UPMC doctor: Nursing homes need more federal help for COVID-19 testing, PPE

September 28, 2020

WASHINGTON — This summer, as COVID-19 devastated nursing homes, David Nace, chief medical officer for UPMC Senior Communities, was one of two dozen geriatric care experts tapped by the Trump administration to draw up recommendations on improving care and preventing future outbreaks.  

When the report was publicly released earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services claimed the commission’s findings “validate” the administration’s strategy and served as a “resounding vindication of our overall approach to date.”

Dr. Nace, in a phone interview Thursday, said the characterization was “a little bit disingenuous.”

While he said he believed CMS was moving to carry out the commission’s recommendations, the agency had failed to recognize stumbles with providing nursing homes with resources — in particular, the rapid distribution of COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment. The report also left out a provision pushed by Dr. Nace to create a national registry of medical directors to quickly disseminate information.