LeadingAge Cites New Federal Data to Call on Policy Leaders to Protect Vulnerable Older Americans from COVID-19

PRESS RELEASE | June 01, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

“A slow-motion tragedy that could have been averted”

Contact: Lisa Sanders

lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

June 1, 2020 Washington, DC -- Statement from Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes, in response to CMS’s release of new data on nursing homes and the coronavirus.

Today’s data are a grim reminder of a slow-motion tragedy that could have been averted if our federal and state governments had stepped up to provide the leadership, coordination and funds that nursing homes need to save lives.

Nursing home providers know what it takes to keep infections out and save lives. They are risking their lives every day to protect vulnerable older Americans. But without the supplies and tests they need, America’s nursing homes are being set up to fail their residents and the dedicated people who care for them.

Americans agree: 63% of registered voters wanted nursing homes and assisted living facilities to receive more funding from the governmentand 72% say that insufficient government support has had a negative impact on care quality in nursing homes.

Today’s CMS action offers no support. Instead it seeks to punish its way out of the pandemic. Nursing homes should be held accountable when they fall short, but escalating threats of punishment will not change the outcomes for vulnerable adults if providers are still left without the tools they desperately need.

In the coming months, the most important numbers of all will be the lives we save and the infections we prevent. What our leaders do next will determine the fate of countless vulnerable older Americans.

That’s why LeadingAge has outlined Five Essential Actions to protect older Americans from Covid-19 in the coming months.

  • Immediate access to ample and appropriate PPE for all providers who serve older Americans.
  • On demand and fully funded access to accurate and rapid-results testing for nursing home residents, older adults and their care providers.
  • Assurance that states have a specific plan to prioritize the health and safety of older Americans as they reopen.
  • Funding and support for aging services providers across the continuum of care—in nursing homes, assisted living, affordable housing, hospice, or wherever they call home.
  • Recognition for the heroic frontline care workers who are risking their own lives serving older people during this crisis.

LINK to CMS memo: https://www.cms.gov/medicareprovider-enrollment-and-certificationsurveycertificationgeninfopolicy-and-memos-states-and/covid-19-survey-activities-cares-act-funding-enhanced-enforcement-infection-control-deficiencies-and

LINK TO CMS QSO memo: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-19-survey-activities-cares-act-funding-enhanced-enforcement-infection-control-deficiencies-and.pdf

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org