As VP Pence Travels to Louisiana and Virus Surges Across Nation, LeadingAge Demands Leadership, Coordinated Response, and Funding

PRESS RELEASE | July 14, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

Contact: Lisa Sanders 202-508-9407


July 14, 2020 Washington, DC — As Vice President Mike Pence travels to Louisiana, one of the nation’s surging coronavirus hotspots, the national association of nonprofit providers of aging services and its Gulf States affiliate called on Pence—leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force—to refocus his efforts on federal leadership to deal with a pandemic that is threatening many Louisiana long-term care communities and millions of older Americans around the country.

Pence is scheduled to meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards today as Louisiana soars into the top five states for new virus cases per capita. The visit comes as a Washington Post fact-checker analyzed claims Pence made a month ago in a national op-ed: “Pence has been proved wrong in nearly every way on every bit of data he offered,” the piece noted. “Pence’s presentation of where the numbers were headed have consistently been shown to be wildly wrong.”

The aging services leaders are demanding real leadership, clear-eyed assessments of testing capacity and resource access, and a coordinated national plan to ensure older adults and their care workers are at the front of the line for resources and support.

“Things are getting worse instead of better for older adults and their care providers—and we’re back to square one in parts of Louisiana and across the country, ” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Instead of denying, diminishing and dismissing the tragic impact of the pandemic, we need a coordinated national plan of attack, executed by a war room of leaders with clear authority to put older adults and their care providers at the front of the line alongside hospitals. We need to go beyond photo ops and denial. The time has come for a shake-up and reboot of federal leadership in the face of the worst pandemic in a century.”

Added Karen Contrenchis, CEO, LeadingAge Gulf States: “We need action now from state and federal leaders to fix the dangerous lack of life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing in many Louisiana long-term care communities. We urge leaders to deliver the tools we need to keep our communities safe from infection: ample PPE, access to tests with quick results, and funding to pay for the substantial costs incurred as a result of this national pandemic.”

“To save lives, they need ample PPE; sufficient testing supplies and rapid-results; funding and support to cover the extraordinary costs incurred as a result of this public health crisis; and pandemic hero pay, paid sick leave and other benefits for front line staff who care for older adults,” added Sloan. “What our leaders do next will literally mean life or death for the most vulnerable among us. Don’t repeat the mistakes that are costing lives,” said Sloan.

AVAILABLE for interview -- contact Lisa Sanders -- to arrange:

LeadingAge president and CEO Katie Smith Sloan

LeadingAge Gulf States president Karen Contrenchis

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: