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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Legislative Update (3-20-15)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dear Neighbor,

Thanks to those of you who took time out of your busy schedules to visit me this week. It was great to meet with you and learn about your lives and discuss your ideas for how we can make Minnesota a better place. I strongly encourage you to stop by the Capitol this year if you plan on being in St. Paul in the near future. It would be great to meet with you!

Majority Leader Peppin Tours Brainerd Care Facilities

Last Friday, House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin and I toured two care facilities in the Brainerd area. The first stop was at a local home that receives services from REM Central Lakes, which is a home and community-based care provider. After touring REM, Majority Leader Peppin and I toured St. Joseph’s Hospital in Brainerd. The purpose of the tour was to hear directly about the challenges health care providers face as the need for care grows.

Majority Leader Peppin and I met with a number of administrators and employees at both locations. A recurring theme, especially at St. Joseph’s, was the development of telemedicine services and nurse staffing ratios.

Telemedicine technology, which allows doctors to advise or provide care via a video conference call, can increase access to health care services, improve health outcomes for patients, and reduce health care costs. Recently introduced legislation, House File 1246, looks to promote greater use of telemedicine technology by ensuring that health plans consistently reimburse providers to deliver care through this technology.

This technology is especially useful in rural areas where providers are likely to experience employee shortages and inadequate access to care. This bill has the capability to revolutionize rural health care.

We also heard from administrators about the problems that come from government mandated staffing levels. Every patient deserves personalized care that treats the whole patient. Our local hospitals and those who care for patients on a daily basis should be making the staffing decisions, not lawmakers in St. Paul.

I would like to thank both REM Central Lakes and St. Joseph’s for allowing Majority Leader Peppin and myself to learn more about these facilities and the issues they are facing. I am confident that the new House Majority will work to pass legislation that will improve the quality of care for all Minnesotans.

Governor Releases Supplemental Budget Proposal

On Tuesday, Governor Dayton released the details of his supplemental budget proposal. This supplemental spending plan brings the Governor’s proposed budget for the 2016-17 biennium to $43 billion which is an increase of $3.7 billion from last biennium’s budget. This type of continued government growth is simply unsustainable.

In the near future, the House will release its budget proposals. I would expect our proposal to come in under the Governor’s proposed $43 billion budget

Stay tuned as more details come out in the coming weeks.

Staying in Touch

Thank you for taking the time to read my update this week. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to communicate with constituents about the issues being debated at the Capitol.

I will not be holding an in-district “office hours” event this Saturday due to a previous commitment. Nevertheless, I encourage you to keep your eyes on the paper and my email updates as I am planning on holding many more of these informal discussion sessions over the course of the next handful of months.

Please take a moment to fill out my 2015 Legislative Survey. You can complete the survey online by visiting here. You can find a link on the right hand side, under the heading "Feedback Wanted".

“Liking” my Facebook page and “following” my Twitter account are both great ways to stay connected with what is going on here in St. Paul.

If you are planning on being in St. Paul this session, please feel free to contact my office by phone at 651-296-4929 or via email to set up an appointment. It would be an honor to speak with you and discuss ways we can make Minnesota better.