The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has warned Congress that if it does not approve a new COVID-funding package, public health agencies and health care providers could be less than completely prepared heading into the cold and flu season, as well as underfunded to handle another major spike in coronavirus cases.

With 70 percent of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act back in April already distributed and remaining funds likely to be allocated by early October, health care providers, including long term care facilities, will need additional funds to continue their response to the COVID-19 pandemic heading into the cold and flu season, which provides new challenges, the advocacy group said.

“Without replenishing funds for federal and state agencies, health care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, could find themselves less than completely prepared for the challenges of the upcoming cold and flu season, which could inevitably result in an uptick in new COVID cases,” said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL.

“With the cold and flu season adding a real complication to the ongoing COVID pandemic response, the need for extra testing, personal protective equipment, and staffing, will need to be met in order to keep caregivers and residents safe.”

Parkinson is urging Congress to provide an additional $100 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund, which is accessible for all health care providers impacted by COVID-19.
He said a sizeable portion of the fund should be dedicated to helping nursing homes and assisted living communities acquire resources associated with protecting vulnerable residents and staff from the virus, including constant testing, personal protective equipment, and staff support.

“Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. will repeat the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities, by passing another COVID funding package before they leave town for the elections,” Parkinson said.
                                                                                                
For more information, visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus.