Thursday, June 25, 2020

Coronavirus


Visit the AHCA/NCAL Coronavirus website daily for the latest information that we have to share with long term care providers about COVID-19.  As concerns arise with the emerging coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, we are working nationally with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure our long term care communities receive necessary supplies and guidance to prevent the spread of this disease.

AHCA/NCAL Praises Appointment of Long Term Care Providers, Other Stakeholders to Independent Commission

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 the following statement after members of the newly-formed Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes were announced by MITRE on June 19.

The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL:
“We are pleased to see a variety of stakeholders named to the Commission, including dedicated providers and valued partners Debra Fournier, Camille Jordan, Dr. Rosie Lyles, Neil Pruitt, Jr., and Janet Snipes. These professionals have devoted their lives to serving our nation’s seniors and improving the quality of care in America’s long term care facilities. Their leadership at the national level, including with AHCA/NCAL, will serve the Commission well as it evaluates ways to protect our most vulnerable from COVID-19.

“Bringing providers, residents, families, experts and policymakers together is essential in fostering a more collaborate approach to addressing this once-in-a-century crisis. Nursing homes cannot beat this pandemic alone, and focusing on enforcement and penalties neither recognizes the nature of the virus nor solves the problem. Providers need the support of public health officials to prioritize our residents and help facilities acquire the necessary resources. We hope the independent Commission will address this critical need.

“As the Commission begins its work, nursing homes and other long term care facilities are still in the day-to-day battle of keeping the virus at bay. Providers continue to face ongoing challenges in accessing and affording surveillance testing, personal protective equipment and additional staff support. Meanwhile, many states are re-opening portions of society, which is contributing to an increase in cases in some areas of the country. We want to get residents out of isolation and adapt visitations, so they can safely see loved ones again. But we must remain vigilant as research indicates that community spread is correlated with outbreaks in nursing homes, and we have yet to receive the level of resources we need.

“We look forward to working with the Commission as it conducts this important work, but long term care facilities need immediate assistance now. Public health officials at every level can help in this effort by prioritizing long term care for testing, PPE, staffing and funding. Let’s work together now and in the coming months to rally around our nation’s Greatest Generation and our frontline heroes.”

AHCA/NCAL Webinar on Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and SSI Beneficiaries with Representative Payees


AHCA/NCAL recently put together a webinar recording on economic impact payments (EIPs) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and important facts for skilled nursing facilities, ICFs/IID, and assisted living communities to know on the use of them. IRS began issuing electronic EIPs on or about April 15 to people who received a tax refund electronically.  

The webinar covers what EIPs are and what steps providers should take to protect beneficiaries receiving this benefit. EIP funds belong to the resident and they make decisions about fund use or may request assistance and guidance (such supports are acceptable). The recording also covers whether a resident can give their EIP funds to a family member and what to do if EIP funds are being misused. Finally, a variety of resources from the Social Security Administration to the National Center on Elder Law and Rights are available at the end of the webinar to find further information that will be of assistance.  More information on this recording can be found here. 

“Faces of Care”


In an effort to showcase both COVID-19 recoveries and the long term care heroes who make these recoveries possible, we have launched a page on CareNotCOVID.com titled “Faces of Care.” The landing page, CareNotCOVID.com/faces, features a gallery of residents who have recovered from COVID-19 as well as long term care staff who have stepped up to keep residents safe during the pandemic. There is also a form on the website to collection submissions of stories of hope from long term care facilities across the country. We are using news stories that we receive, videos and other testimonials.

On AHCA/NCAL social channels, we will continue to use the hashtag #CareNotCOVID to encourage others to share their stories and gain traffic to the site – serving our larger goal of continuing to push out positive, real-world examples of hope and support for long term care residents and caregivers.

We Need You for Our Social Media Initiative


AHCA/NCAL began a social media advocacy initiative last year and is encouraging all members to get involved.  The effort focuses on improving the overall image of the post-acute and long term care profession by sharing positive stories and pushing back on pieces that attempt to tie all providers to isolated negative events.

AHCA/NCAL will be sending interested members tips for getting more involved on social media, best practices for posting content, sample posts, and a roundup of positive stories about the profession on a regular basis. Individuals who want to get involved should email socialmedia@ahca.org to get on the mailing list.

The campaign also will include a rapid response to stories that are unfairly negative about the profession or do not accurately portray the reality of post-acute and long term care.  AHCA/NCAL hopes to build on these successes as the year continues. With thousands of buildings nationwide who touch the lives of millions of people, there is the chance to seriously affect the way the profession is viewed and treated by lawmakers and the media.

Articles and Resources of Interest


Legislative and Agency Corner