A Note from Nathan
Spring has officially begun! During this time of renewal and rebirth, I feel a profound sense of mission gratification. PioneerCare is privileged to have a community of healthcare professionals and volunteers who are dedicated to service, and to answering God’s call to care for others in need.
After these past two years, it seems like we need spring, and new beginnings now more than ever. We have experienced lockdowns, reopening, the adoption of testing and vaccines, deep structural workforce shortages, lower occupancies due to workforce availability, and rising inflation.
Despite these challenges, I look across our organization and can see how we continue to provide hope, healing, and opportunity. We experiment and innovate and find new ways to meet people’s needs.
For the first time in history, Minnesota now has 1 million seniors. For the first time in history, there are 23,000 open jobs in assisted living and nursing homes, accounting for 20% of the workforce statewide.
Most of our funding comes from government payers such as Medicare and Medicaid. Therefore, our voice and advocacy are of paramount importance.
Identifying legislative priorities for change, the nursing home and assisted living profession in Minnesota has proposed landmark legislation this year. We are asking our legislators to go beyond one-time bonuses and to make significant progress toward permanent funding so we can pay our caregivers professional wages and promote honorable, professional careers that are vital to our state and our community. This legislation will allow us to pay workers in long-term care facilities at least $5 per hour more. The current median wage for a certified nursing assistant is $16 per hour.
This will require a bold investment from the state’s $10 billion surplus. We need our legislature to allocate $700 million to the state’s Medicaid program for assisted living and nursing homes. While it may sound like a lot, our ask is a mere 6% of the state’s overall surplus.
I have a request. Would you be willing to contact Representative Jordan Rasmusson and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen and talk to them about the importance of funding permanent wage increases for our assisted living and nursing home employees? They need to hear from all of us. Simply tap their names above for contact information. Tell them your personal stories and experiences with nursing home and assisted living services. Share with them how important our professional caregivers are to your family and friends. Explain how important it is to get care locally. Permanent funding for meaningful wage increases is what we need to retain the very best we have, and to recruit new talent. The future of assisted living and nursing homes hangs in the balance.
There will always be challenges to overcome, and we will do so by uniting around our mission, and by renewing our pledge to provide the highest quality of life and highest quality of care possible.
Thank you to our boards and leadership team for wise and careful management, to all the professionals who serve with strong hands and soft hearts, and to the community who supports us through our churches and beyond.