When Senator Joe Pittman introduced Senate Bill 1122, the measure was intended to provide financial relief to Pennsylvania’s struggling volunteer fire companies and EMS stations. The version of the bill passed by the Senate today (May 12) does that — and provides essential support for nursing homes, long-term care facilities and other vital senior citizens’ services.
“My original bill, which allocated federal CARES funding for a grant program to support Pennsylvania’s first responders, was nearly through the legislative process in the Senate,” Senator Pittman said. “That made it an ideal bill to amend as a way to expedite the distribution of CARES money to Pennsylvania’s nursing homes and care facilities that have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. I was pleased to support that amendment when it came before the Appropriations Committee and I am glad that my bill will now benefit so many people across Pennsylvania.”
Senate Bill 1122 appropriates $507 million from Pennsylvania’s share of federal CARES funding to support a variety of programs and services for senior citizens and $31 million for a one-time grant program for volunteer fire and EMS companies. The bill goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“Many of Pennsylvania’s fire companies and EMS stations were struggling financially before COVID-19. The virus has definitely intensified the problem for them since they cannot hold fundraising events and they have been saddled with the added costs of using personal protective gear on every call,” Senator Pittman said. “This grant program will provide essential funding to first responders as they continue to protect and serve our communities during these challenging times.”
The $507 million in “Caring for Those Who Care for Us” funding in Senate Bill 1122 would be provided to:
- Nursing homes – $245 million;
- Personal assistance services – $140 million;
- Community HealthChoices managed care organizations – $50 million;
- Assisted living centers and personal care homes – $50 million;
- Adult day services – $13 million;
- LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) providers – $8 million;
- Residential habilitation – $1 million.
“It is important to get this money out to nursing homes and long-term care providers as soon as possible,” Senator Pittman said. “I know many of our local facilities have been impacted by COVID-19. I appreciate the services they provide for the residents in their care and it is important that they receive this support from the state.”
Pennsylvania has 700 nursing homes with approximately 80,000 residents, and more than 1,200 licensed personal care homes serving approximately 46,500 residents. As of today (May 12), residents of nursing homes and personal care homes have accounted for 12,130 of Pennsylvania’s 57,991 cases and 2,611 of the state’s 3,806 deaths associated with COVID-19. Another 1,724 cases have involved employees at these facilities.
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