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Letter: Despite budget surplus, Greater Minnesota seniors left behind in legislative session

It's more than a disappointment — it’s a crisis.

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Letter to the Editor
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To the Editor:

During the 2022 session, senior care was on the forefront at the Capitol. Debates were taking place and proposals drafted. The Minnesota Senate approved substantial funding to increase base wages for aging services workers on a bipartisan basis, but then the House and governor did not follow suit. Ultimately the legislative fix desperately needed for seniors and long-term care facilities was bogged down in disagreements and ultimately stalled.

It's more than a disappointment — it’s a crisis. Minnesota is unique in that the Legislature sets the wages for caregivers. Without adequate funding and critical policy changes, long-term care facilities are left in the lurch; waiting for the next session while seniors are being turned away and our caregivers are leaving the profession at alarming rates. There are currently 23,000 job vacancies across Minnesota’s senior care facilities, with no current solution to fill them.

The stress of the pandemic and years of inaction by the Legislature has left senior care in an impossible situation. As closures loom, access to care is quickly disappearing. Eighteen nursing homes in Minnesota have closed their doors since 2019, including six in 2022 alone.

We cannot sit idle and watch our system of care collapse. Please join me in urging our legislators to prioritize seniors and get caregivers the help we need. The state is projected to have a $10 billion surplus and just a small fraction of those funds would change the trajectory of senior care in Minnesota for decades.

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Jason Anderson, DPT, MBA-HC, LNHA, LALD
Director of LTC Services
Sanford Canby Medical Center-Sylvan Court and Place

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