January 13, 2021Changes Open COVID Vaccination to Independent Living, Affordable Senior Housing Residents
In a move that should open COVID-19 vaccination to independent living and affordable senior housing residents across the country, officials with the federal vaccine development, manufacturing and distribution program on January 12 announced an expansion of the program to enable anyone aged 65 or more years to be vaccinated.
But affordable senior housing residents and independent living residents were not considered among the priority groups in phase 1a of the vaccine rollout, even if they lived in continuing care retirement communities where other residents were considered a priority. That led groups such as the American Seniors Housing Association to write to state governors to advocate on their behalf. Read more.
January 8, 2021ASHA Urges Governors to Advocate for Independent Living Residents in Vaccine Plans
Governors should urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include independent living residents in the top priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations and should adjust their state COVID-19 vaccine plans, if necessary, to include them, the American Seniors Housing Association said Jan. 7 in a letter to all 50 state leaders.
Independent living residents’ omission as a top priority in the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for Long-Term Care is a “serious oversight,” ASHA President David Schless said.
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January 8, 2021‘Challenging Public Policy Environment’ Awaits Senior Living in 2021
“ASHA is encouraged that Biden’s first priority is to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” ASHA President David Schless said, predicting, “He will seek a large COVID-19 relief package, address timely vaccine distribution and enhance testing capabilities. These are areas of common need, and we look forward to working with the administration and the new Congress to secure key wins for the industry.”
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January 4, 2021Recovering from Emotional, Economic Effects of Pandemic Will Dominate Senior Living in 2021
American Seniors Housing Association President David Schless anticipated a “chaotic and uneven” vaccination process for staff members and residents. “ASHA has been very focused on working with both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the state governors to ensure that all senior living staff and residents receive the vaccine as it becomes available on a prioritized basis — including independent living,” he said. Read full story here.
December 22, 2020$3 Billion Addition to Provider Relief Fund ‘Woefully Short’
A $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill is on its way to the president’s desk after being passed by both houses of Congress by late Monday. Trade associations representing senior living operators, however, say they are disappointed in its provisions.
The measure adds $3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund, to be distributed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
American Seniors Housing Association President David Schless said “there is much to disappoint” related to the bill and senior living.
“In addition to the package not including the liability protection the industry desperately needs, the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) grew by only $3 billion, a shocking decline from earlier reports of an additional $35 billion,” he said.
Schless also called for additional funding, noting that the $24.5 billion in Phase 3 funds currently being disbursed to providers by HHS is intended to apply to lost revenue and increased expenses from the first and second quarters.
“With the third and fourth quarters expecting to reflect significant financial stress in the industry, significantly more relief is needed,” he said. “The Provider Relief Fund is one of the few sources of financial relief available to the industry, and to not replenish these badly needed funds is seriously flawed and fails to recognize the significant work of the senior living industry to keep seniors and staff safe during the past 11 months.”
Schless said he was pleased, however, that the COVID relief bill directs PRF recipients to calculate lost revenues using the Frequently Asked Questions guidance released by HHS in June. “This preferred guidance allows the use of budgeted revenue for comparison to actual as long as the budget had been established and approved prior to March 27, 2020,” he said.
And long-term care providers can be pleased that the bill permanently extends the 7.5% adjusted gross income threshold for medical expense deductibility, Schless said.
“This is an issue that ASHA has championed for several years,” he said. “It was at risk of increasing to 10%, which would essentially be a tax increase for seniors who can use this deduction to help defray the costs of senior living and long-term care insurance premiums among other eligible expenses.”