The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday announced the release of $9 billion in Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund payments to health care providers, including assisted living operators.
Payments will start to be made later this week to nearly 70,000 providers, according to HHS. The average payment will be $58,000 for small providers, $289,000 for medium-sized providers and $1.7 million for large providers.
About 75% of the Phase 4 funding is based on expenses and decreased revenues for the period from July 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Smaller providers will have a larger percentage of losses and expenses reimbursed than larger providers.
While expressing gratitude for the “critically needed” relief funds, industry association Argentum reiterated calls for dedicated relief funding for the senior living sector.
“Today’s action by HHS is welcome news to those providers receiving much-needed COVID relief, however, the Biden Administration is leaving behind scores of assisted living caregivers by not ensuring critical funds are targeted to the very communities who protect those most at-risk from the coronavirus and its variants,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda stated in a press release.
Argentum also is pushing for assisted living providers to be eligible for “bonus” payments being made available based on the amount and type of services provided to Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP patients.
While most assisted living communities operate on a private-pay basis, Argentum is pushing for bonus payments on the basis of how many Medicare beneficiaries are served in assisted living settings.
Argentum and other industry groups such as the American Seniors Housing Association have pushed hard for assisted living providers to be included in federal pandemic relief efforts. The senior living industry has sustained billions in unfunded losses, and has not received the same level of government support as other sectors, LCS CEO Joel Nelson observed in September.
Nelson and other senior living leaders are supporting Argentum’s pivot to focus more on public policy, to be more proactive and address shortcomings that contributed to the slow and minimal financial support during the pandemic.
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