June 1, 2022

Stalled COVID relief shifts focus to workplace safety rule, workforce development: Argentum

McKnight Senior Living

With questions about whether any further COVID-19 relief legislation will be passed this year, Argentum said Tuesday that it is focusing on a federal workplace safety rule, financial relief and workforce development for assisted living providers.

In June 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced an emergency temporary standard meant to protect healthcare sector workers, including assisted living communities. The agency announced in December its plan to withdraw the healthcare standard, with the exception of the log and reporting provisions. In March, OSHA announced a proposed federal COVID-19 healthcare rule the agency said would protect assisted living and other healthcare workers from exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Senior living and care advocates called the proposed rule “overly prescriptive” and called for broader requirements and flexibility to respond to changing circumstances.

Argentum Director of Government Relations Dan Samson said Tuesday during an Argentum Advocates membership call that of the 144 total comments submitted on the proposed final rule since OSHA reopened the comment period, more than 100 of those comments came form assisted living advocates.

Samson said the message to Congress continues to be that “assisted living is home and not an institution.”

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