The nation’s second-largest nursing home association is calling on Congress to approve crucial COVID-19 funding that will help protect providers and residents ahead of new surges expected to hit in the coming months.
“We know what the tools are to confront COVID-19. Congress must act now so communities across the nation have access to these tools and are prepared to deal with the coming surges,” Katie Smith Sloan, LeadingAge president and CEO, wrote in a letter to the House and Senate dated Monday.
Experts are predicting new surges in the late summer and fall, according to Sloan. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that both COVID-19 cases among residents and staff have increased steadily since hitting pandemic-lows in early April.
She added that the funding would be used to ensure test kits, testing locations, vaccines (including boosters) and treatments remain available and accessible to those who need it most — especially seniors and the aging services providers who care for them.
“Older adults are the most highly vaccinated segment of the U.S. but are also especially vulnerable to COVID and breakthrough infections. When they do contract COVID, they are the most likely to suffer severe and long periods of symptoms, be hospitalized, and, unfortunately, lose the battle,” Sloan wrote.
She added providers are “counting on Congress to continue funding these essential tools.”
Sloan’s call to action comes after President Joe Biden requested bipartisan support from Congress in March, and again in April. He wants them to approve $22.5 billion in supplemental COVID funding to better protect people from future outbreaks.
Biden cautioned that without the funding America is unable to purchase additional life-saving treatments and is “losing our spot in line to other countries for vaccines that may provide better and more durable protection against multiple variants.”
“To avoid needless deaths in the United States and around the world, I urge the Congress to include this much needed, life-saving COVID funding as part of this supplemental funding request,” Biden said in his late-April appeal.