Testing and PPE

Testing Needed

The nursing home industry is claiming that they need additional money for testing and PPE.  Providers called on Congress for an additional bailout. Money for sufficient testing, PPE and hero pay for workers in the latest relief package.

“Our members are spending an average of over $67,000 per month on PPE related to COVID — out of their own pockets without any additional financial support,” Pam Koester, LeadingAge Arizona CEO, said without evidence. She whined that delays forced several providers to arrange and pay for testing on their own. Shocking! This is necessary to get the results back in a more timely, safe manner.

“To date, our members have spent over $600,000 — again out of their own pockets without reimbursement — on testing their residents and staff. This is not sustainable,” she said.  This is a dubious statement. With no documentary support.

“We have been in a fight for our lives to get testing,” another industry lobbyist said. “FedExing lab tests overnight to this lab and then waiting the days it takes to receive the results. All of that costing us $50,000 a week as an organization — costs that are not being picked up by the state or federal government. a further complication is that nursing homes are required to have Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waivers to perform COVID-19 point-of-care tests.

Personal Protective Equipment

Caregivers at nursing homes have not received proper protective equipment to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, Gov. Kemp reopened even though he knew Georgia had insufficient PPE. Between March 16 and Aug. 9, 48 complaints regarding inadequate PPE in health care facilities were closed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency responsible for workplace safety. The PPE complaints accounted for the majority — roughly 6 in 10 — of Georgia’s COVID-19 complaints submitted to OSHA during the four-month period.

An investigation from the New York Times showed nursing homes received faulty equipment from the federal government. Trump provided gowns that look like garbage bags. Isolation gowns are important because they help prevent staff members from spreading the Trump Virus.

The overall government response to this pandemic has been a failure in terms of preparedness.  Failure in terms of testing strategy. Failure in terms of support to long-term care facilities that are protecting the most vulnerable among us. The pandemic has intensified staffing shortages.  Many caregivers resigned due to fears of contracting COVID-19 or spreading the virus to their families. Without testing and PPE, I’m not sure why any caregiver would return.