LeadingAge Welcomes New Administration Plans to Prioritize COVID Response With Federally Led Efforts

PRESS RELEASE | January 21, 2021

Calls for "A New Beginning" for Older Americans

Contact: Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

January 21, 2021, Washington, DC—A leading national aging services organization welcomed the new Administration’s immediate efforts to prioritize COVID, and called for a specific emphasis on the older adults and their care providers, who have suffered most from the coronavirus.

“This virus has raged out of control for nearly a year, while our community has desperately called for help. So to have the new Administration lay out plans on Day One to put COVID at the top of its agenda is welcome and hopeful news,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, which represents more than 5,000 nonprofit aging-focused care providers.

“In the midst of the virus spiking and community spread, we’ve been on the battlefield trying to protect older adults and workers with limited support. We hope this means the cavalry is coming, especially on testing and vaccine initiatives. We urge the Administration to do more to address the needs of those who have been most impacted by the virus: older Americans and those who care for them.

“We are pleased to see that the new Administration recognizes that this war against the pandemic cannot be won without adequate staff, including public health professionals who can help facilitate testing and vaccine administration. The proposal for 100,000 new jobs focused on pandemic response is a welcome step in the right direction.

“We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to ensure that the government prioritizes and addresses the needs of millions of older Americans who account for the vast majority of coronavirus deaths--and on a broader agenda to build a new beginning for older Americans.”

In December, LeadingAge sent the new Administration nearly four dozen recommended policy actions for its first 30 days,100 days, and first year. These included a focus on providing needed resources and support to providers who are on the frontlines of care, limiting community spread, and creating new frameworks and policies for longer term changes to caring for older adults throughout the continuum of care, including:

Resources and Support

  • Invoke the Defense Production Act to help fill continuing PPE gaps (which they have announced their intent to do).
  • Work with Congress to provide resources to fill immediate PPE, testing, and staffing needs.
  • Simplify PPP loan forgiveness processes for not-for-profit aging services providers.
  • Work with Congress to ensure that not-for-profit aging services providers of all sizes have access to future PPP loans.
  • Reduce duplicative reporting requirements that have hindered nursing homes from focusing more attention on resident care.

Limit Community Spread

  • Work with governors to minimize community spread in every state.
  • Develop a national testing program for all essential aging services workers with rapid turnaround of results,

Longer Term Changes

  • Create interagency efforts to
    • support mental health in a COVID-19 and post-COVID era
    • develop options for long-term care reform, including financing.
  • Establish a long-term care workforce commission.
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 encompasses the entire continuum of aging and disability services. 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.