Federal lawmakers negotiating a massive infrastructure deal should allocate funds for improvements in nursing homes. The industry is now looking for more money. Investments in technology, indoor air quality and energy backups will increase quality of care and future infection prevention and control. Nursing homes and other group settings were considered especially vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus.
“Even though COVID cases in long-term care are at historic lows, providers are struggling to recover from the economic crisis the pandemic has induced. Too many facilities are operating under shoestring budgets simply because policymakers have failed to dedicate the proper resources, and this can have devastating consequences,” said Mark Parkinson, the AHCA’s president.
However, recent surveys show pessimism in the industry. Caregivers fear that Senate Republicans will filibuster any infrastructure for health care providers. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living conducted a survey of 14,000 facilities across the country. Only a quarter of the respondents are confident they can last a year or longer.
Direct care at nursing homes is important work. It is also physically and emotionally demanding. Nursing home staff must wear PPE, get tested, and suffer from short-staffing.
AHCA/NCAL remains hopeful for employment or healthcare infrastructure, including direct support to caregivers. But taxpayers already gave billions to the industry and financial mismanagement and diversion of funds to related corporate entities waste taxpayer funds.
Predictably, the industry lobbyists blame Medicaid reimbursements instead of greedy corporate owners.
“Lawmakers and public officials across the country must prioritize the residents and caregivers in our nursing homes and assisted living communities,” Parkinson said. “This starts by sending immediate resources through what remains of the Provider Relief Fund, and it continues by finally addressing the chronic underfunding of Medicaid, which only covers 70 to 80% of nursing home care.