Industry association Argentum has long-been advocating for financial relief and priority access to testing and vaccines for residents and staff.
On September 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)formally announced a private pay distribution from the CARES Act provider relief funds for licensed assisted living providers. Argentum, its members, and its association partners have been advocating for months for financial relief for the industry, which is caring for vulnerable older adults. Providers in the industry have seen and continue to bear staggering costs related to COVID-19 due to enhanced infection control procedures, additional staffing needs, and procurement of PPE and testing, among other expenses.
“We are very pleased that HHS has agreed to allocate this relief funding from the CARES Act provider relief fund to the licensed private pay assisted living industry. It will go directly to supporting the communities that are on the front lines of the pandemic, working tirelessly to protect our nation’s seniors,” said James Balda, president & CEO of Argentum. “We are grateful for the partnership of HHS, the President and the White House, and the bipartisan support we have received from members of Congress.”
While this source of funding will help assisted living operators that have been experiencing accelerating costs and declining revenue for months due to COVID-19, the fight against this disease is far from over. Argentum will continue to advocate for the urgent and critical needs of the senior living industry, including seeking priority access to a vaccine once available for those who live and work in senior living communities as well as priority access to rapid and accurate testing.
Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a discussion draft regarding allocations of COVID-19 vaccines; senior living residents and employees are included under Phase 1 of the vaccine allocation phased approach. This is a significant step in ensuring vaccine priority, but Argentum will be working closely with decision-makers to offer guidance on what an administration of vaccines needs to look like among senior living communities.
Additionally, Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D., the assistant secretary for health at HHS, has shared that the federal government intends to prioritize assisted living in the distribution of point-of-care COVID-19 antigen tests from Abbott Laboratories, recently cleared for emergency use by the FDA. Argentum is pleased that this critical need has been recognized by HHS.
“We appreciate the federal government’s prioritization of assisted living communities for these rapid COVID-19 antigen tests. Rapid and accurate testing is absolutely essential for communities serving vulnerable older adults, as those results inform critical operational decisions,” said Balda. “We look forward to working with HHS and other decision-makers as plans continue to move forward.”
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.
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