Residential care facilities to get COVID-19 funds

State health officials say they are ready to begin distribution of approximately $4 million in CARES Act funds to residential congregate care facilities to help cover additional expenses incurred as a direct result of the global novel coronavirus pandemic.

Funds are to be made available for assisted living homes, skilled nursing facilities and other residential facilities approved by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Such facilities are considered a critical step on the spectrum of care, especially for hospital who rely on them to offer a safe setting for patients following acute-care hospitalizations.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, allows state, local and Tribal governments to receive payments through the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help their communities deal with financial and economic impacts of COVID-19.

The money can be used only for purchase of personal protective equipment make minor environmental modifications, pay wages of employees who test positive for the virus while they isolate at home, and to pay relief workers while employees are unable to work.

DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum said that a tiered system will be used to determine the amount of payment based on the size of the facility.

Interested providers must submit a signed statement confirming their interest in participating in the program and that funds will be used only for the specific purposes for which they are intended. More detailed information, including the form to be signed and submitted, will then be sent directly to providers through standard electronic means of communication from the DHSS division they regularly work with.