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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tim Miller (R)

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

This session the House majority made those who care for our elderly a top priority, and legislation that improves the financial condition of rural Minnesota nursing homes and their workers was recently approved on the House floor.

Implementing a statewide rate of reimbursement for our care centers and providing a permanent solution to the needs of our nursing homes are the highlights of our health and human services finance bill. When it comes to funding, our rural nursing homes have long lagged behind facilities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This has led to a multitude of financial problems for Greater Minnesota care centers, something our legislation addresses directly.

For some examples of how our legislation would benefit local nursing homes, our nonpartisan Minnesota House research staff prepared an analysis of the annual change in Medicaid and estimated private revenue for the 2016 rate year. The amount each facility would receive is listed below:

Clara City – Clara City Care Center: $816,000

Montevideo – Luther Haven: $1.04 million

Renville – Renvilla Health Center: $425,000

Olivia – Golden LivingCenter – Olivia: $555,000

Buffalo Lake – Buffalo Lake Healthcare Center: $763,000

Fairfax – Fairfax Community Home: $314,000

Appleton – Appleton Municipal Hospital: $885,000

Benson – Golden LivingCenter – Meadow Lane: $449,000

Granite Falls – Municipal Hospital & Granite Manor: $884,000

Finally, the legislation improves the wages of those who are performing needed, and too often thankless, jobs within the profession. With the demand so great for qualified care providers, we are doing what we can to make the profession desirable and worthwhile for those seeking a rewarding career in our rural communities.

Our senior citizens deserve quality care, and those providing that care deserve fair and equitable compensation. Nursing homes are among the most important job providers in our district, and I'm pleased the House has approved legislation that will begin to ease the financial burdens that have been plaguing them for far too long.

In other news, lawmakers in the Minnesota House and Senate have agreed on a compromise proposal that will provide funds for Minnesota to battle the avian flu outbreak that is devastating area turkey growers. I was humbled to be on the six-member conference committee that worked on the agreement.

The avian flu compromise legislation includes roughly $900,000 requested by the Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, as well as necessary language that will allow available federal funds to be utilized by a number of state agencies as they respond to the growing problem.

The conference committee compromise proposal has been approved by the Minnesota House and once it is approved by the Senate, Governor Dayton is expected to sign it into law.