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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 19, 2020) – Zach Cattell, president of the Indiana Health Care Association/Indiana Center for Assisted Living (IHCA/INCAL), issued the following statement addressing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) nursing home reopening recommendations:
“The IHCA/INCAL is encouraged by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) memorandum that discusses how nursing facilities open up again. The guidance recommends phases and, importantly, states that nursing homes should remain closed to visitation and not relax any restrictions until all residents and staff have received testing. The guidance then sets out specific timelines for how long a facility must remain without any new COVID-19 cases before restrictions can be relaxed.
At present, Indiana’s testing capacity is not sufficient to meet this CMS guidance. Just focusing on nursing homes alone, weekly testing of all staff and residents nears 90,000 tests per week. When you add assisted living community resident and staff, which are just as important, you quickly get to more than 120,000 tests per week. Indiana has completed a total of just more than 177,000 tests total since the beginning of March. Any mandate to require testing on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis is hollow in the face of inadequate supply of testing capacity and test materials. Costs to test, averaging $100 per test, will reach $5 million per week just to test all staff, a cost that is on the facilities themselves. Indiana must use its portion of the $11 billion that the White House has allocated to states for testing for expanding testing for long term care residents and staff.”
IHCA/INCAL is the state’s largest trade association and advocacy group representing for-profit and not- for-profit nursing homes, as well as assisted living communities and independent living. The association provides education, information, and advocacy for health care providers, consumers, and the workforce on behalf of its more than 446-member facilities. Learn more at https://www.ihca.org