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Nursing Homes Face Imminent Closures Without Financial Support from Congresshttps://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Face-Imminent-Closures-Without-Financial-Support-From-Congress.aspxNursing Homes Face Imminent Closures Without Financial Support from Congress4/8/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Nursing homes across the country are in economic turmoil. Long-standing financial shortfalls, largely due to Medicaid underfunding, have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the pandemic has worsened chronic workforce shortages and has contributed to a drastic decline in patient census. Many nursing homes were already operating at a loss, and without immediate financial assistance, closures are imminent. </div><div><br></div><div>As Modern Healthcare <a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/post-acute-care/pandemic-prompts-rethinking-long-term-care-models" target="_blank">reports</a>, “The pandemic has thrown the long-term care industry into a tailspin.” Andy Edeburn, a principal at consulting organization Premier, said, “Not all nursing homes are going to come back,” and added, “I don’t know that the nursing home industry will ever go back to the way it was … It’s an industry in crisis for a number of reasons.” </div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) <a href="https://d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ahca/attachments/protect%20access%20to%20long%20term%20care_ib.pdf" target="_blank">estimates</a> that within a two-year period (2020-2021), the long term care industry will lose $94 billion due to the increased costs needed to fight the pandemic and declining revenues. For example, in 2020 alone, nursing homes spent roughly $30 billion on personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional staffing. </div><div><br></div><div>Nursing homes experienced fewer short-term stays amid the pandemic, such as patients coming from the hospital for physical therapy and rehabilitation. From 2020 to 2021, nursing home occupancy declined by 16.5 percent to 68.5 percent. </div><div><br></div><div>More than <a href="https://d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ahca/attachments/protect%20access%20to%20long%20term%20care_ib.pdf" target="_blank">1,600 nursing homes</a> could close this year as a result of mounting financial challenges. Closures have a devastating impact on residents, their families, and staff. When a nursing home closes, vulnerable seniors are uprooted from their communities and forced to find new care options. The average age of a nursing home resident is 85 – most of whom have multiple underlying health conditions. These residents require a high level of specialized care that in-home care is often unable to provide. </div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="https://www.mcknights.com/news/clinical-news/nursing-home-advocates-urge-24-hour-nurses-ppe-mandates-in-sweeping-reform-agenda/" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> – a package of policy reforms that will help address many of the long-standing challenges in America’s nursing homes. However, implementation will not be possible without a significant investment from Congress and state governments – this includes immediate and long-term solutions to address chronic Medicaid underfunding. Sixty percent of nursing home residents rely on Medicaid for their daily care, and without a commitment from lawmakers to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, most nursing homes will be unable to afford the substantive reforms required to continue improving quality of care. </div><div><br></div><div>Nursing homes care for our nation’s most vulnerable population, and demand for long term care services will only increase in the years to come. Without support from federal and state lawmakers, financial challenges will continue. We must work together to improve nursing home care and ensure all seniors have access to high-quality long term care options. </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>Nursing homes across the country are in economic turmoil.
AHCA Statement on Proposed Rule for Skilled Nursing Facilities’ Medicare Rates and Vaccination Reporting Requirementshttps://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/AHCA-Statement-on-Proposed-Rule-for-Skilled-Nursing-Facilities’-Medicare-Rates-and-Vaccination-Reporting-Requirements.aspxAHCA Statement on Proposed Rule for Skilled Nursing Facilities’ Medicare Rates and Vaccination Reporting Requirements4/8/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div><strong>Washington, D.C.</strong> — Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), made the following statement regarding the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) FY 2022 proposed rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today.  </div><div> </div><div>“CMS proposes to increase Medicare rates to skilled nursing facilities 1.3 percent in the next fiscal year which would result in an increase of approximately $444 million in Medicare Part A payments to SNFs in FY 2022. </div><div><br></div><div>“Nursing homes across the country continue to dedicate extensive resources to protect their residents and staff from COVID-19. This ongoing work makes government support and robust reimbursement rates more important than ever. With the skilled nursing profession grappling with an economic crisis and hundreds of facilities on the brink of closure due to the pandemic, it is critical that Medicare remain a reliable funding source and reflect the increasing costs providers are facing. </div><div> </div><div>“We also recognize the importance of quality measures associated with COVID-19 including a proposed measure of the COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage among health care personnel. We thank Acting Administrator Richter and the Administration for their support through the pandemic.”</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL </strong></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit <a href="/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>.​<br></div>Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA, made the following statement regarding the SNF PPS FY 2022 proposed rule released by CMS today.
Long Term Care Providers Continue To Encourage Staff And Residents To Get Vaccinatedhttps://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Long-Term-Care-Providers-Continue-To-Encourage-Staff-And-Residents-To-Get-Vaccinated.aspxLong Term Care Providers Continue To Encourage Staff And Residents To Get Vaccinated4/7/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The COVID-19 vaccines provide hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us. As distribution continues, long term care providers remain focused on encouraging residents and staff to get vaccinated. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched the <a href="https://getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated</a> campaign to help educate residents, staff and families about the vaccines and help reach their nationwide goal of getting <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Set-Goal-To-Get-75-Percent-Of-Staff-Vaccinated-By-June-30.aspx" target="_blank">75 percent</a> of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021. </div><div><br></div><div>Vaccine education is proving to be an effective approach to increasing uptake, particularly among staff. Following AHCA/NCAL’s #GetVaccinated campaign, a <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/New-Survey-Finds-94-Percent-Increase-In-Willingness-Of-Long-Term-Care-Staff-To-Take-COVID-19-Vaccine.aspx" target="_blank">survey</a> from OnShift shows that staff willingness to get the vaccine has increased by 94 percent since December. </div><div><br></div><div>The <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/28/health/nursing-home-covid-19-vaccine.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a> reported how one facility in Washington, D.C. successfully improved vaccine confidence and uptake. Less than half of staff at Forest Hills of D.C. chose to take the vaccine in January, but by March, nearly 80 percent had accepted. Tina Sandri, the facility’s chief executive, credited a multi-pronged approach tailor made to understanding and addressing each employee’s questions, concerns and motivations as the key to persuading more staff to get vaccinated. </div><div><br></div><div>Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that the vaccines are working. A recent <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Mar7-2021.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> by AHCA/NCAL shows a 96 percent decline in COVID cases and a 91 percent decline in COVID deaths in nursing homes since mid-December when the on-site vaccination clinics in long term care began. This vast improvement has made it possible for residents to begin safely reuniting with their loved ones in person and reengage in meaningful activities with other residents. </div><div><br></div><div>It is critical that long term care facilities have ongoing and rapid access to the vaccines in order to accommodate new and existing residents and staff who want to get vaccinated. Last month, AHCA/NCAL sent letters to White House Senior Advisor <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/Joint-Letter-WhiteHouse-Vaccines.pdf" target="_blank">Andy Slavitt</a>, White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity <a href="https://leadingage.org/sites/default/files/Cameron%20Webb%20Letter_3921.pdf" target="_blank">Dr. Cameron Webb</a> and the <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/NGA-Letter-Vaccines-3.11.21.pdf" target="_blank">National Governors Association</a>, requesting that long term care residents and staff remain a priority for the vaccines as the next phase of distribution begins. Fortunately, federal and many state officials have allocated and prioritized additional vaccines for long term care, but AHCA/NCAL will be monitoring this as attention shifts to vaccinating more of the general population. </div><div><br></div><div>While we have made considerable progress, we must remain vigilant. We must continue to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated and ensure every individual has the resources to make an informed decision. We must also continue to keep long term care first, so we can protect our most vulnerable citizens and heroic caregivers. </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 COVID-19 vaccines provide hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us.
Long Term Care Sector Calls for Support for America’s Nursing Homeshttps://publish.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Long-Term-Care-Sector-Calls-For-Support-For-America’s-Nursing-Homes.aspxLong Term Care Sector Calls for Support for America’s Nursing Homes4/6/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div>Systemic issues facing America’s nursing homes have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for reform. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, lawmakers must shift their focus on improving long term care options for our seniors. </div><div><br></div><div>President Biden has released the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/04/02/caregiving-elderly-white-house-infrastructure/" target="_blank">American Jobs Plan</a>, which proposes $400 billion in spending on home or community-based care. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) welcomes the Biden Administration taking steps to support senior care. However, the plan does not provide support for nursing homes. As nursing homes face ongoing Medicaid underfunding and workforce shortages, it is critical that lawmakers dedicate funding and resources for this important sector of long term care. </div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> to address some of the long-standing issues in America’s nursing homes and improve the overall quality of care. There are four main principles: </div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Clinical: Enhance the quality of care in nursing homes by developing robust standards for infection preventionists, requiring that each nursing home have a registered nurse on-staff, 24 hours per day, and requiring a minimum 30-day supply of personal protective equipment in all nursing homes. </li><li>Workforce: Strengthen and support our frontline caregivers by implementing a multi-phase tiered approach to attract, retain and develop more long term care professionals leveraging federal, state and academic institutions. </li><li>Oversight: Establish a more resident-driven system that is focused on improvement to ensure nursing homes are in compliance and providing high quality care. This would include implementing a process to help turn around or close facilities that are chronic poor performers and adding customer satisfaction to the government’s five-star rating system to help guide potential residents and family members. </li><li>Structural: Modernize nursing homes by conducting a national study on how to shift to more private rooms, which promote resident privacy, autonomy and dignity, as well as support infection control best practices. ​​<br></li></ul></div><div>These necessary reforms require a significant investment in our seniors and their long term care. Investment strategies include both immediate and long-term plans to help address chronic Medicaid underfunding of nursing homes, as 60 percent of residents rely on the program for their daily care. Moreover, nursing homes are now facing an economic crisis due to the pandemic, as providers have dedicated tens of billions of dollars to acquire the necessary testing, personal protective equipment and staff support to battle the virus. Without government support, thousands of nursing homes could close this year, and most nursing homes will be unable to afford meaningful change. </div><div><br></div><div>In order to strengthen the entire long term care sector, we must apply the lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic. AHCA/NCAL is eager to work collaboratively with the Biden Administration and Congress to implement significant reforms that will protect our nation’s seniors, create meaningful jobs for caregivers, and prepare for a growing elderly population. </div><div><br></div><div>To learn more, please visit <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>. </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>Systemic issues facing America’s nursing homes have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for reform.

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