WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Nursing homes are desperate for help as COVID surges across the country. Advocates say they’re being left behind by leaders in Washington D.C.
Military medical teams are on their way to help struggling hospitals. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell says they’re focused on getting the help where it’s needed most.
“They stand shoulder to shoulder with the heroes, working on the front line in your communities,” Criswell said.
Meanwhile, Mark Parkison, the president of the American Health Care Association, says nursing homes are being forgotten.
“The same situation that the hospitals are in, nursing homes are in and both need help,” Parkinson said.
Specifically, he’s asking federal leaders to give nursing homes priority for COVID treatments, better access to testing, and more staff.
“When older people are prioritized, we can get good clinical outcomes and we can save lives,” Parkinson said.
He’s also concerned that the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers will make staffing shortages worse.
“Do we want to have nursing homes and hospitals with virtually no workers? Or do we want to have unvaccinated workers where extra precautions can be taken?” Parkinson said.
The Biden Administration is celebrating the court’s decision.
“There should be strict and stringent requirements in hospitals and medical facilities to keep the people who work in there safe and also to keep the patient safe,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
FEMA says it’s listening to all requests from overburdened states and healthcare systems.
“We will continue to surge staff, push resources, and provide support using every tool that we have available to fight our fight against COVID-19,” Criswell said.