This morning, May 12, 2020, Kevin Warren, President and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association (THCA), issued the following statement on the directive issued late yesterday afternoon by Governor Greg Abbott calling for the testing of every resident and staff in Texas nursing homes:
"THCA is extremely pleased that our tireless workforce and the residents in their care are finally receiving priority testing. The population in our facilities are most at-risk to the worst impacts of COVID-19 and their staff are at personal risk as well.
While testing will be essential for our fight against COVID-19, we have to ensure we have the necessary resources to prepare for what those results may bring.
We have seen that with expanded testing, we have to be prepared for a higher number of cases and facilities identified. As a result, this expansion will be additional burden and pressure on the challenges of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) access and on a staffing shortage that is already of significant concern.
Additionally, we ask the Legislative Budget Board to approve the request for relief funding submitted by the Health and Human Services Commission in April so that the much needed resources are available. The financial assistance is desperately needed to offset the costs of increased expenses such as PPE, direct care staffing and other increased costs that were occurring even before statewide testing was announced.
It is clear that long-term care facilities across Texas are at ground-zero in the fight against this virus. And while this announcement is a positive step forward, without access to increased need for PPE and the much needed financial assistance to address the staffing shortages that challenge our profession, we will not be prepared for what comes next.
We are committed to being a part of the solution to defeat COVID-19 as we stand ready to do our part to see Texas reopen its economy. We want to see families and visitors back in facilities and experience the joy on the faces of families, residents, and staff once again. But when we’re through this, we also want to be able to look back and say we did everything we could and everything that needed to be done to fight against COVID-19 in our facilities and treat it like the public health crisis that it is."