A national online survey on the COVID-19 effects on assisted living communities and nursing homes found that voters believe the government has failed to support long-term care facilities, and that these facilities deserve the same resources as hospitals. 

The survey of 1,500 registered voters throughout the country was conducted May 6 to 9 by GS Strategy Group on behalf of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA / NCAL, said the survey shows that Americans are “deeply concerned” about the effect of COVID-19 on long-term care facilities and they want their state and federal leaders to “rally around nursing homes and assisted living communities.”

“They understand this is an unprecedented health crisis requiring significant funding to protect residents and caregivers,” Parkinson said in a statement. “That’s why eight out of 10 voters support our request for the federal government to provide $10 billing in emergency funding for expanded testing, personal protective equipment supplies and additional staffing.

“Long-term care providers can also be part of the solutions as the country recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, but we need the tools to do so.”

According to the survey results, by a three-to-one margin, respondents believe that assisted living communities and nursing homes need more funding for personal protective equipment, staffing and testing. More than three-fourths of voters — including 80% of those 65 and older — support AHCA / NCAL’s request to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an additional $10 billion in funding for long-term care facilities for supplies and equipment.

“We’re asking for an immediate $10 billion fund for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs),” Parkinson said previously. “Once that is completed, we ask for consideration of an additional fund for assisted living communities.”

Overwhelmingly, 85% of voters want the government to provide assisted living communities and nursing homes with the same resources as hospitals.

In other coronavirus-related news:

  • House Democrats announced a new, $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill on Tuesday. The bill proposes a $200 billion fund for essential worker hazard pay and $100 billion in grants for providers for healthcare-related expenses.
  • Howard Gleckman, author and senior fellow at The Urban Institute, lays out five ways to reduce COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities in Forbes. He advocates for increased testing, better testing that produces rapid results, more personal protective equipment and training in how to use it, better staff management and timely data.
  • The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration issued two emergency rules to help prevent coronavirus at assisted living communities and nursing homes. The rules require long-term care facilities to grant access to the Florida Department of Health for the purpose of infection prevention and control, as well as mandated COVID-19 testng of staff. 
  • The New York State Health Facilities Association and the New York State Center for Assisted Living called on the state government to increase testing for assisted living and skilled nursing employees. The associations also called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fulfill a request by the American Healthcare Association and National Center for Assisted Living to provide $10 billing in emergency relief funding to help nursing homes pay for testing, personal protective equipment and staffing.
  • The Wisconsin Health Care Association and Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living are opposed to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services releasing the names of specific facilities under investigation for COVID-19 outbreaks. It takes only one positive test from an employee or resident of a long-term care facility to trigger an outbreak investigation, and posting names on a website does not serve a public health benefit, according to an association executive.
  • A Wisconsin-based assisted living corporation’s focus on employee health has helped keep COVID-19 out of its eight assisted living communities around the state. A Sylvan Crossings executive said its prevention strategy focuses on restricting visitors, training and education, and monitoring and screening of employees and residents every shift. 
  • Connecticut is struggling to detail the coronavirus impact on assisted living communities in the state, according to a media report. As the state Department of Public Health works to create a better data collection program, assisted living communities struggle with the challenges the new reporting process brings.
  • Although state and federal agencies have issued orders to nursing homes and assisted living centers in Kentucky regarding the COVID-19 pandemic — including tracking requirements of positive cases — independent living communities have been left mostly to their own discretion, according to a media report. Independent living communities are not licensed or certified by the state, leading residents and their families to worry they might not be informed about potential cases. 
  • PHI, a national research and consulting agency, has launched a new online resourceThe National Direct Care Workforce Center — designed to support researchers, policymakers, practitioners, advocates and journalists in better understanding the direct care workforce. The resource will gather and centralize various studies, reports and resources published about the direct care workforce of 4.5 million home care workers, nursing assistants and other direct care workers.