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(Alexandria, Va.) – Senior living advocate Argentum applauded Michigan assisted living providers on their victory following the state legislature approving bipartisan COVID relief legislation that includes $70 million in direct aid for assisted living and related care settings for older adults.

After several months of legislative advocacy from the Michigan Assisted Living Association (MALA) and its lobbying firm, Kelley Cawthorne, the Michigan House passed House Bill 5523. The legislation will now be sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her approval.

This funding provides a $700 per bed grant to eligible facilities to cover pandemic costs. MALA will be actively involved with the Michigan Legislature and state regulators on the implementation of the $70 million appropriation subject to Governor Whitmer’s approval.

James Balda, president and CEO, Argentum, said the progress in Michigan is encouraging, and reflects the need for similar COVID relief allocations for assisted living communities across the states and at the federal level.

“For more than two years, senior living providers have incurred expenses for procuring gowns, gloves, masks and other infection prevention and control supplies, hero pay, additional staff and lost revenue due to record-low occupancy rates—losses which are long-term, compounding, and unsustainable,” he said.

“Unfortunately, these facilities have not had the same access to federal relief as other providers. That is why we have acted with our supporters in Congress to introduce the SENIOR Act, which directs $10 billion in new funding specifically for senior living, as well as workforce-related measures to stem the staffing crisis.”

The SENIOR Act was introduced in the House in late January. Companion legislation will follow soon in the Senate. The legislation would address two issues through new federal appropriations by creating a caregiver sustainability fund and expanding the senior caregiving workforce. The sustainability fund appropriates $10 billion in new federal funding to assisted living caregivers that demonstrate significant and uncompensated COVID-related losses due to direct senior care.

Read a summary of the bill at https://tinyurl.com/yr3c446n.

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