(Alexandria, Va.) – The Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it is distributing $9 billion in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 payments for healthcare providers harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Biden Administration continues to ignore urgent calls from Argentum and many in Congress who want this aid targeted to senior living communities.
“Today’s action by HHS is welcome news to those providers receiving much-needed COVID relief, however, the Biden Administration is leaving behind scores of assisted living caregivers by not ensuring critical funds are targeted to the very communities who protect those most at-risk from the coronavirus and its variants,” said James Balda, president and CEO, Argentum.
Just today, The New York Times reported that 75 percent of the nearly 800,000 people who have died from the virus in the United States were 65 years or older. The average age of those in assisted living is 85.
Per the PRF news, this first set of funds released represents approximately $9 billion of the $17 billion allocated to Phase 4 relief, and the remainder of the Phase 4 payments are expected to be released through January.
HHS has indicated that the average payment for small providers is $58,000, for medium providers is $289,000, and for large providers is $1.7 million. The payments are made in accordance with the methodology released in September, which earmarked 25% of the Phase 4 relief as “bonus” payments based on the amount and type of services provided to Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP patients.
Argentum had specifically advocated that assisted living providers be eligible for these bonus payments based on the number of Medicare beneficiaries served in our facilities.
HHS released a state-by-state breakdown of the Phase 4 payments at: www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/data/general-distribution/phase-4-general-distribution-payments.
Balda said assisted living communities greatly appreciated the disbursement of these critically needed funds, after months of advocacy that included successfully saving the PRF from a near-certain elimination and then to release the funds to providers.
Argentum has urged President Biden to act on making senior living caregivers a top priority for PRF disbursements, conducting a national “Don’t Leave Us Behind…Again” campaign to rally support for the cause.
“We have seen a groundswell of support from local and state leaders, as well as those in Congress, for our campaign,” Balda said. Evidence of this trend was seen from the results of a new national poll conducted by ReconMR (Reconnaissance Market Research) showing 86% of those asked said the Biden Administration should target COVID-19 relief funding for senior living communities.
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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