By Judy Hackler
MOr half of Virginia’s 566 licensed assisted-living providers are at risk of closing or reducing resident capacity after racking up losses – to the tune of nearly $ 17,000 per resident – during the COVID pandemic -19.
This is staggering on a financial basis, and an even more threatening development for the 37,392 elderly and disabled residents who live in these care communities. In Virginia, the average age of assisted-living residents is 85, with most suffering from multiple co-morbidities and needing help with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, or using the toilet.
Something can be done to help remedy this problem, and in fact it can be done quite quickly if the Biden administration and the Commonwealth take action.
At the federal level, the White House must target the fourth and final phase of relief from COVID caregivers to assisted living facilities across Virginia and the country. Currently, some $ 17 billion is in the Provider Relief Fund mandated by Congress to help healthcare providers affected by the pandemic. But the Biden administration is not prioritizing any money for the providers who have protected residents of assisted living communities throughout this long and ongoing pandemic.
It’s not just the White House that needs to step in for our parents, grandparents, veterans, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles in assisted living communities. In Richmond, there is a huge need for policy change. It was decision-makers in Virginia that cut financial assistance to assisted living providers from $ 20 million to $ 10.3 million, and agencies in Virginia only disbursed $ 3.5 million to assisted living communities to serve residents and staff.