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Argentum Calls on President Biden to Provide Critical Relief to Senior Living

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Letter from President & CEO James Balda requests supply tests to senior living facilities, assistance with vaccine/booster administration, and targeted federal financial relief.

James Balda, President and CEO of Argentum, delivered a letter to President Joe Biden and Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Health and Human Services today, spelling out why COVID testing, vaccine, and treatment must be prioritized for senior living communities across the country.

Here are some highlights from the letter.

Read the entire letter here: Argentum_Biden_Becerra_Jan10_Final.pdf

It is entirely unacceptable that nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s seniors—those most vulnerable to this disease—continue to be left behind for critically needed support...

Testing supplies have consistently been inadequate and unavailable to properly track and mitigate the spread and resume necessary staffing levels, and we critically need a resumption of the federal support program for vaccine and booster administration...

We are increasingly concerned that many providers will be unable to weather the ongoing challenges of the pandemic much longer if they don’t receive necessary support, potentially leaving them with no other option than to close their facilities

We are urging your administration to ensure that older Americans are not left behind again by:

1. Distributing COVID-19 tests directly to senior living facilities. Your administration has committed to making rapid tests available to Americans in the home, yet that commitment was not extended to congregate senior housing where it’s needed most, and where nearly two million older Americans call “home.” In addition to ensuring adequate staffing with return-to-work protocols and to better inform and control the spread of COVID-19 within communities, these tests also support visitation. As we learned last year, visits—especially from family members—are essential for the mental and emotional well-being of residents, and we must do everything possible to avoid the unintended consequences of physical and social isolation that were so devastating in the early days of the pandemic.

2. Resuming federal support programs for vaccine/booster administration. Vaccines have proven very effective at reducing severe infections, but we also know that their efficacy declines over time and that seniors remain the most at-risk when efficacy wanes. As we continue to mitigate the spread of variants, we know that boosters will be needed on a recurring basis moving forward, and that seniors and their caregivers must be prioritized in this process. This is particularly true for those in senior congregate care facilities who are non-ambulatory and unable to travel to offsite clinics. And while 90% of communities have completed initial booster clinics as of December 2021, this was tremendously time-consuming at a time when clinical staffing is scarce. The CDC previously supported a public-private partnership program to establish and administer vaccine clinics to millions of seniors in congregate settings, which proved highly successful and should be replicated for additional phases of vaccines and boosters.

3. Prioritizing the remaining Provider Relief Funds for assisted living providers. While we appreciate that additional relief is being made available through the current Phase 4 of the provider relief fund (PRF), it is simply inadequate to offset the more than $30 billion in expenses and losses that assisted living providers have incurred in COVID-19 related losses due to PPE, testing, cleaning, staffing needs and hero pay, as well as record-low occupancy rates. Through Phase 3 of relief, assisted living providers have received less than half of one percent of the PRF, and Phase 4 of relief only offsets 20- 25% of most providers’ losses for the time periods where their losses were the greatest.

Read the entire letter here: Argentum_Biden_Becerra_Jan10_Final.pdf


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