A plan to distribute 7 million N95 respirator masks from the federal stockpile to nursing homes is promising but a more coordinated strategy is needed to beat the pandemic, according to a leading industry organization. 

“Our members want and need to have equipment in hand. At the same time, this is more of the patchwork approach we’ve seen from the federal government,” Katie Smith Sloan, LeadingAge president and CEO, said Tuesday in a statement to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News

Sloan’s comments came in response to a Bloomberg report on the White House’s plan to distribute the personal protective equipment to providers.

The federal government plans to inform governors next week on how they can distribute the PPE to healthcare workers, according to the report. Two weeks ago Navy Rear Adm. John Polowczyk said officials were working to get more supplies to healthcare workers.  

Long-term care providers have reported spending thousands of dollars per month on PPE costs in response to the coronavirus crisis. Industry stakeholders have repeatedly called on the federal government to provide more resources and financial support for operators in response.

Sloan noted that “any response to providers’ continued requests for [PPE] is welcome.” 

“Nursing homes and other aging services have been in dire need for PPE for months, and just last week, we heard from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] that [National Healthcare Safety Network] data currently reflects what our members tell us: Shortages of PPE continue,” she said.