Daines requests more funding to support senior living during pandemic

Senior living providers should be included in future federal funding allocations from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF), wrote U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) in an Aug. 12 letter sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar II.

“The healthcare heroes in these communities are on the front lines of this crisis, and while they continue to do everything they can to care for our nation’s seniors and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, they need financial relief,” Sen. Daines wrote. “I appreciate the allocations that the administration has already made to numerous healthcare providers in Montana and throughout this country, and believe it is critical that we ensure all communities caring for our most vulnerable have access to these much-needed funds.”

Sen. Daines pointed out that senior living communities in Montana and throughout the U.S. provide home- and community- based care across independent living, assisted living, memory care, and continuing care retirement communities.

And while these facilities often care for similar populations as nursing homes, with more than half of all residents over the age of 85 and often suffering comorbidities, they are not primarily supported by Medicaid funds and for the most part have not received financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the senator’s letter.

“The need to help all facilities that serve our vulnerable seniors has become clear in Montana, as outbreaks of COVID-19 in senior care have been almost exclusively in assisted living, the very type of facility that has been largely left out of PHSSEF support up to this point,” Sen. Daines wrote. “All of these facilities are impacted by this health emergency and need support to keep our vulnerable seniors safe.”