Senate Approves Critical New Resources for Facilities and Programs Supporting Older Adults, First Responders

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved new funding today to provide a critical layer of support for nursing homes, other organizations supporting long-term living programs, including programs for seniors to continue to live in the community and volunteer fire and EMS companies that are struggling due to COVID-19, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), who supported the bill.

Long-term living facilities have been a hotbed for COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania, accounting for nearly a quarter of all cases and more than two-thirds of all deaths associated with the virus. A Senate hearing last week detailed the financial challenges facing these facilities due to the fact that the Wolf Administration has not prioritized them for testing and Personal Protective Equipment.

A major national accounting firm found that 70 percent of nursing homes in the country will be in a negative cash position by mid-May.

Senate Bill 1122 would distribute $507 million in federal money to nursing homes and other organizations supporting long-term living programs to ease the considerable strain placed on these organizations by COVID-19.

The bill would also establish a special one-time grant program for Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire companies and EMS squads as they address the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID-19 Crisis Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program would provide a total of $31 million in grants to organizations that were approved for annual funding by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC).

Companies that did not receive a grant from PEMA and OSFC would also have a new window to apply.

The new funding for long-term living programs and the first responder grants will come from federal money appropriated to Pennsylvania from the CARES Act.

CONTACT: Mike Stephens  mstephens@pasen.gov