McKnight’s reported that the two biggest lobbyists for the nursing home industry had a difference in opinion as to the level of assistance provided to the nursing home industry by the Trump Administration.
Just hours after a White House ceremony, LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan strongly refuted President Trump’s claim that: “We’re taking very special care of our nursing homes and seniors.”
“This is false,” Smith Sloan said in a statement. “The time for talk, symbolism and proclamations has passed. It’s time for action from the White House and Congress.”
After Trump announced a new nursing home quality and safety panel, Smith Sloan said the day’s announcements “fell far short of what’s needed to protect the most vulnerable Americans from the coronavirus.”
“Pretending a symbolic one-week supply of PPE for select nursing homes is a meaningful solution is an insult to millions of vulnerable Americans, their families, and their caregivers,” Smith Sloan said. She was referring to federal plans to twice deliver seven days’ worth of masks, gowns, eye protection and gloves to each of the 15,400 U.S. nursing homes sometime before July 4. “FEMA’s two, one-week supplies of PPE distribution are wholly insufficient.”
“As economies open up, there has been no prioritization announced or older adults — who must now compete with nail salons and gyms for life-protecting supplies on the open market,” Smith Sloan continued.
She also called the administration on the table for elevating only symptomatic workers and residents to the top priority level for testing. Various studies have shown that a large percentage of nursing home infections have been present in asymptomatic carriers.
“The only way to avert this slow-motion catastrophe is to provide meaningful amounts of PPE, as well as effective and efficient testing and a comprehensive approach to supporting older adults and the workers who care for them,” Smith Sloan emphasized.
The formation of the new task force was announced two months after a Seattle-area nursing facility was identified as the site of the first U.S. outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and a month after a federal report was released expounding on the origins and deadly nature of the spread.
Nursing home personnel have accounted for as many as 30% of the 83,000-plus confirmed U.S. COVID-19 associated deaths, though many states’ numbers are not included in the calculations, and many expect the actual numbers to be much worse.
“It’s a spot that we have to take care of,” Trump said. “I guess you could call it a little bit of a weak spot, because things are happening at the nursing homes that we’re not happy about that. We don’t want that to happen.”