CAMP HILL, PA – Congressman Fitzpatrick along with Congresswoman Lori Trahan(D-DE) introduced the Safeguarding Elderly Needs for Infrastructure and Occupational Resources (SENIOR) Act. This bipartisan legislation will assist Pennsylvania’s Personal Care Homes and Assisted Living Residences with financial losses experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, hard-hit senior-living facilities across the nation have incurred major financial losses and have been met with an unprecedented workload,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “Seniors are among the most vulnerable populations, and it is our duty to ensure that assisted living communities are provided with the funding and support they need to keep their doors open and care for our elderly.”
PALA appreciates Congressman Fitzpatrick taking the lead in introducing the SENIOR Act. Rep. Fitzpatrick’s recognition of the struggles facing senior living communities and the vulnerable population they serve supports his dedication to the seniors of the Commonwealth and the country.
“Congressman Fitzpatrick understands the strain the COVID pandemic has on the personal care homes and assisted living residences and the seniors of the Commonwealth. The Argentum SENIOR Act will support these communities as they struggle with competing health care systems and nursing homes for a workforce to provide the care for seniors,” said Margie Zelenak, executive director, Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association. “Homes continue to close, and the sustainability fund is needed to keep the doors open for the aging population in Pennsylvania. Thank you, congressman, for your support.”
The SENIOR Act specifically would:
1) Create a Caregiver Sustainability Fund for struggling caregivers.The SENIOR Act establishes a Caregiver Sustainability Fund (CSF) to ensure that critical caregivers who are still struggling financially due to extreme COVID-related losses and insufficient federal relief—such as assisted living communities—can keep their doors open. Assisted living caregivers incurred over $30 billion in losses while keeping seniors safe during the pandemic yet received less than 1% of the Provider Relief Fund. The majority now operates at a financial loss. The CSF would stabilize assisted living caregivers and other senior congregate caregivers who can demonstrate significant and uncompensated COVID-related losses due to direct senior care.
2) Grow the senior caregiver workforce.The SENIOR Act builds upon existing workforce programs that have proven successful in meeting our nation’s varying healthcare requirements. Specifically, it bolsters workforce development programs within the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) by emphasizing geriatric care and the needs of this vulnerable population. Expanding the caregiving workforce and increasing the number of individuals eager to serve our nation’s seniors will address the systemic workforce shortages that have been exacerbated by COVID.