MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama nursing homes are getting $100 million under the American Rescue Plan Act bill Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law Thursday.

The Alabama Nursing Home Association says these federal funds will help the state’s 229 facilities care for their residents.

ANHA Spokesman John Matson says virus concerns are slowing down, but COVID costs are still adding up for Alabama nursing homes.

“We are still testing for COVID in our nursing homes on a regular basis, both our residents and staff. That’s an ongoing expense that’s been happening ever since the beginning of the pandemic,” Matson said.

Matson says many homes have had to spend funds on renovations as well.

“A lot of our nursing homes have built isolation units or will build a temporary isolation unit if someone tests positive. Then of course, we’ve retrofitted our HVAC systems and done some other building modifications, so there’s been a lot of expenses that occurred in the past and we still have ongoing expenses,” Matson said.

Those with Wesley Place in Dothan are glad to see nursing homes included in the funding bill.

“Glad to have a little more financial relief from the state of Alabama. That’ll make a big difference,” Wesley Place Executive Director Dan March said.

March says their biggest challenge right now is staffing. He hopes the funding will be able to go toward hiring and retaining employees.

“Every department is challenged right now as we compete with everyone else out there where the wages have risen. So that’s the main thing that we wrestle with on a daily basis,” March said.

The state and federal spending guidelines for the funds have not yet been laid out by the state finance department. Matson says once they are, the association will tell nursing homes how they can apply.

The $100 million going to nursing homes is part of the total $1.06 billion spending plan approved by the governor and legislature during the special session.