AHCA/NCAL Agrees with White House Recommendation for Testing of All Nursing Home Residents and Staff Over Next Two Weeks
Calls on federal and state leaders to provide priority access and funding to accomplish
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 in response to Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, providing a recommendation to state governors today to test all nursing home residents and staff for new coronavirus cases within the next two weeks.
The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL:
“We strongly agree with the Vice President and Dr. Birx’s recommendation today for testing of all nursing home residents and staff and call on the federal government to help with this endeavor. We have been asking for expanded access to testing and sent a letter
to HHS last week requesting support. We are thankful that the White House and governors across the country are stepping up to make testing a priority.
“Our nursing homes and assisted living communities that have undertaken expanded testing have found a high number of residents and staff who are positive, but without symptoms. Without access to more testing, long term care providers are at a severe disadvantage in identifying more of these asymptomatic residents and staff who could be contagious and an endangerment to others.
“What we need now is for state government leaders to help provide immediate and priority access to testing and consider following in the footsteps of New Jersey
, West Virginia
, and Florida
, which have directed their state’s National Guard to help with testing in the immediate term at nursing home facilities. Additionally, we ask HHS to grant our request for a $10 billion emergency relief
to help fund expedited testing and additional staffing needed to respond to this unprecedented health crisis.
“While universal testing in nursing homes is a good first step, it’s essential that testing, with rapid results, be widely available in forthcoming weeks. Testing will need to be repeated regularly in both nursing homes and assisted living communities to continue to monitor this situation and protect residents.
“It is time to rally around nursing home and assisted living residents the same way we have around hospital patients and workers. The profession will continue to work with local, state and federal health officials to ensure all possible actions are taken to protect our nation’s most vulnerable and our heroes on the front lines.”
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 nearly 5 million seniors and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our facilities each year. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.