Association of Providers of Aging Services Calls for Congressional
Leadership as the Administration Opposes Funding
As coronavirus cases and deaths climb in Florida and around the country—and the administration seeks to block COVID-19 funding for states—leading aging services providers released a new Florida Situation Report and a call for Congressional leadership and legislation to protect millions of older adults from the worst pandemic in a century.
“What our lawmakers do in the next weeks will determine the life and death of many of our nation’s most vulnerable older adults” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, which represents more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services organizations. “For months, we have been sending out a warning to the federal government that this crisis is not over. We need a major investment in real solutions now.”
LeadingAge Florida released a new situation report on the COVID-19 crisis in Florida, delivering a snapshot of the dire situation aging services providers face as they deal with the local surge of infections. Among its chief findings:
Older adults account for nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths statewide. Florida aging services providers report COVID-19-related increases are driving operating losses from $100,000/month to $3 million/month. Provider costs for staff testing just twice per month range from an estimated $25,000/month to $300,000/month if state resources were no longer available.
“Many aging care providers are struggling to keep up, and they’re hurtling towards a fiscal cliff,” said Steve Bahmer, president and CEO of LeadingAge Florida. “The only hope we have of getting ahead of this is repeat, rapid, routine testing. The need is not going down and costs are not coming down, so federal resources are absolutely necessary.” We are counting on Senator Rubio and Senator Scott to lead on this issue in Washington. As Florida’s senators, what they say will matter for older adults.”
LeadingAge Florida sent a letter to Florida Senators Rubio and Scott, urging their leadership on a robust funding and relief package that will protect the lives of vulnerable older adults during the worst pandemic in a century.
LeadingAge called for legislation to put older adults and their care providers at the front of the line right alongside hospitals for life-saving resources like personal protective equipment and testing, and it must include funding and support for aging services providers that ensure the health and safety of the most at-risk population of older adults.
“No provider should have to make such tough decisions as whether to test staff this week, or residents,” said Jay Solomon, CEO of Aviva, a Campus for Senior Life in Sarasota, Florida, a nonprofit provider. “Someone who provides instant tests told me last week that if I were to place an order Friday I could hope to have equipment on site sometime in October.”
Video: View the July 20 press teleconference recording.
For more than 57 years, LeadingAge Florida has been the state’s leading advocate for high-quality senior living, aging services and care. We are the only statewide association representing the full continuum of care for seniors. The Association provides up-to-date regulatory information, a wide variety of educational opportunities, representation before the Legislature and government agencies, group purchasing services, and opportunities for networking with peers to help member communities best serve the needs of Florida’s senior population. For more information visit www.leadingageflorida.org.