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Senior living providers have lost more than $15.4 billion due to the pandemic, and three states account for more than one-fourth of that amount, according to calculations from Argentum.

The pandemic’s economic impact on senior living providers, by dollar amount (not per capita), has been the highest in California, Texas and Florida, according to the association. Providers in California have lost a total of more than $1.9 billion, providers in Texas have lost more than $1.4 billion, and those in Florida have lost more than $1 billion. The three are the only states where industry losses due to the pandemic exceed $1 billion.

Argentum President and CEO James Balda provided the numbers in letters to the leaders of the National Governors Association, the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association on Thursday, making a case for the groups to “strongly encourage” state governments to give financial relief to senior living providers “to help recoup some of the financial losses senior living providers have incurred as a result of extraordinary efforts to keep residents and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Operators have incurred extra costs for personal protective equipment, infection prevention and control supplies, “hero” pay for staff members, additional staffing, and lost revenue due to record-low occupancy rates, the association noted. Argentum is hoping that governors will allocate to senior living some of the funds they are expected to receive after passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law by President Biden on Thursday.

Across the country, 56% of senior living providers are operating at a loss, according to industry calculations. “More than 50% of senior living providers have indicated they may have to close their senior living community due to COVID-19 financial hardship and the lack of federal financial relief,” Balda wrote.

California, Texas and Florida also are states where senior living providers make some of the biggest economic impact, according to the association. In California, for instance, Argentum pegs the state economic impact of the industry at $26.5 billion; in Texas, the number is $8.8 billion, and in Florida, it’s $14.5 billion.

In some other states where the senior living industry has a large impact on the economy, however, the economic toll of the pandemic on senior living providers was smaller overall. 

In New York, for instance, the state economic impact of senior living is $10 billion, according to Argentum, and operators have lost less than $844 million due to the pandemic. And in Wisconsin, the state economic impact of senior living is $8.6 billion, and operators have lost less than $72 million.

The states where operators have incurred the smallest collective dollar-amount losses include Vermont, at almost $7 million; Hawaii, at approximately $15.1 million; Maine, at around $23.5 million; Alabama, at about $31.6 million; and Wyoming, at approximately $31.2 million.

An association spokeswoman told McKnight’s Senior Living that the figures are based on estimated COVID-19-related expenses from Argentum member surveys combined with COVID-19 case counts in long-term care from the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker. Loss projections are based on national loss data and severity of COVID-19 within each state.

Senior living operators, Balda said, “have not had the same access to federal relief as other providers.” Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund, assisted living communities have received approximately $1 billion nationwide to date, he said, whereas skilled nursing facilities have received approximately $12.5 billion, even though each setting serves approximately 2 million people.

Argentum President and CEO James Balda included this table in his letters to leaders of the National Governors Association, the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association.