McKnight Senior Living
With no apparent additional targeted COVID-19 financial relief on the horizon for the assisted living industry, Argentum is continuing its push to have providers included in proposed relief packages for other industries.
During an Argentum Advocates membership call on Wednesday, Director of Government Relations Dan Samson reiterated that the organization is encouraging legislators to include assisted living providers as eligible recipients of funding in a House-passed $55 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021.
The package includes $42 billion in relief for restaurants and $13 billion for small businesses, including gyms, restaurants and music venues.
Samson said Argentum is asking legislators to recognize assisted living communities as restaurants, in recognition that they serve three meals daily to residents. The organization also is looking to have providers included in the small business relief program, which would offer $1 million grants per eligible entity.
Argentum also is looking to legislators working on appropriations bills to provide access to federal workforce development programs for assisted living providers. The ask is similar to its approach to the Safeguarding Elderly Needs for Infrastructure and Occupational Resources (SENIOR) Act introduced in the House, which would provide $10 billion in reimbursements to assisted living providers for pandemic-related expenses along with $1.25 billion in new workforce development grants.
Argentum also is seeking financial relief for providers under the appropriations label, asking legislators to target remaining unallocated COVID-19 relief to assisted living caregivers, “who received less than any other frontline workers” collectively.
Argentum also continues to support the restoration of the Employer Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act, which would benefit assisted living providers in the form of up to $7,000 in tax credits per employee. The initiative ended at the end of 2021.
On the regulatory front, Samson said, Argentum received responses from the Biden administration to several letters sent in recent weeks on a variety of topics affecting the senior living industry.
Although Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra acknowledged that “senior living facilities face unique challenges,” no targeted relief was promised for the sector, Samson said.
The organization also heard back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Argentum’s request to exclude assisted living from COVID-19 guidance for healthcare providers. Samson said that Argentum emphasized that assisted living communities are residents’ homes and therefore should be subject to the same guidance as the general public. The CDC said that it is reviewing its guidance as part of its internal decision-making process but did not provide a timeline on any final decisions, he said.