Senator Collins participated in an hour-long teleconference hosted by AARP Maine
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, participated in an hour-long, live-streamed teleconference hosted by AARP Maine. Approximately 6,000 Mainers called in to the conference, while another 1,500 tuned in online. During the call, Senator Collins fielded questions from Maine seniors about the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. James Jarvis, Senior Physician Executive for Northern Light’s Incident Command for COVID-19 Pandemic, also joined the call, which was moderated by AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham.
“During this time where it is essential that we practice physical social distancing, AARP Maine is finding new and innovative ways to ensure that our seniors have access to important information regarding resources that can help them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, AARP Maine, for all that you are doing to help keep us connected,” said Senator Collins. “This has been a very difficult time for Mainers; however, we are so fortunate to live in a state filled with strong, resilient people who care so deeply about one another. I know that, together, we will overcome this challenge.”
During the call, Senator Collins discussed some of the recent work the federal government has been doing to protect the health and safety of Americans and support our seniors during the current pandemic:
- The Phase I package provided $8.3 billion to boost funding for federal agencies’ response to the pandemic, including more than $3 billion to supplement the Strategic National Stockpile; develop and purchase diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; provide resources for community health centers; and help hospitals and health systems adapt and respond. Maine CDC received $4.6 million through this funding.
- The Phase II package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, ensured free COVID-19 testing for all Americans, established paid sick and family leave, increased federal funds for Medicaid, strengthened food security programs such as SNAP.
- The Phase III package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provided $2 trillion that included rapid relief to small businesses and their employees through the Paycheck Protection Act – which Senator Collins co-authored – new resources for our medical professionals, $16 billion for the strategic national stockpile, recovery rebate checks, and direct aid to states. To assist Area Agencies on Aging that have had to close congregate meal sites due to COVID-19 restrictions, Senator Collins added language in the CARES Act to give them authority to shift these funds to home-delivered meals.
Senator Collins also spoke about legislation she authored to reauthorize and strengthen the Older American Act, and she warned of emerging scams targeting seniors. Last month, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan group of 32 Senators in urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect seniors from coronavirus-related scams.
Dr. Jarvis is a family physician and most recently the senior physician executive at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. He joined Northern Light Health in 2008 as the director of the Family Medicine Residency Program. He continues to practice full spectrum family medicine including inpatient and maternity care.
For more information on AARP Maine’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit their website: https://states.aarp.org/maine/?cmp=RDRCT-ICM-WELCOMEKIT-STATES-ME