WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2022)—In a letter urging Congressional leaders to stave off a financial calamity that could harm older adults, Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, called for the continuation of the Medicare “sequestration holiday”—as well as continued and expanded Provider Relief Funds (PRF) to support aging services providers hard hit by continued COVID-19-related expenses. 

Sloan urged Congress to restore $23 billion that was taken from the Provider Relief Funds for use on other coronavirus expenses instead of provider relief, as intended. She urged that these funds be targeted to providers who serve older adults wherever they live, whether in nursing homes, their own residences, or in senior living communities. Continued support is critical, she explained, to ensure that older adults and families have access to the care and services aging services providers deliver. 

“Provider relief is drying up. There is no plan in place to help providers who’ve incurred tremendous expenses to do the right thing and ensure older adults’ and staff well-being with each new Covid wave,” said Sloan. “Just as millions count upon our mission-driven, nonprofit members to care for the most vulnerable Americans and support families, aging services providers must count on Congress for the resources to provide this care. The Medicare Sequestration and the end of PRF are, in effect, a cut when our nation can least afford it. We ask that you help us.”

The remainder of the $178 billion Congress provided for PRF are expected to be disbursed soon, but they are designated only to offset expenses incurred through the first quarter of 2021. That’s well before the Spring 2021 case surge from delta and omicron at year’s end—and many aging services providers have spent millions over the past 12 months to cover a multitude of pandemic-related costs, from skyrocketing fees for temporary staff to continued outlays for tests and personal protective equipment.

Sloan’s letter also underscored the commitment of LeadingAge’s nonprofit and other mission-minded members who’ve “heroically persevered throughout the pandemic,” and expressed concern that “many are now in a position where they must decide whether they can continue to serve older adults. Sadly, many of those that close are smaller organizations in rural areas or low-income neighborhoods, making it impossible for residents in those areas to find care close to home and family.” 

For more information visit leadingage.org.