Letter: Prioritize and support adequate funding for senior care
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
To the editor:
On February 27, the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget released its February Budget and Economic Forecast which appear stable, with a $17.5 billion balance projected for the next biennium, mostly left over from the current biennium.
As state lawmakers decide how to best allocate funding, priority must be given to strengthening pay and retention of essential senior caregivers to address the ongoing crisis in senior care.
According to LeadingAge MN, almost 20,000 senior caregiver roles statewide remain vacant. Last October, admissions requests for senior care settings were denied 11,000 times due to caregiver shortages. When seniors can’t receive professional care in their communities, the burden falls directly on families to find a solution.
In some cases, seniors face discharge delays in hospitals, backing up our already overcrowded healthcare systems. This problem will only get worse unless lawmakers prioritize funding for senior care. In a system where the legislature directly influences the wages providers can offer to caregivers, they have a moral responsibility to prioritize funding senior care and addressing this crisis.
Bipartisan legislation that would increase reimbursement rates and funding for senior care settings is currently working its way through the legislature. If passed, this legislation would take meaningful steps towards paying caregivers the higher wages they deserve and strengthen the caregiving workforce for Minnesota’s growing senior population. We ask for support of HF 733 and SF 780 to recognize caregivers.
We thank our local legislators for their ongoing support. We ask the public to please connect with our local legislators and the governor to prioritize and support adequate funding for senior care.
Chief Clinical Officer