Illinois Aging Services Providers Call on Senators to Fight for Older Americans

“The Senate can’t pass a bill that leaves older adults and their care providers behind.”

Lisle, Illinois, UNITED STATES

CHICAGO, Sept. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An association representing more than 500 Illinois aging services providers today called on Congress to stand up for older Americans by demanding that a relief package not go forward without including real support for older Americans and their care providers, who have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a “skinny” coronavirus bill with little relief for older Americans after Labor Day, when the Senate returned. The House of Representatives passed a relief bill in May but the Senate has yet to act.

“We are depending on our own Senators to fight like older Illinoisans lives depend on it, because they do,” said Karen Messer, President CEO of LeadingAge Illinois. “Resources are still desperately needed for nursing homes and other aging services providers, and without them some providers will find it increasingly difficult to maintain operations.

“They need access to money to pay for PPE, testing, supplies, increased staffing and the other unexpected costs that providers have had to shoulder for months, and which will only grow,” Messer added, “The Senate can’t pass a bill that leaves older lives behind and think they have done their job.”

A Senate proposal floated in July offered only a fraction of the $100 billion needed to help aging services providers protect older adults, and no specific funds for aging services providers. It did nothing to address the needs of more than a million older adults in HUD federally-subsidized and privately-owned housing programs.

More than 8,457 people have died from the virus in Illinois and 4,515 have been in nursing homes. 

“This next package of legislation must put older adults and the providers who serve them at the front of the line, right alongside hospitals, for life-saving resources like PPE and testing,” said Messer, “and it must include funding and support for aging services providers risking their own lives to keep older adults safe.”

LeadingAge national previously wrote Congress urging Five Essential Actions as a framework for protecting older Americans from COVID-19:

  • Immediate access to ample and appropriate PPE for all providers who serve older Americans.
  • On-demand and fully funded access to accurate and rapid-results testing for care providers.
  • Funding and support for aging services providers across the continuum of care—in nursing homes, assisted living, affordable housing, hospice, or wherever they call home, some of which must be accomplished through an enhanced FMAP for the Medicaid program.
  • An extension of current telehealth flexibilities and reimbursement for home health agencies for telehealth services.
  • Recognition for the heroic frontline workers who are risking their own lives serving older people during this crisis.

“On behalf of older adults, their families and their care providers, we’re saying it's time for Congress to ensure that older adults and long term care are a priority focus of the coronavirus relief bill,” said Messer.

LeadingAge Illinois is one of the largest and most respected associations of providers serving older adults in Illinois. Committed to advancing excellence, we advocate for quality services, promote innovative practices, and foster collaboration. We serve the full spectrum of providers including home and community based services (HCBS), senior housing, life plan communities (LPC)/continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), assisted living, supportive living, and skilled nursing/rehabilitation centers.

To view this release in a media-rich format, go to:

Karen Messer
President & CEO
LeadingAge Illinois