Jun 29, 2020 11:35 AM

Kerpen: COVID-19 risk in long term care facilities needs focus

Posted Jun 29, 2020 11:35 AM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Phil Kerpen with American Commitment testified before Congress recently about focusing the government's attention where the risk of COVID-19 mortality appears to be highest, in the nation's long-term care facilities.

"About 55% of all of the deaths we've seen with coronavirus nationally, excluding New York, whose numbers are not reliable, took place in the long-term care facilities," Kerpen said. "The actual risk outside of them is much lower than people generally perceive, but the risk inside is quite extraordinarily high."

The Sunflower State also has more than half of its deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.

"Kansas is basically in line with that national average," Kerpen said. "You've had 149 of your 246 coronavirus deaths among residents of long-term care facilities. You're at 57%, a couple of ticks above that."

Kerpen cited those numbers Friday. As for federal policy from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kerpen thinks for the most part, they have done okay.

"The problem at the federal level is a failure, from a communication standpoint, to explain who is at risk and to sort of focus, to say who needs to be protected," Kerpen said. "I think that the President and the CDC and NIH and the task force and all of these people, they should make very, very clear where most of the disease burden is in all of their messaging."

For those who continue to have concerns about an inability to see their loved ones in long-term care facilities, these statistics are the reason why leadership has made some unpopular choices thus far, and why those choices may not be reversed as soon as some would hope.