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$1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan May Not Go Far Enough for Senior Living

President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue plan, unveiled January 14, includes an initiative to “protect vulnerable populations in congregate settings,” but it may not go far enough to meet the needs of senior living and care, according to some industry leaders. Still, however, they expressed appreciation that the incoming administration is taking COVID-19 seriously.

American Seniors Housing Association President David Schless, who last week sent a letter to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris highlighting vaccine prioritization and targeted senior living COVID-19 relief, applauded Biden’s goal to accelerate the vaccine rollout, but he expressed concern that any deviation from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention priority vaccination recommendations.

“ASHA continues to raise the issue of independent living residents and staff being overlooked in some states and localities and [is] urging policymakers to include these communities in the [Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program] to achieve the greatest efficiency in distribution and safety of residents,” Schless said.

Expanding access to younger age groups, as Operation Warp Speed officials announced last week, is “ill-advised” and would force independent living residents to compete with others in a “tedious and confusing” process, he added.

“Clinics must come to these seniors where they live. This is why the LTC pharmacy program or other similar programs must include independent living settings,” Schless said.

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