A new survey conducted by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has returned startling results. Nursing home providers across the U.S. state the majority are at risk for survival as a result of Covid lockdowns and deaths.
In the most shocking result, two-thirds, or 66% of nursing homes say they won’t make it another year given current operating circumstance due to increased COVID costs.
One of the requests is that nursing home residents and staff be given vaccines in the first round. President Donald Trump has stated several times that this should be a priority and encouraged the CDC to issue guidelines ensuring the safety of residents, nurses, and other staff.
Other key findings outlined in the letter on why long term care facilities should receive vaccines first include:
- 90% of nursing homes are currently operating at a profit margin of 3% or less. (65% of nursing homes are currently operating at a loss).
- Staffing has been the top cost in response to COVID with nine out of 10 nursing homes hiring additional staff and/or paying staff overtime.
- 58% of nursing homes said additional staff pay and hiring new staff were their top cost incurred due to COVID.
- 70% of nursing homes have hired additional staff and nine out of 10 have asked current staff to work overtime and provided hero pay.
Mark Parkinson, President and CEO, AHCA/NCAL stated the survey reinforces the need for Congress to pass another COVID relief package to replenish the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund, which is nearly out of funding. Republicans had been pushing for the package when Nancy Pelosi last week admitted she had purposely held up the aid. “The funding helps hospitals and nursing homes respond to the record number of cases in the community and within their facilities,” Parkinson stated.
“Our nursing home providers are facing the worst financial crisis in the history of the industry due to increased costs related to COVID (testing, personal protective equipment, staffing) and chronic Medicaid underfunding,” he states. “Without adequate resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package right away.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week said he had reached an agreement with Pelosi that would allow the passage of a new coronavirus package.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice