News & Events

Long-Term Care Leaders Express Deep Disappointment in Conference Committee Bill That Neglects Critical Funding for All Minnesota’s Aging Services Settings

May 17, 2023 (St. Paul, MN) – Today, the long-term care leaders of Minnesota stand together in expressing our profound disappointment and concern over the human services conference committee bill that has failed to prioritize senior care. Despite the pressing needs of our aging population and the undeniable crisis unfolding within our care system, this bill falls woefully short in addressing the dire situation faced by seniors, families, and communities across Minnesota.  While the bill makes a significant investment in home and community-based services programs, including assisted living, it leaves bare a key segment of the healthcare continuum—nursing homes.

Newly released data has unveiled the distressing reality that record numbers of seniors are being denied the care they desperately need. Shockingly, every day, 450 referrals for care are denied, leaving vulnerable individuals without the support they require. Moreover, nearly 20,000 long-term care positions remain vacant, exacerbating an already strained workforce.

The current nursing home payment system currently leaves a 21-month backlog, leaving providers unable to cover their operational costs and creating financial instability. This situation is made worse by high inflation and workforce pressures. As a result, seniors have been uprooted from their homes, families have been separated from their loved ones, and communities suffer the loss of vital care resources. Finally, the strain placed on hospitals by the absence of accessible long-term care settings further taxes the entire healthcare system.

It is disheartening that despite the $17 billion surplus, the critical needs of seniors in Minnesota are not being adequately addressed. One-time solutions like workforce bonuses and a loan program for nursing homes included in the bill fail to provide the sustained support needed to address this crisis and should not be considered a solution to the issues that have been raised this session.

We, as long-term care leaders, call upon our state’s legislators to reassess their priorities and recognize the urgent need for robust funding and sustainable solutions that can address the crisis at hand. The well-being and dignity of our seniors and the stability of our communities should not be compromised by insufficient allocations.

The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated. We implore our state’s leaders to prioritize the well-being and dignity of Minnesota’s seniors by recognizing the gravity of the situation and take immediate action to address the critical funding shortfall.


The Long-Term Care Imperative (LTCI) is a partnership of Minnesota’s two senior care provider associations – Care Providers of Minnesota and LeadingAge Minnesota. LTCI members employ 80,000 professional caregivers in Minnesota, meeting the needs of seniors in all the places seniors call home – including short-term care, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing homes.

Biden Administration Announce Executive Order for Caregivers

The Biden Administration outlined several new plans this week via executive order to support care workers and family caregivers. Continuing a framework set out early in the Biden campaign, the strategy targets caregivers in our sector, in addition to caregivers who work with children and people with disabilities.

However, the Executive Order brings much-needed attention without solutions to our sector. We are thankful our message is breaking through the walls of the White House. Still, the solutions outlined in the below fact sheet put one part of the caregiving sector against another and doesn’t consider the importance of the continuum of care. Yes, access to care is essential; but it must be the right care in the right place at the right time.

Congratulations to Amy Lhotka, our PR & Marketing Director on 3 years!

Amy has been on a path of continuous growth and learning in her role at St. Francis Health Services. She is willing to research any topic she does not have solid knowledge of and sharing with her coworkers what she learns. She takes initiative and is quick to offer assistance; readily available to troubleshoot issues that come before her.  She is sincere and thoughtful and seeks to find the best in all who work with her.  As the lead on all things related to public relations and marketing for St. Francis, she has successfully transitioned outdated social media, introduced knew software, tools and systems and grown her department to a valuable asset for all of St. Francis. She has implemented a system of marketing reviews to improve customer communications throughout St. Francis and was invaluable during the Covid pandemic.  She is dedicated to St. Francis Health Services, our mission and core values, showing by example integrity, commitment, respect, excellence, service and stewardship. She is a team player, but more than that, appreciates that collaborating with others is necessary to    successfully complete a project.

Thanks so much for all you do on behalf of St. Francis Amy.  We appreciate you! 

-Carol Raw

Carol A. Raw, CEO/President

Reed Hofmann has joined our corporate team as VP of Information Systems and Security!

Reed has nearly 30 years of experience as an innovative leader driving business value through the use of technology while also maximizing operational excellence.  For the last 17 years, Reed has been with Ascensus, LLC in various technology leadership roles, most recently as the VP, IT -Corporate. Prior to that time, he worked for Prairie St. John’s and MeritCare Health System. 

Reed is a results oriented and highly motivated business professional with exceptional skills at leading technology teams both nationally and globally in organizations of all sizes.  He has a demonstrated ability to solve complex issues, envision solutions, set priorities and drive initiatives that align with organizational strategies.

Reed grew up in Medina ND; attended Moorhead Technical College and the University of Mary, holding a BS in Computer Information Systems and Masters of Management (MM).  He also maintains active security (CISSP) and audit (CISA) certifications. 

Reed is married with 3 children and enjoys spending time with family and his 4 dogs, as well as going on mission trips. 

Reed will begin his role as VP of ISS on May 8th.  He can be reached at Please help give him a warm St. Francis welcome!

Becerra Addresses Top Aging Issues Before House Committee

by Libbie Chapuran, LAMN

On March 28, US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss the President’s FY24 budget proposal. Top aging services issues were discussed, such as the Three-Day Hospital Stay Requirement, Nursing Home Mandatory Staffing Ratios, and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS).

Here are a few highlights from the hearing:

  • Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA) praised the budget proposal to add $150 billion to fund Medicaid home and community-based services but emphasized that given the aging demographics and need for personal care services amongst our aging population, expanding Medicaid HCBS was not enough to solve the problem. She pressed Secretary Becerra to think about how to fund necessary long-term care outside of the Medicaid program (the only government funding mechanism currently).
  • Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) asked about some COVID waivers, including the three-day stay, and the impact of these waivers ending with the Public Health Emergency on access to care. Secretary Becerra indicated he would need Congress’s help, and we will follow up with Rep. Smith to pursue his interest.
  • Several members asked about the President’s nursing home reform proposal. The Secretary spoke a lot about the transparency rule and the budget request for more money for program integrity. He also mentioned this budget request in relation to hospice program integrity oversight.

House Human Services Committee Releases Omnibus Bill with Mixed Results for Senior Care

by Erin Huppert, LAMN

The Minnesota House Human Services Committee released its omnibus finance bill this week. The budget bill includes some priority legislation like Elderly Waiver funding and a PACE rate study but stops short of investing in skilled nursing care for older adults.

What’s in the bill for aging services

In a significant improvement from the Governor’s budget, the House Human Service Omnibus Bill proposes to invest $265 million over two years in Elderly Waiver services. This is a Long-Term Care Imperative legislative priority since investment in Elderly Waiver would more accurately reflect the cost of caring for seniors, benefiting adult day services, assisted living, and customized living under CADI and BI waivers.

Additional aging services provisions include:

  • A DHS rate study for PACE, Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and Imperative legislative priority.
  • Changes to the Board of Aging to develop a statewide tribal-based system for caring for Native Elders
  • Grants for Live Well at Home and Age Friendly Minnesota programs.

Nursing homes left out of House spending bill

Consistent with the Governor’s budget, the House Human Services Finance Omnibus Bill makes no additional investment for Minnesota’s nursing homes beyond a $4 million grant program for critical access nursing homes. With a $17.6 billion surplus, the House and Governor propose to spend less than 0.02% to help nursing homes pay their caregivers a livable wage and preserve access to care across the state.

On Tuesday, LeadingAge Minnesota CEO Kari Thurlow testified to the dangers of this piecemeal approach and leaving seniors out of One Minnesota.  “For years, we have advocated an infusion into Elderly Waiver.  We thank you for recognizing that insufficient funding results in inadequate wages for staff, less access for low-income seniors, and a growing affordability problem for the middle class,” she testified to the House Human Services Committee. “$330,000 a piece for 15 rural nursing homes using one-time money and a mechanism that just creates another funding cliff. That’s it. That will not stop the collapse of our nursing home sector. The final message to staff in nursing homes is that they should wait to earn a family-sustaining wage … It is simply not inaccurate to state that nursing home workers are ‘better off’ compared to other caring professions.”

What happens next?

This is one more step in the process, so we have time to advocate for changes in the bill. The committee will amend its bill today and move to its next stop.

All members of the House will ultimately vote on it after they return from spring break in mid-April. Ahead of each stop, we will continue increasing pressure and accountability to ensure that seniors are genuinely part of “One Minnesota.”

What can you do?

There is still time to take action by contacting your House Representative. Next week, legislators are returning home to their districts. This means many of them will be hosting community town halls or forums to engage with constituents.

If you don’t follow your local senator and representative on social media or subscribe to their newsletter, please consider it. Those channels will provide information on when, where, and how to participate. 

Please make time to attend, and ensure they know seniors must be part of One Minnesota. Their caregivers need $1 billion over four years to raise wages by $5 per hour. To learn more about town halls, check out this resource link.

Take Action Today

“I believe that the values of a community stand strong by where they put their resources. I ask the governor and the legislatures to put resources where our values really are, and that is with the elders.” – Cami Peterson-DeVries

Yesterday, Cami Peterson-DeVries, VP of Senior Services and Christine Bakke, Regional Director, advocated for our organization and all of the MN Senior Living industry.

What can you do?

There is still time to take action by contacting your Representative. Next week, legislators are returning home to their districts. This means many of them will be hosting community town halls or forums to engage with constituents.

If you don’t follow your local senator and representative on social media or subscribe to their newsletter, please consider it. Those channels will provide information on when, where, and how to participate.

Please make time to attend, and ensure they know seniors must be part of One Minnesota. Their caregivers need $1 billion over four years to raise wages by $5 per hour.

If you are unable to meet with your representatives, please send them a letter, by following this link:

New Housing Support Rate Effective July 1

On March 23, 2023 by Libbie Chapuran, LAMN

On July 1, the Housing Support maximum monthly room and board rate will increase to $1,135.

The annual recalculation of the Housing Support, formerly Group Residential Housing (GRH), which covers rent and raw food for eligible participants, will increase by $94 per month. The new rate of $1135 will be effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.

Housing Support is a state-funded program that provides an income supplement to approximately 20,000 recipients each month to pay for rent and food. The amount of a Housing Support payment is based on a federal and state standard of what an individual would need, at a minimum, to live in the community. All of those supported by the program are at risk of institutional placement or homelessness.

Legislative Leaders Announce Joint Budget Targets

On March 23, 2023 by Erin Huppert, LAMN

This week, legislative leaders and Governor Walz announced they had reached global budget targets for creating Minnesota’s biennial budget (FY2023-2025). This agreement sets the stage for the Legislature to spend the state’s $17.6 billion surplus. According to the agreement, human services has been given a $1.3 billion target for the two-year period, and health care an additional $755 million.

These targets come at a time when the legislative activity remains at an all-time high; the House and Senate both reached 3,000bill introductions this week, which has never happened in the first year of the biennium (based on records starting in 1983).

What do these targets mean for aging services?

The joint budget targets released this week leave many questions for seniors and their caregivers, like:

  • How much of this $1.3 billion is ongoing versus one-time funding?
  • Where will other proposals with financial considerations fall within these targets?

We need $1 billion over the next four years to get our caregivers a starting wage of $22 an hour. Other providers in human services also have deep needs, so we worry that $1.3 billion for all of human services is not close to enough to cover the severe needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and professional caregivers.

Committees will begin building their omnibus bills starting next week, so LeadingAge Minnesota is working closely with its Long-Term Care Imperative partner to gather more information on the specifics of these targets.

In the meantime, we must keep pressure on our state representatives and senators. The governor did not prioritize seniors and their caregivers in his proposed budget, so the Legislature needs to show leadership on this Minnesotan value. They need to make the most of that $1.3 budget target and, given a $17 billion surplus, determine if more can be done.  

Contact your local legislator today and ensure seniors are included in “One Minnesota.”

Bill Introduced to Add Assisted Living Services to Veteran Benefits

A bill introduced by US Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jon Tester (D-MT), along with Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) to add assisted living services to veterans benefits.

The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long-Term Care Act would create a small pilot program to offer eligible veterans who participate the option to have their care needs met in an assisted living community rather than at a Department of Veterans Affairs state home.

Currently, VA is not allowed to pay for room and board fees for veterans living at assisted living facilities—preventing many veterans from utilizing this long-term care option. This pilot program will save taxpayer dollars by allowing eligible veterans to access the appropriate level of care for their needs at assisted living facilities, instead of having to seek more costly care at nursing homes.

press release about the bill includes a quote from our national partners LeadingAge and Argentum, along with other aging services associations: “The leading organizations that represent the assisted living profession applaud the leadership of Sen Tester, Moran, Murray, and Rounds for introducing this legislation. This pilot program makes sense for a number of reasons: it offers a new option in long-term care for veterans, creates significant savings for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and will demonstrate the numerous benefits of assisted living. The VA’s daunting cost estimates for long-term care, both current and in the future, illustrate the need for policies that mitigate the significant financial burden. We are encouraged by this legislation to jump-start these efforts.”

The Senators’ bill received strong backing from various Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and stakeholders nationwide.