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.