Minnesota Nursing Homes Facing Shortage of State Funds
Shortage of State Funds – Nursing home leaders throughout Minnesota are saying that their workers can earn more money working fast food or at a food processing plant than helping the elderly people that they are charged to help. It’s a complaint that has been echoed time and time again throughout the state.
Now nursing homes are looking to the legislature for an increase in funding that they say would help their employees, thus help their residents.
One aspect that has nursing home leaders concerned is the fact that 60,000 people will be 65 and older in Minnesota this year and that means an increase in demand for nursing home care. If that demand cannot be met because nursing homes cannot afford to pay their employees living wages, then the patient care could suffer. This could result in more nursing home neglect cases, as nursing homes are short staffed in many cases as it is.
What’s more is that the funding is necessary for them to keep the homes open. The state does have a $1 billion surplus, which has made the political climate a bit different and the Republicans have control of the Minneapolis House. What makes this significant is that increased nursing home funding is something that the House Republicans campaigned on during the election in 2014.
Politicians are quite aware of the demographics situation that is being seen in Minnesota and the fact that the state has 370 nursing homes. There is push for a $200 million plan that would overhaul how the homes are reimbursed. This overhaul comes on top of a $30 million funding increase that was given to the industry during the last legislative session.
Currently, nursing homes are reimbursed by Medicaid. This money comes as a combination of state and federal dollars. However, there are a lot of issues that have been created by the system. Budget cuts that happened previously meant that the homes have not been able to keep up with inflation. There are also state laws that keep the homes from charging private patients more than what Medicaid pays for Medicaid patients. Medicaid typically pays at a reduced amount, thus causing the same for private pay patients. It is this funding gap that has led to nursing home closures, mostly in the rural areas where elderly patients need senior care services the most. In addition to closures, facilities are losing their best staff members to better jobs in the same field that pay them more.
A major part of the proposal would utilize public funds for higher pay for nurses. It is believed this would provide better care quality for patients.
The proposal also equalizes reimbursement rates between urban and rural nursing homes. Health insurance options for employees would be expanded, giving employees better benefits than what they have now.
Some Republicans are supporting this proposal in the Minnesota House, which is promising to the proponents of the overhaul, but they are looking for more promise that the bill would pass.
If you have concerns about any form of elder abuse or neglect contact Minnesota Elder Abuse Attorney Kenneth LaBore toll free at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.