AHCA/NCAL Sends Letter To Congressional Leadership Requesting Additional Resources for Long Term Care Residents and Staff

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) sent a letter to Congressional leadership earlier this week thanking them for their continued support of long term care residents and staff and urging them to take additional steps to ensure the safety and protection of America’s most vulnerable.

In the letter, Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, outlined the association’s specific requests of Congress that would provide nursing homes and assisted living communities with the resources necessary to combat COVID-19 and address critical challenges brought on by the ongoing pandemic. Specifically, in the upcoming appropriations bills, AHCA/NCAL is calling for a replenishment of the Provider Relief Fund with $20 billion allocated to long term care, as well as an extension to the current delay of Medicare sequestration cuts and the recoupment of Medicare Accelerated and Advance payments.

“Nursing homes and assisted living communities are facing the worst job losses among all health care professions, and the shortage is impacting seniors’ access to care,” Parkinson wrote. “More than half of nursing homes were limiting new admissions in recent months—at a time when overwhelmed hospitals needed our assistance to free up precious beds due to the Omicron surge. However, with your help, health care providers, including those in long term care, can access key tools available to help respond to this unprecedented challenge.”

Long term care residents and staff have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, as the virus uniquely targeted older adults with chronic conditions and exposed long-standing issues within the industry. Chronic government underfunding coupled with workforce recruitment challenges were exacerbated by the global crisis. The number of long term care facilities forced to limit admissions or close altogether because of staffing shortages and financial concerns continues to grow.

Also in the letter was a call for Congress to encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to extend the Public Health Emergency through the end of 2022.

These measures would be significant steps in helping invest in the frontline caregivers our nation’s seniors need, so they continue to have access to high quality, long term care.