Senior living providers have incurred $22.5 billion in pandemic-related costs to date, with uncompensated financial losses expected to grow to $29.8 billion through the first half of this year, according to new data from Argentum.
Although the federal government allocated Provider Relief Funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, less than 1% of that funding has gone to senior living providers, the association said. Argentum cited industry surveys indicating that more than half of providers — which care for one million vulnerable older adults — are now operating at a loss.
“During the pandemic, our nation’s assisted living communities went above and beyond to protect their seniors and caregivers and ensured they had access to the PPE, staffing, care and services needed to keep people safe — and that came at a tremendous cost,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda said. “Now, without federal intervention, many of these communities could be at-risk of closing due to the steep and uncompensated costs stemming from the pandemic.”
Argentum is asking Capitol Hill leaders to share additional dollars with assisted living providers from the $24 billion unallocated in the Provider Relief Fund.
“Without financial aid, some of these communities may not be able to sustain operations, resulting in the loss of homes and caregivers for millions of older Americans,” Balda said.
Argentum recently unveiled its SENIOR (Safeguarding Elderly Needs for Infrastructure and Occupational Resources) Act proposal, which aims to address immediate COVID-19-related challenges and plan for future long-term care needs. Both Argentum and the American Seniors Housing Association also recently met with representatives of the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review outstanding Provider Relief Fund payments and advocate for future disbursements.
Argentum also is looking for a piece of the latest $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds announced recently by the Treasury Department. The plan permits state and local governments to distribute relief funding through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and extend “support for industries hardest hit by the crisis.”
Argentum, which requested support in March from the Treasury Department, has been meeting with governors and state legislators to request prioritized funding for assisted living communities.