Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that 93 skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes in Maine have been awarded a total of $10,421,700 to support increased testing, staffing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs. The funding announced today is a targeted distribution from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund, which is funded through $175 billion included in the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
“In the midst of this ongoing public health and economic crisis, it is crucial that our seniors and all of those who make up our nursing home communities remain supported and protected,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This additional funding will help protect the health of nursing home residents, prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19, and support our health care providers on the front lines.”
Today’s announcement of $2.5 billion in additional funding for nursing homes across the country builds on the $4.9 billion that was previously distributed from the HHS Provider Relief Fund to help these facilities. In May, Senators Collins and King announced that Maine nursing homes would receive a total of $17.9 million to help protect the health of residents and staff and support nursing homes struggling with significant expenses or lost revenue due to COVID-19. To date, Maine health care providers have received more than $400 million in relief from the HHS Provider Relief Fund.
To further support nursing homes, HHS also announced today the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will be partnering with America’s nursing homes to create the National Nursing Home COVID Action Network. Through the Network, AHRQ will offer training, and mentorship to the approximately 15,400 nursing homes across the country to supplement efforts aimed at protecting residents and staff.
As the Chairman of the Aging Committee, Senator Collins has been a tireless advocate for seniors in Maine and across the nation. In March, Senator Collins led a letter that was signed by 12 members of the Aging Committee urging HHS to take action to protect seniors from the virus. In May, Senator Collins chaired Congress’ first oversight hearing on COVID-19’s devastating impact on seniors, particularly those that reside in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. In addition, she chaired a hearing on combatting social isolation and loneliness in seniors during the pandemic and most recently held a hearing to examine COVID-19’s racial health disparities.