close-up of money

A New York coalition of assisted living associations and adult care facilities are seeking a one-time $75 million “essential funding” allocation from the state. Funds will be used to help frontline providers recover from “severe financial hardships” incurred during the pandemic. 

Argentum NY, LeadingAge NY, the Empire State Association of Assisted Living (ESAAL) and the New York State Center for Assisted Living (NYSCAL) sent letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers requesting the allocation in the state’s next fiscal year budget, which carries an April 1 deadline.

The coalition said the ask will offset only a fraction of the $844 million in pandemic-related expenses and lost revenues reported by its members. PPE, infection prevention and control supplies, hero pay, staffing and testing costs, coupled with “long-term, compounding and unsustainable loss of revenue” from record-low occupancy rates created the shortfall.

LeadingAge NY President James. W. Clyne Jr. said the “enormous, unbudgeted costs are unsustainable.”

“They need financial relief to be able to continue to serve New York’s seniors in the future,” Clyne said. 

They suggested the funding could come from the $23 billion-plus New York is due to receive from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. 

“Operators of adult care facilities and assisted living residences across New York State rose to and met the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to continue to provide independent, safe and secure living for frail elderly New Yorkers,” said ESAAL Executive Director Lisa Newcomb. “The dramatic increase in the cost of providing personal protective equipment for staff, meeting state mandated testing requirements, and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for our residents over the last year is threatening the ability of many providers to remain operational without state assistance.”

The coalition noted that about 56% of adult care facilities and assisted living providers are experiencing operating losses, with many facing the prospect of closure without relief.

“If we do not see financial support from New York State in this upcoming budget, some of these facilities would begin to close, causing a rupture in the continuum of healthcare across the state,” said NYSCAL Executive Director Kim Laviolette. She added that a reduced number of assisted living facilities would push older adults into more expensive, state-funded care, such as skilled nursing facilities.

In its letters, the coalition said assisted living providers and adult care facilities have received no state assistance and little federal aid to offset their “extraordinary expenses.” These groups were allocated $1 billion nationwide under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund — compared to $12.5 billion allotted to skilled nursing — with a “very small fraction” of those dollars going to New York operators.

“It is important to recognize the integral role senior living plays in the lives of our residents and their families, and as a community-based option to preserve for future generations,” the letters read. 

Together, the coalition serves more than 45,000 elderly New York residents and employs tens of thousands of workers.