Leaders in Aging Services Call on Administration to Release Remaining Provider Relief Funds

PRESS RELEASE | August 11, 2021 | by Susan Donley

Letter sent to President Biden and HHS leaders urges immediate relief for long-term care providers who continue to fight on the front lines of COVID-19.

Contact: Susan Donley, sdonley@leadingage.org

August 11, 2021 Washington, DC—As new variants of COVID-19 surge, LeadingAge joined leading health care organizations calling for the release of an estimated $24 billion remaining in the federal Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to support long-term care providers who continue to fight on the front lines of this public health crisis.

“Our message to the President is simple: aging services providers, who operate on narrow margins in the best of times, need relief after more than a year of shouldering historic COVID-related costs,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services. “For them the pandemic is not over; many are weighed down by losses and ongoing expenses for PPE, resident and staff testing, and support to retain staff.”

LeadingAge sent a letter Tuesday to President Biden, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, and HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm, asking for immediate assistance in allocating remaining provider relief funds to long-term care providers.

“We are simply asking that these providers, who have been committed to ensuring the safety of residents and frontline workers throughout the past year and a half of this pandemic, are able to access relief in a timely and equitable manner,” reads the letter, which is also signed by American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, Argentum and the American Seniors Housing Association.

This urgent request follows an earlier letter sent in July from LeadingAge to Diana Espinosa, Acting/Deputy Administrator for the federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), which administers the PRF funds.

LeadingAge represents more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers across the United States--including nursing homes, providers of care at home and in the community, adult day services, affordable housing, assisted living, life plan and independent living communities, hospice, and providers of federal PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) services.

Results of a national survey of 800 U.S. adults released by LeadingAge in June reveal that 83% of Americans say that elected officials have failed older adults and the people who care for them by ignoring and underfunding America's aging services for decades. This sentiment is consistent across locales, including 85% of Americans in rural settings, 83% in urban settings, and 83% in suburban areas.

An overwhelming majority of Americans—Democrats, Republicans and Independents—believe now is the right time to think about building a better system for older adults. Almost 9 in 10 say that the government has an important role in ensuring that seniors are taken care of.

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit leadingage.org.