Kuster meets virtually with New Hampshire Health Care Association to discuss impact of COVID-19 on long-term care facilities
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) held a discussion with New Hampshire Health Care Association leadership and members to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care facilities in the state. The group discussed the current “fall surge” in COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire and across the country, as well as the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) at long-term care facilities, the importance of wearing masks, the health care staffing shortage, and the path to a vaccine in the months ahead. Kuster has been in regular contact with state health care leaders throughout the pandemic.
“Our health care professionals have undertaken heroic, essential work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kuster. “However, verbally expressing our gratitude is not enough – we must show that gratitude through our actions. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we make sure health care workers have the support and equipment they need to do their jobs and save lives. I’ve called on the Department of Health and Human Services to distribute funding in a way that ensures New Hampshire long-term care and nursing facilities receive adequate funding. Hearing directly from those on the frontlines at the New Hampshire Health Care Association is critical and I will continue to bring their voices to Congress and fight to ensure those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic have everything they need to weather this storm.”
“We greatly appreciate the responsiveness of our congressional delegation, and Congresswoman Kuster specifically, to the pandemic’s severe impact upon long-term care,” said Brendan Williams, President/CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association. “She wasted no time reaching out to us in the early days of this crisis, and has been a champion for vulnerable seniors.”
During the discussion, Kuster heard from:
Brendan Williams, President/CEO: New Hampshire Health Care Association
Lauren Murray-O’Donnell, Genesis Healthcare
Chris Martin, Woodlawn Care Center
Tom Blonski, Catholic Charities New Hampshire
Cathy Gray, Cedarcrest Center for Disabilities, Keene
Kathryn Kindopp, Maplewood Facility, Cheshire County
Kuster has supported robust funding for health care workers and facilities throughout her time in Congress, including the current COVID-19 health crisis. This week, Kuster joined the NH delegation in sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, calling on the department to alter its methodology for distributing the next round of awards from the CARES Act’s Provider Relief Fund for nursing and long-term care facilities. Currently, funding is based on how much better the nursing facility does in containing COVID-19 infections and deaths among their residents, as compared to the surrounding community. The delegation is urging HHS that future rounds of nursing facility-specific grant funding from the Provider Relief Fund prioritize nursing homes and long-term care facilities in states like New Hampshire that have more effectively contained COVID-19 in the community, but face serious issues with the spread of COVID-19 and mortality rates among residents of nursing facilities.