The Trump Administration must take swift action. Nursing home residents and caregivers need a new stimulus package to protect their health and safety. However, Trump and Mitch McConnell are still fighting over amounts. At least, they finally resumed negotiations. I hope it is not too late for the million souls in long-term care. Fox News recently reported on the situation.
Health and industry experts conclude that nursing homes have failed the residents during the pandemic. It is obvious from the numbe rof deaths. The failure to provide safety equipment, adequate testing, and safe staffing levels caused countless deaths. The failure to prevent the infection from spreading is tragic. Continued PPE supply shortages and delays in obtaining test results place nursing homes at risk for even more deaths during flu season.
The failure to properly fund safety measures in nursing homes is dire. Nursing homes account for 42 percent of coronavirus-induced deaths according to data. Residents account for 7 percent of the U.S. infection rate. What are they waiting for?
The industry already spent the initial $175 billion funds from the CARES Act. The industry is desperate for more money after mismanaging the first $175 billion. Now industry lobbyists demand an additional $100 billion from the HHS Provider Relief Fund.
Seniors at Risk
Thousands of vulnerable residents are still being infected. Dozens die every single week. “Since the start of the pandemic, these facilities have been deemed a “major driver” in infections and death rates across the entire populous.”
Peter Pitts is President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, and a former FDA Associate Commissioner. He explained:
“It is what that money is used for. It must also be used to raise the pay of non-medical staff — and this is particularly true for nursing homes. Senior facilities are not raising the pay of non-medical professionals – meaning caregivers.”
“If we want Americans living in senior communities to be safe and well looked after, the onus lies on the states to better and more equitably share the increases in federal funding. Unfortunately, on the state level, this has not been a priority.”
On Oct. 6, Trump halted negations between his staff and Democrats until after the Nov. 3 election. The move was sharply criticized by provider group LeadingAge, among others, which blasted, “Shutting down any hope of additional resources to fight the pandemic is surrendering to the virus, and recklessly endangering more lives.”
“Funding from HHS has helped nursing homes pay for additional staffing, secure vital PPE equipment, and conduct regular testing of residents and staff in response to the COVID pandemic,” AHCA head Mark Parkinson told Fox News.
“We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities by passing another COVID-funding package before they leave town for the elections,” he added.