Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Department of Health Partner on new Initiative to Support Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 6, 2020

Focus on Long-Term Care Facilities Reflects Public Health Needs, the Vulnerability to Illness of Long-Term Care Residents, and is Consistent with Ongoing Collaborative Efforts Between State Agencies and Health Providers

RICHMOND, VA – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) are embarking on a new effort to allocate support and resources to long-term care facilities across the Commonwealth.

This initiative – facilitated through the Virginia Healthcare Emergency Management Program (VHEMP) and Russell Phillips and Associates (RPA), a Jensen Hughes Company and a leader in emergency preparedness and response consultation for post-acute providers – will provide the following support and resources to long-term care facilities:

  • Infection prevention and control education and training;
  • Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies, including guidance and training on appropriate reprocessing and use of protective gear;
  • Access to COVID-19 testing and testing supplies;
  • Clinical practice and communication support;
  • Staffing support; and
  • Sharing of best practices and lessons learned by other health care organizations.

“This collaborative effort is timely because COVID-19 continues to place significant demands on Virginia’s health care delivery system,” said Dr. Michael P. McDermott, the President and CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare and the Chairman of VHHA’s Board of Directors. “While the virus indiscriminately affects people of all ages and demographics, its severe effects have disproportionately impacted elderly residents in long-term care facilities. In light of these circumstances, and the fact that elderly patients seeking medical care frequently transition between long-term care facilities and hospitals, this pandemic makes it essential for hospitals and long-term care facilities to work together to limit community spread.”

“As we continue to battle COVID-19, it is critically important that all facets of the health care system work together to address the impact of this pandemic on Virginians. My deepest appreciation goes out to VHHA and the other partners in this new collaborative, which is focused on caring for residents of long-term care facilities. This is truly an example of the village coming together to take care of one of our most vulnerable populations,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver.

Added VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton: “Because the public health challenge presented by COVID-19 crosses so many boundaries, it is imperative for acute health care providers, public health agencies, and long-term care facilities to continue to broaden our existing partnerships as we all work together to combat this virus.”

In addition to VHHA, VDH, and VHEMP, the Virginia Health Care Association-Virginia Center for Assisted Living (VHCA-VCAL) and LeadingAge Virginia are also participating in this collaborative venture to support long-term care facilities. VHEMP will consult with RPA on the provision of regional support and the development of operational plans based on the needs of long-term care facilities and hospitals in the Commonwealth, and will work through corresponding regional health care coalitions to make resources available to those providers.

This work builds on the long-standing relationship between the long-term care community and hospitals in Virginia. One example of the effectiveness of that partnership is the development of the Long-Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (LTC-MAP) and Memorandum of Understanding, which was established from 2015-2018 when it was formalized.

The LTC-MAP represents a pledge between health care providers, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes to provide support to each other in the event of emergency situations and disasters. This arrangement is but one example of the collaboration that exists among health care providers and public health agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia hospitals and long-term care facilities have also worked together to address a variety of health care quality and safety issues, including preventing avoidable hospital readmissions and reducing sepsis mortality rates. These collaborative performance improvement efforts provide a strong foundation for ongoing partnership work during this public health pandemic.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 27 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its mission is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Julian Walker                                                                                     Tammie Smith
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