March 17, 2022

Senior living tells White House it knows all too well what it’s like to fight pandemic without funding

McKnight Senior Living March 17, 2022

After $15.6 billion in supplemental coronavirus relief funding was cut from the $1.5 trillion omnibus package — signed Wednesday by President Biden — the White House is sounding the alarm over the potential consequences to the nation’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus.

In a Tuesday briefing, the Biden administration said that as the nation enters a “new moment” in the pandemic, Congress has not provided the funding necessary to continue the COVID-19 response. 
Without additional funding, the administration said, the country will not have enough vaccines, monoclonal antibody treatments or testing supplies for the second half of the year. A lack of funding also will reduce surveillance and research into emerging variants and damage the global vaccination and treatment efforts.

Argentum President and CEO James Balda told McKnight’s Senior Living that assisted living operators “know all too well what it is like to fight this tragic pandemic without the necessary funding.” He said it’s “ironic” that the Biden administration is saying additional COVID-19 funds are needed or services will be cut.

“Because assisted living providers have not been prioritized since day one of this pandemic, or even considered for targeted relief and support in most cases, there are senior living communities across the country under intense financial pressure to survive,” Balda said. “The administration continues to ignore our urgent messaging, as well as the pleas from our many supporters in Congress, that it’s well past time to put the nation’s 2 million residents of assisted living and memory care communities at the front of the line for COVID relief and support.”

He added that, despite the success of the federal vaccination response in assisted living communities over the past two years, the Biden administration won’t renew the program “for what promises to be the need for a fourth vaccination for seniors in the coming months.”

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