State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) and State Senator Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls) said they will support legislation designed to give nursing homes, group homes and long term care facilities–and their employees–a long overdue pay raise.
“It’s nonsensical to think that after proposing $2.6 billion in tax increases that will impact every hardworking Minnesotan, House Democrats want to cut nursing homes and senior living by $26 million over the next two years,” Torkelson said. “To me and many of my rural Republican colleagues this move is unacceptable, and we are going to try our best to right this wrong.”
Torkelson, Dahms and a bipartisan group of lawmakers were under the impression that nursing homes and long term care facilities would receive a $56 million increase this year. Instead, the House Democrats’ health and human services bill buys a $21 million rate increase by raiding $26 million from other nursing home funds.
This means nursing homes and senior living facilities will have to absorb these cuts in their own budgets to make up the difference, which will be particularly damaging to Greater Minnesota.
In the Senate, a similar raid on nursing home funds is included in the HHS Omnibus bill. Dahms and others expected a five percent increase for long-term care facilities, but the Senate bill only offers a two percent increase, leaving nursing homes and senior living facilities to make difficult cuts in their budgets.
Torkelson said he and others will push for real funding increases for nursing homes when a comprehensive health and human services finance proposal is debated on the House floor in the coming days.