Letter: State's health care will benefit from billThe Minnesota House of Representatives approved a comprehensive health and human services finance bill that enhances the quality of health care in the state of Minnesota
By: District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, Worthington Daily Globe
The Minnesota House of Representatives approved a comprehensive health and human services finance bill that enhances the quality of health care in the state of Minnesota. Some of the highlights include:
* Establishing a critical access nursing home designation for facilities in Greater Minnesota. Those designated receive greater flexibility to provide innovative care and build a reimbursement level closer to the actual cost of resident care, on a pay for performance basis.
* Allowing for moratorium exemption funding for facilities in need of remodeling or upgrades such as sprinkler systems. This funding is expected to produce more than $120 million in economic activity and 1,500 jobs by the time the renovations are completed.
* Developing an optional mental health certification for group homes.
* Creating a community paramedic program to serve as a prospective in-home intermediary option for those who need medical supervision before it requires an expensive emergency room visit.
* Studying the feasibility and desirability of combining the departments of Health and Human Services.
The bill received all but two votes in the House and Senate.
The legislature also adopted the omnibus agriculture bill this week. Included is a two-year extension of the ethanol mandate, but also requires the Commissioner of Agriculture to convene a working group to study its future. One consideration that must be considered is the introduction of biobutanol into the market. Isobutanol, which will soon be produced in Luverne’s converted ethanol plant, will soon sell its product into the plastics market.
To date, the Legislature has sent 114 bills to Governor Dayton since January. The governor has signed 101 of these bills into law. It’s refreshing to see cooperation as we work to advance bills that will better the lives of Minnesotans. I am optimistic that in the final days of session, we will continue to see these efforts.
Finally, the state continues to see positive economic news. Last week, Minnesota’s Department of Management and Budget announced that the state collected $100 million more in March than originally expected.