Covid ‘Testing Hell’: Units Given to Nursing Properties Convey New Issues


“There’s no mechanism in place for reporting,” mentioned Kim Schilling, the vp of well being providers at Friendship Haven, which runs a nursing residence in rural Iowa. “We had been on the cellphone yesterday attempting to determine this out with the division of public well being and it was very overwhelming for them too.”

Katie Smith Sloan, the president of LeadingAge, an affiliation of nonprofit suppliers of getting older providers, mentioned the Trump administration’s concentrate on fines and stringent reporting necessities had been the flawed strategy to addressing a disaster that was aggravated by federal inaction within the early months of the pandemic.

“For seven months, nursing properties have been saving and defending lives whereas coping with staffing shortages, testing and private protecting gear challenges and rising sudden prices,” she mentioned.

David Grabowski, a well being care coverage professional at Harvard Medical College, described the federal rapid-test program as “a constructive step however late within the sport,” and mentioned Washington ought to do extra to deal with the systemic monetary and staffing issues which have lengthy bedeviled the business’s efforts to protect susceptible residents from infectious pathogens. As a result of federal reimbursements don’t cowl the complete value of care in a lot of the nation, nursing residence operators who serve predominantly Medicaid sufferers say they usually lack the cash to rent sufficient expert staff prepared to tackle a grueling job that the pandemic has made more and more anxious and fraught with danger.

“I don’t have an issue penalizing nursing properties responsible of gross negligence, however my sense is that many of the amenities on the market have been doing their greatest regardless of coping with sick staff, an absence of sources and poor steerage from the federal authorities,” Mr. Grabowski mentioned. “Placing efforts into coaching staff on an infection management, boosting wages and providing paid sick depart could be a greater strategy.”

The brand new testing necessities are ruled by a posh set of tips from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention which might be pegged to the positivity price of checks for coronavirus infections within the county the place amenities are located. When group positivity charges surpass 10 p.c, nursing properties should take a look at their residents and personnel twice per week. The testing necessities drop to as soon as per week when the group positivity price is between 5 and 10 p.c, and as soon as a month when it’s under 5 p.c.

As of Sept. 13, greater than 3,100 counties throughout the nation reported positivity charges better than 5 p.c, in response to CMS data.

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