LeadingAge Statement on HHS’ Second Round Nursing Home Quality Incentive Payments

PRESS RELEASE | December 07, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

Contact: Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

December 7, 2020 Washington, DC—Statement from Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes, on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ distribution of $523 million in second-round performance payments to over 9,000 nursing homes nationwide:

“We know that nursing homes in communities with high infection rates are more susceptible to COVID infections. Today’s HHS announcement rewards the more than two thirds (68 percent) of nursing homes providers who, even as cases were rising nationwide during September and October, succeeded in beating those odds. In October, 9,248 nursing homes had lower rates of infection than the community around them. And HHS reports that 9128 nursing homes met or exceeded the expected COVID-19 mortality rate for their facility.

This is a testament to the perseverance and commitment of nursing homes to ensuring residents’ well-being under tremendously challenging circumstances. Staff nationwide are pursuing infection control-and-prevention training in numerous ways, including by participating in collaborative learning through Project ECHO’s Nursing Home Initiative as well as by taking CMS-provided modules. With these much-needed supports, HHS is acknowledging that additional resources are needed to do battle. We appreciate that, as will our members who receive funds.

Yet, as the death toll among people over 65 nears 200,000, and despite recognition from the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on older adults merits their being first in line for life-saving vaccines, Congress has yet to act and provide the relief that older adults and the providers who care for them need.

What will it take to get the financial commitment that we need to save lives?

It’s time for our elected representatives to put partisanship aside. Nursing homes could protect even more residents and care workers with additional help and resources.”

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.