Argentum Renews Call to Governors to Release COVID Relief Allocated for Senior Living Communities
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
American Rescue Act Plan Act financial relief to senior living communities and caregivers to help recoup some of the billions of dollars in pandemic-related losses still lags
Despite successes in getting American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds released to senior living communities in some states, Argentum – the largest trade group advocating for assisted living and other senior living professionals – is now calling on the nation’s governors to step up and provide more COVID-related financial relief, urging the National Governors Association (NGA) to take action.
“These ARPA allocations were intended to go in part to senior living communities, many of whom were dealt deep financial losses tied to caring for residents and paying staff and buying supplies during the pandemic. Billions in total were lost. And, the pandemic and the higher costs to prevent outbreaks have eased in recent months but by no means have stopped,” said Maggie Elehwany, Argentum’s senior vice president of public affairs.
To push the case, Argentum President and CEO James Balda has penned a letter to the NGA, requesting the group to “more aggressively” encourage state governments to provide COVID-19 financial relief.
“The funding will be used to help recoup a portion of the financial losses senior living providers have incurred as a result of extraordinary efforts to keep residents and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Balda said in the letter.
Senior living providers collectively have incurred more than $30 billion in expenses for procuring gowns, gloves, masks and other infection prevention and control supplies, hero pay, additional staff, and lost revenue due to record-low occupancy rates during the height of the pandemic last year.
A chart was included in the letter to the NGA detailing the losses by state demonstrating the impact exclusive on senior living communities.
“Unfortunately, these facilities have not had the same access to federal relief as other health care providers. Through the federal Provider Relief Fund, which was established by the CARES Act, assisted living facilities have received to-date roughly $1 billion nationwide (compared to $12.5 billion for skilled nursing facilities, which also serve the same number of seniors (2 million) as senior living communities),” the letter said.
“That funding has since been exhausted and there are limited options for providers to seek further relief.”
Argentum and its affiliates in various states have been fighting for ARPA relief and experienced successes. But more relief is required to stem the financial impact of the pandemic. Here is a list of states that have seen ARPA funds allocated to senior living:
Pennsylvania – PALA secured $26.7 million in emergency relief for personal care homes and assisted living residences to assist in the continuing battle with COVID-19 and the workforce crisis. The 2022-2023 budget also includes $20 million for PCHs that provide housing and care to seniors receiving the Supplemental Security Income.
Texas – The Texas Assisted Living Association secured $46 million allocated to assisted living providers in state ARPA grants.
Missouri – The Missouri Assisted Living Association worked to make providers eligible for $10 million in funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19, to include residential care facilities in the state.