LANGHORNE, PA – Today, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) introduced the Safeguarding Elderly Needs for Infrastructure and Occupational Resources (SENIOR) Act, bipartisan legislation that will close the COVID-19 relief gap currently causing assisted senior-living facilities to operate at steep financial losses as they continue caring for their residents.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, hard-hit senior-living facilities across the nation have incurred major financial losses and have been met with an unprecedented workload,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “Seniors are among the most vulnerable populations, and it is our duty to ensure that assisted living communities are provided with the funding and support they need to keep their doors open and care for our elderly.”

“Millions of seniors across America rely on the critical, affordable care offered by assisted living facilities. Losing access to these facilities will drive up costs and place an even greater burden on older adults and their loved ones, many of whom are unable to afford more expensive options like nursing homes or in-home care,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan SENIOR Act, which will ensure that assisted living facilities are able to keep their doors open with specialized caregivers on staff so they can continue caring for our nation’s seniors for years to come.”

Assisted living facilities provide around-the-clock care to nearly 2 million seniors nationwide. Despite the resident population being highly susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19, these facilities have received less than one percent of provider relief funding allocated by Congress to date. That lack of relief has forced facilities to operate at severe losses, estimated at more than $30 billion, to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 tests, hazard pay, and more.

The SENIOR Act takes a two-pronged approach to ensure that assisted living facilities are able to remain open and continue providing critical care to their senior residents. First, the bipartisan legislation establishes a $10 billion Caregiver Sustainability Fund to help close the substantial gap in relief that has blocked these providers out of previous rounds of federal assistance. Second, the bill strengthens the senior living workforce pipeline by investing in workforce development programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration that are explicitly designed to meet the needs of older adults.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.