AHCA/NCAL Releases Statement on the End of the Public Health Emergency

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a statement preceding the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on Thursday, May 11. The statement can be read here.
AHCA/NCAL has indicated that the end of the PHE waivers, they will continue to prioritize:
  1. Eliminating the three-day-stay requirement: For years, AHCA/NCAL has advocated to eliminate Medicare Part A's three-day-stay requirement or recognize observation stays as qualifying stays. Seniors who receive care in the hospital, regardless of their inpatient or observation designation, must be able to access post-acute care in a skilled nursing facility when they need it without fear of considerable out-of-pocket costs. Eliminating this policy best meets the beneficiary's access to care needs, reduces out-of-pocket costs, and is fiscally prudent for the Medicare Trust fund.
  2. Support of the Building America's Health Care Workforce Act: Starting May 11, temporary nurse aides in nearly 20 states and hundreds of nursing homes will have only four months to earn their certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification, but many states are experiencing training and testing backlogs. Thousands of direct caregivers may be out of a job if they can't complete their certification in four months. The profession is already facing a historic labor crisis, and residents deserve continuity of care. Congress should pass the Building America's Health Care Workforce Act, which gives temporary nurse aides a more realistic path – 24 months – to earn their certification and build a permanent career in long term care.
  3. Policies and programs that invest in our workforce: Rather than unfunded staffing mandates, AHCA/NCAL has laid out comprehensive solutions to bolster the long term care workforce and build a pipeline of caregivers in the Care For Our Seniors Act, which includes:
  • common-sense immigration reform that increases opportunities for foreign-born individuals to work in the long term care profession;
  • loan forgiveness for new graduates who work in long term care;
  • assistance programs for caregivers, such as affordable housing, housing down payments and childcare;
  • direct incentives to states that invest in nursing education programs; and
  • career ladder scholarships that would encourage staff to become registered nurses, among others.
Resources to navigate the end of the PHE can be found here.

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