Alabama Nursing Home Association Statement on CMS COVID-19 Data Release
For Immediate Release: June 1, 2020
Alabama Nursing Home Association President & CEO Brandon Farmer issued the following statement regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services releasing statistics on COVID-19 cases in Alabama nursing homes.
“The release of this data by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proves that Alabama nursing homes are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. The Alabama Nursing Home Association hopes this illustrates why it is important to prioritize resources for skilled nursing facilities. We must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable Alabamians and support their caregivers. At this time, 61 percent of Alabama facilities spread over 60 counties have reported to the ANHA a COVID-19 positive resident or employee at some point during the pandemic.
“The public should know that Alabama nursing homes have reported cases to their county health department and the Alabama Department of Public Health since the pandemic began. Facilities began reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early May. In addition, nursing homes inform residents and their family representatives and employees of cases in their buildings. No other health care provider or business reports COVID-19 cases to more government entities and people than nursing homes.
“We understand CMS must cite facilities that fail to live up to their responsibilities. However, more fines and penalties will not solve the problems posed by COVID-19. We need CMS to identify ways facilities can improve their infection control programs and help them implement the changes.
“We are aware CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had difficulty enrolling all nursing homes nationwide into the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) and some Alabama nursing homes may not have been able to enroll despite their best efforts. This is a reflection of federal systems being overwhelmed and unable to enroll more than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide between the April 24 launch and when first reports were due May 8. The Alabama Nursing Home Association provided NHSN enrollment information and guidance to its members and advised them to begin collecting the data even if the CDC and NHSN were unable to enroll the nursing home before the reporting deadline.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Alabama Nursing Home Association has worked with local, state and federal leaders to address the needs of nursing home residents and employees. We will continue to do so until the threat of COVID-19 passes.”
About the Alabama Nursing Home Association
Founded in 1951, the Alabama Nursing Home Association represents 94% of the state’s nursing homes. It is Alabama’s oldest and largest long-term and post-acute care trade organization. For more information, visit anha.org. Alabama’s 231 nursing homes employ approximately 31,000 people who each day care for approximately 24,500 residents and short-term rehab patients. There is at least one nursing home in every Alabama county.