Letter: Health and Human services bill boosts nursing homesOn April 24, I was pleased to see tremendous bipartisan support for an omnibus health and human services finance bill on the Minnesota House floor.
By: District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, Worthington Daily Globe
On April 24, I was pleased to see tremendous bipartisan support for an omnibus health and human services finance bill on the Minnesota House floor.
The comprehensive proposal contains dozens of health provisions. Among them are bills that allow physician assistants to be categorized as a mental health professional to provide more options and flexibility for those that seek mental health assistance; funding for a study into autism; and the restoration of reimbursement cut to personal care attendants who care for a sick or disabled relative.
Welfare fraud is also addressed, as those who receive EBT cards would need to list the head of the household on each card. It would also disqualify benefits for people who use these state dollars for buying alcohol or tobacco products, and restricts the cash portion of the card only to Minnesota and neighboring states.
But the real highlight of this bill is the assistance it provides to our nursing homes.
Included in this comprehensive package is a proposal I sponsored which delays the 1.67 percent continuing care rate reduction. A federal waiver that eliminates the reduction altogether is expected to be granted this year, so this provision buys our nursing homes some time until that waiver comes through this summer.
The legislation also provides funding for rural Minnesota nursing homes to improve their facilities, removes a costly mandate for nursing homes with few Medicare residents by allowing them to be no longer certified by Medicare, and offers grants for nursing homes in rural Minnesota that promote quality and reward improved outcomes.
Taking care of our elderly and disabled is a critical function of state government, and arguably one of our top priorities. This bill continues to look after our state’s long-term care needs by aiding nursing facilities and better protecting some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable and valuable residents.