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JHF Highlights Crisis Still Plaguing Skilled Nursing Facilities on Business as Usual

Nancy Zionts discusses skilled nursing facilities and COVID-19 during the Business as Usual program.

On August 5, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) returned to the daily noontime program Business as Usual to discuss the ongoing crisis COVID-19 presents to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and older adults. The Pittsburgh Technology Council's daily virtual interview series has remained a consistent and invaluable source of insight, providing direct access to influential leaders throughout the pandemic.

Since March, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Tech Council Audrey Russo has interviewed dozens of prominent government officials, business executives, and members of the nonprofit and foundation community on timely and pertinent topics. JHF was invited as a subject matter expert in health and senior care back in May, but as the community still lacks adequate solutions to the ongoing emergency in long-term care facilities three months later, JHF returned to further highlight the crisis.

During the episode, Nick Vizzoca, President & CEO at Vincentian Collaborative System and Nancy Zionts, COO & Chief Program Officer at JHF, discussed the state of SNFs, including how the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated issues with funding, staffing, and resources that have plagued the industry for years. Both Vizzoca and Zionts passionately illustrated the stark reality facing long-term care facilities during this pandemic, and they advocated for drastic steps to protect residents and staff. Vizzoca and Zionts also called for funding reform to support these facilities into the future.

Zionts presented plans to support PA long-term care facilities with testing, staffing, and education through the Regional Response Health Collaborative Program (RRHCP), a five-month, statewide collaboration between the PA Department of Human Services, the PA Department of Health, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in which JHF is a lead educator. Over the weeks since the Business as Usual conversation, the RRHCP has conducted nearly 650 on-site visits to assist long-term care facilities. The RRHCP call centers have received more than 500 calls to assist facilities with universal testing, staffing support, PPE and testing kits, and JHF has launched a statewide learning network available to all long-term care facilities with twice weekly webinars on topics related to infection control and the latest guidance for responding to and mitigating spread of COVID-19.

A recording of the Business as Usual conversation is available on YouTube and the PGH Tech Council Website

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