January 27, 2022

$6 trillion spent, but targeted pandemic relief eludes assisted living industry

McKnights Senior Living

With $11 billion in Phase 4 Provider Relief Funds having gone out to 74,000 healthcare providers, including senior living providers, and $6 trillion in overall COVID-19-related aid having been spent across six relief packages, senior living advocates are continuing to press for targeted relief for the industry.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration has processed about 82% of all Phase 4 applications, HHS said Tuesday. PRF dollars are meant to cover pandemic-related costs for personnel, recruitment and retention initiatives, supplies and information technology.

HRSA confirmed there may be delays in processing Phase 4 payments, Argentum Director of Government Relations Dan Samson said during an Argentum Advocates briefing on Tuesday. The agency initially planned to distribute all payments by the end of January but is now targeting the end of the first quarter, he said.

The awards — averaging $58,000 for small providers, $289,000 for medium-sized providers and up to $1.7 million for large providers — cover only 45% of small providers’ lost revenues and coronavirus expenses, Samson said. The amount for medium-sized providers is 25%, and for larger providers it’s 20%, he added.

Argentum, Samson said, remains disappointed that targeted funding for assisted living providers has not been realized, despite having broad support from Congress. The organization, he said, is working with lawmakers and pursuing other legislative efforts “to raise the issue and ensure lawmakers and policymakers truly understand the needs of senior living providers and the fact that they’ve been continuously left behind.

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