Senator Collins Calls on HHS to Ensure Nutrition Needs of Seniors are Met During Coronavirus Pandemic

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ letter

 

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee, sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar today, urging him to expand access to Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs to meet the needs of millions of seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The latest guidelines from the CDC recommend cancelling events consisting of 50 people or more.  This has created significant challenges for Area Agencies on Aging, which have been forced to close congregate meal sites.  In addition, seniors who have been encouraged to self-isolate to protect them from the increased risk of fatalities caused by the coronavirus have less access to food.

 

“At a time of heightened need for nutrition services, additional flexibilities are urgently needed to ensure that [Area Agencies on Aging] can continue to serve older Americans, and meet growing demands.  Specifically, as congregate meal sites close, it is critical that the nutritional needs of those seniors can continue to be met,” wrote Senator Collins.  “During this pandemic, additional flexibilities must be established to better support older Americans living in the community.”

 

Senator Collins requested that Secretary Azar use his authorities triggered by the President’s March 13th emergency declaration to direct the Administration for Community Living to issue guidance to:

 

1.      Grant nutrition transfer authorization giving states the flexibility to transfer up to 100 percent of their funds to home-delivered services, based on their own determination of need, without requiring any waivers from the Assistant Secretary.

 

2.      Expand the definition of homebound to include older adults who are staying at home or practicing “social distancing” during this emergency.

 

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ letter.