STATEMENT OF TARA GREGORIO, PRESIDENT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS SENIOR CARE ASSOCIATION, ON COVID-19 RECOVERY SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES IN THE COMMONWEALTH
“Skilled nursing facilities care for some of the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth and our members are taking extraordinary steps to help ensure their health, safety and well- being during this COVID-19 outbreak. Due to the anticipated surge in the need for hospital and nursing facility care over the coming weeks, nursing facilities in partnership with the Commonwealth and regional hospital systems, are coming together to help create dedicated COVID-19 recovery centers in separate, self-contained locations. These stand-alone COVID-19 Recovery Skilled Nursing Facilities will not only provide vital recovery services to those stricken with COVID-19, they will also help to protect the health of nursing home residents across the Commonwealth. By having these dedicated facilities, there will be less pressure on the state’s remaining skilled nursing facilities to admit and comingle COVID-19 patients with otherwise healthy nursing home residents. These dedicated stand- alone COVID-19 recovery facilities are intended to reduce the overall risk to the general nursing home population, while freeing up acute hospital beds to treat new COVID-19 cases. Massachusetts is acting boldly and responsibly, while other states are mandating that all nursing facilities admit COVID-19 positive patients. We believe based on clinical guidance that this approach unnecessarily introduces a highly contagious and deadly virus into nursing homes. The Commonwealth is pursuing the difficult, but right policy in establishing separate COVID-19 recovery facilities in order to prevent this from happening in Massachusetts. While we recognize this is a difficult situation for our members, their residents, their family members and staff, we unequivocally support the collaborative effort between state health authorities, hospitals, and the long term care community on this proactive effort to address this unprecedented crisis. It will help our hospital colleagues free up necessary beds to treat the acutely ill while providing COVID-19 patients with the focused care necessary to ensure their best recovery while reducing the risk to our overall nursing facility population from contracting the infection."
Tara Gregorio, President, Massachusetts Senior Care Association