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Legislators calling on HHS to distribute relief funds to long-term care facilities impacted by COVID-19

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Abigail Spanberger is leading a bipartisan effort calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to quickly distribute remaining provider relief funds to senior living facility operators.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Spanberger (D-VA-07) and her colleagues called on HHS to quickly provide assistance to these facilities, which continue facing extraordinary costs in procuring personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 tests, and necessary staff — all while facing record-low occupancy rates.

Specifically, they urged Secretary Becerra to target additional funding from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) — which is estimated to include an additional $23 billion of congressionally approved funding still available — toward assisted living facilities.

The letter is co-led by Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16)

“We continue to hear from providers in our respective states, that without additional financial relief, many will not be able to sustain operations. For the senior residents of these communities, this could mean losing their caregiver and their home,” Spanberger, Gonzalez, and 57 of their colleagues wrote I the letter. “An analysis by your agency on the funds from the PRF dispersed to skilled nursing facilities versus assisted living facilities is warranted considering they serve a similar vulnerable population.”

Their letter continued, “It is estimated that approximately $23 billion remains in the PRF and a proportional allocation of funds to these senior care facilities would signal that this Administration remains dedicated to helping our nation’s seniors and their families. We will work with you to ensure that these essential facilities that serve our nation’s most vulnerable population receive the resources they need to continue to protect their residents and staff.”

“We are incredibly grateful to Rep. Spanberger for leading this effort and to the dozens of other supporting signers for their commitment to seeking a fair and equitable allocation of the remaining resources in the Provider Relief Fund to seniors and caregivers,” said James Balda, President & CEO, Argentum. “Providers across senior living have shouldered tremendous losses and expenses as a result of COVID-19, and they have received little federal relief to date. This funding is essential to ensuring they have the support needed to continue the heroic work of caring for our nation’s seniors.”

“The Virginia Assisted Living Association (VALA) is thankful to Representative Abigail Spanberger and each of the Co-Signors of the bipartisan letter supporting additional relief for senior living providers, especially assisted living communities,” said Judy M. Hackler, Executive Director, Virginia Assisted Living Association. “Assisted living providers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic providing life-saving care and support to some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens during this unprecedented situation. Assisted living providers have been expected to continue their operations with substantial increases in expenses and a significant reduction in income, but they have been unfortunately left out the crucial financial packages provided by state and federal governments.

“These exclusions from financial relief opportunities have resulted in the possibility of closures for many of the providers, which would be detrimental to the residents and staff of these communities. We encourage the Biden Administration to recognize the severity of this situation and to provide a fair and equitable allocation of the remaining PRF resources to assisted living providers,” Hackler said.

“Assisted living providers have been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 from day one,” said Keith Hare, President & CEO, Virginia Health Care Association & Virginia Center for Assisted Living. “Relief funding is absolute critical to ensure they can continue to protect their residents from the virus.”

Click here to read the full letter.

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