A joint statement from Nathan Johnson and John Zwiers[This post was updated for more clarity on June 2, 2023] [May 2023] PioneerCare and LB Homes applaud the entire Minnesota Legislature for its commitment to the well-being of seniors and their caregivers.
After months of grassroots advocacy by seniors, their families, and their caregivers, the Minnesota Legislature responded in its final hours by striking a deal to invest in long-term care.
Special gratitude is extended to the House and Senate Republicans, who were persistent in their efforts to support Minnesota’s nursing homes.
Senator Jordan Rasmusson had a key role as lead negotiator for the GOP to ensure that meaningful funding for nursing homes was included in the final budget.
Long-term care providers, especially in rural Minnesota, continue to face challenges even post-pandemic. Most nursing homes in the state, including PioneerCare and LB Homes, have been forced to reduce occupancy due to staffing shortages. While we want to care for everyone who comes to our door, we can’t provide safe care without staff.
In addition, the state sets the rates for nursing home care and our government-run reimbursement system has failed to keep pace with high inflation.
In sum, the State will invest nearly $1 billion in services for older adults over the next four years, as the state’s population continues to grow older. For the first time in history, Minnesota is now home to one million seniors.
In the end, the deal included $400 million to nursing homes and $412 million to assisted living, adult day services, and other home and community-based services providers.
The State’s investment in nursing homes is one-time money and has four components: a one-time relief payment that is restricted to reducing long-term debt; a temporary daily rate add-on for 18 months; a workforce initiative fund to help with recruitment and retention efforts; and a loan program to support financially distressed nursing homes.
The State’s investment in assisted living, adult day, and home and community-based services is permanent funding to fix reimbursement rates that have long fallen short of actual costs.
Until the final hours of the legislative session, it was uncertain if there would be any funding at all for nursing homes. The deal for nursing homes would not have been possible without support from House and Senate Republicans, and Senator Rasmusson’s efforts. While negotiating for all nursing homes, he had his constituents in mind every step of the way.
We hope all lawmakers will recognize their duty to ensure Minnesota’s healthcare continuum stays strong. We feel it is important that our lawmakers recognize how aging issues impact everyone, not just older adults. We want to encourage lawmakers to remain focused on a long-term funding solution.
Thank you, Senator Rasmusson, for your example and determined advocacy. We credit you for this successful outcome for Minnesota’s nursing homes. Your work is a testament to your unwavering commitment to our seniors and the overall well-being of our communities.
While details are still emerging, early estimates suggest the increased funding from the state amounts to about $1.5 million for PioneerCare and about $1 million for LB Homes, over the next 18 months – funding critical to keep our doors open so we can serve the older adults in the Fergus Falls community. This one-time funding for nursing homes, and permanent funding for assisted livings will go a long way in helping PioneerCare and LB Homes address inflationary cost increases and support our dedicated caregivers.
Both PioneerCare and LB Homes are resolute in our commitment to serving older adults in our community and supporting caregivers. We are grateful to our church partners, for strong community support, and for the care coordination efforts among all healthcare providers.
As they say, it takes a village…and we could not be more thankful that Senator Rasmusson is part of our community.
- Nathan Johnson is CEO for PioneerCare and John Zwiers is CEO for LB Homes, both located in Fergus Falls.