Contact Your Lawmakers in D.C. Today
On September 1, 2021 by Libbie Chapuran
Share your thoughts on vaccine mandates. Show your support for the Infrastructure Bill.
Join your peers from around the country in a national advocacy effort and contact your elected officials today. LeadingAge, our national affiliate, has launched two grassroots campaigns and now is the time to act. Send a message to your U.S. Representatives and Senators.
The U.S. House of Representatives has moved forward on the negotiations for the infrastructure bills that have proposed significant funding increases for critical programs for older adults and LeadingAge members. Your elected leaders in Congress are negotiating a $3.5 trillion infrastructure investment package. So NOW is the moment to ensure that U.S. Representatives and Senators hear our voices and don’t cut any of these proposed programs!
The infrastructure package must include:
- $400 billion for home and community-based services to allow more older adults to get the help they need to grow older wherever they call home, including increasing pay for the staff who provide care.
- $7.5 billion to address the nation’s shortage of affordable housing for older adults with very low incomes through HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program.
- $55 billion to increase Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes to pay wages that enable them to recruit and retain staff, especially frontline workers.
- $1 billion investment in the aging services workforce to implement strategies to strengthen recruitment, career, and training opportunities that our nation’s direct care workers need to care for millions of older Americans and people with disabilities.
Now is the time to act! Send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators today!
As you know, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is drafting an interim final rule that would require all staff in nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding to be vaccinated. If not, the skilled nursing facility could be fined, lose funding, or face other as-yet-unknown punishment. This rule may be published by the end of September, at which point it will be final because it is an emergency rule.
CMS believes that this rule will help protect vulnerable adults and prevent nursing home staff not vaccinated from moving to other nursing homes. However, the unintended consequence of this rule is to encourage staff that refuses to be vaccinated to leave for different healthcare settings like hospitals and home health. Nursing homes are already facing staff shortages; anything that penalizes nursing homes and their staff will only worsen workforce shortages and impact access to high-quality care in all the communities seniors call home.
Please take action today and ask your member of Congress to sign a letter opposing the mandate for nursing homes alone and supporting a mandate for all healthcare settings and providers. A vaccine mandate is imminent for nursing home providers. However, advocacy can draw attention to the implications, make the order as flexible as possible, and the workforce challenges you currently face. It is important to raise with Congress as the crisis continues.