On Wednesday, March 10th, the US House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. This bill will provide relief to many struggling individuals and industries across the nation including the long-term care industry.
An article published in the Skilled Nursing News discusses how the stimulus bill will help nursing homes. One component of the stimulus bill is the American Rescue Plan which will support skilled nursing facilities with ongoing COVID-19 vaccinations. The bill has allocated $200 million to these efforts. This will be achieved through contracts with quality improvement organizations (QIOs). Additionally, $250 million has been allocated for states to form “strike teams”. The purpose of strike teams will be to help skilled nursing facilities control outbreaks for up to a year after the coronavirus pandemic is formally over.
Rural skilled nursing facilities will also benefit from this bill through the Provider Relief Fund which will give them another $8.5 billion.
The stimulus bill will allow funding for COVID-19 “testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), workforce development and hazard-pay grants for employers of essential employees.” This will help the long-term care industry. However, this stimulus bill does not include additional aid that was requested by the American Healthcare Association (AHCA) totaling up to $20 billion.
The CARES act has provided approximately $21 billion in aid to the long-term care industry with various programs. This funding has helped many operators stay in business during these unstable financial periods. AHCA has stated that if continuous aid is not provided to operators in 2021, it is possible that more than 1,600 facilities will close or merge.