Letter: Legislator - I'm working for the disabled, nursing homesThe Minnesota House Health and Human Services Reform Committee has approved two bills I’m chief-authoring that are aimed at supporting people with disabilities and maintaining qualified workers employed at nursing homes.
By: District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, Worthington Daily Globe
The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Reform Committee has approved two bills I’m chief-authoring that are aimed at supporting people with disabilities and maintaining qualified workers employed at nursing homes.
Issues that are important to the disabled and our nursing homes are some of my top priorities. I am pleased to champion these bills on their behalf.
The first bill is based on recommendations from The Association of Residential Resources in Minnesota (ARRM), an association of 150 providers that supports people with disabilities.
The goal of its “Blueprint for Reform” is to address the concerns of the adult foster care community, providing more opportunities for the consumers and the ability to control what they do at a more local level. Provisions include developing an optional certification for adult foster care homes that serve persons with mental illness; establishing a task force to review and make recommendations on pilot projects for home and community-based services for people with disabilities; and allowing foster care homes to care for clients temporarily in respite care when regular clients are away from the home for a period of time.
The second bill modifies the requirements on background checks at licensed care facilities.
Currently, an employee who returns to work at a nursing home or other licensed facility after being gone for 45 days or longer is required to have another background study issued. This is problematic for women who are on maternity leave or college students looking to pick up a shift at work while on break, as they are forced to pay for a new study.
My bill lengthens the 45-day threshold to 180 days. The Department of Human Services estimates about 1,500 studies were performed last year due to the 45-day period, and that this bill would reduce that number to 500.
The ARRM legislation now heads to the House Government Operations and Elections Committee for further debate, while the next stop for the background check bill is the Health and Human Services Finance Committee.