headshots of Sens. Krysten Sinema and Susan Collins

Twenty-five U.S. senators have signed on to a letter asking that some of the $23 billion remaining in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund be dedicated to senior living to offset continued expenses related to the pandemic.

The letter from Sens. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra maintains that designating a “proportional allocation of funds” to “assisted living providers, Alzheimer’s/memory care centers, and senior congregate care facilities” would signal that the administration “remains dedicated to helping our nation’s seniors and their families.”

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.

“ASHA’s members have actively engaged in outreach with their U.S. senators and their representatives, and despite the limited amount of time and a congressional recess, we are very pleased with the bipartisan support of this letter and applaud Senators Sinema and Collins for their leadership,” ASHA President David Schless said.

The organization, which hosted a “Senior Living Strong” virtual fly-in earlier this month, encouraged other senators and their staff members to support the sign-on letter.

Argentum President and CEO James Balda said Argentum was “exceptionally grateful” to Sens. Sinema and Collins for “leading the charge” on the letter, as well as to the 23 other senators who signed it. The letter, he noted, calls for a “fair and equitable” allocation of the remaining Provider Relief Fund monies.

Operators, Balda said, “have incurred billions in expenses and lost revenue since the pandemic began, and the financial strain they are shouldering is unsustainable without this relief. We ask Secretary Becerra to hear this plea and take action to ensure seniors can continue to receive the essential care and services they need at senior living communities across the country.”

Senators signing the letter in addition to Sinema and Collins include Michael Bennet (D-CO), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Todd Young (R-IN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

ASHA and Argentum are encouraging support of a similar letter in the House written by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). That letter is expected to close by week’s end.