After proposing an initial “hard times” budget that cut $87 million out of vital programs for Minnesota’s seniors, Governor Dayton is now using an improved forecast to take positive steps to readdress some proposed budget cuts for home health care, nursing homes, and assisted living. In announcing his intention to “significantly reduce” his proposed cuts to older adult services the governor highlighted the importance of services that keep seniors independent.
In total, the Governor restored $1.16 billion of proposed cuts, including $200 million in health and human services cuts. The following is a summary of the restorations that impact older adult services and disability services:
- Home and community based services rate reduction reduced to 2.0% (HCBS rate reduction was 4.5% in original proposal)
- The proposed reduction for Customized Living component rates is now 2.0% (compared to the 10% cut in the original budget proposal)
- Nursing home rate reduction for low case mix residents (PA1) reduced to 10% (from 25% reduction in original proposal)
- Nursing home across the board reduction reduced to 1% (was 2% in original proposal)
- Nursing home rate for first 30 days to stay at 20% differential (original proposal reduced differential to 10%)
- Eliminate proposed reduction to congregate living rates for CADI, DD and TBI clients (original budget proposed a 10% cut for these rates)
- Loosen waiver caps for people with disabilities to access waivered services reduction (this proposal deals with limits on CADI, DD and TBI growth)
Aging Services of Minnesota estimate the total reductions for care centers and Elderly Waiver dropped from $87 million to $53 million as a result of the Governor’s announcement yesterday.
“Not only has Governor Dayton taken steps to help preserve Minnesota’s spectrum of care for our seniors, by restoring some cuts he is preserving jobs. Economic activity created by Minnesota’s assisted living providers and nursing homes accounts for more than 112,600 jobs and $6.7 billion,” said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota. “These positive steps help seniors and our economy.”
While this action by the Governor was positive, it is important to note that providers still face many challenges in this legislative session. Cuts to older adult services still remain in the Governor’s budget proposal, and we know that both the House and the Senate are preparing cut proposals of their own. We now turn to the legislature as they will be putting together their budget proposal. We expect to see the Health and Human Services budget bill by March 21st. The Committees must pass their bills by March 25th.
“At a time when there is a large and growing need for services to seniors, the governor’s originally proposed cuts of nearly 8 percent on average to nursing homes and assisted living establishments would have lead to closures and reduced access to needed services and would have ultimately cost the state additional money both in lost jobs and in creased use of acute care and nursing home care,” said Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota. “The governor has taken steps in the right direction in revising his budget. We look forward to seeing the legislature’s budget to see if they share the governor’s view that seniors are a priority.”
The growing senior demographic and the urgent need for services that will be realized in the coming decade mean that cuts to older adult services should be fully restored as a critical budget priority.
Welcome Home Management is a member of Aging Services of Minnesota