Coronavirus

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are working with the federal government​​​ to ensure nursing hom​​es, assisted living communities, and intermediate care facilities for indiv​​iduals with intellectual disabilities receive necessary supplies and guidance to prevent the spread ​of this virus.​

Visit this website regularly for the latest information that AHCA/NCAL has to share with long term care providers about COVID-19. 


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How You Can Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

 Providers

Please note tha​t skilled nursing providers should consult the guidance put forth by CMS and the CDC, and assisted living communities should consult CDC guidance. Providers should also check their local and state health departments for updates and potentially stricter guidance, but these are general, national prevention and containment tips:

 
Infection Control: Maintain i​nfection control policies and procedures, updated where needed and increase transmission-based precautions.
 
Staff: #GetVaccinated! Regularly wash your hands and use PPE where appropriate. Stay home if you're sick.​ ​
 
Limit Interactions: Implement social distancing within the facility where possible to help prevent the spread of infection.
 
PPE: Regularly review federal and state guidance on appropriate use of masks, gowns, gloves, etc. and maintain your inventory​.
 
Communicate: Report suspected or confirmed cases to authorities. Keep residents, families and staff informed about your developing situation. Prepare for media inquiries.
 
Engagement: Follow government guidelines for safe in-person visitations, keep residents connected with loved ones remotely, and offer meaningful activities adapted for this situation​.


If a staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19: Have them go home immediately. 

If a resident shows symptoms of ​COVID-19​: Implement droplet precaution, and contact the local health department. ​


 Families

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why in certain circumstances the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. Adaptations (e.g., limited indoor and outdoor visits) and exceptions on a case-by-case basis (e.g., end-of-life or compassionate care visits) may be made. ​We understand this is difficult, but the safety and wellbeing of your loved one is our top priority.  

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with them, and how you can help: 

  • Communicate with your loved ones through alternative ways for the time being, whether by phone, video, social media, or other methods. Ask the facility about ways they can help with this.  
  • Make sure your loved one’s facility has your emergency contact information. The facility may need to communicate with you about any developments regarding your loved one or about the facility as a whole.
    • Many long term care facilities are only permitted to share information about a resident to a designated health representative. Work together as a family unit to share information to keep everyone informed.       
  • If you must come to the facility, coordinate with the staff ahead of time. Learn more about how you can prepare for a visit to a long term care facility
    • They may ask you some questions, take your temperature, have you take a COVID test, and/or make sure you’re wearing proper protective equipment (like a mask) when you arrive. This is to make sure you do not pose as a potential risk to residents and staff.  
    • If you are asked to not enter the building, please understand this is for the safety of your loved one and everyone else in the building. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are following direction from the government to prevent the spread of this virus.  
    • ​If you are permitted in, please wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately upon entering and throughout your visit. Wear a mask and any other protective equipment as directed by the facility. Avoid touching your loved ones or other individuals in the building. Again, we know this is difficult, but the virus is very contagious and social distancing is important at this time. ​
  • Do your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. High community spread is linked to outbreaks in nursing homes. Follow the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others. Get the COVID-19 vaccine, when you are eligible. 
  • ​Warn your loved ones about potential scammers during this crisis and encourage them to be cautious.​

 Residents

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why in certain circumstances the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. We understand this is a difficult and stressful time. Those who work in long term care facilities are focused on your safety and wellbeing.  

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with your loved ones, and how you can help: 

  • Ask the facility about other ways you can communicate with your loved ones, whether by phone, video or social media.  
  • If you haven't already, get the COVID-19 vaccine. Your facility is working with a pharmacy or state/local officials to offer vaccinations​ and can provide more specific information about how and when this will work. 
  • Follow everyday preventive actions such as: 
    • ​Washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers 
    • Covering your cough and sneezes ​
    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth 
    • Keeping 6-feet distance from other residents and staff (when possible) 
  • ​Ask other individuals (including staff) to avoid touching you with handshakes, hugs or kisses. Ask them to wash their hands. Do not be shy! It’s okay to remind people.
  • Watch out for potential scammers​ during this crisis. 
  • If you begin to experience difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell​, tell a staff member immediately.​

 

 

AHCA/NCAL Applauds CDC, FDA for Approving Booster Shots for Long Term Care Residents, Workershttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/AHCANCAL-Applauds-CDC,-FDA-for-Approving-Booster-Shots-for-Long-Term-Care-Residents,-Workers.aspxAHCA/NCAL Applauds CDC, FDA for Approving Booster Shots for Long Term Care Residents, Workers10/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><strong></strong><span style="font-size:11pt;"><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.</strong> - The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released the following statement in response to the recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve booster shots of the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines for certain individuals, including residents and health care workers in long term care.</span></p><div><br></div><div>The following statement is attributable to Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer of AHCA/NCAL:</div><div><br></div><div>“Once again, we appreciate the FDA and CDC for thoroughly examining the data and following the science to help protect Americans, including our nation’s most vulnerable, from COVID-19. All long term care residents and staff members will now be eligible to receive a booster shot thanks to these expanded recommendations. Additionally, the ability to mix-and-match vaccines for the booster dose will make it easier for long term care facilities to swiftly access these vaccines for their residents and staff. </div><div><br></div><div>“The rollout of the Pfizer booster shot has gone incredibly well in long term care, and we are confident that adding Moderna and Johnson and Johnson into the mix will catapult our efforts. We appreciate the partnership of federal and state governments as well as long term care pharmacies and other vaccine providers to make these vaccination efforts in nursing homes and assisted living communities efficient and successful.”  <br></div><p>​<br></p><p style="font-size:14.6667px;"><span style="font-size:11pt;"><b>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL<br></b></span><span style="font-size:11pt;">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</span><span style="font-size:11pt;"> </span><a href="/Pages/default.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank" style="font-size:11pt;">ahcancal.org</a><span style="font-size:11pt;">.​​</span></p>AHCA/NCAL released the following statement in response to the recommendations by the CDC and FDA to approve booster shots of the Moderna and Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines for residents and health care workers in long term care.
Additional COVID-19 Boosters Approvedhttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Additional-COVID-19-Boosters-Approved.aspxAdditional COVID-19 Boosters Approved10/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<span style="font-size:11pt;">Following <a href="https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-takes-additional-actions-use-booster-dose-covid-19-vaccines" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">Emergency Use Authorizations</a> from the Food and Drug Administration this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p1021-covid-booster.html" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">updated recommendations</a> for COVID-19 booster shots.  <br></span><span style="font-size:11pt;"><br>COVID-19 booster shots are now recommended for the following groups of individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at 6 months or more after their initial series:​ </span></p><div><ul><li>65 years and older </li><li>Age 18+ who live in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html#long-term-care" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">long term care settings</a> </li><li>Age 18+ who have <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">underlying medical conditions</a> </li><li>Age 18+ who work or live in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html#HighRisk" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">high-risk settings</a> <br><br></li></ul></div><div>Additionally, for those that are 18 and older that received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine two or more months ago, a booster shot is recommended.  </div><div> </div><div><strong>Eligible individuals can get a booster shot of a different brand if they choose to do so as the CDC is now allowing for mixing and matching product for the booster shot. </strong></div><div> </div><div>The CDC has created a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/long-term-care/pharmacy-partnerships.html" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">webpage</a> to help long term care providers access the booster dose. Providers should work with their long term care pharmacies to gain access to the booster dose. If you are having trouble accessing the vaccine, please contact your state or local health department’s immunization program. The appropriate contact for each immunization program can be found <a href="https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.immunizationmanagers.org/resource/collection/49107373-8424-42C5-9A82-882C58A2CC10/Jurisdiction_IZP-LTCF_Contact_Information_v.2.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">here</a>.   </div><div><br></div><div>As a reminder, the CDC has <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/covid-19-vaccines-us.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html#Coadministration" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">noted</a> that the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccinations can be coadministered in cases where an individual is eligible for both vaccinations.   </div><div><br></div><div>Please visit <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/long-term-care-provider-resources/" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated​</a> for resources on increasing vaccine confidence.<br></div>Following Emergency Use Authorizations from the FDA this week, the CDC provided updated recommendations for COVID-19 booster shots.
Updated: Assisted Living COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic Toolkithttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Assisted Living COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic Toolkit.aspxUpdated: Assisted Living COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic Toolkit10/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<div>​<br></div><div>NCAL has released a new vaccine toolkit specifically designed for assisted living providers to assist in their efforts to access the vaccine booster. These materials include booster clinic guidance for assisted living providers. Additional items are sample letters for family consent and staff consent. <br></div><div><br></div><div><ul><li><span style="text-decoration:underline;">​</span><a href="/News-and-Communications/Documents/GetVaccinated/AL-Booster-Shot-Clinic.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">Booster Clinic Guidance</a><br></li><li><a href="/News-and-Communications/Documents/GetVaccinated/Template-Letter-Booster-Family.docx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">Family Consent</a><br></li><li><a href="/News-and-Communications/Documents/GetVaccinated/Template-Letter-Booster-Staff.docx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">Staff Consent</a><br></li></ul></div><p>​<br></p><p><span style="font-size:11pt;">Note: these materials h</span><span style="font-size:11pt;">ave been updated now that the CDC and FDA have </span><a href="/News-and-Communications/Blog/Pages/Additional-COVID-19-Boosters-Approved.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" style="font-size:11pt;">expanded COVID-19 booster shots​</a><span style="font-size:11pt;"> for those who received the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.</span><span style="font-size:11pt;"> </span></p>Today, NCAL released a new vaccine toolkit specifically designed for assisted living providers to assist in their efforts to access the vaccine booster.
AHCA/NCAL Sends Letter To Federal Trade Commission On Staff Agency Price Gouginghttps://www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/AHCANCAL-Sends-Letter-To-Federal-Trade-Commission-On-Staff-Agency-Price-Gouging.aspxAHCA/NCAL Sends Letter To Federal Trade Commission On Staff Agency Price Gouging10/21/2021 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, sent a letter this week to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Lina Khan, requesting assistance with an anticompetitive practice with direct care staffing agencies.</div><div><br></div><div>In the letter, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson describes how the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred an unprecedented workforce crisis within the long term care sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing homes and residential-care facilities employed three million people in July, down 380,000 workers from February 2020. Providers are doing all that they can to hire and recruit workers, including sign-on bonuses, wage increases and referral bonuses.</div><div><br></div><div>Amid these circumstances, direct care staffing agencies are charging exorbitant prices to long term care facilities that need workers. AHCA/NCAL state affiliates are undertaking legislative efforts to prevent these agencies from charging more than double and – in some cases – as much as quadruple the amount operators are currently paying their staff. AHCA/NCAL requests that the FTC use its authority to investigate this price gouging and take appropriate action to protect long term care facilities.</div><div><br></div><div>Read the full letter <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/AHCA_NCAL%20FTC%20Staff%20Agency%20Letter%2010.19.21.pdf" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">here</a>.</div><div><br></div><div>Chairwoman Lina Khan</div><div>Federal Trade Commission</div><div>600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW</div><div>Washington, DC 20005</div><div><br></div><div>Dear Chairwoman Khan: </div><div><br></div><div>On behalf of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), I am writing to you today about the state of the long term care (LTC) industry and to request your assistance with an anticompetitive practice with direct care staffing agencies that is unfortunately occurring. To provide some background on AHCA/NCAL, the association represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and LTC facilities, including assisted living and intellectual and developmental disability providers, across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year.</div><div><br></div><div>COVID-19 has presented unprecedented and difficult challenges for the LTC sector. During 2020 when the pandemic first hit, facilities across the nation faced dire workforce shortages, record low census rates and had limited access to adequate personal protective equipment to properly combat COVID-19 in their buildings. Through the aid provided by the Provider Relief Fund in 2020 and with the development through vaccines, long term care and assisted living facilities began to see signs of recovery. Unfortunately, due to a confluence of circumstances, the LTC sector remains in grave danger.</div><div><br></div><div>The explosion of the Delta variant continues to impact thousands of skilled nursing, assisted living and intellectual and developmental disability centers across the US. We are beginning to see the ramifications of not only the protracted fight to combat the Delta variant in buildings, but also the complicating ramifications of the vaccination mandate. The LTC industry is in the midst of the perfect storm and will be on the verge of collapse if the workforce decline is not properly addressed by the federal government.</div><div><br></div><div>In fact, an August 25th Wall Street Journal article conveyed just how bad the labor crisis is for the LTC industry. The article specifically noted that nursing homes and residential-care facilities employed three million people in July, down 380,000 workers from February 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Industry employment has fallen every month except one since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic in March 2020. By contrast, job losses in the leisure and hospitality industry, another hard-hit sector, began reversing in May last year, and the industry has recovered almost 80% of the jobs that were lost in the first months of the pandemic.</div><div><br></div><div>Our providers are doing all that they can to recruit and retain workers. Some examples include, but are not limited to, sign-on bonuses, wage increases, bonuses when someone fills a shift, calling staff who have left to entice them to come back, referral bonuses paid to staff for each employee they recruit, gift cards, providing free meals to staff, using agency staff to supplement, tuition reimbursement, PTO, flexible scheduling and providing staff training and education. AHCA/NCAL is also working on outreach to prominent refugee organizations noting that our centers are here with a variety of positions for refugees that would like to work in them.</div><div><br></div><div>The financial state of the sector is also very uncertain, driven largely by revenue losses and dramatically increasing labor costs. With declines in patient census (85.0% in January 2020 to 72.6% in August 2021) the industry faced $11.3 billion in losses in 2020 and is projected to experience $12.7 billion in losses in 2021 according to analysis by AHCA/NCAL. Labor costs are skyrocketing as facilities continue to combat COVID-19 in their buildings. In a survey conducted by AHCA/NCAL, projected 2022 contract labor costs are expected to increase on average by 106% for sample of 752 buildings. Extrapolating this calculation results in $131,000 per building in new, projected FY22 contract labor costs, nationally, in addition to double digit in-house labor costs of on average 18% nationally.</div><div><br></div><div>Laying that background on this unprecedented time in the LTC sector, I need to alert you of the countless examples I am hearing of direct care staffing agencies charging supercompetitive prices to desperate LTC centers that simply need workers. In fact, I was made aware from one of our rural states (in which it can be even more challenging to find staff in rural America) of these agencies increasing their prices knowing that the LTC centers would be receiving COVID-19 specific state funding. I have also heard directly from our state affiliates of efforts in which they are trying for legislative fixes to prevent these agencies from charging double to quadruple plus of what operators pay their staff. The staffing agency worker makes only a fraction of what the agency is charging the provider for that worker. </div><div><br></div><div>Our providers have little choice but to pay the exorbitant prices, and hope that the agency does not poach their staff once in the building. It is also important to remember that most LTC centers are paid through the Medicare and Medicaid programs – and thus, taxpayer dollars. This price gouging is simply not sustainable for our providers and the current reimbursement system structure. This money being spent should instead be going towards other needed resources that are resident care focused.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>We are requesting that the FTC use its authority to protect consumers from anticompetitive and unfair practices to investigate this activity and take appropriate action to protect LTC centers -- and ensure that our nation’s elderly and those individual with disabilities receive the quality care they deserve.</strong></div><div><br></div><div>Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request and please know that we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our provider members would welcome the opportunity to visit with you at any time as well about how this issue is adversely impacting the sector and those they serve. </div><div><br></div><div>Sincerely,</div><div><br></div><div>Mark Parkinson</div><div>President & CEO</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers, and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.<br><br><br></div>AHCA/NCAL sent a letter this week to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan, requesting assistance with an anticompetitive practice with direct care staffing agencies.

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