No additional relief is headed for long-term care providers under the $1.9 trillion coronavirus package currently being finalized by federal lawmakers.
Senate Democrats’ current draft proposal doesn’t include additional money to the existing Provider Relief Fund, Inside Health Policy reported Tuesday. That comes after House Democratic leaders eliminated $1.8 billion in funding for congregate settings under a plan passed by the House over the weekend.
The Senate’s draft proposal has more money for Amtrak, cybersecurity and other entities, but nothing for providers, said Linda Couch, vice president of housing policy for LeadingAge.
“There is no additional funding through the provider relief fund for these types of providers,” she said Monday during a provider call. “There is extensive funding for testing and vaccine distribution, which is great, but we know providers are not out of the woods yet. The lack of healthcare provider relief is really disappointing to us.”
Couch encouraged members to continue lobbying their representatives for additional funding, saying, “It’s not over til it’s over.”
During a separate call Tuesday, Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, also expressed disappointment that there wasn’t money directly for healthcare providers, specifically for long-term care, in the package.
He explained, however, that there are still two avenues for providers. There is still about $25 billion left in the Provider Relief Fund, he reminded, and the association is “advocating and encouraging the administration to continue providing funds for long-term care.”
The second avenue is the current proposal, which includes about $200 billion in funding for states.
“We are really encouraging the state governments to take a really close look at the Medicaid situation in their states and provide assistance, not just to long-term care providers, but all providers that have been adversely affected by the recession caused as a result of the COVID crisis,” Parkinson said.
“We’re hopeful that the remaining money in the Provider Relief Fund as well as the additional funding that will be provided to the states will be an avenue of support,” he added.