></ul></div><div>In order to meet this requirement, PPE must be available, accessible and affordable. Nursing homes need public-private partnerships to ensure a steady supply of PPE, and lawmakers must prioritize long term care residents and staff for allocation.</div><div><br></div><div>The cost of PPE is considerable – nursing homes spent roughly <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Financial-Infographic.pdf" target="_blank">$20 billion on PPE</a> and staffing in 2020 alone. These exorbitant costs are expected to continue with the pandemic persisting and the <a href="https&#58;//www.premierinc.com/newsroom/blog/premier-data-the-state-of-ppe-supply-one-year-in-to-covid-19" target="_blank">ongoing demand for PPE</a> among every business and health care setting. With PPE becoming a permanent expenditure, lawmakers must commit to supporting long term care providers with financial assistance so they can afford this essential equipment. The Care for Our Seniors Act proposes funding by federal and state governments in the following phases&#58;&#160;<br><br></div><div><ul><li>​Initial supply through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Provider Relief Fund</li><li>Ongoing supply maintenance funded in a combination of Health Resources &amp; Services Administration or Centers for Disease Control and <span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Prevention (CDC) grants and Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage</span></li></ul></div><div>Our frontline caregivers deserve to have the masks, gowns, and gloves they need to protect themselves while caring for our nation’s seniors. Ensuring every nursing home has an adequate supply of PPE will help keep long term residents and staff safe and better prepare them for future health crises. Federal and state governments must put our most vulnerable citizens and health care heroes first.</div><div><br></div><div>Read more about AHCA and LeadingAge’s PPE proposal <a href="/Advocacy/Documents/Minimum-PPE.pdf" target="_blank">HERE</a>, and learn more about the Care For Our Seniors Act at <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</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>PPE, including masks, gowns and gloves, are an essential component in protecting long term care residents and staff from COVID-19.
As Nursing Homes Emerge From The Pandemic, Lawmakers Must Commit To Substantive Reform and Support For The Industryaspx4/30/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The COVID-19 pandemic has brought systemic challenges impacting the long term care profession to light. With new COVID cases reaching record-lows thanks in large part to the vaccines, the industry is optimistic that we have turned a corner. As we look toward the future, long term care leaders and lawmakers must work together to apply the lessons learned and ensure that all seniors have access to quality long term care options.</div><div><br></div><div>America’s elderly population is growing. Substantive reform is needed within the industry as we prepare for the increased demand in long term care services. The American Health Care Association (AHCA), in partnership with LeadingAge, have proposed the <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">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> – a reform package that will support better pandemic management and strengthen overall care in our nursing homes. The package consists of four policy areas&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Clinical improvements to enhance quality of care</li><li>Workforce improvements to strengthen and support our frontline caregivers</li><li>Oversight reforms to make systems more resident-driven</li><li>Structural modernizations focused on resident dignity and safety​<br></li></ul></div><div>The nursing home industry has called attention to these long-standing issues for years – issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. For example, workforce shortages plagued nursing homes long before COVID-19 hit the U.S., but the pandemic worsened these shortages and left available workers stretched thin. The unprecedented challenges and traumatic experience of the past year have taken a heavy toll on caregivers, leading to considerable burnout among staff. Industry leaders are concerned that the profession will see a mass exodus of workers. In fact, <a href="https&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/04/28/nursing-homes-covid-pandemic-reform-staffing/" target="_blank">The Washington Pos​t</a> reports&#58;</div><div><br></div><div>“According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, roughly 3 in 10 health-care workers have weighed leaving their profession. More than half are burned out. And about 6 in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.”</div><div><br></div><div>Meanwhile, a <a href="https&#58;//skillednursingnews.com/2021/04/single-rooms-could-have-prevented-31-of-deaths-for-long-term-care-residents-international-study-finds/" target="_blank">new study</a> shows that improving nursing home infrastructure will better protect residents. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, found that 31 percent of COVID deaths in nursing homes in Ontario, Canada would have been prevented if all residents had had single-occupancy rooms. The modernization proposal in the Care for Our Seniors Act calls for a shift to more private rooms, which will allow for greater privacy and dignity for residents, as well as promote enhanced infection prevention and control.</div><div><br></div><div>Implementing these reforms requires a commitment from federal and state lawmakers to properly fund nursing homes – particularly ensuring that Medicaid reimbursement rates cover the actual cost of care. With the majority of nursing homes already operating on razor-thin margins, the cost of making improvements will not be possible without financial assistance.</div><div><br></div><div>Long term care was forgotten at the beginning of the pandemic, but they cannot be forgotten now. Lawmakers have an opportunity to put America’s seniors and frontline caregivers first. The long term care industry is eager to work collaboratively with the Biden Administration, Congress and state governments to implement meaningful solutions that will protect our most vulnerable citizens, improve quality of care, and create meaningful jobs for our heroic caregivers</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>The COVID-19 pandemic has brought systemic challenges impacting the long term care profession to light.
Transforming Nursing Homes: Modernizing Physical Structuresaspx4/26/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​​</p><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>, a four-pronged, comprehensive reform proposal that will help strengthen nursing home care. Modernizing facilities for resident dignity and safety is one of the four pillars outlined in the package.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The average nursing home is around 40 to 50 years old. Persistent financial challenges – due in large part to chronic Medicaid underfunding – prevent many nursing home providers from making the improvements needed to modernize their physical structures. But as nursing homes emphasize a more person-centered approach to care, traditional care models for long-stay residents and short-stay patients need to be updated and reformed.</div><div><br></div><div>Modernization includes shifting to more private rooms. They allow for greater privacy and dignity for residents, and promote enhanced infection prevention and control. This is especially important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus was airborne and commonly spread through asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>There is a lack of data and research on nursing home room configurations and the number of buildings and rooms with more than two residents. The Care for Our Seniors Act proposes conducting a national study that would assess nursing home design to improve infection control, as well as modernize to meet market preferences. Areas of study should include financial factors, best practice architectural design for patients and residents, feasibility and funding mechanisms.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>As Congress considers the Biden Administration’s <a href="https&#58;//www.whitehouse.gov/american-jobs-plan/" target="_blank">American Jobs Plan</a> and efforts to rebuild our nation’s transportation, utility, and manufacturing systems, it is also time to invest our dated health care infrastructure. AHCA and LeadingAge support the <a href="https&#58;//www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/8540" target="_blank">Keeping Seniors Safe from COVID-19 Through Home Design Act</a>, which would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Department of Agriculture to work together on financing and tax credits for nursing home modernization. Another piece of legislation, the <a href="https&#58;//energycommerce.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/ec-democrats-introduce-lift-america-act-that-invests-in-clean-energy" target="_blank">Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow's (LIFT) America Act</a>, includes $10 billion for upgrading not-for profit medical facilities to increase capacity, strengthen care, and help prevent future outbreaks. In addition, the <a href="https&#58;//www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/122?q=%7b%22search%22&#58;%5b%22s.122%22%5d%7d&amp;s=1&amp;r=1" target="_blank">Fresh Air Act</a> provides tax credits for modernizations, such as upgrading air filtration and purification. AHCA is calling on lawmakers to increase the funding for facility modernization included in these proposals and include all long term care providers, regardless of ownership status, so that every senior can benefit from a more modern and safer nursing home environment.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>America’s seniors deserve a robust, quality long term care system. Modernizing our nursing homes to increase resident privacy is a central component in enhancing quality of care. But with chronic underfunding and now an economic crisis caused by COVID, nursing homes cannot make these capital improvements on their own. Let’s work together to implement substantive reforms that will protect and improve the lives of our seniors in long term care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Read more about AHCA and LeadingAge’s modernization proposal <a href="/Advocacy/Documents/Private-Rooms.pdf" target="_blank">HERE</a>, and learn more about the Care For Our Seniors Act at <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>.<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>AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed the Care For Our Seniors Act, a four-pronged, comprehensive reform proposal that will help strengthen nursing home care.