The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) offered its support of HR 8540, the Keeping Seniors Safe from COVID-19 Through Home Design Act, introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.).

Co-sponsored by Reps. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.), and Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), the legislation would commission a study by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture to develop best practices in senior housing design to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.

“We applaud Rep. Katko for introducing this bipartisan measure that will help protect long term care residents,” said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL.

“Since the start of the pandemic, long term care providers have done everything in their power to protect residents and staff, but the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 in congregate settings like long term care facilities has contributed to the disproportionate impact the virus has had on our nation’s seniors.”

He added that examining ways providers can improve the design of long term care housing is a positive first step in preventing the spread of communicable diseases and keeping the nation’s most vulnerable citizens safe.

“As we look to the future, we must take the lessons we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to adopt meaningful reforms that will ensure long term care providers are equipped to handle future public health crises. We look forward to working with members of Congress on long term solutions that will help strengthen the high-quality care we provide," Parkinson said.