AHCA/NCAL Statement In Response To CMS, CDC Data On Nursing Homes And COVID-Related Cases
WASHINGTON, DC - 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 data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the number of nursing home residents who have contracted COVID-19 as well as an announcement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding additional penalties on nursing homes.
The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL:
“These numbers show what we have known for months, that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts the elderly with chronic diseases and the dedicated staff who care for them. Today’s report validates the need for the assistance that nursing homes have been calling for since the beginning of this pandemic. Especially as we continue to expand testing for residents and staff in long term care centers in June, we should anticipate the number of cases to rise as asymptomatic residents and staff will be identified. While an increase in these reported numbers may be startling, it will improve our ability to confront this threat and protect our residents.
“We hope this public reporting system will help identify areas that are most in need of resources to fight the battle against COVID-19. We hope state and federal public health officials can use the data to help nursing homes by sending urgently needed resources.
“Regarding CMS imposing additional enforcement and fines, what would really be helpful to improve the situation is for CMS and their survey teams to work together with the nursing home industry to fight this COVID-19 battle. This situation will get worse if surveyors are only looking for reasons to find deficiencies and issue fines instead of identifying ways for nursing homes to make real changes and help them improve their infection control programs. It’s time to recognize that when nursing homes receive citations, it’s a failure not just of the provider, but of CMS and the survey process as well. Citations and fines without assistance will not help us keep residents and staff safe from this virus.
“The reality is that long term care providers are facing an unprecedented situation that has left them begging for testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing resources. Just like hospitals, we have called for help. In our case, it has been difficult to get anyone to listen.
“Whether it’s federal, state or local health agencies, long term care needs to be a priority for supplies and help. It’s time that America rally around our long term care residents just as they did with hospitals."
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.