Dear Secretary Azar,
As we continue working together to protect the health and safety of our frontline healthcare workers and the patients they serve, we urge you to ensure targeted funding, testing, and PPE is being allocated to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Nursing homes are facing tremendous strain on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, managing the spread of the virus among their own residents and staff, providing regional surge capacity, and rehabilitating patients recovering from COVID-19. At the same time, nursing homes are facing staffing shortages and experiencing serious difficulties accessing personal protective equipment and testing supplies. Additionally, older adults are the most susceptible to COVID-19 infection and mortality, with people over the age of 65 accounting for 80 percent of all deaths associated with COVID-19, according to a recent report from the CDC.
Without robust and immediate support, nursing homes and long-term care facilities may be forced to close their doors. We cannot let this happen; we cannot let them fail.
As such, we urge you to allocate funding for nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the CARES Act Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, and increase access to testing and PPE for nursing homes and long-term care facilities in your COVID--19 Strategic Testing Plan, required under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
We must work together to ensure our long-term care providers are best equipped to turn the tide of new infections and continue saving lives and ensure the millions of older Americans and adults with disabilities that they serve are not forgotten.