Otsego, MN - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) led an effort with 18 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urging the Administration to use unallocated funds from the Provider Relief Fund to provide Assisted Living Facilities support to procure wide-spread testing and personal protective equipment for residents and staff.
"Across the nation, COVID-19 has threatened the lives of our aging Americans. The elderly who live in senior living communities are the most vulnerable and at risk population. For many of these individuals, assistance is required to accomplish daily tasks. We must prioritize unallocated funds to help these communities. Especially in our state, these facilities need our support now, and they will also need it in the administration of rapid-testing and possible future vaccines," said Emmer.
"I was encouraged by the Administration’s recent announcement to prioritize and deliver rapid response antigen tests to assisted living communities. However, more must be done to help these facilities recover. In addition to the unacceptable rate of infections and deaths, they have suffered financial losses and need assistance to continue offering vital care," Emmer concluded.
Senior living communities currently estimate COVID-related losses to total $15 billion. In many cases, this is due to the sharp decline in occupancy rate. However, these facilities have only received 1.7% of the original Provider Relief Funds available, while hospitals and nursing homes have received 83%. Many providers are reporting declines in admissions of 75% compared to the same period in 2019. Minnesota has 908 senior living facilities, and their ability to administer long-term rapid-testing and future vaccinations has become nearly impossible with these losses.
Read Congressman Emmer’s letter here.