June 3, 2020
COVID-19 Testing + Quarantine Updates

New LTC pandemic headlines bring positive and negative news

3 SpecialtyRx breaks down this week’s rose and thorn

 
Following the Memorial Day holiday, long-term care operators learned of new developments surrounding COVID-19 testing and operational procedures across the country. While some facilities are experiencing great success using quarantine units, others are worried about the exorbitant costs associated with universal coronavirus testing.

 

The positive

In response to widespread COVID-19 outbreak in U.S. nursing homes, Genesis Healthcare recently adopted an aggressive policy for new residents and readmissions. Any person being admitted to their facilities must be placed in a mandatory quarantine unit for a period of 14 days. Based in Pennsylvania, the company has also implemented other pandemic control precautions including self-imposed bans at 133 of their 361 chains.

For the 228 Genesis nursing homes that continue to admit new residents, the results have been excellent. Surveys indicate that 95% of facilities participating in the 2-week quarantine have achieved a zero-deficiency rate. This statistic offers hope for other SNFs relying on various lockdown measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

The negative

Following up on The White House’s recent call for universal nursing home testing, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living has released new cost data. Researchers estimate that it would require $672 million to test all staff and residents in our nation’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. And that doesn’t include follow-up testing—just one-time screening.
Broken down, the stat allocates $232 million for assisted living communities and $440 million for a round of coronavirus testing in nursing homes.
“For months now, we have been advocating for expanded and priority testing in long-term care facilities to protect our residents and caregivers,” says AHCA/NCAL CEO Mark Parkinson. “But this is a significant undertaking and cost for them to shoulder on their own.”
The recent DOH pandemic response grant of $4.9 billion will certainly help. But until they receive their checks, many SNFs still worry about COVID-19-related costs.