Coronavirus Daily Update: A Push to Defund Nursing Homes; California Hospitals Fill Up

During this critical time, Home Health Care News remains committed to bringing you all the essential news related to home-based care operations. At the same time, we also recognize the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to our regular content, we’ll continue to highlight industry-related developments and mitigation strategies in this rolling bulletin.

What you need to know from Monday (July 13):

— Despite many suspecting that the first, most brutal wave of COVID-19 was over, hospitals in California are just now experiencing their worst surges, according to the LA Times. “I’m expecting things to go from bad to worse over at least the next couple of weeks,” Mary Lynn Briggs, an intensive care unit nurse at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield, told the newspaper. Home-based care agencies have been at their best during the COVID-19 crisis when they’ve been able to ease the burden on hospitals and unload patients safely to make room.

— The American Health Care Association released a statement Monday suggesting the hasty re-opening of certain areas in the U.S. has put vulnerable populations at great risk. The association also reiterated that widespread testing, quick test results and adequate personal protective equipment was the best way to fight the virus. There is still a ways to go in those three areas, particularly in current hotspots like Florida.

— Former Democrat presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar wrote an op-ed focusing on the toll that COVID-19 has taken on the senior population. She also announced that she will be putting forth legislation to increase telehealth usage in Minnesota moving forward. “I am leading bipartisan legislation in the Senate that would further enhance telehealth and other virtual services in skilled nursing facilities,” Klobuchar wrote. “My bill would provide funding to expand the use of telehealth services, and help nursing facilities get technology to support virtual visits to help seniors stay connected.”

— Given all the troubles that nursing homes have experienced during the COVID-19 crisis, some have begun to wonder whether nursing homes — as they currently exist — should be defunded. “Despite the $90 billion paid annually by Medicare and Medicaid to nursing homes, and exacting regulatory requirements addressing quality of care and quality of life for the nation’s 1.3 million nursing home residents, we as a society have failed to keep frail elders safe — let alone in an environment that older adults look forward to residing in,” Charles Sabatino, director of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, wrote in a new op-ed. Sabatino suggests that it is time for a different and new model. If the nursing home model collapses, home-based care providers likely stand to benefit.

— President Donland Trump’s advisers are reportedly looking to undercut Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has gained fame as the nation’s top infectious disease expert in the last several months. Fauci has become more outspoken over concerns in surges across the country and recently said he lacks access to the president. There were reports that the Trump administration was pointing to some of the comments Fauci made earlier in the year to discredit him, yet White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied that on Monday.

— Families of health care workers killed by COVID-19 have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, according to Kaiser Health News. Without the help, families are being left behind without their loved ones and also without the primary incomes they once had. Data from the CDC shows that nearly 100,000 health care workers have been infected — a figure that is almost certainly lower than the real number.

For daily updates from the week of July 6, click here.

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For daily updates from the week of June 15, click here.

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For daily updates from the week of May 26, click here.

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For daily updates from the week of May 4, click here.

For daily updates from the week of April 27, click here.

For daily updates from the week of April 20, click here.

For daily updates from the week of April 13, click here.

For daily updates from the week of April 6, click here.

For daily updates from the week of March 30, click here.

For daily updates from the week of March 23, click here.

For daily updates from the week of March 16, click here.

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