The American Health Care Association (AHCA) has released “Why It’s Time To Transform Nursing Homes,” a short-length documentary about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long term care and the urgent need for reform.
“Nursing homes have been at the epicenter of the global health crisis since the very beginning due to this vicious virus,” said AHCA President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Parkinson.
“This documentary illustrates how the pandemic has exacerbated longstanding issues within the industry, including chronic Medicaid underfunding and workforce challenges,” he said. “Without strategic, swift action from policymakers, the crises we face will continue and vulnerable seniors will be at risk of losing the care they need.”
The documentary features AHCA leaders and long term care providers, including Parkinson, AHCA Chief Medical Officer David Gifford, MD, Health Management CEO Debbie Meade, and Marquis Companies President and CEO Phil Fogg, who discuss how public health officials failed to support nursing homes at the outset of the pandemic, limiting their ability to access critical resources.
The lack of government prioritization, coupled with the unique susceptibility of the residents to the virus and rampant community spread, tragically led to more than 100,000 lives lost in nursing homes, data show.
The rollout of safe and effective vaccines was a turning point for residents and caregivers, but the work continues and persistent challenges still linger, they point out. Looking forward, the documentary gives an overview of AHCA and LeadingAge’s Care for Our Seniors Act, a four-pronged reform proposal that will address some of the enduring challenges within long term care and prevent future tragedies from happening.
“We must heed the lessons of this pandemic, and that means we must make our nation’s seniors and their caregivers a priority,” Parkinson said. “We hope that lawmakers and health care leaders watch this documentary and are compelled to act. This global pandemic is far from over, and the profession is facing a worsening economic and workforce crisis,” he said.
“We are eager to work with federal and state policymakers to help providers through the pandemic as well as enact meaningful reforms that will improve the quality of care for our residents today and tomorrow.”
To watch “Why It’s Time To Transform Nursing Homes,” go to www.ahcancal.org/solutions.