Georgia governor approves $47 million program to aid assisted living providers hurt by COVID costs, while Kentucky legislature backs making assisted living a basic health service model.
(Alexandria, Va.) – It’s been a big week for Argentum state affiliates and their members in Georgia and Kentucky, where longstanding advocacy efforts to bring COVID relief to assisted living communities paid off with a $47 million outlay by the governor in Georgia, and in Kentucky when the state legislature overwhelmingly backed licensure modernization.
In Georgia, Catie Ramp, president and chief executive officer of the Georgia Senior Living Association (GSLA), applauded Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for taking action on COVID relief, saying the decision to approve the ARPA COVID-19 Mitigation Grant Program “will have a positive impact on efforts by care communities to recover some of the significant expenses they have incurred in protecting residents from the coronavirus and its variants.”
She said the development is a direct result of months of discussion between GSLA’s Legislative Team, Georgia state Rep. John LaHood (R), and the Governor’s Office regarding the negative economic impact the pandemic has created for the state’s senior living industry.
“As an association, we are incredibly thankful to Gov. Kemp for providing this much-needed financial relief for our providers,” Ramp said.
Under the Georgia program, assisted living communities and personal care homes with 25 beds or more licensed by the Department of Community Health (DCH) are encouraged to apply for relief. Providers for each community must complete a Terms and Conditions Agreement for this grant program to begin submitting reimbursement requests for eligible expenses incurred between March 3, 2021, and Dec. 1, 2022.
Community contacts will receive a Terms and Conditions email early next week. In the interim, communities should visit www.gasla.org for information on preparing for the grant process.
In Kentucky, Bob White, executive director of the Kentucky Senior Living Association (KSLA), said the organization and its members spent two-and-a-half years urging state legislative action to modernize assisted living licensure.
“In effect, the bill modernizes assisted living in Kentucky and allows assisted living communities to become licensed as a basic health service provider,” he said. “We have been a social model since starting in 2000. Assisted living providers can still opt to be a social model but the main thrust of the legislation is to allow assisted living to have nurses on staff and pass meds, which they could not do before.”
The bill, Senate Bill 11 (SB 11), was approved by both chambers of the legislature by overwhelming margins and is expected to be signed by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D).
White said SB 11 has the support of his association, an Argentum affiliate, as well as that of the state groups representing the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living and LeadingAge.
The key sponsors in the legislature include state Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R), state Rep. Susan Westrom (D), and state Rep. Shawn McPherson (R), an owner of an assisted living community in Glasgow, Ky., White said.
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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