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Money provided for assisted living facilities, additional funding for hospitals, home and community service providers


Last updated 6/11/2020 at 11:19am

Havre Daily News staff

Additional COVID-19 relief funding has been set for facilities including assisted living facilities, safety-net hospitals and providers of home and community-based services.

Tuesday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it was distributing additional funds to eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program providers.

The money is coming from the Provider Relief Fund created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security — CARES Act.

Health and Human Services said in a release that the department expects to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Distribution.

HHS is also announcing the distribution of $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to safety net hospitals that serve the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

The safety net distribution will occur this week.

American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living sent to HHS and Federal Emergency Management Agency Monday asking that money be provided to assisted living facilities, which representatives of the agencies said had not yet received any COVID relief funding.

The letter said that includes more than 42,000 assisted living communities in the U.S., serving more than one million people.

American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living President and CEO Mark Parkinson praised the funding.

“We applaud the administration for providing specific funding for long-term care facilities and other providers who do the valiant work of serving Medicaid beneficiaries,” Parkinson said in statement released Tuesday. “Not only are our residents — seniors and those with underlying conditions — most at-risk if they contract COVID-19, but of these individuals, those who also rely on Medicaid are especially vulnerable due to the program’s notorious underfunding for care. These nursing home, assisted living and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities urgently need these resources from the federal government to acquire testing, equipment and staffing to protect their residents. We appreciate the administration recognizing this need and hope they expedite the aid to our heroes on the front lines.”

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., also praised the funding.

“I’m glad to have helped secure these funds which are critical for our providers serving our most vulnerable patients in Montana,” Daines said in a release Tuesday. “These funds will help assisted living facilities, and home and community based services providers who serve elderly and disabled Montanans in their homes as we continue to fight against this virus.”

Daines, who is running for re-election and faces Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and Green Party candidate Wendie Fredrickson in the general election, sent a letter April 16 to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Azar urging the department to direct funding from the coronavirus economic relief package to support nursing homes, skilled nursing centers and senior living communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

A release from Daines’ office said he helped secure funding through the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to provide relief funds to health care providers.

A statement from the office of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said his office has been in touch with the National Center for Assisted Living, the American Health Care Association and the Federal Housing Administration to push for flexibility in bureaucratic requirements for assisted living facilities during the pandemic.

Tester continues to aggressively push the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide critically needed supplies, like personal protective and testing equipment, to Montana, so Bullock has the resources he needs to execute Montana’s testing plan, the statement said.

“It’s important to note that the federal government still has not announced or implemented a nationwide testing strategy,” the statement added.

Tester has co-sponsored the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act to provide a much-needed federal framework for effective response to COVID-19 by establishing an Executive Officer at the Department of Defense with all the authorities of the Defense Production Act to oversee acquisition and logistics for COVID-19 equipment production, the statement said.

The office of Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., who is running for governor and faces Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, Green Party candidate Robert Barb and Libertarian candidate Lyman Bishop in the general election, said the office is working on the issue.


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