A top provider association is calling on Congress to establish a dedicated $100 billion emergency fund for nursing homes and other aging services providers to protect residents from COVID-19. 

The request is a part of a new campaign, “Act For Older Adults,” launched Thursday by LeadingAge that calls on members of Congress to provide resources to better protect seniors from infection spikes and a potential second wave of the disease. 

“The federal government’s responsibility is to develop a comprehensive federal plan to secure and to deliver the life-saving supplies and resources that aging services providers need to keep people safe,” said Katie Smith Sloan, LeadingAge president and CEO. 

The organization is also requesting that lawmakers provide ample and appropriate personal protective equipment, accurate and rapid testing, funds to cover testing costs, “hero” pay, paid sick leave and healthcare coverage for frontline workers. 

The campaign includes virtual meetings between providers and members of Congress, Smith Sloan explained. Complacency is the new danger of the ongoing public health crisis as the curve flattens in some states, but continues to spike in others, she warned.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over,” she emphasized. 

“This is no time for our leaders to step back, dust off their hands and move onto other things. Now is the time we must stand up and act for older adults,” she added.