After a hearing on June 11 of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis, the skilled nursing and assisted living profession told lawmakers that long term care (LTC) operators remain in need of vital resources like virus-testing capabilities and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), said nursing facilities and assisted living communities have been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 and appreciate today’s “robust” discussion about the pandemic and all they are doing to safeguard those in their care.

“Our heroic caregivers are working around the clock in the face of extraordinary circumstances to protect our residents. Thanks to their tremendous sacrifice, the majority of those who are infected—despite being extremely vulnerable to the virus due to ongoing health conditions—make a full recovery,” he said.

However, to ensure more recoveries and prevent future spread, LTC providers must have the resources they need, Parkinson said.

“Our greatest challenge remains lack of widespread testing, adequate PPE, and staffing support. We appreciate the renewed focus in prioritizing testing and PPE for nursing homes and assisted living communities, but more must be done,” he said.

“Lack of proper funding for these critical supplies puts our caregivers and the residents they care for at a severe disadvantage.”

Still, Parkinson told lawmakers it is not too late to make improvements. “The health and well-being of our residents and caregivers will always be our highest priority, and we look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers to help meet these critical needs.”