Puerto rico government

Nevada ranks last in nursing home residents vaccinations

WASHINGTON – Nevada has dropped to the bottom of a federal list for the percentage of vaccinations for the most vulnerable population – nursing home residents.

The shocking vaccination rate of 61 percent of seniors in nursing homes in Nevada, compared to 95 percent for Vermont, has prompted U.S. senators in the state to urge Health Secretary Xavier Becerra to target them. senior citizens of the state for federal funds and efforts.

Throw out Puerto Rico and Guam, and Nevada is the worst US state for protecting seniors living in care facilities, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Another AARP analysis this week found similar results and prompted this nonprofit advocacy group to sound the alarm bells in Nevada.

Nationally, more than half of healthcare workers in nursing homes, 56 percent, were fully immunized and about 78 percent of residents were fully immunized as of June 20, according to the AARP report. .

In Nevada, 65.8% of nursing home residents have been fully immunized and 55.6% of staff, according to the AARP.

The alarming results prompted Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., To call on the Biden administration to do everything “to help close this vaccination gap as soon as possible.”

Cortez Masto and Sen. Jackie Rosen, D-Nev., Said the situation was urgent in a July 16 letter to Becerra and the Department of Health and Human Services.

They noted that $ 8.6 billion is included in the US bailout for the federal agency to inform, educate and encourage hesitant seniors to get vaccinated.

The package also included $ 650 million to support nursing homes and skilled care efforts to immunize the elderly.

These remedies, however, do not explain why the state, which has become a hotspot for coronavirus infections among other age groups, currently lags behind other states.

Statistics released on July 14 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ranked the 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia for the immunization of nursing home residents. Nevada was the lowest of any other state, just ahead of Guam and behind Puerto Rico, for vaccinations.

Guam, Nevada, Puerto Rico and Arizona were less than 70 percent of nursing home residents vaccinated. All other states and DC were above 70 percent.

A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The dismal ranking for Nevada is the second time this year. It was at the bottom of the senior immunization scale after the Trump administration’s deployment of Operation Warp Speed ​​sped up the process of distributing vaccines to the public.

States have been allowed to opt for a federal plan to allow large drugstore chains to deliver and administer vaccines. Some small states, however, did not participate due to rural populations that are not served by department stores.

Nevada is a rural state, but West Virginia, with less population and smaller towns, had an 84% vaccination rate, and Maine had vaccinated 90% of its seniors in facilities, according to the CMMS survey.

Lynne Fruth, president of Fruth Pharmacy in West Virginia, said the governor’s decision to make nursing homes the number one priority at the start of the vaccination campaign helped them get ahead of other states to vaccinate the elderly in institutions.

West Virginia has pulled out of the federal plan, allowing small drugstore chains like Fruth, with 29 stores, to reach nursing homes and assisted living facilities in small rural communities where large chains like Walgreens and CVS are less likely to have outlets.

While other states in the federal plan used the larger chains, “West Virginia made a more humane decision to vaccinate nursing home patients” using large and small drugstore chains, Fruth said. during a telephone interview.

Other issues that were reported in Nevada and other states were failure to fully and timely report vaccinations, due to bureaucratic hurdles as well as non-compliance.

Since the deployment, the Biden administration has imposed monetary penalties on nursing homes that fail to meet reporting guidelines, accuracy and timelines. These sanctions came into effect on May 1.

But that leaves the reason why Nevada’s low vaccination rate is probably not the result of misinformation.

A spokesperson for the Southern Nevada Health District did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cortez Masto and Rosen asked Becerra and her department to determine if the low rates are due to vaccine hesitancy, and to use resources to educate and address this issue.

The other problem is the low vaccination rate for nursing home staff in Nevada, as noted in the AARP analysis. It also showed that 25% of nursing homes in Nevada reported staff and nursing shortages during the last reporting period which ended on June 20.

Staff shortages and low immunization rates among nurses and orderlies could likely exacerbate the problem, officials noted.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Gary Martin at [email protected] To pursue @garymartindc on Twitter.



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