Money, Healthcare

Nearly a half a billion dollars in funding will be dedicated toward helping nursing homes prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities if the latest measures advanced by House lawmakers for the next pandemic relief package passes.

The House Ways and Means Committee completed its round of markups on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion package late last week. Funding for infection control support to skilled nursing facilities and nursing home strike teams were among the key measures approved by lawmakers as part of the budget reconciliation process. 

Specifically, the measures call for $200 million for ensuring SNFs get sufficient help with COVID-related infection control measures through Quality Improvement Organizations. The lawmakers also called for an allocation of $250 million for states to establish strike teams to respond to case surges in SNFs.

The committee said the moves give SNFs the “tools and on-the-ground support they need to contain COVID-19 outbreaks.” 

The committee also called for at least $188 million be allocated for the Elder Justice Act in either fiscal 2021 or 2022. The allocation “increases public health and social services to combat abuse, neglect, and exploitation of the elderly that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” they argued.

Multiple House panels passed their pieces of the coronavirus relief plan last week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she expects the package to be fully approved by the end of February and signed into law before mid-March.