Argentum urges members to include older people living in provider relief funds – News

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Senior residential operators are urged to contact their senators to support the allocation of Provider Relief Fund resources to industry, an opportunity that will end this Friday, according to Argentum.

In his March policy brief on Wednesday, the industry advocate highlighted various efforts to help secure federal funding for an industry that has been burdened with spending and debt from a pandemic. His most urgent request is that members contact and encourage their state senators to sign a letter written by the senses. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Senators called on the Biden administration to provide a “fair and equitable allocation” of the remaining $ 23 billion in relief funds from providers to assisted living operators who have so far received relatively little relief.

Operators were faced with an estimate $ 15 billion in losses while paying for overtime, hero pay, personal protective equipment, new staff and ramped up cleanup due to the pandemic, Maggie Elehwany, senior vice president of public affairs at Argentum, said during from Wednesday’s conference call. An earlier amendment to the US bailout was proposed by Argentum in an attempt to ensure industry inclusion, but failed to make it the final draft.

But efforts to push the amendment forward have put the elderly life and long-term care sector as a whole on the administration’s radar, Elehwany added.

Argentum recommends that members capitalize on this effort by reaching out not only to their delegates, but also to the media with two key messages: more than half of assisted living providers are working at a loss; and fully 56% plan to close over the next year, which could force older people out of their homes and unemployed caregivers.

“We can have a lot of meetings and make a compelling case, but until they hear from you, only then do they take action,” Elehwany told members. A cover letter from the Maison is forthcoming.

Meanwhile, for those who have been approved for Provider Relief Fund funds, disbursements remain “woefully slow and insufficient,” according to Argentum. Based on data from October, the organization estimates that nearly 90% of elderly service providers have applied for funds and more than 80% have been approved, but less than half have received their payments in because of a backlog.

But there is some good news related to payment status requests, said Paul Williams, vice president of government relations for Argentum. Complaints handling activity has intensified and suppliers can expect more detailed responses, he said. The organization has provided a link to payment status request forms which can be completed and returned to Argentum, which it will then submit on behalf of the providers.

Argentum is also working with the Small Business Administration to restore vendor access to Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, Second Draw Loans. The program, which was due to expire on March 31, now expires June 30, and applications close May 31. Many small vendors were eligible for the initial loans but are no longer eligible, Elehwany said. There is a signature letter regarding this effort that members can support, Argentum policy advocates have said. Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) call on the SBA to establish emergency rules to allow access to loans to previously eligible elderly communities and nursing homes. 32 members of Congress co-signed the letter.

Infrastructure receives a much needed boost

Argentum praises Wednesday’s announcement by the Biden administration of a sweeping infrastructure plan this includes significant investments in care for the elderly. Among other things, the plan sets aside $ 100 billion to provide broadband access to all Americans, an investment encouraged by advocates for the elderly. Improved telehealth, telepsychology and family interaction are essential to the continued viability of older people, the organization said.

The infrastructure package, which is the first phase of the president’s US employment plan, also includes $ 400 billion to expand access to care for the elderly and people with disabilities and to improve compensation. and caregiver benefits.

“Elderly service providers have been largely left behind in Provider Relief Fund disbursements and the American Rescue Plan Act, so this financial investment in their future and that of the elderly and caregivers is greater. important than ever, ”said James Balda, President and CEO of Argentum. said in an end-of-day statement after Biden’s announcement.

“Without this essential support, suppliers will be forced to make even more difficult decisions on how to continue operations after overcoming the pandemic, leaving a huge financial burden on taxpayers,” he added.

Argentum also lobbied for financial support for retrofitting energy efficient facilities and mitigating infections to improve air and water purification. The latter would ideally include filtration systems, non-contact devices, HVAC systems and the expansion of indoor and outdoor spaces to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, he said. More details on what exactly the administration’s new investments will support are expected to be detailed in the coming months, according to the reports.

Reopening essential for recovery

One of the keys to post-pandemic operator recovery is the widespread reopening of facilities, Argentum policy advocates added. The organization is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help draft reopening guidelines specific to assisted living communities. He calls for focusing on group meals and social events, Williams said.

Other Argentum priorities outlined in the March briefing included creating an Independent Living Stabilization Fund, similar to the $ 28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund; work more with States on operator liability guarantees; and ensuring the industry remains a priority for COVID-19 vaccinations in the future.

Argentum also told members to remain vigilant about upcoming legislation. Expect an “assault” of new federal regulations, with a focus on the number of COVID-19 deaths in 2020 and the Democrats in charge of the House and Senate, Elehwany said. Bills such as the Assisted Living Coronavirus Reporting Act, which requires states to meet reporting requirements to qualify for future COVID-19 response funds, is just one example of what is likely to happen, they said.

Encouraging the Biden administration to release Provider Relief Fund funds for operators of retirement homes is also a goal of the American Seniors Housing Association, which holds its annual fly-in this week. Politico noted that the association’s outreach will include meetings with more than 40 House and Senate offices, including leaders from both chambers of Congress as well as members of the Senate finance and health, education committees, Work and Pensions of the Senate and the Chamber of Energy and Commerce; and of the Chamber’s Ways and Means Committees.

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