Senior living providers are expected to have access soon to funding from the federal government to help them with their COVID-19-related expenses, according to the American Seniors Housing Association.

ASHA President David S. Schless told McKnight’s Senior Living that the organization is awaiting an announcement and the opening of an application portal for private-pay assisted living operators but said that the organization heard from the Department of Health and Human Services that such providers will soon have access to the HHS Provider Relief Fund.

Although a total dollar allocation for industry providers has not been disclosed, it is thought that the formula will be similar to HHS funding distributions to other types of healthcare organizations: 2% of 2019 gross revenues. 

“A 2% allocation is not going to be nearly enough to cover the expense and loss sustained by the industry,” however, Schless said. 

Details of potential aid are still being worked out, but industry representatives said they are hopeful for a coming announcement.

“The HHS office of the secretary, to its credit, is engaging all aging service provider associations in conversations about how to structure provider relief allocations,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan told McKnight’s Senior Living. “They’re listening to our members’ concerns and their needs.”

The announcement of potential funding comes after a National Center for Assisted Living survey found that half of assisted living providers said they are operating at a loss, and 64% said they won’t be able to sustain operations for another year. It also comes after a scaled-back coronavirus relief package circulated this week by Senate Republicans was said to include corporate liability protection related to coronavirus, as well as funding for testing, but no additional funding for healthcare provider grants.

NCAL, LeadingAge, Argentum and ASHA, among other organizations, have been writing leaders in Congress and the Trump administration, repeatedly making the case for senior living operators to be included in a federal relief package. The associations recently created a portal through which licensed, registered or certified assisted living operators were able to submit data to help HHS make aid-related decisions.

Most assisted living providers have not received any direct federal funding in previous relief efforts.

The Department of Health and Human Services included assisted living providers that care for Medicaid recipients in a phase 2 general distribution of $15 million from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Payments were 2% of annual revenue from patient care. Forty-eight percent of assisted living communities are Medicaid-certified, and approximately 16.5% of assisted living residents rely on Medicaid to cover their assisted living services, according to NCAL.