Abeler, Housley, Utke introduce Long-Term Care Rescue Package, ensuring continued services during crisis – Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus

ST. PAUL, MN – Senators Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) and Karin Housley (R-Stillwater) today introduced a $322 million rescue package to address the staffing crisis facing long-term care centers, group homes, and home and direct care providers.  
As a result of Covid and its after-effects, many of these facilities continue to face stress as staffing shortages have ravaged the industry. This package of bills will keep the workers we have, increase workers in the field, and streamline government to better meet the needs of those served.  

“It’s so important that we do all that we can to retain the workers we have, and recruit more to fill the overwhelmingly large gap in the long-term care workforce,” said Housley.“If we can provide the industry with additional support by funding retention bonuses and hiring bonuses, we can ensure that quality of care does not suffer for those relying on these valuable group home services. The people in these homes and facilities are some of our most vulnerable citizens, and they deserve high-quality care without interruption. The workers in these facilities are in one of the toughest lines of work, and after multiple years of hardship, they deserve all the help we can afford.” 

Expert testimony in Monday’s Health and Human Services Reform committee suggests there are currently about 23,000 open positions in Minnesota’s long-term care industry, or 20% of the state’s total workforce. At the press conference, Health and Human Services Chair Senator Paul Utke (R- Park Rapids) said, “If we have to wait a day or two for car repairs, it’s an inconvenience. Our group homes serve human beings, we don’t have a day or two to wait if staff isn’t available. The crisis is on the doorstep, or in some cases it’s already arrived.” This crisis is further compounded by the closures of residential providers, therefore driving individuals to other facilities already facing staffing shortages. As a result, individuals are faced with waiting lists and find themselves unable to access essential services. These combined issues are jeopardizing the well-being of those with disabilities, as well as elderly individuals that depend on the services these homes offer.  
“This retention and training program rewards the staff that we have and will help to recruit 20,000 new staff to maintain care for the vulnerable people residing in these facilities and in their homes,” said Abeler. “With the incredible staff shortages plaguing nursing and group homes, this is a dire emergency. We need to creatively approach this problem in a way that doesn’t sacrifice quality, but provides long-term support and hope. I believe this comprehensive plan will protect our fragile seniors and vulnerable persons with disabilities.”  
Key components in this plan include:  
© 2022 Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus


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