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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bjorn Olson (R)

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Thursday, April 13, 2023

ST. PAUL – After learning that the House majority only supported allocating $3.9 million in new revenue out of a $17 billion budget surplus to nursing homes this budget cycle, State Representative Bjorn Olson (R-Fairmont) is calling on House leadership to make the elderly and their caregivers a top priority.


“Our nursing homes have been stretched thin for years, and we are now at a point where the legislature has to take action,” Olson said. “If the House majority only provides $3.9 million to address this statewide crisis, even more of our nursing homes will be forced to close.”


In Minnesota, more than 1.3 million are over the age of 65, which is leading to a greater need for nursing home services. Yet, due to increased operating costs, a massive workforce shortage and other issues, Olson said our nursing homes are struggling to deliver.  


In October, 11,000 senior citizens were turned away from long-term care settings. Since 2020, almost 2,600 nursing home beds have been taken out of service. Olson said that is the equivalent of more than fifty 50-bed nursing homes. 15 nursing homes have also closed permanently.


Olson noted the inability to fully staff our nursing homes also creates unwanted stress on our hospitals, as nearly 20% of their bedspace is being taken up by people who should be recovering in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.  


“We need more workers to choose caregiving as a career, and we have to give our nursing homes the resources they need to succeed,” Olson said. “A huge portion of our population either seeks or will be seeking skilled care. It’s time for the House majority to recognize that our elderly, our nursing homes, and our caregivers must be prioritized this budget cycle.”