Long term care facilities have received approximately $14 billion of the $178 billion through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF).
This funding has been a lifeline for nursing homes and assisted living communities, but there are still funds in the PRF that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not distributed. With the Delta variant spreading rapidly throughout the country, long term care providers need the resources now more than ever so they can continue their efforts to protect vulnerable residents.
Pandemic-related resources such as personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and additional staffing have cost providers tens of billions of dollars. In 2020, providers spent $30 billion on PPE and staffing alone, and these costs are expected to remain constant as the pandemic continues.
In addition, long term care facilities accepted fewer new residents and short-term hospital patients last year, leading to record-low occupancy rates and a drastic decline in revenue. An analysis by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) estimates that the nursing home industry is expected to lose $94 billion over the course of the pandemic.
Coupled with long-standing Medicaid underfunding, many facilities are struggling to stay afloat. More than half of nursing homes and nearly half of assisted living communities say their organization is operating at a loss, and only one-quarter of are confident they can last a year or more.
AHCA/NCAL estimates that nearly 2,000 nursing homes could close permanently over a two-year period (2020-2021) without financial assistance. Not only will millions of vulnerable seniors be forced to find new care, but family members may have to travel farther to see their loved ones and dedicated caregivers will be out of a job.
Assistance from the PRF has been instrumental in helping providers keep their doors open. In fact, 92 percent of nursing homes and 62 percent of assisted living communities said the PRF has been helpful during the pandemic. To avoid closures, lawmakers and public health officials must prioritize our nation’s seniors and caregivers.
This global health crisis is not over. Cases are rising in communities across the country and now is not the time to withhold aid from long term care providers. Early in the pandemic, long term care residents and staff were not a priority. Support finally came after months. Today, long term care facilities need all the assistance they can get to continue protecting their residents. That’s why HHS must release the remainder of the PRF fund to long term care facilities so our health care heroes on the frontlines can continue to protect America’s most vulnerable population.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.