Perhaps you’ve heard about the American Rescue Plan and now you’re wondering, “How can I access American Rescue Plan funding?”
That’s a great question – and one that every aging services operator needs to be asking themselves right now.
Early in 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan. It was a historic bill, consisting of $1.9 trillion in relief and funding for American families and workers. The complete legislative package contained a plethora of programs aimed at reinvigorating the economy and getting funding dollars directly into the hands of the people and organizations that need it the most.
Without hesitation, we can say that aging services organizations, such as CCRC’s, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living providers, adult daycares, and other such entities were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and are eligible for these programs - if they know who to ask and how to frame their request.
The programs contained in the American Rescue Plan allow for a broad range of funding opportunities. Here’s a shortlist of covered expenses for which an organization could request money:
- Recruitment and Retention of Front Line Caregivers and Other Staff - We all know that the biggest challenge facing providers right now is staffing. Finding front line staff, getting them trained, and retaining them is an incredible challenge. United States Treasury guidance specifically allows for municipalities to help with this issue, including sign-on and retention bonuses.
- Broadband and Wi-Fi Infrastructure – The pandemic identified that senior living communities need robust broadband and wireless computing capabilities. Whether for telehealth visits, family interactions, or to support daily activities, having a reliable internal network is crucial to continued operations.
- HVAC Repairs and Improvements – Controlling the airflow in a building has proven to be an effective way to stop the spread of airborne contaminants and viruses. With this in mind, this legislation allows for providers to seek funding to repair and improve their HVAC systems with a specific nod to upgrades that kill aerosolized microbes.
- Resident Engagement Software & Hardware – Keeping residents engaged with the wider world is crucial for their well-being. During normal times, this was accomplished through family visits and activities off-campus. But, when the public health emergency was declared, the safest place for residents was on campus and in their rooms. This, however, was not conducive to their psychosocial needs. Communities quickly adopted resident engagement software and hardware systems, such as K4 Connect, to assist – and with great success. This funding could be used to install or improve such a system.
- Infection Prevention Equipment – Keeping an infectious disease out of your community is preferable to battling a spread once it is on campus. But, paying a person to screen guests and residents can be costly, especially over time. That’s why many communities have adopted automated check-in kiosks which take a person’s temperature and log visits automatically. These devices are compact and perfect for any community looking to build or enhance an infection prevention program.
- Infection Prevention and Control Training – While hardware can assist with infection prevention, your best line of defense is a well-trained and engaged staff. Ensuring staff have the most up-to-date training on infection prevention and control standards can mean the difference between a normal day and an outbreak. There are several advantageous programs within the American Rescue Plan specifically designed to cover training costs.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – By now, most organizations have a stockpile of PPE, but, should your group be running low, funds could be used to bring additional materials to your campuses.
This list represents the easiest cases for funding that can be made. Remember, it’s about knowing who to ask and how to frame your request. Even if you have an idea for funding that isn’t listed, we’d love to hear from you and see if a case can be made. The first round of money is being distributed in June 2021, so, the clock is ticking for advocacy.
To learn more about how LWCI can help you, set up a 15-minute discussion with one of our experts, Deborah Alexander, Director, CHC, CHPC, PMP, DPT, MED, STC, CSCS.