James Balda headshot
James Balda

Almost half of the Argentum members who have applied and been approved for federal Provider Relief Fund monies to help with their coronavirus pandemic-related expenses have not received the aid yet, according to a new poll. And almost a third of the respondents that have received their funds estimate that they will cover one month or less of lost revenue or increased expenses due to the pandemic.

Argentum members representing more than 1,000 communities responded to the survey, results of which the association released Monday. Almost 90% of poll participants said they had applied for funds, and more than 80% said they were approved.

“We are asking that HHS process these payments as quickly as possible and to strongly consider offering additional financial relief to ensure communities can continue to operate and offer necessary care and services to millions of older adults and their dedicated employees,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda said.

To date, assisted living providers are expected to receive approximately $3 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund, despite the fact that the coronavirus is expected to have a $15 billion to $20 billion overall impact on the industry based on increased expenses, lost revenue and future costs related to testing and vaccine administration, according to the association. Other providers, such as nursing homes and hospitals, are slated to receive $145 billion, having been granted aid starting earlier in the year, Argentum said.

“We appreciate the work HHS has done to approve assisted living providers and process relief payments. However, as financial resources continue to dwindle, these providers are having to make extremely difficult decisions,” Balda said. 

Other survey findings:

  • 37% of respondents said they foresee the possible closure of some communities if their financial situations do not improve.
  • 85% said they are experiencing resident census decreases of up to 30%. Another 10% said they are experiencing up to 50% decreases in census.
  • Almost half of the poll participants said that their expenses have increased 11 to 30%, and more than a fourth said that their expenses have increased 31 to 50%.

To date, 1.7% of the total Provider Relief Funds available have been allocated to assisted living communities, whereas hospitals and nursing homes are allocated to receive 83%, Argentum said. The association said it is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to consider offering a portion of the remaining Provider Relief Funds to help assisted living communities.

Editor’s note: Argentum sent a letter with the survey results to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday.