While congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victories at the polls, executives of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living and LeadingAge are calling for Congress to work in the time before the Jan. 20 inauguration to pass an aid package to help long-term care operators and others battling the coronavirus.
“With record-breaking COVID cases across the country just this past week, our nation’s seniors and their caregivers cannot wait until January to bring about the assistance facilities need right now,” AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson said. “We urge lawmakers to take action immediately, during the lame duck session, and pass a COVID relief package that includes additional funding for our healthcare providers, including those in long-term care. Our healthcare heroes need help acquiring substantial personal protective equipment, testing and staff support to keep the virus at bay and protect our nation’s Greatest Generation.”
LeadingAge Senior Vice President Ruth Katz called for “immediate congressional action to deliver additional financial relief and support for staffing, as well as ongoing access to tests, PPE and supplies continues to be paramount.”
Parkinson said AHCA/NCAL looked forward to discussing the challenges faced by long-term care facilities with members of the incoming administration.
“We will call on the Biden administration and Congress to help us address the immediate crisis at-hand and ensure that facilities have the resources they need to protect our nation’s most vulnerable,” he said. “We must also reflect upon the lessons to be learned and welcome a national discussion on how to improve the country’s long-term care system for a growing elderly population.”
LeadingAge, Katz said, is “committed to working with the new administration on behalf of our members just as we’ve worked with the current one.”
The association, she said, sees as “good news” Biden’s swift action in naming a COVID-19 Advisory Board on Monday. “We’re glad that the group includes experts on some of the issues that impact our members and older adults, such as social isolation and loneliness,” she said. “Given the pandemic’s outsized impact on people age 65 and older, we hope additional advisers with expertise in aging, whether gerontologists or researchers, will be added as advisers in coming weeks and months.”
LeadingAge also defined as “a positive” that the Biden-Harris platform contains programs on caregiving, education and workforce and addresses the need to fund them. The association expects home- and community-based services and affordable housing to be points of focus for the new administration, she said.
Regarding affordable housing, Katz said, “LeadingAge will push to ensure that key elements for older adults — such as service coordinators, permanent housing preservation and recognition of housing for low-income older adults as part of the continuum of aging services and community need — are not overlooked.”
Read Argentum’s and the American Seniors Housing Association’s comments about the election results here.