Major League Baseball and any other sports league you can think of has suspended operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
But that doesn’t mean some impressive professionals aren’t stepping up to the plate every day. America’s frontline caregivers are, of course, noble. They’re caring for especially vulnerable patients — and their own families, as well as themselves — literally around the clock.
But also grandslam-worthy are most of the professional organizations that exist to support these humble heroes. In fact, I can’t think of a single association we cover that hasn’t sent out extra communications and offered instructions and other support. In long-term care, I can point to the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living and LeadingAge as prime examples.
On Wednesday, for instance, AHCA/NCAL initiated a YouTube series featuring President and CEO Mark Parkinson speaking (off-site, of course, presumably from home), with the association’s chief quality and medical officer, David Gifford, M.D. (also presumably from home). Whether you’re a dues-paying member or not, their assurances and wisdom remain there for the taking — and for putting to good use. This notably follows webinars the association offered for the entire profession as the invisible menace started to infiltrate every state in the union.
The pair’s first video lasts just 7 minutes and 22 seconds. But the calm, assuring banter leaves viewers with a full sense of confidence — both in the profession’s prospects for dealing with the historic health emergency, but also its leaders.
The country is yearning for fortitude, and all the educated commentary it can get from its leaders. The folks at AHCA could do a lot worse than sending a recording of this first installment far and wide as something to emulate.
Click on the link above to see 100% of what they say, or read some key nuggets below:
- Providers have been “winning” on the financial and regulatory sides. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services “finally issued guidance that allows us to preserve the limited amount of equipment we have. So we feel like we’re making good progress with CMS and the CDC,” Parkinson said.
- Congress passed a bill that will provide $35 billion to the states to increase Medicaid payments.
- The huge congressional stimulus bill will increase Medicare rates “and will create a fund where hopefully we’ll be able to access dollars for every assisted living building and skilled nursing building in the country,” Parkinson said.
- “The cavalry is going to be coming later, but there are some steps that we need to do between now and then,” Gifford said.
- He advised three things if COVID-19 is discovered at a facility: Isolate the infected person. Practice consistent assignment to “keep the same staff with the same patients.” Double-down on hand washing and put a mask on infected individuals.
- “You need to assume people who have fever and cough or sore throat at this time probably have COVID. Even if you’re waiting for a test result to come back, act as if they have COVID,” Gifford said.
- His advice for combatting PPE shortages: Call the state health department. “They do have some limited supplies, though a lot of it is going to hospitals and some of it to EMS. [Health departments] are the ones who are going to be getting the national stockpile.”
- After that? Creatively figure out how to extend the PPE supplies you have. “A lot of manufacturing is coming back online, but it probably won’t be for another four to six weeks. You need to think and plan for the worst, which is that what you have on hand is what you’re going to have for four to six weeks.”
- Another partial solution is appealing to neighbors for help. “There are a lot of isolated, small amounts of masks and gowns in the community,” Gifford said, “so I would turn to social media, Facebook, whatever you can, and ask for donations.”
Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.