Additional COVID-19 relief funding for nursing home providers would be a “top priority” for President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra pledged his support for providing additional resources to nursing homes struggling during the public health crisis during a confirmation hearing Tuesday.
His response came after a question from Aging Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME), who said she was “astonished that in a $1.9 trillion COVID package the administration did not include any money for provider relief funds, which would help these nursing homes.” A non-binding amendment added to the relief package by House lawmakers earlier this month would send another $35 billion to the Provider Relief Fund.
“If I were fortunate [enough] to be confirmed, it would be a top priority to make sure that we are providing the resources necessary,” Becerra said.
“We’ve seen how so many of these assisted living facilities and nursing homes and other facilities that care for aged and disabled Americans haven’t had the resources. They’re short on workers and we’ve seen the crisis of COVID hit them the hardest,” he added.
Becerra stressed the need to provide aid for providers.
“I believe President Biden will be there to provide the support, whether it’s through the Provider Relief Fund or simply by making sure we are providing resources that are already allocated to make sure that we are working closely with those facilities that have been hit the hardest,” he said.
Biden announced Becerra’s nomination in early December. The pick was welcomed by the two largest nursing home associations.
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to consider Becerra for HHS’ next leader on Wednesday before the final vote of all senators.