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Nursing homes call for funds, PPE, testing in coronavirus aid package

Nursing homes call for funds, PPE, testing in coronavirus aid package
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The nursing home and assisted living industry is calling on Congress and the White House to provide its industry with targeted assistance in the next coronavirus relief package. 

The National Center for Assisted Living, American Seniors Housing Association, LendingAge and Argentum teamed up to request increased funding to keep senior living residents and staff safe, noting that the financial impact of the coronavirus on the industry could be up to $57 billion over 12 months.

Senior citizens are more vulnerable to the coronavirus, and there have been outbreaks at homes around the country. Keep such facilities safe for workers and seniors is critical, the groups said.

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The groups also said residents and employees should get quicker access to a vaccine. 

“While restaurants and hotels may begin to open with new restrictions, senior living communities will not be able to return to normal until there is a vaccine. Senior living residents and employees must have priority access to the vaccine when it is developed,” the groups wrote in a letter sent to congressional leadership on July 16.

Trump administration officials have signaled that when a vaccine is ready, depending on the results of clinical trials, high-risk individuals, people with pre-existing health conditions and front-line health care workers will be prioritized. 

The groups also asked for access to and reimbursement for testing of employees and residents. The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE signed into law in March included nearly $4.9 billion for nursing facilities.

More than 37,200 resident of homes have died from the coronavirus, and there have been more than 133,300 confirmed cases across the country by this month, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Additionally, the groups asked for the Paycheck Protection Program to be expanded to provide loans to senior living businesses with more than 500 employees and that senior living employees be eligible for any federal “Hero Pay” to recognize their work.

Senate Republicans have been meeting this week about what to include in their next coronavirus relief proposal and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMcConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl On The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsCritics blast 'two-faced liar' Miles Taylor after revelation as NYT 'anonymous' author Ex-DHS official reveals himself as 'Anonymous' CNN host presses Trump spokesman: 'Do you think the pandemic has ended?' MORE met with the caucus on Tuesday.