A Windfall for Nursing Homes
Lack of appropriate PPE is still an issue for nursing homes ever since the start of the pandemic. Nursing home residents and caregivers make up about 45% of all Covid-related deaths. Many nursing home administrators say they struggle with a shortage of test kits and a lack of personal protective equipment. Most nursing homes have a history of serious problems with infection control. Some staffers have been forced to wear makeshift gear. CMS sent faulty or expired gear.
Now they get a windfall of money. $2,5 billion in new funds. HHS explained in recently issued FAQs that each nursing home gets $10,000 plus a per-bed payment of $1,450, The department released a breakdown on how the $2.5 billion is being distributed among states.
Nursing home operators can do whatever they want with it. The Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution should help operators provide safe staffing, testing, and PPE. However, many nursing homes are putting the money into the pockets of their corporate masters instead.
HHS told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News the agency “does not dictate to recipients how they should allocate funds among their nursing home subsidiaries or facilities.” The government will not regulate or provide any oversight. No limitation or clear criteria is known. The language is so broad it includes everything.
The money needs to be for testing. According to various estimates, between 20 and 45 percent of the people who get COVID-19 are without symptoms. No fever or chills. They don’t feel sick. No loss of smell or taste. No breathing difficulties. These people are super-spreaders. We need to test everyone working at nursing homes.