The incredible challenges presented to nursing home and long-term care operators in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the need for the industry to work together to affect sustainable change.
As operators have been under tremendous pressure to care for the elderly populations most vulnerable to this disease, they have come under fire from mainstream media looking to place blame. While there are certainly opportunities to make positive improvements, what is also needed is systemic support and change. Issues such as under-funding, lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE), staffing shortages, and existing underlying health conditions make many of the current assumptions and implications regarding fault unwarranted and misunderstood.
It is crucial to the continued viability of operators and the industry that we collaborate on solutions and garner legislative support. If you are an ally of the long-term care industry and its operators, the following are some ways to act now to show your support.
Contact Your Legislator (AHCA)
Local and state legislative representatives need to hear from our industry and our allies. They need to see us as an economic driver who provides essential healthcare services to our elderly population. Without your voices, we cannot expect the type of legislative reform that can provide the financial and regulatory support we need to secure a successful future for the industry. Follow this link to search for your state representatives. Download a sample letter here, cut and paste and customize to your own interests before emailing directly to your representative.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is the long-term care industry’s largest association of operators. It’s mission is to advocate on behalf of the industry to align industry interests with government, business, and the public at large. They are charged with impacting policy and influencing decision makers in favor of its members. Operators and allies can become members through AHCA’s state affiliates by following this link.
As a proud Pledge Partner with AHCA, SRX is committed to supporting AHCA/NCAL’s mission and advocacy efforts, and encourages other industry partners to consider pledging similar support.
Whether publishing your support on your website, social media or through advertising, it is critical that leaders in the industry make our voices heard in Washington and around the country. Speaking up publicly about our positions, telling our side of the story, and being clear about the issues facing operators is the only way to direct the narrative. Write a letter of support, submit an opinion editorial or letter to the editor, or make a statement on your social media or website and share hashtags like #SNFStrong or #StandwithLTC.
Recently, SRX wrote a letter of industry support that was published in major newspapers across the country. This led to many connections with leaders, allies and operators who are interested in creating change and offering support. The more visibility our message receives the more we will be able to accomplish.
We must be willing to share stories of success, as well as address the many challenges we face if we are to affect long-lasting change and generate public support for our efforts. The stories of kindness, successes, incredible sacrifice – particularly from our own healthcare heroes, are every bit as impactful and common as those experienced by other frontline health workers. The public needs to know what we are getting right. Industry allies like Pointright, a long-term care advanced analytics company, has taken to sharing and soliciting positive stories on their LinkedIn feed, as well as posting videos with interviews of industry leaders debunking myths surrounding long-term care amid the COVID-19 crisis. Post your own stories on social media, share other positive stories, and support other organizations that are doing the same.
Industry partners and participants need to know what is happening in the industry in order to learn best practices and understand what challenges are impacting issues that affect them. Industry publications including Skilled Nursing News and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News provide reputable sources of relevant information, stories, and articles on the latest industry trends and happenings. AHCA also provides news updates and a number of email subscription options for receiving the latest news and updates to your inbox.
As an avid industry ally, SRX is committed to advancing the interests of skilled nursing and long-term care operators. We are incredibly proud of the resilience, commitment to quality care, and professionalism we have seen from our customers and other operators during this time. The time to act is now. If you aren’t already making your voice heard, please find ways to participate and share the good that is being done. We need to increase public support and awareness and come together as an industry to not only share our positive stories, but spark real change as we move through this crisis and into the future.
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