Update: On December 28, President Trump signed this package into law.
The House and Senate passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, which we anticipate President Trump will sign as soon as it hits his desk. Overall, we are disappointed in the provisions that have been set forth in this latest stimulus package. The package largely fails to address the needs of seniors residing in long-term care settings across the country and lacks the promise of the financial resources needed to care for them. While we are still reviewing the text of the bill, which was over 5,000 pages long, we do know the package includes the following items of note:
- $22.4 billion in testing and tracing; long-term care providers are included in a large list of other entities that will also qualify for this funding
- $3 billion added to the Provider Relief Fund (PRF)
- $284 billion added for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) small business loans
While we are certainly pleased to see the inclusion of additional funding for expanded COVID-19 testing and tracing for long-term care providers in the package, the funding allocated for the PRF falls woefully short of what the industry needs and what former drafts of the legislation had suggested.
- We are continuing to share with HHS the urgency of distributing PRF funds;
- We are focused on ensuring that fair distributions are made to assisted living providers from the remaining PRF funds;
- We are advocating for targeted future distributions for the industry to cover unreimbursed and future expenses;
- We are cautiously optimistic that HHS will consider a ‘Phase 3.5’ from the PRF that offers providers the ability to recoup losses from the third quarter of 2020 and help to stave off community closures.
Through this legislative process, we have been able to educate lawmakers on the critical role of senior living for nearly two million older Americans, but there is more work to be done. We have fought long and hard with your help and the help of countless industry advocates for essential financial support as a result of this pandemic. We are thankful to everyone who has engaged in this process to write, call, or otherwise connect with lawmakers in Congress.