STATEMENT FROM KATIE SMITH SLOAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LEADINGAGE NATIONAL
“As President Trump visits the Puritan Medical Products in Guilford, ME today, nursing homes and other aging services providers still lack the testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other resources needed to keep older adults and their care workers safe. Right now, the country has little more than a patchwork plan for protecting older lives in the pandemic—and testing is among the most critical elements to stave off the virus, particularly in nursing homes and other communities of older adults.
It was troubling when the President last month said that ‘we have prevailed’ in coronavirus testing while too many in the nursing home community continue to scramble to access tests and pay for them. We need to see a real commitment to the actual delivery of testing resources and relief funds that are still desperately needed to close the testing gap.
We hope the President’s trip, focusing once again on COVID-19, indicates a step back from the troubling signs that the Administration may walk away from any substantive leadership role in confronting the pandemic (which we noted in our statement yesterday). Millions of older people in Maine and across the country cannot wait any longer for the resources and support they need—and the health and safety of vulnerable older Americans can’t be assured so long as there is a national testing gap.
Nursing home providers know what it takes to keep infections at bay. But without federal and state government leadership, coordination and funds—all of which have been severely lacking since the beginning of the pandemic—nursing homes are left defenseless during this unprecedented public health emergency.
In Maine, 60% of COVID-19 related deaths are connected with nursing homes. This is a devastating reality for older people, families, and frontline workers in the state’s nearly 100 nursing homes.
A comprehensive, evidence-based national plan for coronavirus testing is the first, most urgent step. At the end of May, LeadingAge sent a letter detailing requests on how Congress can assure this happens. We further call on the Administration and Congress for urgently needed protections as laid out in our Five Essential Actions.”
STATEMENT FROM LISA HENDERSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF LEADINGAGE MAINE & NEW HAMPSHIRE
“The nonprofit nursing homes caring for Maine’s most vulnerable older adults need free, readily-accessible and reliable testing. This can only happen with a coordinated state and federal testing response.”
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.
LeaidngAge Maine & New Hampshire is the association of not-for-profit, senior living communities and care providers in Maine and New Hampshire. Member organizations include nursing homes, assisted living communities, federally-assisted and market- rate housing, home and community-based services, and Life Plan Communities. For more information: www.leadingagemenh.org.