Abigail Spanberger and Anthony Gonzalez headshots
U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should conduct an analysis to compare how much money has been dispersed from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund to assisted living operators compared with skilled nursing operators, 59 members U.S. House of Representatives told HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Secretary in a letter Monday.

The analysis is “warranted, considering they serve a similar vulnerable population,” the Congresspeople said in a letter seeking for senior living providers a “proportional allocation of funds” from the remaining $23 billion in the fund, to offset pandemic-related expenses.

The effort was led by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). They called on HHS to quickly distribute a “fair and equitable” proportion of the remaining funds to assisted living and memory care communities as well as other senior congregate care facilities that “continue to struggle with immense financial burdens” due to COVID-19.

Argentum President and CEO James Balda said he was grateful to the representatives for their “commitment to seeking a fair and equitable allocation of the remaining resources in the Provider Relief Fund to seniors and caregivers.”

“Providers across senior living have shouldered tremendous losses and expenses as a result of COVID-19, and they have received little federal relief to date,” Balda said. “This funding is essential to ensuring they have the support needed to continue the heroic work of caring for our nation’s seniors.”

Last week, 25 U.S. senators signed on to a similar letter from Sens. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) seeking a “proportional allocation of funds” to “assisted living providers, Alzheimer’s / memory care centers, and senior congregate care facilities.”

The American Seniors Housing Association and Argentum have led advocacy efforts to secure additional funding for senior living providers to help pay for personal protective equipment, staffing, infection prevention and control, vaccine administration and testing. Senior living providers have received few resources compared with providers in the skilled nursing sector.

“We continue to hear from providers in our respective states that without additional financial relief, many will not be able to sustain operations. For the senior residents of these communities, this could mean losing their caregiver and their home,” Spanberger and Gonzalez wrote in the letter to HHS.

A list of U.S. representatives who signed the letter can be found here.