Argentum sent a letter to President Biden yesterday, reiterating the urgent needs of senior living facilities as additional COVID-19 response measures are considered in the wake of the Omicron variant.
We are specifically asking the Administration to: 1) target remaining provider relief to assisted living caregivers; 2) directly distribute a reliable and consistent supply of test kits; 3) renew a partnership on vaccine administration through on-site clinics; and 4) prioritize treatments and other necessary supplies.
The letter follows a letter sent on January 10, which called attention to the immediate need for a direct supply of tests as facilities have depleted their supplies in the need to regularly test residents and staff. As noted in yesterday’s letter, testing supplies have not been consistent and while some long-term care providers continue to receive tests, most assisted living providers no longer receive these tests. Tests are critically needed to ensure adequate staffing and compliance with CDC recommendations on return-to-work, in addition to supporting safe visitation to avoid the detrimental impacts of social and physical isolation.
The letter also continues Argentum’s call for targeted federal financial relief. As we note, despite broad bipartisan support in Congress for targeting the current Phase 4 of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), these funds were ultimately not targeted and most providers will receive insufficient relief to meet their financial challenges—potentially forcing facilities to close and seniors to lose their homes. Relief to date has simply not been enough to offset the $30 billion that providers have incurred from PPE, testing, cleaning, staffing needs and hero pay, as well as record-low occupancy rates. Further, the relief that’s has been allocated is only a small fraction compared to many other providers who are not providing 24/7 care on the frontlines of this crisis.