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Geriatric Specialist Named to Coronavirus Safety Commission

June 29, 2020

Kansas City, Kan. — Geriatric medicine specialist Jessica Kalender-Rich, MD, FACP, AGSF, has been named to the White House Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes.

She is among 25 experts selected from 800 applicants to serve on this national commission. The commission was formed to assess the novel coronavirus pandemic's immediate and long-term effects on nursing homes and their residents.

The commission will hold weekly conference calls through July. Its members will develop safety recommendations to present to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in September.

According to Dr. Kalender-Rich, infection control has improved in nursing facilities, but the virus is still present. Of all the COVID-19 deaths in the United States, 43% were residents of long-term care facilities. In Kansas, 53% of COVID-19 deaths have long-term care facility residents. The expert team on the commission will focus on patient safety and quality in nursing homes as it relates to managing risk of COVID-19 infection.

"I am looking forward to working on this," Dr. Kalender-Rich said. "There is a lot of opportunity to improve the ways in which nursing homes can tackle COVID-19. We intend to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the response and take a good look at the way things have been done in nursing facilities and the ways they could be done. We look to make recommendations to inform efforts to safeguard the health and the quality of life of these vulnerable older adults. We can drill down and shape better pathways."

Dr. Kalender-Rich is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She is also board-certified in geriatric medicine. She earned her medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed her fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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