Monday, May 04, 2020

Nursing Home advocates call for emergency funding relief to battle COVID-19

Nursing Homes Need Emergency Funding Relief in Battle Against COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 4th) – While Oklahoma and many other states are lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening their economies, skilled nursing facilities are still anticipating a long and devastating battle against COVID-19 for their residents and staff. Residents at nursing homes and long-term care facilities are uniquely vulnerable to the virus, and the effort to contain its spread was initially hampered by a lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing. Now, even as those supplies become more readily available, nursing homes continue to face enormous financial hardships related to PPE and staffing costs.

“Many facilities are seeing a 500 percent increase in the cost of PPE, which is not only being sold at marked-up prices but is also being used at a much faster rate than normal,” said Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck. “Similarly, some facilities are experiencing double their normal labor costs, as they have worked to hire additional staff and increase compensation for those working directly with COVID-19 patients. The financial situation at our nursing homes is not sustainable. We need help immediately.”

Care Providers Oklahoma is asking state lawmakers to provide emergency funding in the form of a temporary increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rate for skilled nursing facilities, as several other states have already done.

“We don’t send our troops into battle without the equipment and the support they need to win,” said Buck. “In this battle against the coronavirus, our nursing home staffers are the troops and their mission is to keep their residents as safe as possible. If we want them to succeed, we need to invest in their success. That’s what we are asking lawmakers to do.”

To ensure skilled nursing facilities have the resources they need, Care Providers Oklahoma is also joining nursing home advocates across the country in asking federal lawmakers to dedicate $10 billion of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund, created as part of the CARES Act, to skilled nursing facilities.

“Nursing homes are the front line in the fight against COVID-19,” said Buck. “It doesn’t make sense for a plastic surgeon in Hollywood to receive the same financial relief as a nursing home in Oklahoma or New York City. Our lawmakers should recognize where this battle is being fought and prioritize financial relief accordingly.”


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