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Alabama hospitals, nursing homes split $80 million in ARPA funds

During the first special session of 2022, the Alabama legislature passed bills dealing with...
During the first special session of 2022, the Alabama legislature passed bills dealing with money from the American Rescue Plan Act. About $80 million was sent to the hospitals and nursing homes in the state to fight COVID-19.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - During the first special session of 2022, the Alabama legislature passed bills dealing with money from the American Rescue Plan Act. About $80 million was sent to the hospitals and nursing homes in the state to fight COVID-19.

“The $40 million is enormously important and greatly appreciated,” said Dr. Don Williamson, president and CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association.

“We’re very thankful Gov. {Kay] Ivey and the Alabama legislature saw fit to appropriate additional funds to nursing homes,” said John Matson, communications director for the Alabama Nursing Home Association.

Both Williamson and Matson are thankful, but both add there is still a long way to go. Every one of the $80 million will be accounted for as hospitals and nursing homes split the funds to address areas affected by the pandemic.

“We know the $40 million won’t begin to cover the increased unreimbursed personnel costs that hospitals have seen,” said Williamson.

The industry lost 25% of its workforce and doesn’t expect to be fully staffed again until 2025. Even with low COVID numbers right now, the need for staff remains high.

“There are still abundant numbers of people who are having heart attacks and strokes and motor vehicle accidents,” Williamson explained of non-COVD-related medical emergencies.

And inside nursing homes, there are still federal COVID-19 guidelines.

“And that requires PPE [personal protective equipment] sometimes,” said Matson. “It requires nursing home residents to wear a mask, our staff members still have to wear masks, visitors still have to be screened.”

Matson says this is what their $40 million will be used for, but he expects the total expenses to exceed that amount.

“Most nursing homes will probably get a percentage of their expenses back,” Matson estimated.

More money will be spent to recover, but both men say this is a step to replace what was hurt as hospitals and nursing homes around the state continue to heal.

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