AS VP TRAVELS TO ARIZONA AND VIRUS SURGES ACROSS NATION, LEADINGAGE DEMANDS NEW DIRECTION FROM ADMINISTRATION

PRESS RELEASE | July 01, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

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

July 1, 2020 Washington, DC — As Vice President Mike Pence travels to Arizona, where coronavirus cases are surging, the national association of nonprofit providers of aging services and its Arizona affiliate called on Pence to focus on the dangerous lack of life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing in many Arizona long-term care communities—and the need for more federal leadership to deal with a pandemic that is threatening millions of older Americans. They are demanding real leadership that is desperately needed to save lives.

Pence is scheduled to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey today.

“Things are getting worse instead of better, and every day lives are lost, needlessly,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Instead of failures and photo-ops, we need federal leadership.  The time has come for a shake-up and reboot of federal leadership in the face of the worst pandemic in a century.”

Adds Pam Koester, CEO, LeadingAge Arizona: “We are under siege. The virus moves fast, and so must we.  We need action now from state and federal leaders: help keep residents in nursing homes safe from infection with ample PPE, and access to tests with quick results. This is no time for photo ops.” 

Donna Taylor, COO of LifeStream, a LeadingAge member that provides nursing home care, assisted living, memory care and independent living for older adults, says: “The testing and lab system is overwhelmed. Time is of the essence, and we need leadership from Washington to alleviate the bottleneck of tests waiting to be processed, and to ensure that labs can turn around results quickly. To keep as many as possible safe and healthy, we need 24-hour turnaround to test residents and staff who show symptoms.  Access to testing, with quick results and the means to pay for it, is a critical tool in our fight against this horrific virus,. ”  

“For months, care providers have been demanding real relief to protect older adults and their care workers,” added Sloan. “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.  

AVAILABLE for interview -- contact Lisa Sanders lsanders@leadingage.org -- to arrange: 

LeadingAge Arizona CEO Pam Koester

LeadingAge Arizona member Donna Taylor of Lifestream 

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.