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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Friday, April 17, 2015

ST. PAUL – A number of provisions championed by State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) that improve the financial condition of rural Minnesota nursing homes and their workers are one step closer to becoming reality.

Schomacker, who chairs the Minnesota House Aging and Long Term Care Policy Committee, said the House majority made those who care for our elderly a top priority, and that priority is reflected in a comprehensive health and human services finance proposal.

"This legislation provides a major investment in nursing homes, establishes a sustainable reimbursement system, and encourages our workforce to consider a career in long term care,” Schomacker said.

The legislation, according to Schomacker, provides real reform to facilities that care for our elderly by implementing a statewide rate of reimbursement.

"This allows nursing homes to be reimbursed for actual expenses as opposed to an amount the state is willing to give them," Schomacker said. "This will be a tremendous benefit for Greater Minnesota nursing homes as it will finally level the playing field with their inner city counterparts."

Another highlight of the proposal improves the wages of care providers across the state.

"With low pay it's been difficult to recruit and retain people to care for our most vulnerable residents," Schomacker noted. "This provision goes a long way to enhance the wages of our care providers."

Finally, Schomacker said the bill provides a permanent solution to statewide nursing home needs.

"Minnesota has been using patchwork solutions for our nursing homes since the early 1990's," Schomacker said. "This year we actively put together a policy that gives nursing homes what they need to operate successfully in the future, which will help improve the quality of care our seniors deserve."

Schomacker expects the health and human services finance proposal to be debated in the Minnesota House chambers in the coming days.