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Press Releases

Press Contacts

For more information, contact
Karen Harriman, chief marketing officer and senior vice president for public relations and communications, at 316-685-1100 or [email protected], or Lisa Diehl, corporate communications director at 316-685-1100 or [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

  • What is PMMA doing to prevent COVID-19 at its communities?

    All PMMA communities are following the guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure resident and staff safety.

    Effective March 13, 2020, per CMS guidance, in-person visitation is strictly limited at all PMMA communities. Limited access means all visits to the community must be rescheduled except in case of end-of-life situations. These exceptions will be determined on a case-by-case basis with careful screening of the potential visitor(s).

    CMS guidelines have also discontinued group activities and communal meals for infection prevention. Residents are encouraged to practice social distancing, staying 6-feet away from one another. Residents may walk the halls or visit community amenities such as the library or fitness equipment so long as they are able to practice social distancing.

  • Why can't I visit my loved one now that everything is reopening?

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines issued March 13, 2020, requiring skilled nursing communities to limit visitors is still in effect. This guidance effectively authorized PMMA to restrict residents’ rights to visitors for reasonable clinical and safety reasons.

    On May 18, 2020, CMS gave states the authority to begin reopening in phases based on a number of factors, including: the current COVID-19 status in the greater surrounding community and the "nursing home" itself; adequate staffing; access to adequate testing for both residents and staff; access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE); and local hospital capacity.

    Both Kansas and Missouri recognize the importance of limiting visitation to our most vulnerable populations and have stated individuals shall not visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life circumstances.

    Each state is developing a plan and releasing guidance that our communities will have to follow in order to reopen. Kansas' guidance was released June 12 for skilled nursing and June 17 for assisted living and home plus providers. Each skilled nursing and assisted living facility will have to develop a phased reopening plan in consultation with their local health department. These plans are in process for PMMA communities. Kansas' guidance requires each community to have a plan for testing of residents and employees and for grouping residents by COVID-19 status should the community have a positive test result. Positive testing results for residents or employees will set back reopening for the senior living community.

    Missouri has issued guidance for visitation, communal dining and group activities. Positive testing results for residents or employees will affect visitation, dining and group activities for the senior living community. Guidance for testing has not yet been released.

  • How should a visitor who meets the exception prepare to visit?

    Visitors who meet the end-of-life exception are screened at the entrance to the community. Screening includes answering a questionnaire about recent travel, health status and exposure risk, and temperatures will be taken and logged before being allowed into the community.

    Visitors are expected to follow good hand washing practices and coughing/sneezing etiquette. In addition, movement in the community will be limited to the resident’s room, and social distance recommendations are in place strictly limiting physical contact.

    Personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes gloves, masks and gowns, will be available as necessary.

  • How prepared is PMMA to handle this crisis?

    PMMA’s corporate team has a certified infectious disease specialist, and every PMMA community has an infection prevention specialist, who completed specific training in infection prevention through nationally accredited infectious disease programs.

    Each team member completes:

    • An Infection Control course during onboarding orientation and then annually;
    • An annual workplace emergency course (a pandemic is considered an emergency situation);
    • A Blood Borne Pathogen course, which includes many of the same concepts as infection control (proper hand hygiene, use of gloves, etc.).
  • Each community’s emergency response plan addresses pandemic situations. These plans are based on CDC and CMS guidelines. PMMA’s dedicated Plant Operations and Housekeeping teams will continue to work diligently to ensure our community is clean, safe and disinfected regularly.

  • What happens if a resident tests positive for COVID-19?

    If a resident is tested for COVID-19, they are cared for in isolation. Staff members use established CDC and PMMA isolation and transmission-based protocol precautions, including wearing personal protective equipment as needed, to protect themselves and other residents from exposure. Test results are typically available within 24 hours of testing.

    If the resident tests positive for COVID-19, that resident will remain in isolation at the campus, as long as it is in the resident’s best interest. The community care team will continue to follow CDC and PMMA guidelines for transmission-based protocols, including wearing personal protective gear as needed and provide care as per physician orders.

    The community will implement even more stringent limited access protocols and may restrict entry to the community further as an infection control and prevention measure.

  • Why have PMMA communities suspended admissions?

    In consultation with state, county and local authorities , the PMMA Senior Leadership Team determined the best way to protect existing residents is to suspend new admissions to assisted living and health care until CMS removes the limited access guideline for senior living communities.

    This decision is based upon a couple of key concerns: (1) minimizing the risk of bringing the virus into the senior living community, (2) the additional staffing that would be needed to admit a new resident to a licensed care area, where all new residents will be in quarantine for a period of 14 days upon admission.

    PMMA President and CEO, Bruce Shogren, said new admissions in health care and assisted living will be suspended until the communities are no longer under LIMITED ACCESS visitation policies.

    Independent living move-ins resumed June 1 in PMMA communities. New residents must have a negative COVID-19 test prior to move-in and self-quarantine for 14 days post move-in. Other safety measures apply.

    Admissions will resume for other levels of living once PMMA communities are able to progress through the reopening process.

  • When did PMMA start communicating with families and staff members about the organization’s COVID-19 response?

    Employees received a letter in the quarterly newsletter on March 6. The same letter was provided for all PRN and agency staff who work at the 16 campuses. The first poster warning visitors to reschedule their visit if they were feeling ill or had traveled outside the United States to an affected country and letters to residents, family members and volunteers were also sent to communities March 6 for distribution. Posters have been updated as CMS guidance has changed, and families received notification by phone and in writing of the limited access status for all communities following the March 13 CMS update.
    Residents and families will receive updates regularly throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

  • How are staff being screened?

    Staff members are instructed not to come to work if they are experiencing symptoms of illness including having a temperature and especially respiratory illnesses.

    Employees who have traveled internationally, on a cruise ship, or to a location where there are high levels of community-based transmission of COVID-19 as defined by their state health department, are asked to quarantine for 14 days and be symptom free before returning to work.

    Employees are screened at the beginning of each shift at the point of entry to the community building and before employees have any direct contact with residents. These screening measures include taking staff temperatures and asking a set of questions about travel, health status, COVID-19 exposure risks and reviews a list of possible COVID-19 symptoms. Employees who have a fever or report feeling unwell are not allowed to work and are asked to get tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of the disease. These measures have been in place since March 13 and continue to be updated as guidance changes. In addition, staff members should continue to wear masks and other personal protective equipment as required per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

    If a staff member answers “Yes” to one of the questions, they are asked probing questions to get more information. For example, if someone says they are short of breath, and the shortness of breath is a normal symptom of a pre-existing condition, such as asthma, we would allow them to work.

    Any employees exhibiting signs or symptoms outside of or greater than those they experience as part of their normal health condition, the employee is not allowed to work. Employees who are running a temperature are not allowed to work.

  • How are PMMA communities caring for the psychosocial needs of residents?

    Life enrichment staff are leading residents in hallway bingo, exercises, checking on individual residents in their rooms, and encouraging residents to move about their specific areas of the campus while observing social distances of at least six feet. Residents can still access the libraries and other on-site amenities so long as they observe the 6-foot social distance between themselves and other residents.

  • How can people contact their loved ones?

    PMMA is encouraging families to keep in contact with their family members via telephone, email and digital means. For residents who do not have their own telephones or other means of contacting family members, community staff are scheduling weekly calls either via telephone or video calls with Skype or FaceTime. PMMA is expanding the capability to offer these digital options to families as this national crisis continues.

    Residents are still receiving mail through the United States Postal Service, and family members and friends are encouraged to write and mail letters and cards of support to residents.

  • Can families send care packages to residents?

    The safety of our residents and staff members is our top priority. With PMMA President and CEO Bruce Shogren's memo dated June 19, 2020, PMMA is lifting the restrictions on direct delivery of resident care packages and flowers and the 3-day quarantine restriction on packages delivered through official carriers such as USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL. Local PMMA communities will be contacting families with their own specific processes for delivering packages and the start date for accepting packages.

    Families can deliver medically necessary items, such as medications, new glasses or hearing aids that are necessary for the resident. The community staff should be contacted to coordinate a time and location for the drop off of these items at the community.

  • How are communities handling deliveries for independent living residents, such as groceries?

    Groceries may be delivered for independent living residents. Deliveries will be left at the front desk and residents will need to pick them up from that location and take them to their residence. Residents are encouraged to wipe down the items with warm water and soap or a sanitizing cloth and wash their hands once the items have been put away.

    With PMMA President and CEO Bruce Shogren's memo dated June 19, 2020, PMMA is lifting the restrictions on direct delivery of resident care packages and flowers and the 3-day quarantine restriction on packages delivered through official carriers such as USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL. Local PMMA communities will be contacting families with their own specific processes for delivering packages and the start date for accepting packages.

  • I heard residents are dining in their rooms. Why can’t they dine in small groups?

    Per CDC and CMS “Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Nursing Homes” dated as of March 13, 2020, the memorandum stated “cancel communal dining and all group activities.” All residents are being served meals in their rooms as an infection prevention measure. While communal dining is an important contributor to mental health, infection prevention is the top priority at this time.

    Limited communal dining will be reinstated as PMMA communities are able to progress through the phases of reopening, however social distancing must be observed and other limitations may apply.

  • How else can the public help PMMA communities and their residents during this time?

    PMMA’s mission to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values does not stop, even in the midst of pandemic. We will continue to provide care to seniors, including those who have outlived their financial resources through no fault of their own. You can shine a light during this time by supporting PMMA residents with a tax-deductible gift at

  • With all the cluster infections identified in nursing homes and senior living communities and the resulting rising death toll, why should families trust senior living communities to care for their family members? 

    COVID-19 is a previously unidentified virus, which means care providers of all types—including senior living communities like ours—are learning about it in real time. Public health officials have identified older people as high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, which places our communities on the front line. Every day, we do our part to aggressively prevent and mitigate the spread as we deliver compassionate care under challenging circumstances.

    The services we provide are fundamental to the lives of the people we serve, their families, and the communities we serve. We are driven by our mission to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values. We care deeply about the role we play to provide much-needed care, services and supports in people’s lives.

    Through our aggressive infection control and prevention program, PMMA has so far been able to keep a COVID-19 outbreak at bay in all our communities. Through continued adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols, PMMA will continue to work to keep residents and staff members safe and healthy.

    What challenges do you face in keeping residents and staff member safe while fighting COVID-19?

    Providers serving seniors like PMMA have distinct and urgent needs in this pandemic. The longstanding workforce shortage in aging services is well documented. This healthcare crisis increases our workforce needs. For instance, we need more staff to care for sicker residents, to adhere to regulatory requirements that ban communal meals and mandate enhanced infection control procedures, and to cover open shifts for sick staff or those who can’t report to work. These strains compound an already challenging workforce environment.

    Without adequate PPE and testing, we cannot safely orchestrate patient transitions, take care of new or current residents, or protect staff. While we understand these needs are vital in an inpatient setting, there is a major push now to move patients out of hospitals to skilled nursing or to home and community-based settings. The lack of resources for senior services is an additional challenge in a health crisis unlike any we’ve seen before.

    How is PMMA addressing the PPE shortage?

    PMMA leadership is actively working with local emergency management and health departments, state agencies and our suppliers to obtain the supplies we need. We’ve been fortunate to partner with several local distilleries that have started producing hand sanitizer for health care providers in several locations in Kansas and Missouri. PMMA also is ordering PPE from additional sources to ensure the campuses have adequate PPE

    To preserve PPE, communities are using donated fabric masks as a stop-gap measure as long as they are caring for residents who are not COVID-19 positive to preserve PPE for when the community has a resident who tested positive or they suspect a resident may have COVID-19.

    Specific instructions have been given for the use and re-use of PPE based on CDC guidelines and recommendations.

    What are the financial impacts of COVID-19 for PMMA communities?

    Our business is complex. We don’t have a simple operating structure like, for example, a corner store or neighborhood restaurant. We have multiple sources of revenue, from reimbursements and government funding to private pay, and are working under a range of guidelines and regulations. Rising costs of caring for a full load of patients with a changing case-mix, buying extra PPE and other supplies at a premium due to shortages, losing staff and paying overtime—coupled with decreased revenues—are already causing shortfalls for providers in aging services.

    The services we provide are fundamental to the lives of the people we serve, their families, and the communities we serve. We are driven by our mission to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values. We care deeply about the role we play to provide much-needed care, services and supports in people’s lives. Unlike for-profit senior living communities, PMMA is governed by a board of volunteer trustees. As a faith-based, not-for-profit senior living organization, our financial duty is to further our mission rather than to deliver shareholder returns. We were founded more than 70 years ago as a resource to help seniors, and we continue to live out this charge today thanks to this philanthropic program. Each year, PMMA provides millions of dollars in charitable care for residents who have outlived their financial resources, allowing them to continue to live in our communities.


Download PMMA COVID-19 FAQs as PDF.

For more information, contact Karen Harriman, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President for Public Relations and Communications, at 316-685-1100 or [email protected], or Lisa Diehl, Corporate Communications Director at 316-685-1100 or [email protected]