More than 180,000 individuals in long term care have lost their lives due to COVID-19. This represents roughly one-third of all U.S. deaths due to the virus, despite only representing 5% of the nation’s cases. Long term care residents are typically older with underlying health conditions, making them extremely susceptible to the virus.
While vaccines are now available and hundreds of thousands in these facilities have recovered, many lives were lost because long term care was not made a priority. Critical resources were directed toward hospitals, leaving long term care facilities at a severe disadvantage. Supply chain and testing strains left many facilities scrambling to acquire personal protective equipment and testing with reliable and rapid results. Meanwhile, researchers found that high spread of the virus in the communities surrounding these facilities was a key factor in nursing home outbreaks.
View the timeline below to see how the long term care industry repeatedly called for help, but the public health response was often too little, too late.
CDC Confirmed First U.S. COVID-19 Case
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S.
HHS Declared COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), declared a public health emergency due to the continued spread of coronavirus.
AHCA/NCAL Issued Visitation Guidance
AHCA/NCAL issued guidance to nursing homes and assisted living communities to limit all non-essential visits and screen essential personnel.
Mark Parkinson Called For CDC Support On CNN
In a CNN interview, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson called on the Centers for Disease Control to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for long term care communities in response to COVID-19, which he called “a perfect killing machine.”
WHO Characterized COVID-19 As Pandemic
The World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.
CMS Issued Visitation Guidance
AHCA/NCAL Warned Against Mandates Directing Nursing Homes To Accept All Hospital Patients
AHCA/NCAL warned states to avoid directing nursing homes to accept all hospital patients who have not been tested for COVID-19, or without offering proper support to nursing homes with resources, such as PPE.
AHCA/NCAL Launched Ads Calling For Increased Support
AHCA/NCAL called for increased support for long term care staffers who were taking bold steps to care for their residents.
Mark Parkinson Called For Resources On Fox News
Mark Parkinson conducted an interview on Fox News, reiterating the need for more resources, saying, “This is a perfect storm. A highly contagious virus that is a near perfect killing machine to the elderly. And unfortunately, the very things that we need to fight it we don’t have. We’ve been pleading for a month or two that, if we get the masks, if we can get the equipment, we can stop this virus both inside of nursing homes and outside of it. But without it it’s going to be a very tough battle.”
Mark Parkinson Called For Resources On CNN
Mark Parkinson conducted an interview on CNN, calling again for resources, saying “We are still fighting this incredible battle with two hands tied behind our back. On one hand is the lack of equipment…and the second hand tied behind our back is a lack of testing.”
AHCA/NCAL Issued Reporting Guidance
AHCA/NCAL issued guidance to nursing homes and assisted living communities on reporting confirmed cases of COVID-19 to state officials as well as residents, family members and staff.
Associated Press Quoted Mark Parkinson On Testing Needs
More than a month after AHCA/NCAL’s initial call for increased testing, Mark Parkinson was quoted by the Associated Press on testing needs.
“The country was so focused on making sure that hospitals were fully equipped and ready for a surge of admissions, we were really left behind.”Mark Parkinson
CDC Revised Priority Testing Groups, Added LTC Residents And Staff
The Centers for Disease Control revised its priority groups for testing, adding long term care residents and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 to the highest priority.
Mark Parkinson Called For Testing Priority On CNN
Mark Parkinson appeared on CNN again, urging that long term care residents and staff be made the priority for testing, equipment and resources.
AHCA/NCAL Called For Testing, Equipment Prioritization
AHCA/NCAL once again called for the prioritization of long term care providers for equipment and testing.
CDC Formed Independent Commission On Long Term Care Response To COVID-19
CMS announced the formation of an independent commission to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the long term care industry’s response to COVID-19. AHCA/NCAL applauded this decision.
Mark Parkinson Authored New York Times Letter To The Editor
In a New York Times letter to the editor, Mark Parkinson highlighted the heroic efforts of long term care staff, and called for additional resources including PPE, testing and staffing support.
Long-term care providers are facing a historic threat from COVID-19, and our caregivers are among the heroes of this fight.Mark Parkinson
AHCA/NCAL Sent Letter To HHS And FEMA Requesting $10 Billion In Support
AHCA/NCAL Survey Showed Voter Support For Increased Funding For Long Term Care
AHCA/NCAL published the results of a new survey that showed growing support among voters for increased funding to nursing homes and assisted living communities as they battled COVID-19. 72% of voters agreed that a lack of government funding had a negative impact on the quality of care that residents of these facilities are receiving.
AHCA/NCAL Sent Workforce Roadmap To Governors
AHCA/NCAL sent the nation’s governors a Workforce Roadmap to offer ideas that will help provide additional staff support on the frontlines.
“Governors must take immediate action to help protect those currently on the frontlines and take proactive steps to recruit, train and deploy additional caregivers to ensure that residents continue to receive the daily care they need in our facilities. This is an ‘all hands-on deck’ situation.”Mark Parkinson
HHS Announced $4.9 Billion Funding For Skilled Nursing Facilities
HHS announced $4.9 billion in funding for skilled nursing facilities. AHCA/NCAL applauded this announcement, but called for additional support – especially for assisted living providers who still had not received any direct aid.
Mark Parkinson Discussed Community Spread On Fox News
Mark Parkinson was interviewed on Fox News Sunday. He spoke about the impact of case numbers in the surrounding community on long term care providers and the need for increased testing to reopen facilities and reconnect residents with their loved ones.
AHCA/NCAL Analysis Showed $672 Million Cost To Test Residents And Staff
An analysis conducted by AHCA/NCAL found that testing all 4.4 million long term care residents and staff only once would cost $672 million.
AHCA/NCAL Requested Support HHS From FEMA For Assisted Living
AHCA/NCAL sent a letter to HHS and FEMA, requesting support and funding for assisted living providers who primarily care for seniors, but have not received any federal aid.
“The price of inaction would be devastating – to our residents, to their loved ones, and to those who work in assisted living communities who see their residents as family members.”Mark Parkinson and Scott Tittle
NCAL Survey Showed PPE Shortage In Assisted Living
NCAL released the results of a survey showing that more than half of assisted living communities had less than a two-week supply of PPE and more than 70 percent were being forced to reuse PPE.
CDC Revised Mask Wearing Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control revised guidance to nursing home personnel on wearing face masks from wearing around suspected or confirmed cases to wearing a face mask at all times while they are in the facility.
AHCA/NCAL Survey Showed Slow Turnaround For COVID-19 Tests
AHCA/NCAL released a survey of its members, which found that 87% nursing homes and assisted living communities are having to wait two days or more for test results.
AHCA/NCAL Warned National Governors Association Of Imminent COVID-19 Outbreaks
AHCA/NCAL sent a letter to the National Governors Association warning state governors of imminent outbreaks at nursing homes and assisted living facilities given the major spikes in new cases, combined with serious personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages and significant delays in testing results for long term care residents and caregivers.
NCAL Signed Letter Requesting Congressional Assistance For Assisted Living
NCAL signed a letter with Argentum, LeadingAge and the American Senior Housing Association requesting Congressional leadership to provide assistance to assisted living and senior living providers in their next COVID-19 stimulus package.
“As Congress considers next steps in its response, our communities and the millions of seniors under our care must be prioritized to ensure that senior living remains a viable option for the foreseeable future.”
AHCA/NCAL Requested Congressional Funding For Nursing Homes And Assisted Living Communities
AHCA/NCAL called on Congress to provide funding to nursing homes and assisted living communities for testing, PPE and staffing support. Additionally, AHCA/NCAL called for long term care communities to be prioritized for vaccine distribution.
President Trump Announced $5 Billion Provider Relief Funds For Nursing Homes
President Donald Trump announced an additional $5 billion in additional Provider Relief Funds allocated for nursing homes. AHCA/NCAL applauded the announcement, but called on Congress to prioritize additional resources and support for long term care providers in their next COVID-19 legislation.
HHS Announced $5 Billion Allocation For Nursing Homes
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a $5 billion allocation for nursing homes from the Provider Relief Fund. $2.5 billion was provided in upfront funding to support increased testing, staffing and PPE needs with additional funding available for those establishing COVID-19 isolation facilities.
AHCA/NCAL Report Showed Spike In Nursing Home COVID-19 Cases
AHCA/NCAL released a report showing nursing homes in the U.S. have experienced an alarming spike in new COVID-19 cases due to community spread among the general population.
Mark Parkinson Discussed Community Spread On CNN
Mark Parkinson joined Kate Bolduan on CNN Newsroom to discuss how coronavirus spikes across the nation are impacting long term care communities.
AHCA/NCAL Survey Showed Financial Hardships Of Nursing Homes
AHCA/NCAL released the results of a survey of U.S. nursing homes. According to the data, providers are facing increased costs and declining revenue as a result of COVID-19, and 72% of nursing homes said they won’t be able to sustain operations another year at the current pace.
NCAL Survey Showed Financial Hardships Of Assisted Living Providers
The National Center for Assisted Living released the results of a national survey of assisted living providers on their financial situation amidst growing costs and declining revenues due to COVID-19. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living providers have not received any direct federal funding or support for personal protective equipment or testing.
Mark Parkinson Called For Support In Op-Ed
In The Hill, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson wrote an op-ed calling for ongoing support for long term care providers as they fight COVID-19.
“Federal and state governments must once again refocus their efforts on long term care.”Mark Parkinson – President and CEO, AHCA/NCAL
CMS Announced New Testing Requirements For Nursing Homes
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new testing requirements for nursing homes. The new rules required nursing homes to routinely test staff and offer tests to residents when there is an outbreak or residents show symptoms.
HHS Announced Assisted Living Providers Could Apply For COVID-19 Relief Funding
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that assisted living providers could apply for COVID-19 relief funding as provided by the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle commented on the announcement, thanking HHS for their efforts to prioritize our nation’s assisted living communities.
“This financial aid is welcome news for the tens of thousands of assisted living providers and the hundreds of thousands of seniors they serve.”Scott Tittle – Executive Director, National Center for Assisted Living
Mark Parkinson Spoke To NASEM, Urging Vaccine Prioritization For Long Term Care
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson spoke at a public listening session organized by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of getting a vaccine to long term care providers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic protecting our nation’s seniors.
HHS Announced $2 Billion Incentive Plan For Nursing Homes
HHS announced a $2 billion incentive payment plan for nursing homes as part of the $5 billion Provider Relief Fund distribution announced in early August. Nursing homes will have their performance measured on their ability to keep new COVID infection rates and mortality low among residents.
Mark Parkinson Wrote Op-Ed On Needed Steps For Providers To Reopen For Visitation
AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson published an op-ed on LinkedIn discussing the steps public health officials should take so long term care facilities can safely resume visitations.
Coronavirus Commission For Safety And Quality In Nursing Homes Released Report
The Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes released a report on the safety and quality in nursing homes in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson responded to the report and attended a discussion on the findings at the White House.
“We are pleased to see the Commission acknowledge what we have been saying from the beginning – there must be shared responsibility with public health officials prioritizing our residents in long term care and helping facilities acquire necessary resources to combat this global pandemic.”Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO
Mark Parkinson Discussed Lack Of Assistance For Long Term Care In New York Times Letter To The Editor
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson had a letter to the editor published in The New York Times highlighting the lack of assistance long term care providers received at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as long standing staffing shortages and low Medicaid reimbursement rates. He called on Congress to help us address this historic challenge.
“Though nursing homes care for one of the most vulnerable populations, the focus remained on hospitals. Lack of access to personal protective equipment and testing was a serious challenge.”Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO
CMS Issued Visitation Guidance For Nursing Homes
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued revised guidance providing detailed recommendations on ways nursing homes can safely facilitate visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mark Parkinson Wrote Op-Ed Highlighting Lack Of Assistance For Long Term Care Providers
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO penned an op-ed in Provider Magazine calling attention to the lack of support long term care providers received early in the pandemic and called for additional support from Congress in COVID-19 relief funding and future Medicaid reimbursement reforms.
“Caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities have done everything in their power to protect our most vulnerable from COVID-19. Despite unprecedented challenges and delayed support early on, they have bravely answered the call of duty and have saved thousands of lives.”Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO
Trump Administration Announced Distribution Of 33 Million Rapid COVID-19 Tests For Long Term Care
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) urged Congress to provide an additional $100 billion in funding for the Provider Relief Fund and allocate a sizable portion to long term care providers.
AHCA/NCAL Requested $100 Billion In Congressional Funding
The Trump administration announced a plan to distribute 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests, including 18 million for nursing homes and 15 million for assisted living communities.
AHCA/NCAL Requested Vaccine Priority From National Governors Association
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) sent a letter to the National Governors Association (NGA) and state governors urging them to prioritize COVID-19 vaccine distribution to all long term care communities.
“Given that long term care facilities care for our most vulnerable when it comes to this virus and employ hundreds of thousands of essential health care workers, we urge that your plans to the CDC make residents and staff of these settings the highest priority for the vaccine.”Mark Parkinson and Scott Tittle
Mark Parkinson, Tara Gregorio Wrote Op-Ed Requesting Additional Assistance for MA Long Term Care Providers
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson and Massachusetts Senior Care Association President Tara Gregorio wrote an op-ed in InsideSources expressing the need for continued support as long term care providers continue to battle COVID-19.
“While we have made great progress in implementing and executing protocols to protect our staff and residents, the fight against COVID-19 is far from over.”Mark Parkinson and Tara Gregorio
HHuS Announced Vaccine Distribution Partnership With CVS And Walgreens
The Department of Health and Human Services announced a partnership with CVS and Walgreens to deliver and administer COVID-19 vaccines to long term care facilities when they are available.
AHCA/NCAL Reported Third Spike In Long Term Care COVID-19 Cases
The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living released a report showing U.S. long term care communities could see a third spike of increasing new COVID-19 cases due to community spread among the general population.
Mark Parkinson Called For More Coordination To Protect Long Term Care Residents
In response to a recent decision by State Administrative Law Judge Matt Perkins regarding Life Care Center of Kirkland in Washington State, AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson penned an op-ed in Morning Consult calling for more coordination between providers, public health officials and lawmakers to protect vulnerable long term care residents.
United States Public Interest Research Group Report Showed Continued PPE Shortages
The United States Public Interest Research Group released a report that nursing homes were still experiencing shortages of personal protective equipment seven months into the pandemic.
AHCA/NCAL Report Showed Increased COVID-19 Cases In Nursing Homes
AHCA/NCAL released a report showing increased COVID-19 cases in nursing homes as a result of community spread among the general population. During the week of October 18, 43% of new COVID cases in nursing homes were from Midwest states with major spikes in community spread in the upper parts of the region.
AHCA/NCAL Applauded The Keeping Seniors Safe From COVID-19 Through Home Design Act
AHCA/NCAL released a statement applauding H.R. 8540, the Keeping Seniors Safe from COVID-19 Through Home Design Act. The bill would commission a study by the federal government that would develop best practices in senior housing design to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.
“As we look to the future, we must take the lessons we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to adopt meaningful reforms that will ensure long term care providers are equipped to handle future public health crises.”Mark Parkinson – President and CEO, AHCA/NCAL
AHCA/NCAL Congratulated President-elect Joe Biden, New Congress
AHCA/NCAL released a statement following the 2020 election congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and all those elected to Congress. President and CEO Mark Parkinson also expressed the need for immediate action from Congress to get long term care providers the resources they need.
AHCA/NCAL Data Showed Spike In New COVID-19 Cases In Nursing Homes
AHCA/NCAL released updated data showing a spike in new COVID-19 cases in nursing homes, due to community spread among the general public.
AHCA/NCAL Urged Caution Around Holiday Gatherings
AHCA/NCAL urged Americans to exercise caution around holiday gatherings to limit community spread of COVID-19 and stop the virus from entering long term care communities.
“We understand everyone wants to see their family and friends during the holidays, but we really need to consider our parents and grandparents who are living in our nation’s long term care facilities.”Dr. David Gifford – Chief Medical Officer, AHCA/NCAL
AHCA/NCAL Requested Priority In COVID Relief Funding
AHCA/NCAL once again reiterated requests for Congress to prioritize long term care providers, and the vulnerable seniors they care for, in the next COVID-19 relief funding package.
AHCA/NCAL Report Showed Rising COVID-19 Cases Due To Community Spread
AHCA/NCAL released a report showing that weekly new COVID-19 cases in nursing homes had reached a record high due to community spread among the general population.
Mark Parkinson Urged Caution Around Holiday Gatherings On CNN
Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President & CEO, appeared on CNN with Kate Bolduan to discuss the need for caution from the general public celebrating the holidays and prioritization for long term care residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mark Parkinson Discussed The Impact of COVID-19 On Good Morning America
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on long term care communities as cases reached record highs.
CDC Panel Recommended Prioritizing Health Care Workers, Long Term Care Residents For Vaccines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend health care workers and long term care residents receive the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available. AHCA/NCAL applauded this decision, and called on governors to implement this guidance to protect long term care residents and staff.
Mark Parkinson Discussed Vaccine Prioritization On CNBC
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson joined The News with Shepard Smith on CNBC to discuss the need for long term care residents and staff to be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine.
AHCA/NCAL Report Showed Record-Breaking Case Numbers In Nursing Homes
An updated report from AHCA/NCAL noted that nursing home cases are approaching record-breaking cases and deaths due to high community spread around the country. The week of November 15 saw more than 18,000 new resident cases and 2,000 resident deaths.
AHCA/NCAL Congratulated Xavier Becerra On Nomination To HHS
President-Elect Joe Biden nominated California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). AHCA/NCAL congratulated Becerra and expressed optimism that they could work together to improve long term care using lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
CDC Panel Recommended Authorization Of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine
An advisory panel formally recommended that the Food and Drug Administration authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. AHCA/NCAL has previously expressed the need for long term care staff and residents to be prioritized to receive the vaccine once available.
FDA Approved Emergency Use Authorization For Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine
AHCA/NCAL Survey Showed Financial Crisis Of Nursing Home Industry
AHCA/NCAL released the results from a survey of nursing homes, which found two-thirds won’t make it another year given increased costs due to COVID.
AHCA/NCAL Launched #GetVaccinated Campaign
AHCA/NCAL launched a branded effort to encourage long term care residents and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
AHCA/NCAL Report Showed Record-Breaking Number Of New COVID-19 Cases In Nursing Homes
AHCA/NCAL released an updated report showing record-breaking numbers of new COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents.
AHCA/NCAL Criticized COVID Relief Package, Called For More Financial Support
AHCA/NCAL released a statement criticizing the latest COVID-19 relief package, calling for more financial support for long term care providers who are facing increased costs and imminent closures.
AHCA/NCAL Urged Extension Of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
In a letter to Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, AHCA/NCAL urged the federal government to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency beyond its January 23, 2021 expiration date so health care providers can continue to offer the most efficient and effective care possible during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
AHCA/NCAL Released Statement On COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout
AHCA/NCAL released a statement regarding the pace of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in long term care communities.
“This is a monumental effort to vaccinate millions of our nation’s vulnerable seniors and their caregivers, and we are confident and grateful that everyone involved is working as hard and as fast as they can while still ensuring we get this right.”Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL CEO and President
AHCA/NCAL Called On Congress For Immediate Support
AHCA/NCAL called on Congress for immediate support to help long term care providers continue to fight COVID-19.
AHCA/NCAL Called For Workforce Support
AHCA/NCAL called for workforce support as long term care staff are stretched thin and exhausted from the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is taking a considerable toll, physically and emotionally, on our health care heroes in long term care … Burnout is a real concern for all health care workers during this pandemic.”Dr. David Gifford – Chief Medical Officer, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living
Initial Analysis Provides Promising Results For COVID-19 Vaccines In Long Term Care
The Center for Health Policy Evaluation in Long Term Care (CHPE) released an analysis indicating that COVID-19 vaccines may be reducing spread of the virus in nursing homes. AHCA/NCAL called for additional research to help expedite the reopening on long term care facilities to visitors and group activities.
AHCA/NCAL Asked CDC For Additional Research On COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness
AHCA/NCAL sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking for additional research into the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among the long term care population to help expedite the safe reopening of these facilities.
AHCA/NCAL Estimated Industry Could Lose $94 Billion Over Two-Year Period
AHCA/NCAL conducted an analysis that estimated that the long term care industry is expected to lose $94 billion over a two-year period (2020-2021). The same analysis estimated that without immediate assistance, more than 1,600 nursing homes could close in 2021.
AHCA And Leading Age Announce Goal To Vaccinate 75% Of Nursing Home Staff
AHCA and LeadingAge, with support from the CDC, announced the nationwide goal of getting 75% of the approximately 1.5 million nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021.
Mark Parkinson Discussed Rapid Decline in Cases on CNN
AHCA/NCAL president & CEO Mark Parkinson joined Kate Bolduan to talk about a new report showing that to due long term care being made a priority for the vaccines, nursing homes in the U.S. have experienced an 82% drop in new COVID-19 cases since their peak in December, the lowest number of new cases since the federal government started tracking in May 2020.
AHCA/NCAL Expanded #GetVaccinated Campaign
AHCA/NCAL expanded the #GetVaccinated campaign with a new website and ad campaign, encouraging long term care staff and others to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
CMS/CDC Allowed More In-Person Visitations at Nursing Homes
AHCA/NCAL Requested Continued Vaccine Priority
AHCA/NCAL sent letters to White House Senior Advisor Andy Slavitt, White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity Dr. Cameron Webb and the National Governors Association, requesting that long term care facilities remain a priority for the COVID-19 vaccines as the next phase of distribution begins.
AHCA and LeadingAge Released Care For Our Seniors Act
The American Health Care Association and LeadingAge released the Care For Our Seniors Act, a reform agenda to address long-standing challenges affecting the quality of care provided in America’s nursing homes.
Dr. David Gifford Testified Before Senate Finance Committee
Dr. David Gifford, Chief Medical Officer for AHCA/NCAL, testified as part of the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing, “A National Tragedy: COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.”
Survey Showed 94% Increase in Willingness of Long Term Care Staff to Take COVID-19 Vaccine
A new survey by OnShift 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.
Report Showed 96% Decline In New COVID Cases Among Nursing Home Residents
AHCA/NCAL released a report showing nursing homes in the U.S. have seen a 96% decline in new COVID cases among residents since the peak during the week of December 20, as well as a 91% decline in COVID-related deaths.
Johnson & Johnson Paused Vaccine Distribution
Long Term Care Urged Members of the Public to Slow The Spread
AHCA/NCAL urged members of the public to get vaccinated and slow the spread in the face of rising community cases of COVID-19.
AHCA/NCAL Released Reunion Video
Supporting its #GetVaccinated campaign, AHCA/NCAL released a video highlighting the reunions of long term care residents with their loved ones thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines.
AHCA/NCAL Called On Lawmakers To Address Workforce Challenges
In observance of Careers in Aging Week, AHCA/NCAL called on lawmakers to help address workforce challenges in long term care with meaningful policy solutions.
Industry Urged Policymakers to Expand Private Rooms in Nursing Homes
As Congress debates a major infrastructure package, AHCA/NCAL again called on lawmakers to support the Care For Our Seniors Act to transform and modernize nursing home structures. Shifting to private rooms in nursing homes would offer residents more privacy and dignity, as well as support infection prevention and control.
Federal Government Updated Guidance to Long Term Care Facilities
Minimum Supply of Personal Protective Equipment Needed in Long Term Care, Advocates Argued
The nursing home industry called on policymakers to aid facilities in preparing for future infectious disease outbreaks, with federal and state stockpiles supporting at least a 30-day supply of masks, gowns, gloves and other PPE at every nursing home in the country.
Federal Government Announces Vaccination Reporting Requirements for Nursing Homes
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its interim final rule which requires long term care facilities to publicly report its vaccination rates. AHCA/NCAL, which has supported publicly reporting vaccination rates, said they appreciated CMS taking this step as it helps facilitate in-person visits, track vaccine effectiveness and helps ensure the industry meets its goal to vaccinate 75 percent of staff by the end of June.
Study Shows Effectiveness of Pfizer Vaccine In Nursing Homes
The Center for Health Policy and Evaluation in Long-Term Care, the research division of AHCA/NCAL, published a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society which found that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are effective in reducing new cases and deaths among residents and staff in long term care. The study’s findings confirm continued calls to prioritize long term care residents and staff for the vaccines.
AHCA/NCAL Calls On Lawmakers To Address Workforce Shortages in Health Care
Following a U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing on the dire shortage of workers in health care, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson thanked Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for bringing attention to the issue within nursing homes and urged lawmakers to work together with industry leaders on policies that will address the crisis.
HHS Extends Deadlines for Provider Relief Fund Use and Reporting
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised reporting requirements for recipients, such as nursing homes and assisted living communities, of Provider Relief Fund payments. AHCA/NCAL applauded the news, as the association and more than 100 members of Congress had asked for flexibilities since long term care providers are still grappling with ongoing costs to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
OSHA Issues New Standards for Health Care Settings
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to address exposure to COVID-19 to workers in health care settings. Providers had to be in compliance with most of the ETS by July 6, 2021. AHCA/NCAL requested flexibility and recognition of good faith efforts given the complexity of the standards with little time to implement.
AHCA/NCAL Holds #GetVaccinated Virtual Town Hall to Help Boost Vaccine Confidence
AHCA/NCAL hosted a virtual town hall as part of its #GetVaccinated campaign to help improve vaccine confidence among long term staff. The live panel included AHCA/NCAL’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gifford, Dr. Sarah Berry and three frontline staff members, who answered questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and encouraged caregivers to get vaccinated.
Survey Reveals Long Term Care Workforce Challenges Are Worsening
AHCA/NCAL released a survey that shows 94% of nursing homes and 81% of assisted living communities have experienced a shortage of workers recently. Providers across the U.S. struggled with workforce shortages before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now three-quarters of nursing homes and more than half of assisted living communities say their facility’s workforce situation has gotten worse compared to 2020.
Survey: Only One-Quarter of Long Term Care Facilities Confident They Will Make It Through to Next Year
A recent AHCA/NCAL survey shows that a majority of nursing homes and nearly half of assisted living communities are operating at a loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results underscore the urgent need to address the economic crisis facing the industry.
AHCA/NCAL Issues Statement on Nursing Home Staff Vaccination Goal
AHCA/NCAL Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gifford said that while the nursing home industry has made significant progress in increasing COVID-19 vaccinations among staff, more work needs to be done.
HHS Must Release Remainder of Provider Relief Fund, Long Term Care Industry Advocates
AHCA/NCAL called on HHS to release the remainder of the Provider Relief Fund after recent survey results highlighted the severity of the economic crisis within the long term care industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our sluggish economic recovery puts thousands of facilities in danger of closing, threatening access to long term care for vulnerable seniors and individuals with disabilities.Mark Parkinson
Long Term Care Providers Call for Inclusion in Infrastructure Package
AHCA/NCAL urged lawmakers allocate funding to help nursing homes and assisted living communities make capital improvements, so residents can receive the highest quality of care and additional protection. Any infrastructure package should include helping facilities upgrade their indoor air quality, technology, emergency preparedness back-up systems, and sanitization and monitoring practices.
AHCA/NCAL Cautions Congress on Using Provider Relief Funds To Pay For Infrastructure
AHCA/NCAL issued a statement urging lawmakers to avoid using unused Provider Relief Funds to cover the costs of a potential infrastructure package. With the Delta variant spreading throughout the U.S., long term care providers need ongoing support as they continue to fight the virus.
AHCA/NCAL Supports Long Term Care Providers Who Adopt Vaccine Mandates for Staff
With COVID cases rising across the country due to the highly contagious Delta variant, AHCA/NCAL issued a policy statement strongly urging all long term care personnel to get vaccinated and expressed support for providers who adopt mandatory staff COVID-19 vaccine policies in their facilities.
AHCA/NCAL Voices Support for the Elder Justice Act Reauthorization
AHCA/NCAL CEO issued a statement praising a group of lawmakers for their work around the reauthorization and modernization of the Elder Justice Act. The bill includes proposals from the Care for Our Seniors Act that will help long term care facilities invest in their workforce.
We are glad to see policymakers provide a desperately needed focus on workforce investment, including assistance for caregivers with everyday life, like loans, tuition, childcare and transportation.Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL CEO and President
AHCA/NCAL Urges HHS to Release Provider Relief Funds
AHCA/NCAL sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urging the agency to allocate $13 billion from the Provider Relief Fund to long term care providers.
Ensuring that this funding is delivered to long term care providers immediately is critical to our primary role of caring for and protecting our nation’s seniors and most vulnerable.”Mark Parkinson
President Biden Announces Vaccine Mandate for Nursing Homes
In a public address, President Biden announced that nursing home staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in a forthcoming regulation. In response, AHCA/NCAL warned that the mandate could worsen existing workforce challenges and urged that all health care settings be included in the policy.
Focusing only on nursing homes will cause vaccine hesitant workers to flee to other health care providers and leave many centers without adequate staff to care for residents. It will make an already difficult workforce shortage even worse.Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL CEO and President
Biden Administration Outlines Booster Shot Plan
AHCA/NCAL Urges HHS And CMS To Strengthen Vaccine Mandate Policy
AHCA/NCAL sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, offering several solutions to ensure success of the administration’s vaccine mandate policy for nursing homes, including applying the policy to all health care settings and dedicating resources to providers to support their vaccination efforts.
Mark Parkinson Warns Nursing Homes Could Face Mass Exodus of Workers Due to Federal Vaccine Mandate on GMA3.
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson appeared on ABC’s GMA3 to discuss President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate for nursing home workers. He said nursing homes could lose “tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands” of employees and encouraged the administration to mandate vaccinations for all health care workers.
AHCA Documentary Discusses Need for Reform In Nursing Homes
America’s nursing homes faced challenges long before the COVID-19 pandemic. In Why It’s Time To Transform America’s Nursing Homes, AHCA leaders and long term care providers urge lawmakers to apply the lessons of the pandemic to improve quality of care in our nursing homes.
Bipartisan Group of Senators Ask HHS to Release Provider Relief Fund
More than 40 U.S. senators, led by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) signed a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra urging the department to distribute the remaining resources of the Provider Relief Fund to health care providers, including nursing homes and assisted living communities.
More Senators Urge HHS To Distribute Aid From Provider Relief Fund
In a letter to HHS, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) note that it has been 11 months since the last PRF distribution. As the nation experiences the “fourth wave” of the pandemic, the senators urged the department to immediately allocate funds to health care providers.
Biden Administration Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
HHS Makes $25.5 Billion Available to Health Care Providers
HHS is making $25.5 billion available to health care providers, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, affected by the pandemic. AHCA/NCAL expressed appreciation for the aid, as facilities continue to fight the virus.
These federal funds are critical in helping providers acquire the ongoing staff support, personal protective equipment, and testing they need to protect our residents and staff members as well as prevent facility closures.”Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO
Providers Call on Congress to Include Long Term Care in Infrastructure Package
AHCA/NCAL expressed the need for longer-term investments from the federal government. They called on Congress to allocate resources in the bipartisan infrastructure package that are necessary to help improve quality of care.
New Survey Shows Worsening Workforce Crisis in Long Term Care
AHCA/NCAL released a survey highlighting the urgent need for Congress to address the labor shortage within the long term care industry. The survey shows that 99% of nursing homes and 96% of assisted living communities in the U.S. are facing a workforce crisis.
CDC and FDA Approve Pfizer Booster Shot for Long Term Care Residents and Staff
AHCA/NCAL expressed appreciation to the CDC and FDA for recognizing the high-risk exposure of COVID-19 within the long term care industry and approving the Pfizer booster shot for residents and staff.
Congressman Keller Introduces Legislation To Help Strengthen Long Term Care Workforce
AHCA/NCAL applauded Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) for introducing the Strengthening Knowledge, Improving Learning, and Livelihoods (SKILLS) Act, which would create a pipeline of essential workers for the long term care sector.
We appreciate Congressman Keller making the long term care workforce a priority, and we look forward to working with him to help pass this bill.Mark Parkinson AHCA/NCAL CEO and President
AHCA/NCAL Asks Federal Trade Commission To Protect Long Term Care Providers From Price Gouging
Direct care staffing agencies are charging exorbitant prices to long term care facilities that need caregivers in the midst of an ongoing workforce crisis. AHCA/NCAL sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, requesting assistance in combating price-gouging practices.
Feds Expand Eligibility of COVID-19 Booster Shots
Following approval from the FDA, the CDC recommended Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster shots for certain groups, including long term care residents and workers. Individuals can also mix and match vaccine brands for their booster dose. AHCA/NCAL applauded the news.
The rollout of the Pfizer booster shot has gone incredibly well in long term care, and we are confident that adding Moderna and Johnson and Johnson into the mix will catapult our efforts.”Dr. David Gifford, AHCA/NCAL Chief Medical Officer
House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee Hears Legislation On Improving Quality of Care
Ahead of a U.S. House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on supporting caregivers and health care providers, AHCA/NCAL issued support for HR.331, the Nurses Certification and Recognition of Experience (Nurses CARE) Act and H.R. 5602, the Bolstering Infectious Outbreaks (BIO) Preparedness Workforce Act of 2021, which would help alleviate staffing challenges and recruit more workers to the industry.
Biden Administration Issues Emergency Vaccine Regulations for Workers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) each issued emergency regulations requiring all workers in large private businesses and Medicare and Medicaid-certified health care settings to be vaccinated against COVID-19. AHCA/NCAL warned that the CMS policy, which does not include any resources for providers, could exacerbate the workforce crisis within long term care.
Even a small percentage of staff members leaving their jobs due to this mandate would have a disastrous impact on vulnerable seniors who need around-the-clock care.Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO
AHCA/NCAL Urges Congress to Remove Unfunded 24-Hour RN Requirement in Build Back Better Act
A new provision in the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) would require nursing homes to have a registered nurse (RN) on-staff at all times. AHCA/NCAL supports having a 24-hour RN on staff, but without funding and coordinated efforts to attract more caregivers to the profession, the provision will further limit access to care.
Lawmakers should remove this provision from the reconciliation package and give this matter the thorough consideration it deservesClif Porter, AHCA/NCAL Senior Vice President for Government Relations
Nursing Home Mandates in “Build Back Better Act” Will Worsen Staffing Crisis
Industry leaders held a press conference regarding two provisions in the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) that will have a devastating impact on nursing homes and could force thousands more facilities to further limit admissions or possibly close their doors. The unfunded staffing mandates would cost billions of dollars a year and require hiring more than 150,000 new caregivers.
Documentary Showcases Day-To-Day Reality of COVID-19 Pandemic In Nursing Homes
AHCA/NCAL produced and released a short film documentary titled, “Closed Doors, Open Hearts: Nursing Homes and COVID-19” to highlight the many challenges for long term care residents and families, as well as the heroes that fought to keep residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. District Court Issues Injunction On CMS Vaccine Mandate For Health Care Workers
AHCA/NCAL expressed appreciation after the U.S.District Court in the Western District of Louisiana issued a nationwide injunction on the CMS vaccine mandate for health care workers, citing concern that the mandate will worsen the historic labor crisis within the industry.
We continue to urge CMS to allow a regular testing option for unvaccinated staff and, therefore, support any legal remedy or CMS action that would bring about this solution.”Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL CEO and President
Congress Delays Harmful Medicare Cuts
Lawmakers passed the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act (S. 610), helping to protect beneficiary access to essential healthcare services by temporarily reducing or delaying Medicare payment cuts scheduled for 2022. AHCA/NCAL thanked members of Congress:
This interim relief is appreciated, and we are eager to work with Members of both houses to enact permanent solutions in the new year.Clif Porter, AHCA/NCAL Senior Vice President of Governmental Relations
LTC Industry Encourages Vaccinations and Boosters to Protect Seniors During Holiday Season
High vaccination rates in long term care are key in protecting residents and staff from COVID-19. However, they cannot fully prevent outbreaks in congregate settings alone. With the holiday season in full swing, and with the rise of the Omicron variant, AHCA/NCAL urges the public to get vaccinated and a booster to help protect vulnerable seniors.
Mark Parkinson Gives Update on COVID-19 Booster Distribution in Long Term Care on CNN
AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson joined Kate Bolduan on CNN, sharing that 55 percent of long term care residents have received their COVID booster so far – more than double the percentage of the general population. As providers continue to make booster uptake their top priority, Parkinson said, “It is absolutely critical to get the booster vaccine. Whether you’re in a nursing home or an assisted living community, or just a resident in the general population.”
AHCA/NCAL Requests Extension Of Public Health Emergency
With the Omicron variant projected to last for weeks to come and long term care facilities continuing to face a historic labor crisis, AHCA/NCAL sent a letter to U.S. Human and Health Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to request the extension of the Public Health Emergency, which is set to end on January 16th.
Omicron Surge in General Community Leads to Spiked Cases in Nursing Homes
A new report shows that COVID-19 cases have significantly increased in nursing homes due to community spread among the general population according to the data released by the CDC. AHCA/NCAL is calling on public health officials to direct support toward long term care and on members of the public to get vaccinated and boosted.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Vaccine Mandate For Health Care Workers
AHCA/NCAL expressed concern that the repercussions of the federal vaccine mandate for health care workers would further devastate an already decimated workforce and asked that CMS and state surveyors consider regular testing options for unvaccinated staff to prevent worsening staff shortages.
When we are in the midst of another COVID surge, caregivers in vaccine hesitant communities may walk off the job because of this policy, further threatening access to care for thousands of our nation’s seniors.Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL CEO and President
AHCA/NCAL Requests Assistance With Anticompetitive Practices By Staffing Agencies
Nurse and direct care staffing agencies are exploiting the critical workforce shortage within the health care system, charging exorbitantly high prices that hospitals and nursing homes have no choice but to pay. AHCA/NCAL and the American Hospital Association (AHA) sent a joint letter to White House COVID-19 Response Team Coordinator Jeffrey Zients to request immediate assistance from the federal government.
New Data Shows Workforce Crisis Continues in LTC ￼
LTC Providers Call on Lawmakers to Address Labor Shortage ￼
In a hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, lawmakers expressed their commitment to addressing the health care labor crisis that has grown increasingly more severe as the pandemic continues.
AHCA/NCAL Calls on Congress to Direct Additional Resources to Long Term Care Residents and Staff
AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to take additional steps to help long term care facilities respond to Omicron, address staffing shortages, and keep their doors open for their residents.
President Biden Announces Nursing Home Reforms
“Additional oversight without corresponding assistance will not improve resident care. To make real improvements, we need policymakers to prioritize investing in this chronically underfunded health care sector and support providers’ improvement on the metrics that matter for residents.Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL CEO and President
New Report Highlights Deepening Economic Crisis in Nursing Home Sector
AHCA/NCAL released a new report by CLA (CliftonLarsenAllen LLP) demonstrating the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s nursing homes. Skyrocketing labor costs coupled with declining revenue has resulted in negative operating margins. The economic crisis threatens more facility closures and therefore, reduced access to care for seniors across the country.
Nursing Home Leaders Request Meeting with White House
Report: Nursing Home Care Was Improving Prior to COVID
A new report released by AHCA/NCAL highlights federal data that shows the quality of care in nursing homes had been on an upward trend in the 10 years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
March Jobs Report Shows Growing Labor Crisis in Long Term Care
In a new report summarizing Bureau of Labor Statistics data, AHCA/NCAL found that nursing homes lost another 2,500 jobs in March, deepening a historic labor crisis that is worse than any other health care sector. The entire long term care industry has lost more than 400,000 employees since the start of pandemic.
CMS Ends COVID-19 Emergency Waivers
The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services announced it would be ending a number of pandemic-related emergency waivers for long term care facilities, but not hospitals. AHCA/NCAL raised concerns about the phase out of the waivers while the industry is facing a historic workforce crisis.
This pandemic is far from over, and the long term care workforce crisis has never been more dire. Now is not the time to let crucial supports and flexibilities necessary to combat the virus end.Holly Harmon, RN, Senior Vice President of Quality, Regulatory & Clinical Services for AHCA/NCAL
CMS Proposes Medicare Cuts to Skilled Nursing Facilities￼
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a proposed rule for the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System for FY 2023 and proposed cutting Medicare payments by $320 million. Industry leaders warned cuts could deepen the sector’s economic crisis.
Many nursing homes already face imminent closure, and this Medicare cut could force more seniors across the country to relocate and find alternative care farther away from family and loved ones.”Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA
Pandemic Threatens More Nursing Home Closures
A new report from AHCA/NCAL highlights nursing homes closures across the country since 2015. The data shows that over 300 facilities have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 and more than 400 more are projected to close in 2022, based on current financials.
Long Term Care Staff Urged to Get COVID-19 Boosters
As part of its #GetVaccinated campaign, AHCA/NCAL’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gifford encouraged long term care staff to ensure their COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date in a new video message.