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 TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP 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 MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report Menendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsGraham told Trump he 'f'd up' the presidency: book Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump Biden does not plan to shield Trump docs in Jan. 6 probe MORE met with the caucus on Tuesday.