NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care

By: Ryan Brooks  |  May 12, 2021

Treasury Releases $350B in State and Local Recovery Funds

COVID-19  |  Regulatory Environment

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the passing of the American Rescue Plan in March. The recovery funds provide $350 billion in emergency funding for eligible state and local governments and provide substantial flexibility for each jurisdiction to meet local needs—including support for households, small businesses, impacted industries, essential workers, and the communities hardest-hit by the crisis.

This Treasury Department Fact Sheet outlines generalized categories of eligible uses for the funds, including support for public health expenditures, addressing negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, and providing premium pay for essential workers. It is also stated that “recipients have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet the needs of their communities.”

Suggested uses to support the public health response include vaccination programs, medical expenses, testing, contact tracing, PPE purchases, support for vulnerable populations to access medical or public health services, and ventilation improvements in key settings like healthcare facilities. In a March 2021 letter to the Department of Treasury, Argentum emphasized that “over the past year, senior living providers in the United States have incurred more than $15 million in COVID-related expenses for procuring PPE, infection control supplies, hero pay, and additional staff costs,” while also noting that “more than 85% of these communities in the United States do not receive state or federal funding…This means these communities have not had the same access to federal relief as other providers.”

Argentum President and CEO James Balda said the Association and its state partners have been meeting with governors and state legislators to request prioritized funding. “We are extremely pleased that additional resources may soon be on their way to help these communities – many of whom are still struggling from the steep costs and lost revenue due to COVID-19,” Balda said.

With respect to providing premium pay for essential workers, the announcement highlights that “Since the start of the public health emergency, essential workers have put their physical well-being at risk to meet the daily needs of their communities and to provide care for others. Many of these essential workers have not received compensation for the heightened risks they have faced and continue to face.” Although it is made clear that there is a broad range of essential workers, i.e., anyone who must be physically present at their job, skilled nursing staff are the first group to be listed specifically.

Funding is expected to be distributed beginning this month, and states and entities will have until the end of 2024 to spend the funds.

About Ryan Brooks

Senior Principal Ryan Brooks works with the research team in providing research, analysis, and contributions in the areas of healthcare collaboration and partnerships, telemedicine implementation, EHR optimization, and value-based care transition. Prior to joining NIC, he served as Clinical Administrator for multiple service lines within the Johns Hopkins Health System, where he focused on patient throughput strategies, regulatory compliance, and lean deployment throughout the organization. Brooks received his Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration from James Madison University and his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

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