(Alexandria, Va.) – Heading up a roster of effective policy efforts over the past year, Argentum’s #ReleasethePRF campaign most recently helped push the release of $25.5 billion from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) for senior caregivers struggling due to COVID-19. On Sept. 10, Health and Human Services announced the move, which includes $17 billion in Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund allocations and $8.5 billion in funding specifically from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) dedicated to rural health providers.
Argentum, its state partners, members, and advocates, have been asking for the release of these undistributed funds for months. Leadership from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) also resulted in bipartisan support from 50 Senators signing on to urge release of the funds.
“We are pleased to see movement from the administration on this issue; now, our attention turns to ensuring an equitable distribution for senior living providers,” said James Balda, Argentum President and CEO. “We must remain vigilant to ensure these providers receive the support they need and deserve.”
The prominent and effective #ReleasethePRF campaign is representative of the strategic approach Argentum’s policy team has deployed over the past year with comparable success in areas including liability protection and supporting vaccine access.
“Argentum, with the support of its members, has taken policy to a new level over the past 18 months,” said Joel Nelson, president and CEO of LCS and Argentum public policy committee co-chair. “We learned quickly that senior living didn’t have a voice on the Hill, but after tireless hours of letters, calls, briefings, and education, our voice is starting to be heard.”
Argentum Advocates numbers top 700
“Our policy efforts work because they start with listening to members’ and seniors’ needs,” said Maggie Elehwany, Argentum’s senior vice president, public affairs.
“From there, we engage members and others in the industry to amplify these requests, present a unified front through working closely with other organizations, and leverage the knowledge and relationships of the Argentum policy team,” Elehwany said.
Instrumental to the effort is the Argentum Advocates program. Less than six months old, the free program has garnered more than 700 members. Its online policy briefings host in the double digits and are covered in trade press.
Additionally, the Argentum Advocacy Fund advances the industry with government affairs, legal challenges, and public relations while addressing the large disparity in state regulations. One lifesaving action was keeping senior living and caregivers at the priority 1A position for vaccine rollouts.
Other wins in the past year include:
- Securing eligibility for CARES Act funding
- Establishing a model executive order for a 50-state initiative to secure reasonable liability protections
- Working directly with Health and Human Services to process and pay over 80 percent of senior living provider claims
- The Standing With Seniors campaign, sending tens of thousands of letters to Congress and raising awareness on senior living issues
Innovations into the next year
While ensuring the equitable distribution of Provider Relief funds remains Argentum’s top priority today, the association’s policy team has been crafting solutions to looming crisis issues including infrastructure and the workforce shortage.
Leading the way is the introduction of the SENIOR Act: Safeguarding Elderly Needs for Infrastructure and Occupational Resources, which addresses the imminent need for investing in human infrastructure to support America’s rapidly aging population. This legislation would grow the ranks of senior caregivers as well as create a sustainability fund to keep the doors open for caregiving communities struggling financially.
To meet the need for at least 1.4 million additional senior caregivers by 2025, Argentum is proposing a balance of expanding proven effective solutions from HHS and the Department of Labor to the assisted living field and innovative incentives to encourage senior caregiving as a career.
Other areas for which Argentum is currently building strategy and capacity include servicing and support for financing long-term care and health IT infrastructure and workforce.
“We are just getting started,” said policy committee co-chair Nelson. “As co-chair with Katie Potter, president and CEO of Five Star Senior Living, we want to thank all of the Argentum staff and all of our members. This is a long-term strategy, and we must not let up in our efforts to advocate for our seniors.”
For more information, visit argentum.org/advocacy.
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults.
Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum’s membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industry—an industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. These numbers will continue to grow as the U.S. population ages.
Argentum’s programs and initiatives are driven by its membership. For more information about joining Argentum, please visit argentum.org/membership. Learn more at argentum.org.