Press Releases

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Nursing Homes Face Imminent Closures Without Financial Support from Congressaspx4/8/2021 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.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>As Modern Healthcare <a href="https&#58;//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.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) <a href="https&#58;//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.&#160;</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.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>More than <a href="https&#58;//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.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed the <a href="https&#58;//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.&#160;</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.&#160;</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>Nursing homes across the country are in economic turmoil.
AHCA Statement on Proposed Rule for Skilled Nursing Facilities’ Medicare Rates and Vaccination Reporting Requirementsaspx4/8/2021 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.&#160;&#160;</div><div>&#160;</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.&#160;</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.&#160;</div><div>&#160;</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&#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>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 Vaccinatedaspx4/7/2021 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&#58;//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.&#160;</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.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The <a href="https&#58;//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.&#160;</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.&#160;</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&#58;//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.&#160;</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.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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 Homesaspx4/6/2021 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.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>President Biden has released the <a href="https&#58;//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.&#160;</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&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>Clinical&#58; 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.&#160;</li><li>Workforce&#58; 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.&#160;</li><li>Oversight&#58; 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.&#160;</li><li>Structural&#58; 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.&#160;​​<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.&#160;</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.&#160;</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>.&#160;</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>Systemic issues facing America’s nursing homes have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for reform.
Nursing Homes See 96 Percent Decline in COVID Cases Since Vaccine Rolloutaspx3/30/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​​<br></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 <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Mar7-2021.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a rapid decline in new COVID-19 cases thanks to initial vaccine allocations prioritized for nursing homes and called on Congress to consider the industry’s <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> to address systemic issues facing the nursing home sector and prevent another COVID-type crisis.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Recent CMS data shows that nursing homes have seen a 96 percent decline in new COVID cases among residents since the peak during the week of December 20 of last year when there were more than 30,000 new resident cases. Along with the lowest number of new COVID cases, AHCA/NCAL’s new report shows COVID related deaths in nursing homes declined by 91 percent since December 20, 2020.&#160;<br><br><img src="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/PublishingImages/Pages/Nursing-Homes-See-96-Percent-Decline-In-COVID-Cases-Since-Vaccine-Rollout/CHART.jpg" alt="CHART.jpg" style="font-size&#58;14.6667px;margin&#58;5px 145px;" /><br></div><div><br><br>​<span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">“We are not out of the woods yet, but these numbers are incredibly encouraging and a major morale booster for frontline caregivers who have been working tirelessly for more than a year to protect our residents,” </span><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">said</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"> </span><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">. “This trend shows that when long term care is prioritized, as with the national vaccine rollout, we can protect our vulnerable elderly population. Now we need Congress to prioritize our nursing homes for the long-term by considering the initiatives in the </span><a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank" style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Care For Our Seniors Act</a><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"> to improve the quality of care for our residents.”&#160;</span></div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge, recently released the reform agenda, the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a>, to address long-standing challenges affecting the quality of care provided in America’s nursing homes. The organizations say the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated systemic issues impacting the nursing home sector, such as workforce shortages, aging physical plants and underfunded government reimbursements for care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> focuses on four key areas for improvement, which include enhancing the quality of care with enhanced 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. The initiative also calls for a multi-phase, tiered approach to attract, retain and develop more long term care professionals leveraging federal, state and academic institutions.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>While recommending several new ways to improve oversight and processes to support better care and protect residents, the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> also aims to modernize nursing homes by looking at how the industry could shift to more private rooms, promoting resident privacy and supporting infection control best practices.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge say reform will be costly, but is long overdue. The nursing home sector has been facing a financial crisis for years even before COVID due to low Medicaid reimbursements, the primary coverage for nursing home residents. The <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> calls for an increase in federal Medicaid funds provided to states and bringing the Medicaid rate up to equal the cost of care. Currently, Medicaid only covers 70 to 80 percent of the costs to care for a nursing home resident.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“With a growing elderly population soon needing our services, the moment is now. We must pay tribute to all those who lost their lives to this vicious virus and resolve to bring forth a brighter future,” <strong>concluded Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL</strong>. “We have already seen what progress can be made when policymakers come together to make long term care residents a priority and through these reforms, we can significantly improve the quality of care for our current residents and generations to come.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>To learn more about the Care For Our Seniors Act, please visit <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>.&#160;</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>As COVID Cases in Nursing Homes Decline Rapidly, Industry Calls on Congress to Take on Needed Reform to Address Systemic Issues Facing Industry, Learn From On-Going CrisisAHCA/NCAL released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. continue to see a rapid decline in new COVID-19 cases thanks to initial vaccine allocations prioritized for nursing homes.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following House Ways And Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearing On Private Equity In U.S. Health Systemaspx3/25/2021 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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement following the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Ninety-five percent of nursing homes in the United States were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and less than 10 percent of total nursing homes are owned by private equity firms. There are many factors that affect the quality of care in nursing homes, and focusing solely on ownership structure will not achieve better outcomes for residents and staff.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“In order to continue improving the overall quality of care, we must work toward solutions that increase our nation’s investment in our long term care facilities and incentivize providers to generate great outcomes. That’s why 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 package of reform proposals that will address long-standing challenges within our industry and usher in a stronger long term care system.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated systemic issues that our industry has been calling attention to for years, such as widespread workforce shortages and chronic Medicaid underfunding. The financial crisis nursing home providers are facing has left many struggling to keep their doors open and restricts them from being able to attract more workers, make enhancements to care delivery or modernize their structures. That is why a small number of providers have sought the help of private investors when they can barely stay afloat.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“As we begin to turn a corner in our fight against the pandemic, we now have an opportunity to create a brighter future for our seniors. We must apply the lessons we have learned from the past year to make substantive reform in our industry. We stand ready to work collaboratively with lawmakers to find solutions that will ensure our current residents and future residents have access to quality long term care options.&quot;&#160;</div><div>&#160;</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/NCAL released the following statement following the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”
AHCA/NCAL Announces COVID-19 Honors Programaspx3/24/2021 4:00:00 AM<p><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Washington, DC</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"> –The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced today a new program to commemorate the heroic efforts of long term care staff during the pandemic. The AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program allows long term care facilities to recognize staff who battled COVID-19 on the frontlines, staff who contracted COVID-19 and survived, and those staff members who ultimately succumbed to the illness.<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>“In the face of COVID-19, our health care heroes are working around the clock to provide physical, psychological, and compassionate care to residents during this incredibly stressful time. Not only are these heroic staff providing one-on-one care, they are also filling the void of residents’ families and supporting them by giving them a shoulder to lean on. They are putting their lives on the line every day by coming to work to care for those most vulnerable to this virus, and we have seen their extraordinary commitment to residents during this pandemic. Tragically, too many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” </span><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">said AHCA/NCAL President &amp; CEO Mark Parkinson</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">.&#160;<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>“The AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program allows facilities to pay tribute to the phenomenal staff who were a beacon of light to their colleagues, residents, and the greater community. They are true heroes,” said Parkinson.&#160;<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><br>The AHCA/NCAL COVID-19 Honors Program is open to any long term care facility, including non-AHCA/NCAL members. Honors include a pin for staff who fought COVID-19 in their building, a medal for staff members who developed COVID-19 and recovered, and in memory of those staff who lost their lives due the virus, a medal and a United States flag flown over the U.S. Capitol may be presented to their surviving loved ones. Interested facilities may order their desired honors for staff through the <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcapublications.org/products.asp?dept=39" target="_blank">AHCA/NCAL bookstore</a>.&#160;Plans for efforts to honor residents and their families are being formulated.​</span></p><div>&#160;</div><div><strong></strong></div><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></div>AHCA/NCAL announced today a new program to commemorate the heroic efforts of long term care staff during the pandemic.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Ahead of House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Private Equity in U.S. Health Systemaspx3/24/2021 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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement ahead of the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The COVID-19 pandemic affected 95 percent of nursing homes, regardless if they were nonprofit, for-profit or owned by private equity firms. In the long term care sector, private equity companies own less than 10 percent of nursing homes, and large investor acquisitions are decreasing. However, the small number of nursing homes that have turned to alternative revenue sources underscore the financial and staffing crisis that nursing homes are facing due to the fact that Medicaid does not cover the cost of care.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Chronic Medicaid underfunding and unfunded government mandates have pushed many nursing home providers to the brink, making the average nursing home barely break even. Unfortunately, the pandemic has only worsened these financial challenges. For a small number of providers, private equity firms have been the only viable solution to prevent them from permanently closing their doors.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“Rather than focus on ownership structure, we should focus on solutions that will increase our nation’s investment in long term care. AHCA/NCAL partnered with LeadingAge on the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a>, a package of reforms that will strengthen our profession and ensure the best outcomes for residents and staff. We remain committed to working with Members of Congress on meaningful changes that will improve the overall quality of care in our nursing homes.&quot;&#160;</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/NCAL released the following statement ahead of the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing, “Examining Private Equity’s Expanded Role in the U.S. Health Care System.”
New Survey Finds 94 Percent Increase in Willingness of Long Term Care Staff to Take COVID-19 Vaccineaspx3/23/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Like members of the public, long term care staff are becoming more confident in the COVID-19 vaccines. A <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">new survey by OnShift</a> reveals that between December 2020 and March 2021, willingness of long term care staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine increased by 94 percent, and plans to decline decreased by 41 percent.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The survey also examined the reasons behind vaccination decisions and employee perceptions of the value of vaccine education. Additional key findings include&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>The respondents’ primary reasons for vaccination are to help prevent infection in family and friends (30 percent), to avoid getting COVID-19 themselves (13 percent) and to put an end to community lockdowns, gathering restrictions and/or virtual schooling (12 percent).&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>The respondents’ primary reasons for declining vaccination include concerns that the vaccine is too new (26 percent) and potential safety and side effects (23 percent). Another 10 percent believe getting the vaccine is unnecessary because they have already had COVID-19.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Sixty-two percent of respondents expressed their willingness to take the vaccine in the March 2021 survey, up from 32 percent in December 2020.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div>The results of the OnShift survey follow the launch of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living’s (AHCA/NCAL) #GetVaccinated campaign. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the campaign now has a dedicated website – <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">getvaccinated.us</a> – to help educate and encourage caregivers and staff at long term care facilities to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The website includes credible information from medical professionals, public health officials and scientists to help answer common questions about the vaccines among staff members and other individuals. The campaign also aims to help the nursing home industry reach its <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">nationwide goal</a> to get 75 percent of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>In response to the survey, Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said, “This growing acceptance for the vaccines among long term care staff is extremely encouraging and echoes what we have heard from providers across the country who saw increasing uptake with each round of on-site vaccination clinics. Now, we need public health officials to ensure long term care is prioritized for a steady, ongoing allocation of vaccines for new hires and admissions as well as current residents and staff who have since decided to get the vaccine.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The vaccines have made a remarkable impact on long term care facilities thus far. A recent AHCA/NCAL <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Feb7-2021.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> showed an 82 percent decline in the number of new COVID cases in nursing homes since late December when cases were at their peak. Now, long term care facilities are seeing the lowest number of weekly cases since the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking back in May 2020.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL remains focused on ensuring that as many residents and staff get vaccinated as possible. They are partnering with other advocacy and professional organizations as part of the #GetVaccinated campaign, to help expand its reach, share materials and educate more long term care staff across the country on the vaccines’ safety and importance.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL</strong>&#160;</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>Like members of the public, long term care staff are becoming more confident in the COVID-19 vaccines.
Long Term Care Sector Advocates For Substantive Change With New Reform Agendaaspx3/22/2021 4:00:00 AM<p></p><div>The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on many systemic issues facing nursing homes across the country. Ongoing challenges such as underfunded government funding for care, workforce shortages and aging physical structures have worsened throughout the pandemic, underscoring the urgent need for reform.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge released the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a> to address some of these long-standing issues and improve the overall the quality of care provided in America’s nursing homes. The Care For Our Seniors Act includes four main principles with policy proposals in each of the key areas&#58;&#160;</div><div><span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span></div><div><ul><li>Clinical&#58; Enhance the quality of care in nursing homes by developing clearer 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.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Workforce&#58; 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.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Oversight&#58; Implement improvements establishing a more resident-driven system by developing an effective oversight system and processes that support better care and protect residents. 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 monitor the quality of a facility for family members and guide consumer choice.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div><ul><li>Structural&#58; 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.&#160;​<br></li></ul></div><div>Along with determining key areas that need improvement, AHCA and LeadingAge have proposed several interrelated investment strategies to help reinvest in America’s nursing homes to ensure quality care. Reform will be costly, but is long overdue. The investment strategies include&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ol><li>​Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (EFMAP)&#58; Increased federal Medicaid funds are provided to states to pay for the mandatory nursing facility benefit, with requirements that additional federal funds be used for nursing facility rates. <br><br></li><li>Federal Framework for &quot;Allowable Cost&quot; or &quot;Reasonable Cost&quot;&#58; Establish federal guidelines for state allowable cost definitions. <br><br></li><li>Medicaid Rate Adequacy Requirement&#58; Medicaid rates are brought up to equal the cost of care and subsequently updated regularly to keep pace with increases in costs of care. <br><br></li><li>State Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Committee &amp; Required Design Report&#58; The state will be required to form and maintain a state health plan and nursing facility VBP committee with specific guidelines and deadlines to submit reports. This offers the potential for additional resources.&#160;</li></ol></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Long term care facilities have experienced devastating losses throughout the past year, and now it’s time to apply the lessons we’ve learned to strengthen our industry. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA <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">said</a>, “With a growing elderly population soon needing our services, the moment is now. We must pay tribute to all those who lost their lives to this vicious virus and resolve to bring forth a brighter future.” AHCA is eager to begin working hand-in-hand with Congress to implement bold solutions that will ensure all seniors have access to high-quality long term care options.&#160;</span><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>The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on many systemic issues facing nursing homes across the country.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Following Senate Finance Committee Hearing On COVID-19 In Nursing Homesaspx3/17/2021 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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement following the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s hearing, “A National Tragedy&#58; COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.”</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>“Once again, we appreciate Members of the Senate Finance Committee holding this hearing and their important questions about how we can learn from this national tragedy and seek to improve the care provided in America’s nursing homes.</div><div><br></div><div>“One of these primary challenges is how to tackle the workforce crisis in long term care. The need to attract and retain more quality caregivers to serve our nation’s most vulnerable could not be more paramount than it is right now. While we support efforts to offer more competitive wages as well as increase the number of staff at the bedside, we cannot hope to accomplish this without a considerable investment in our long term care system.</div><div><br></div><div>“As a labor-intensive health care provider that relies almost entirely on government reimbursement (Medicare and Medicaid), nursing homes need the support of policymakers and resources to make workforce improvements. That is why the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care For Our Seniors Act</a>—a reform plan we issued alongside LeadingAge—offers a comprehensive approach of how Congress and other policymakers can prioritize long term care in order to help our facilities better compete for highly dedicated and trained caregivers.</div><div><br></div><div>“We also seek to improve the care provided in nursing homes for our seniors and individuals with disabilities. The most important thing is to address poor care and incentivize better care. The Care For Our Seniors Act also looks at how we can address chronic poor performing facilities, no matter their business structure. We need to identify why certain facilities are persistently struggling, get involved with these facilities, and if they don’t improve, they should not continue to operate.</div><div><br></div><div>“We support transparency of federal resources directed to nursing homes. But the most meaningful way to improve care is by focusing on infection control and increasing our workforce availability, so more nurses and caregivers can help create great outcomes for residents.</div><div><br></div><div>“We look forward to a continued conversation with lawmakers on how we can work collaboratively to make nursing homes a priority, address these systemic challenges, and ensure a stronger long term care system moving forward.”</div><div><br></div><div>Read Dr. Gifford’s full written testimony to the committee <a href="/Advocacy/Testimony/Testimony/Dr.%20David%20Gifford%20Senate%20Finance%203.17.2021.pdf" target="_blank">here​</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>released the following statement following the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s hearing, “A National Tragedy: COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.”
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement Ahead of Senate Finance Committee Hearing on COVID-19 in Nursing Homesaspx3/16/2021 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 assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement ahead of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s hearing, “A National Tragedy&#58; COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The statement is attributable to Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer of AHCA/NCAL&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“We appreciate Members of the Senate Finance Committee holding this hearing to examine the impact this historic pandemic has had on our long term care residents and staff. We are eager to discuss the lessons learned and how we can work together to transform long term care moving forward.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“COVID-19 has affected every aspect of long term care. The age and underlying health conditions of our residents, the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of the virus, and the lack of prioritization for critical resources at the outset led to tens of thousands losing their lives.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“We must ensure that the tragedies we have experienced never happen again. The pandemic has magnified long-standing challenges we have called attention to for years. We have partnered with LeadingAge on the <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">Care for Our Seniors Act</a>, a package of reforms that we believe can help protect seniors, ensure access to quality care, and support better pandemic management. We look forward to speaking to Members of the committee, and hope that Wednesday’s hearing is the start of a meaningful discussion on strengthening long term care.&quot;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>ABOUT AHCA/NCAL&#160;</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 the following statement ahead of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s hearing, “A National Tragedy: COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.”
Nursing Homes Release Reform Agenda to Address Systemic Issues Facing Long Term Care Sector, Learn From On-Going Crisisaspx3/15/2021 4:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C. </strong>– The American Health Care Association, representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year and LeadingAge, the association of more than 5,000 mission-driven aging services providers including nursing homes, today released a reform agenda, the Care For Our Seniors Act, to address long-standing challenges affecting the quality of care provided in America’s nursing homes.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated systemic issues impacting the nursing home sector, such as workforce shortages, aging physical plants, and underfunded government reimbursements for care. Many of these issues were raised by AHCA, LeadingAge and other stakeholders for years prior to COVID but were never fully addressed by policymakers. Through the Care For Our Seniors Act, AHCA and LeadingAge are calling on lawmakers once again to help resolve systemic challenges, as well as reflecting on ways nursing home providers themselves can improve.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The pandemic has been an unprecedented tragedy with long term care facilities being at the epicenter of the crisis,” <strong>said Debbie Meade, chair of the board of directors of AHCA.</strong> “We have seen long-standing challenges exacerbated among our facilities and without serious reform, we risk more crises in the future. The Care For Our Seniors Act pinpoints the biggest issues facing our industry and provides bold, transformative and meaningful solutions that can ensure something like the COVID-19 pandemic never happens again.”&#160; &#160;</div><div><br></div><div>“The long term care system that serves our elderly has been too-long ignored in this country. That is untenable and does not reflect who we are as Americans. Now is an opportunity to fund what our country values,” <strong>said Carol Silver Elliott, chair LeadingAge’s board of directors, and president and CEO of Jewish Home Family.</strong> “Quality care that honors the dignity of each of us must be our top priority; ensuring consistent access and delivery in safe environments must be our shared goal.”</div><div><br></div><div>The Care For Our Seniors Act has four main reform principles with policy proposals in each of the key areas&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li><strong>Clinical&#58; </strong>Enhance the quality of care in nursing homes by developing clearer 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.&#160;<br><br></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><strong>Workforce&#58;</strong> 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.&#160;<br><br></span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"></span><strong>O</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><strong>versight&#58;</strong> Implement improvements establishing a more resident-driven system by developing an effective oversight system and </span><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">processes that support better care and protect residents. 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 monitor the quality of a facility for family members and guide consumer choice.&#160;<br><br></span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"></span><strong>S</strong><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;"><strong>tructural&#58;</strong> 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.&#160;</span></li></ul></div><div>AHCA and LeadingAge say reform will be costly, but long overdue. The nursing home sector has been facing a financial crisis for years due to low Medicaid reimbursements, the primary coverage for nursing home residents. With providers dedicating extensive resources in response to COVID and a significant drop in new residents moving in, the financial shortfalls have only worsened. Each policy proposal in the Care for Our Seniors Act must include government resources, and AHCA and LeadingAge propose several interrelated investment strategies to help reinvest in America’s nursing homes to ensure quality care, including&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><ol><li><strong>​Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (EFMAP)&#58;</strong> Increased federal Medicaid funds are provided to states to pay for the mandatory nursing facility benefit, with requirements that additional federal funds be used for nursing facility rates.&#160;<br><br></li><li><strong>Federal Framework for “Allowable Cost” or “Reasonable Cost”&#58;</strong> Establish federal guidelines for state allowable cost definitions.<br><br></li><li><strong>Medicaid Rate Adequacy Requirement&#58;</strong> Medicaid rates are brought up to equal the cost of care and subsequently updated regularly to keep pace with increases in costs of care.<br><br></li><li><strong>State Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Committee &amp; Required Design Report&#58;</strong> The state will be required to form and maintain a state health plan and nursing facility VBP committee with specific guidelines and deadlines to submit reports. This offers the potential for additional resources.<br></li></ol></div><div>“Congress should immediately enact these solutions to deliver the change our long term care systems needs right away,” <strong>said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge</strong>. “To effect these changes, we need to professionalize the direct care workforce to attract more people to the field. The long-term care workforce is our most valuable asset and our most critical challenge.”</div><div><br></div><div>“With a growing elderly population soon needing our services, the moment is now. We must pay tribute to all those who lost their lives to this vicious virus and resolve to bring forth a brighter future,” <strong>concluded Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA</strong>. “We have already seen what progress can be made when policymakers come together to make long term care residents a priority and through these reforms, we can significantly improve the quality of care for our current residents and generations to come.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>To learn more about the Care For Our Seniors Act, please visit <a href="/Advocacy/Pages/Care-For-Our-Seniors-Act.aspx" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org/solutions</a>.&#160;</div><div>&#160;</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>.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>ABOUT LEADINGAGE</strong></div><div>We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership encompasses the entire continuum of aging services. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit <a href="https&#58;//leadingage.org/" target="_blank">leadingage.org</a>.<br></div>Care For Our Seniors Act Aims To Improve Nursing Homes By Learning From Tragedy & Implementing Bold Solutions For The FutureAHCA and LeadingAge today released a reform agenda, the Care For Our Seniors Act, to address long-standing challenges affecting the quality of care provided in America’s nursing homes.
AHCA/NCAL Urges Federal And State Officials To Prioritize Long Term Care For Ongoing Vaccine Allocationsaspx3/12/2021 5:00:00 AM<p>​<br></p><div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) sent letters this week 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&#58;//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 facilities remain a priority for the COVID-19 vaccines as the next phase of distribution begins.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>As of March 11, more than 85 percent of nursing homes and nearly one-third of assisted living and other senior living communities have already completed their third and final clinic through the Pharmacy Partnership Program for Long-Term Care. Moving forward, these long term care (LTC) facilities need ongoing and rapid access to the vaccines to ensure that new and existing residents and staff have an opportunity to get vaccinated.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL, along with LeadingAge, Argentum and American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), has requested that the Biden administration allocate between 50,000 and 75,000 doses per week to the LTC pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. In addition, they requested that priority allocations be designated for all older people who use long-term services and supports, and that provisions be made for providers who serve older people to host on-site clinics and serve homebound people, regardless of where they live, starting in April when more supply is available.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>At the state level, AHCA/NCAL urged governors to&#58;&#160;</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>​Allocate vaccines to the LTC pharmacies for administration to LTC facilities.&#160;</li><li>Prioritize enrollment of LTC pharmacies as COVID-19 vaccine providers.&#160;</li><li>Ensure priority access to state-run vaccination clinics for LTC staff.&#160;</li><li>Allow COVID-19 vaccine single-shot syringes under state pharmacy requirements.&#160;</li><li>Direct hospitals to immunize patients with the Janssen vaccine before discharge to a LTC facility.&#160;</li><li>Work with provider associations to ensure ongoing access to COVID-19 vaccine.&#160;<br></li></ul></div><div>After the news this week that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revised guidance to allow for in-person nursing home visitations again, AHCA/NCAL President &amp; CEO Mark Parkinson <a href="/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/AHCANCAL-Issues-Statement-Following-CMS-Announcement-On-New-Guidance-For-Nursing-Home-Visitation.aspx" target="_blank">commented</a>&#58;<br></div><div><br></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><div>“It is critical that public health officials continue to prioritize vaccines for long term care residents and staff in order to help facilitate these reunifications. After the three rounds of on-site clinics, it is unclear how long term care facilities will be able to quickly access vaccines moving forward. We need the CDC to ensure the vaccine is readily available for new admissions as well as current residents who have since decided to get the vaccine, so they are able to visit with their families per the new CMS guidance. A steady, ongoing allocation of vaccines to long term care will also help ensure we continue to build upon the progress we have already made in reducing COVID in long term care.”</div></blockquote><div>&#160;</div><div>By increasing the vaccine supply and prioritizing long term care, we can continue to build on our progress. New COVID cases among nursing home residents have <a href="/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/FactSheets/Report-Nursing-Homes-Cases-Feb7-2021.pdf" target="_blank">declined by 82 percent</a> since late December. Weekly cases are now the lowest they’ve been since CMS began tracking data in May 2020, indicating that the vaccines are working.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL continues to focus on increasing vaccine uptake, particularly among long term care staff. With support from the CDC, AHCA/NCAL expanded its <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/" target="_blank">#GetVaccinated campaign</a> to educate and encourage staff to receive the vaccine. The campaign will help AHCA/NCAL reach its <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">nationwide goal</a> of getting 75 percent of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>We must remain vigilant. We urge federal and state officials to keep long term care first, so we can continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens and heroic caregivers.&#160;</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/NCAL sent letters this week to White House Senior Advisors and the NGA, requesting that LTC facilities remain a priority for the COVID-19 vaccines as the next phase of distribution begins.
Nursing Homes Face Closures Due To Long-Standing Financial Challenges Exacerbated By The Pandemicaspx3/11/2021 5:00:00 AM<p></p><div>Long term care facilities are facing a financial crisis. 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 <a href="https&#58;//d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ahca/attachments/protect%20access%20to%20long%20term%20care_ib.pdf" target="_blank">spent</a> roughly $30 billion on personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional staffing alone. Declining occupancy has compounded financial challenges. Nursing home occupancy declined by 16.5 percent between January 2020 and January 2021. Occupancy rates for assisted living communities dropped to a record-low 77.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Many long term care providers faced financial struggles even before the pandemic, but the situation is becoming more dire, with the industry anticipating record closures. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) conducted an <a href="https&#58;//d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ahca/attachments/protect%20access%20to%20long%20term%20care_ib.pdf" target="_blank">analysis</a> that estimated that more than 1,600 nursing homes could close in 2021 without financial assistance.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>For example, <a href="https&#58;//www.abcactionnews.com/news/local-news/i-team-investigates/the-aftershock-of-the-pandemic-leaves-fla-long-term-care-centers-facing-money-crisis" target="_blank">ABC affiliate WFTS</a> in Tampa Bay, Florida reports that the state’s long term care industry has been hit with losses over $650 million a year into the pandemic. Kristen Knapp, spokesperson for the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), warned, “I think if we don’t see us starting to rebuild occupancy, I think you could see some challenges where we might see some facilities close.”&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed said that the pandemic has resulted in a 181 percent increase in staffing costs in 2020 versus 2019, in addition to historic costs for PPE and testing. Occupancy rates are down 15 percent across the state’s nursing homes, leaving many operating at a profit margin of less than one percent.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Closures are devastating to residents, staff and family members. Long term care residents require a high level of specialized care that family members are often unable to provide. When a nursing home is forced to close, vulnerable seniors are uprooted and forced to find new care options, sometimes far away from loved ones.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>Legacy Lodge, an assisted living community in Jackson, Wyoming, <a href="https&#58;//www.jhnewsandguide.com/news/health/legacy-lodge-closure-left-families-to-move-elderly-loved-ones-amid-pandemic/article_56902bcb-e988-5c39-bd0f-4c4ea9f096c3.html" target="_blank">closed</a> unexpectedly last month due to financial challenges, leaving families uncertain about where their loved ones would go and how they would get care. Stories like these are becoming too common, as facilities in <a href="https&#58;//www.marinij.com/2020/12/02/editorial-nazareth-house-closure-a-sad-note-at-a-critical-time-of-need/" target="_blank">California</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.wane.com/news/bluffton-nursing-home-closes-its-doors-two-weeks-early/" target="_blank">Indiana</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.courant.com/coronavirus/hc-news-coronavirus-waterbury-nursing-home-closed-20201202-ci4vnfvey5c4xkq7vtcsb33sae-story.html" target="_blank">Connecticut</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.masslive.com/news/2020/11/farren-care-center-closing-tip-of-the-iceberg-for-massachusetts-nursing-homes-legislator-says.html" target="_blank">Massachusetts</a>, <a href="https&#58;//www.themorningsun.com/news/masonic-home-to-permanently-close-warwick-living-center/article_24b779a2-4f85-11eb-98c7-3bb4ca4819de.html" target="_blank">Kansas</a>, <a href="https&#58;//starherald.com/news/state-and-regional/owner-of-lincoln-long-term-care-facility-defaults-fannie-mae-will-take-over/article_bc438086-7768-5b00-83b7-6d1f57d81c1c.html" target="_blank">Nebraska</a>, <a href="https&#58;//cbs6albany.com/news/coronavirus/ballston-spa-nursing-home-slated-to-close-will-stay-open-until-all-residents-have-moved" target="_blank">New York</a>, and <a href="https&#58;//www.wpri.com/health/coronavirus/providence-nursing-home-to-close-citing-covid-19-losses/" target="_blank">Rhode Island</a> have also closed their doors in recent months.&#160;</div><div><br></div><div>AHCA/NCAL is urging Congress to rally around America’s long term care residents and staff by&#58;&#160;</div><div><span style="white-space&#58;pre;"> </span></div><div><ul><li>​Continuing to make long term care residents and workers a top priority for vaccine distribution.&#160;</li><li>Allocating $20 billion to the long term care industry either through an enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage for long-term services and supports, or through a dedicated portion to the Provider Relief Fund.&#160;</li><li>Continuing to prioritize long term care facilities’ access to testing and proper equipment.&#160;</li></ul></div><div><span style="font-size&#58;11pt;">The long term care industry needs help now, and providers hope to work with lawmakers on another relief package. Facilities need adequate funding and assistance so they have the proper resources to provide the high-quality care so many seniors depend on.&#160;</span><br></div><div>&#160;</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>Long term care facilities are facing a financial crisis.