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Rep. McDonald: House bill shorts long-term care

Friday, April 28, 2023


ST. PAUL – House Democrats approved a bill Tuesday which Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, said ignores a long-term care crisis in Minnesota by severely underfunding this portion of the state budget.

McDonald said he has strong concerns over the House Human Services Finance omnibus package (S.F. 2934) for its lack of funding for nursing homes, which came to the floor accounting for just .01 percent of the Democrats’ $72 billion budget proposal that consumes the state’s $19 billion surplus and increases state General Fund spending by 40 percent.

“I find it irresponsible for this bill to not include sufficient funding for our nursing homes that so badly need support in order to simply keep their doors open,” McDonald said. “Price increases and a worker shortage already have put this industry in a bind; the challenges are only going to grow if we don’t address this issue. This bill fails to provide adequate support, which leaves me very concerned.”

Meanwhile, McDonald said Minnesota is in the midst of a “silver tsunami,” with more than 1.3 million state residents aged 65 or older. As these residents age, he said, their need for care grows and it is unfortunate to see Minnesota is not keeping up with these needs.

McDonald indicated 2,597 nursing home beds have been taken out of service in Minnesota since 2020, the equivalent of shuttering 52, 50-bed homes. The long-term care industry in Minnesota, he said, currently is operating with a worker shortage of 53,000 and that, in the month of October alone, 11,000 elderly residents were turned away from nursing homes – largely due to lack of staff.

McDonald said the inability to fully staff our nursing homes then places added strains on hospitals, with nearly 20 percent of their bed space taken up by people who could be better served recovering in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

“This bill will now move on to a conference committee that will work on preparing it for final passage,” McDonald said. “Time will tell whether more funding for long-term care is added so that residents and workers alike receive the support they need. I will continue advocating for that to happen.”


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