Coronavirus Nursing Home Commission Members Named

This article was written by Patrick Connole for the Provider Daily.

MITRE, the not-for-profit organization managing the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes on Friday named the 25 commission members, which include resident advocates, infectious disease experts, directors and administrators of nursing facilities, academicians, state authorities, clinicians, a medical ethicist, and a nursing facility resident.

Jay Schnitzer, MD, MITRE’s chief medical and technology officer, will serve as the moderator of the commission.

He said the commission members were chosen from more than 800 applications through a rigorous evaluation process. Selection criteria included expertise in infection control and prevention of infectious disease, direct experience with the pandemic and/or other health emergencies, leadership in issues relevant to the commission, and contribution to diversity of viewpoints and representation to the commission’s composition.

Following the release of the commission member names, Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), said the association is pleased to see a variety of stakeholders named to the commission, including dedicated providers and valued partners Debra Fournier, Camille Jordan, Rosie Lyles, MD, Neil Pruitt Jr., and Janet Snipes.

“These professionals have devoted their lives to serving our nation’s seniors and improving the quality of care in America’s long term care facilities. Their leadership at the national level, including with AHCA/NCAL, will serve the commission well as it evaluates ways to protect our most vulnerable from COVID-19,” he said.

Parkinson noted that the act of bringing providers, residents, families, experts, and policymakers together “is essential in fostering a more collaborate approach to addressing this once-in-a-century crisis.”

“Nursing homes cannot beat this pandemic alone, and focusing on enforcement and penalties neither recognizes the nature of the virus nor solves the problem,” he said. “Providers need the support of public health officials to prioritize our residents and help facilities acquire the necessary resources. We hope the independent commission will address this critical need.”

Parkinson said as the commission begins its work, nursing centers and other long term care facilities are still in the day-to-day battle of keeping the virus at bay. Providers, he stressed, continue to face ongoing challenges in accessing and affording surveillance testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and additional staff support.

“Meanwhile, many states are reopening portions of society, which is contributing to an increase in cases in some areas of the country. We want to get residents out of isolation and adapt visitations so they can safely see loved ones again. But we must remain vigilant as research indicates that community spread is correlated with outbreaks in nursing facilities, and we have yet to receive the level of resources we need.”

Parkinson added that AHCA/NCAL looks forward to working with the commission “as it conducts this important work, but long term care facilities need immediate assistance now.”

Public health officials at every level can help in this effort by prioritizing long term care for testing, PPE, staffing, and funding, he said. “Let’s work together now and in the coming months to rally around our nation’s Greatest Generation and our frontline heroes.”

The commission members are:

  • Roya Agahi, RN, MS HCM, WCC; chief nursing officer, formerly of NYC Health + Hospitals, soon to be of CareRite, New York
  • Lisa Brown, PhD, ABPP; professor of psychology, Palo Alto University, California
  • Mark Burket, CEO, Platte Health Center Avera, South Dakota
  • Eric Carlson, JD; directing attorney, Justice in Aging, California
  • Michelle Dionne-Vahalik, DNP, RN; associate commissioner, State Health and Human Services Commission, Texas
  • Debra Fournier, MSB, BSN, ANCC RN-BC, LNHA, CHD, CPHQ; COO, Veterans’ Homes, Maine
  • Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN; president, The John A. Hartford Foundation, New York
  • Candace Goehring, MN, RN; director, State Department of Social and Health Services, Aging and Long-Term Support Administration, Washington
  • David Grabowski, PhD; professor of healthcare policy, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Camille Rochelle Jordan, RN, BSN, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, CDP; senior vice president of clinical operations and innovations, Signature Healthcare, Kentucky
  • Jessica Kalender-Rich, MD, CMD, AGSF, FAAHPM, FACP; medical director, post-acute care, -University of Kansas Health System, Kansas
  • Marshall Barry Kapp, JD, MPH; professor emeritus of law, Florida State University, Florida
  • Morgan Jane Katz, MD, MHS; assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
  • Beverley Laubert, MA; state long-term care ombudsman, State Department of Aging, Ohio
  • Rosie Lyles, MD, MHA, MSc, FACA; director of clinical affairs, Medline Industries, Illinois
  • Jeannee Parker Martin, MPH, BSN; president and CEO, LeadingAge California
  • G. Adam Mayle, CHFM, CHC, CHE; administrative director of facilities, Memorial Healthcare System, Florida
  • David Nace, MD, MPH, CMD; president, AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, Pennsylvania
  • Lori Porter, LNHA, CNA; CEO, National Association of Health Care Assistants, Missouri
  • Neil Pruitt Jr., MBA, MHA, LNHA; chairman and CEO, PruittHealth, Georgia
  • Penelope Ann Shaw, PhD; nursing home resident and advocate, Braintree Manor Healthcare, Massachusetts
  • Lori Smetanka, JD; executive director, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Maryland
  • Janet Snipes, LNHA; executive director, Holly Heights Nursing Home, Colorado
  • Patricia Stone, PhD, MPH, FAAN, RN, CIC; professor of health policy in nursing, Columbia University, New York
  • Dallas Taylor, BSN, RN; director of nursing, Eliza Bryant Village, Ohio

The Mitre Corp. is a not-for-profit organization that manages federally funded research and development centers supporting several U.S. government agencies.