Report: $21.4 million needed to test all Illinois nursing home residents, staff
It would cost $21.4 million to test every Illinois nursing home resident and staff for COVID-19, according to data released Wednesday by the American Health Care Association and National Center of Assisted Living.
Overall, the group said it would cost $440 million to test every nursing home in the country, an unsustainable number without federal funding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent recommendation to test all nursing home staff weekly would cost more than $1 billion every month.
“For months now, we have been advocating for expanded and priority testing in nursing homes to protect our residents and caregivers, but this is a significant undertaking and cost for nursing homes to shoulder on their own,” Mark Parkinson, the group’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
The group is calling for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to release $10 billion in emergency relief funds, to be paid out over the next four months based on the size of facilities and whether they have COVID-19 positive residents.
The data does not include the cost to test residents and staff at assisted living and other long-term care facilities.
In Illinois, the $21.4 million would cover the cost of 142,941 tests at 722 nursing homes. Matt Hartman, executive director of the Illinois Health Care Association, told Health News Illinois that the cost estimate seems accurate.
Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration has laid out plans to bolster testing efforts at long-term care facilities. That includes a contract with New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics to run 3,000 tests per day, at no cost, for long-term care facilities.
Hartman said the providers are working with the administration “through the hiccups” to implement the plan and improve testing capacity at facilities.
“All in all, it’s a collaboration,” he said. “We’re trying to work with them. We’re trying to keep the welfare and safety of the people in the beds in the forefront of our minds.”
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