In an open letter Tuesday congratulating members of the 117th Congress on the start of “a new and challenging legislative year,” Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of Leading Age and acting president and CEO of VNAA/Elevating HOME, urged Congress to support:

  • A fully federally funded, coordinated initiative to deliver vaccines to all recipients and providers of aging and long-term care services and supports.
  • A fully funded, coordinated national testing program that covers all recipients (regardless of where they live) and providers of aging services.
  • Steps to ensure adequate personal protective equipment and supplies.
  • Financing for providers facing costs “beyond all expectations” for supplies, temporary staff, infrastructure, and other necessary expenses to fight the pandemic. Medicare and Medicaid rates must be adjusted to take pandemic expenses into account.
  • Support of loan and grant programs, such as more money from the Provider Relief Funds and expanded access to Paycheck Protection Program loans for not-for-profit aging services providers — with requirements for transparency in administration.
  • Additional funds for states, with requirements that they spend a set percentage on aging services, including preserving now-shuttered adult day programs and other home- and community-based services programs.
  • An increase to the federal share of Medicaid costs, particularly for Medicaid HCBS.
  • Continuation of public health emergency waivers, particularly the waiver of the three- day stay and many telehealth provisions, which she said should be made permanent.