Senior Care and the Role of Lawmakers

Underfunded elderly care facility has been a major task to the senior care and state recently and will continue to be resolved in the future, many law makers and medical experts estimate. During the last session of the Minnesota Legislature, elderly care facility regulation was implemented, creating a 5 percent across-the-board increase. That activity by the Legislature showed the first increase in financing in the past five years. Nursing home employees have had their income freezing since 2008 and will now be seeing a rise in income come September 1, 2013. Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said, of the $83 million it will cost for four years, $74 million was reprocessed out of the senior care facility market.

“Workers will see an increase, but it will come out of the other elderly care facility cash that was reprocessed,” Abeler said. “It’s like taking your wallet out of your right pocket and putting it into your left pocket and saying, ‘I’ve got some cash now,’” Abeler said. “The program is hungry for cash and we cannot give the people a good increase because of the demands about minimum salary,” Abeler continued. Abeler, last session, served as the ranking Republican on the Health and Human Services Finance Committee. He chaired the committee the two past years with Republicans being in authority control.

Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota, said needs of assisted living facilities have not been effectively resolved by the Legislature and by others. The activity by the Legislature “was a step in the right direction and we are thankful for it, but our job is not done,” Kvenvold said. On the average, the distinction between what it costs to manage a senior is a deficiency of $28 per day, Kvenvold said. She said it will take more than one legal session to make up that difference. Aging Services of Minnesota is the state’s biggest organization of getting senior care services companies. Its account involves more than 1,000 participant companies such as 700-plus company participant sites. In cooperation with its members, the organization works with more than 50,000 care suppliers throughout the state and provides more than 100,000 elderly people each year in configurations across the continuum from their house to assemble real estate to assisted living to senior care facilities. Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota, said the legal activity in 2013 showed a significant improvement and is a “good start.”

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