WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to help protect seniors and mitigate the impact novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on nursing homes, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced a plan to send $34,460,000 in federal funding to help 71 local skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) across Rhode Island to increase testing capacity, purchase protective equipment for staff, hire more workers, and cover other pandemic-related expenses.

Reed says the federal funds are a start, but not nearly enough to help keep seniors safe and protect residents and staff at nursing facilities.

“The federal government must do its part to help protect the well-being of vulnerable seniors.  Nursing homes are the epicenter of this crisis and should have already received this assistance to enhance infection control efforts and better protect residents and staffers.  I will continue pressing the Trump Administration to provide additional help to seniors, including those in assisted living,” said Senator Reed, who helped include $175 billion in federal funds for hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and other health care providers in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law No. 116-136). 

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a plan to release $4.9 billion of that CARES Act funding to SNFs based on a formula providing each skilled nursing facility in the country with a baseline payment of $50,000, plus an additional $2,500 per bed. 

Under the distribution methodology provided by HHS today, nursing home recipients must attest that they will only use Provider Relief Fund payments for permissible purposes, as set forth in the Terms and Conditions, and agree to comply with future government audit and reporting requirements.

According to a New York Times report, more than 34,000 deaths -- 37 percent of the nation’s fatalities from Covid-19 -- have occurred among residents and staff in long-term care facilities.