Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been hotspots for COVID-19 and represent nearly one in three related deaths
Washington, D.C. – Following reports that some nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been seizing residents’ economic impact payments (EIPs), House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect the interests of these residents and ensure facilities comply with the law by issuing guidance on the status of EIPs. EIPs, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are an advanced tax credit that is intended to give stability to the most vulnerable Americans and cannot be counted as “income” or “resources” for the purpose of federal benefit programs.
“As you know, long-term care facilities have been the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, representing an estimated one-third of COVID-19 deaths nationwide and more than one-half of deaths in some states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey,” wrote Pallone and Neal. “It is crucial that this vulnerable population group continues to have the certainty that comes with these EIPs and are not coerced into wrongly handing over their checks for fear of being kicked out of their homes.”
The lawmakers concluded: “Given the public health and financing implications of this trend, we believe CMS has a role to play in ensuring consumers and facilities are informed of their rights and obligations, and that facilities comply with the law. Therefore, we request that CMS issue guidance to nursing homes and residents on the status of these checks and their independence from residents’ Medicaid status.”
Chairman Pallone and Chairman Neal also called on the American Health Care Association to ensure its members comply with the CARES Act by no longer seizing EIPs and returning any that were previously seized.