“We’re all in!” LeadingAge Partners with White House in Winter Preparedness Efforts
Contact: Lisa Sanders
December 15, 2022 Washington, DC — As COVID-19 cases increase and the threat of a tripledemic looms, aging services leader Katie Smith Sloan today announced a range of initiatives and partnerships that LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, is undertaking in collaboration with the Biden Administration to support the White House COVID-19 Winter Preparedness Plan, also released today.
“Three years into living with COVID, our nonprofit, mission-driven members, who care for and serve millions of older adults and families nationwide, know what it takes to stay healthy and limit the potential of illness from COVID-19. Getting vaccinated, keeping up-to-date on boosters, and testing regularly are all key to preventing severe illness and mitigating community spread. We’re all in,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Building on longstanding trust and deep relationships, our D.C.-based leadership team has for months been working side-by-side with experts at the departments of Health & Human Services and at Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to coordinate and implement critical initiatives so that older adults and families have tools and resources to stay healthy.”
In support of the White House COVID-19 Winter Preparedness Plan, LeadingAge is partnering:
With the Department of Housing and Development (HUD) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in the launch of a test kit portal through which LeadingAge’s nonprofit, mission-driven members that provide Section 202 affordable senior housing will be able to order test kits in bulk for distribution to residents.
“Regular testing is an important component to remaining free of illness. The COVID testing portal is a vital resource that will help to alleviate residents’ challenges with test access and payment, and also protect them and their communities against serious illness and viral spread this winter,” says Dr. Thomas Tsai, Testing and Treatment Coordinator on the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team. “We are proud to be able to rally the joint expertise of LeadingAge, HUD, and HHS to achieve a shared goal: ensuring older Americans’ health and safety – particularly at-risk populations.”
With HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) through the All Hands on Deck campaign aimed at increasing bivalent booster uptake in nursing homes across the country. Activities include:
- Weekly reporting, beginning Dec. 9, 2022, to CMS of bivalent booster rates among LeadingAge nursing home members
- Continued advocacy and collaboration with HHS to advocate for the elimination of the barriers that limit vaccination uptake, such as restrictions on providers’ ability to store and administer vaccines. Yesterday, HHS announced a policy change that will expand long-term care providers’ ability to vaccinate. LeadingAge long-term care providers who meet the criteria to administer vaccines will participate in the program using the new exemption form and process
- Providing tools to the 2,000-plus LeadingAge members who manage nursing homes to increase the number of residents who are fully vaccinated and boosted.
With the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on Vaccine Education and Access Programs (VEAP), in two initiatives:
- Funds for community-level programs: LeadingAge on Dec. 6, 2022, announced the latest in a series of grants the association awarded to members, who use the funds to develop or enhance local partnerships with the goal of increasing COVID-19 and influenza vaccine equity and access among older adults and care professionals. That news follows the October 2022 distribution of $20,000 grants to three LeadingAge as Phase 2 of the CDC partnership. Year 1 kicked off in Nov. 2021 when LeadingAge distributed 42 grants of $10,000 each to members throughout the U.S., who deployed funds in a variety of ways including providing incentives to people to get information, make decisions, and choose to get vaccinated and get boosters, as well as flu shots.
- Educational materials and campaigns: LeadingAge debuted the “Care FULLY” COVID-19 vaccine campaign for direct care professionals in Mar. 2022; these materials will be updated for Year Two with messaging specific to increasing vaccine and boosters for direct care professionals nationwide, particularly in communities disproportionately impacted. Materials will be available for distribution in both English and Spanish versions.
“We are focused on what matters most and using our strong connections and relationships to fight for members and the people they serve,” said Sloan. “This winter, in every setting and community type – from nursing homes and senior communities including affordable housing for low-income older adults, to home and community-based services including hospice, home health and Programs for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly – we’re committed to sharing facts and messaging to promote vaccine and booster uptake, holding clinics and ensuring access to tests.”About LeadingAge:
We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit leadingage.org.
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