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Failure of leadership, logistics, communications or all three

Published on June 26th, 2020

Nursing homes across the country have complained they’ve received faulty personal protective equipment from the federal government. Industry lobbyists are calling on VP Mike Pence to investigate multiple “failures” regarding PPE distributions.

I am asking you to personally investigate mounting evidence that FEMA shipments of PPE are deeply delayed, frequently stocked with useless and expired supplies, and delivered in quantities radically insufficient to help protect older Americans from the deadly coronavirus. Further, nursing homes across the country have not received clear and helpful communications about what to expect and when to expect it,” LeadingAge CEO Katie Smith Loan wrote to Pence.

She also cited instances where facilities either didn’t receive enough supplies or useless materials. A Washington official also described the supplies as “unusable” and “not suitable for nursing homes or for any other healthcare setting,” according to the report.

It is unclear if this is a failure of leadership, logistics, communications or all three. But for older Americans, the coronavirus is still ongoing,” she wrote.

Long-term care providers recently described receiving gowns that look like tarps with no holes for hands and surgical masks that were too thin, according to CNN. Nursing home giant Genesis HealthCare confirmed that two of its facilities received defective gowns.

“Our greatest challenge remains lack of widespread testing, adequate [PPE] and staffing support,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, said. “We appreciate the renewed focus in prioritizing testing and PPE for nursing homes and assisted living communities, but more must be done. Lack of proper funding for these critical supplies puts our caregivers and the residents they care for at a severe disadvantage.”

Parkinson issued the comments following a hearing regarding nursing homes held by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Several witnesses criticized the lack of investment in staffing and equipment for nursing homes which helped exacerbate the crisis in long-term care facilities. 

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