Arkansas’s long-term care facilities’ COVID-19 response outpaces the National Average

The Arkansas Health Care Association (AHCA) shared the overall response to COVID-19 by long term care facilities in the state today at the Governor’s press briefing. Newly released federal data shows that Arkansas’s rate of nursing home cases and fatalities related to the pandemic is in fact significantly better than the national average. 

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) new report shows that Arkansas is well below the national average in the per-capita number of nursing home cases and deaths among both nursing home residents and staff.

“These numbers show what an outstanding job our dedicated staff are doing at our facilities across the state,” said AHCA Executive Director Rachel Bunch. “There is no question that nursing home residents are at the highest risk for complications from COVID-19, and long term care centers are dealing with unprecedented challenges. It is also true that our staff, who care for our residents day in and day out, are providing the highest quality of care, and succeeding in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.” 

According to a state-by-state comparison of COVID-19 cases within nursing homes issued this week by CMS, based on data from the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network as of May 24:

  • Arkansas ranked 37th in the number of nursing home resident cases per 1,000 nursing home residents, an average of 23.6 cases per 1,000, versus the national average of 62.0.
  • Arkansas ranked 39th in the nation in the number of nursing home resident deaths per 1,000 nursing home residents, an average of 6.0 compared to a national average of 27.5.
  • Arkansas was 41st in total nursing home staff cases per 1,000 nursing home residents, an average of 13.9 versus the national average of 39.5
  • Arkansas has had zero staff deaths per 1,000 nursing home residents while the national rate is 0.5.

President and CEO of the American Health Care Association Mark Parkinson said the new nationwide rates support the need for additional resources sought by nursing homes since the beginning of the pandemic. “Especially as we continue to expand testing for residents and staff in long term care centers in June, we should anticipate the number of cases to rise as asymptomatic residents and staff will be identified.  While an increase in these reported numbers may be startling, it will improve our ability to confront this threat and protect our residents.”

For more information about AHCA and for up to date information about COVID-19 in Arkansas long term care facilities, please visit