Elderly care providers call on Congress to act now for urgently needed coronavirus aid

Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 7:26 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The cry for help is loud and clear.

Elderly care providers call on Congress to act now for urgently needed coronavirus aid

Care providers for the elderly are calling on Congress to take action today, saying “Covid is not taking a summer recess, neither should you.”

Advocates are still waiting for a coronavirus relief package for the elderly, and with so many lives on the line, their call for help is getting more urgent every day.

“We’re looking for the federal government to deliver and deliver now,” said Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO of LeadingAge.

LeadingAge is a national association of more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers who serve older adults in nursing homes, assisted living and home health care.

They led a Zoom meeting on Friday with nonprofit aging services leaders from across the country with the goal of taking steps to protect the elderly as the pandemic continues to claim lives.

Advocates spoke from Montana, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio.

Their concerns include lack of PPE, its cost and maintaining their stockpile, access to testing and staffing shortages.

They are calling on more support through federal funding.

“A single use gown that might have cost 25 cents in January of 2020, Is now $2. That’s an eightfold increase in just one item,” said Kathryn Brod, president and CEO of LeadingAge Ohio.

Danny Williams is president and CEO of Eliza Bryant Village, a long-term care facility in Cleveland.

19 Investigates asked him about their PPE supply.

“It’s spotty from time to time, we’ll find that we’re running short a supplier that we’ve been relying on all the sudden can’t get in. We’re scrambling to find another supplier. So far we’ve been able to plug those gaps, but it’s unsettling to have, you know, that information come at you with the last minute,” Williams said.

Most of their residents and patients are African American.

Williams pointed out that racial-based health disparities make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.

“For the last 125 years Eliza Bryant Village has brought real meaning to the call to action that Black Lives Matter. But we need more help, and we need it now. So we urge our senators Senator Brown and Portman to support the current efforts to provide adequate funding to address all the needs that you’ve heard here today,” he said.

More 2,400 nursing home residents have died from Covid-19 in Ohio.

Deaths in long-term care facilities account for at least 40% of coronavirus deaths nationwide.

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