Nursing home operators are applying more heat on Congress to deliver coronavirus funding for long-term care facilities in any impending stimulus bill.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living on Tuesday requested an additional $100 billion for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, adding that a sizable portion of the fund should be dedicated to helping nursing homes and assisted living communities pay for virus-related costs.
Such costs include continuous testing that the administration has recommended, personal protective equipment and staffing. The fund is accessible to all healthcare providers affected by COVID-19, not just long-term care facilities.
AHCA also is requesting a $5 billion fund to which labs and nursing homes or assisted living communities can apply to cover the costs of any testing ordered by a governmental entity. The association also requested that Congress ensure that nursing homes and assisted living facilities be the first and highest priority for eventual vaccine distribution.
Nursing homes thus far have received only about 4.3% of the $175 billion funding allocated from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund for healthcare providers, AHCA noted.
“Given the fact we are several months into the response of this pandemic and the lack of PPE supplies is still an issue is very concerning. We request governors and state public health agencies to help secure and direct more PPE supplies to nursing homes and assisted living communities,” Parkinson wrote in a recent letter to the National Governors Association, warning states of imminent outbreaks at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Costs associated with PPE and testing continue to be hardships for facilities. In Florida, which is a hotspot for the virus, testing costs range $25,000 to $300,000 per month, LeadingAge providers said during a media call on Monday.
Also during the call, the association of nonprofit providers pressed Florida Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Scott (R) to include funding for long-term care facilities in the upcoming stimulus legislation.
The forthcoming bill also could include protections for workers or employers, in terms of cushions against COVID-19-related lawsuits.