The Catalyst

Senior Services News
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Announcement

PPP Loan Funds Generally Exhausted

As of May 5, Paycheck Protection Program funds for new loans are generally exhausted (although the application deadline remains May 31.) Two exceptions to this are as follows: $6 billion in funding has been reserved for lenders to finish processing pending applications that were already submitted to the agency, and $8 billion remains in congressionally mandated funding for PPP loans made by designated "community financial institutions" (minority depository institutions and community development financial institutions.) Read more.

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CDC Updates

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Advocacy Update

Negotiations Continue on Economic Recovery/Infrastructure Package

High level Congressional negotiations continue on what will be included in a forthcoming large economic recovery and infrastructure legislative package, based on two outlines proposed by President Biden.  The two plans, entitled The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, include nearly $4 trillion in new spending aimed at revitalizing the economy.  A final bill is expected to pass before the August Congressional recess.  The American Jobs Plan would make a major $400 billion investment in home and community-based services (HCBS) for aging adults and persons with disabilities.  The plan also proposes to create jobs and raise wages for essential home care workers and invest in high-speed broadband, housing, and workforce development infrastructure.  The American Families Plan would extend or make permanent key tax credits initially enacted as part of COVID-19 pandemic relief packages last year to help working families through the pandemic.  Lutheran Services in America has been advocating in support of key provisions of the plans, including the $400 billion HCBS investment and $213 billion for affordable housing and homelessness services, and is urging the inclusion of the WORK NOW Act (S. 740) to provide nonprofit health and human services organizations funding to pay wages, salaries, and benefits to retain staff and meet increased demand for services.  Please join us in this effort: click here to send a message to your lawmakers using our advocacy tool. 

CMS Releases Guidance for Enhanced HCBS FMAP under American Rescue Plan

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the most recent broad COVID relief legislative package, known as the “American Rescue Plan.”  The law includes a one-year increase of 10% of the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid providers for home and community-based services (HCBS) for states that implement one or more activities to enhance, expand or strengthen these services.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has just released its guidance on what activities fulfill this requirement, with one list related to activities to address COVID-related concerns during the period of the public health emergency, and a second for activities to support state HCBS capacity building and long-term services and supports (LTSS) rebalancing.  Examples for the first list include the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing supplies and workforce recruitment, while the second list includes reducing or eliminating HCBS waiting lists and expanding provider capacity.  Review the complete lists on our website.

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