Article by: Dean Bloemke, President of Welcome Home Management Company
This past Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to attend a long term care leadership round table sponsored by Guardian Pharmacy of St. Cloud. Representatives of a number of federal offices were there along with a number of state level senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle were in attendance. The roundtable discussion was reported in the St. Cloud Times in their Thursday edition. A copy of the article may be viewed at http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201209052032/NEWS01/309050044
I had the chance to tell those in attendance our story about health care costs under the new Affordable Health Care Plan also known as Obama Care. In our company, if we choose to pay the penalty, our costs will increase by $170,000 according to an estimate prepared by our insurance agency. If we choose to provide the insurance, our costs increase by $220,000. The problem is, that there is not an adequate payment alternative to offset these increased costs.
Elderly Waiver, upon anywhere from 20% to over 50% of our client base depends, has had a decrease of 15 – 20% over the past three years. This puts operating margins at risk, especially in these tough economic times.
Other providers mentioned that they were in the 5th year of a pay freeze.
Rep. Steve Gottwalt, (R) mentioned in his remarks that long term care and assisted living are first in line to receive new funding when the revenues from increased tax collections derived from an increasing economy permit.
Other items mentioned were that Equalization should be repealed (Rep Gottwalt); that Electronic Funding & Implementation time schedules need to be extended (Rene Doyle of Michele Bachman’s office), that liability for readmission is causing a problem for nursing homes; and also tort reform, and National Background Checks (Darwin Schwantes – Talahi Care Center) mentioned.
A question was asked about the difference between metro and rural economics of Assisted Living. There was a long discussion regarding how rural assisted living has stayed close to providing the service in very nice properties and a relatively low cost. That on average, each EW client in an AL property was saving the state on average of $1500 to $2500 per month for each client.
All legislators or their representatives were invited to take a tour of a rural senior living community and to become familiar with the economics of rural senior living.
Legislators or representatives of their office in attendance were: Lisa Fobbe of Sen. Franken’s office; Rep. Steve Gottwalt; Renee Doyle of Congresswoman Bachmann’s office; Rep. King Banaian; Adam Schiff of Sen. Klobuchar’s office; Sen. Michelle Fishbach; Rep. Tim O’Driscoll; Sen John Pederson, and Jeff Howe, House Candidate.
Providers in attendance were Darwin Schwantes of Talahi Care Center; Deanna Johnson of Carefree Living AL in St. Cloud; Tami Rakke of Carefree Living, Deb REitmeier of Annandale Care Center, Phil Lord of Belgreade Nursing Home; and Jim Birchem of Eldercare in Little Falls.
Interested parties attending were Jeff Drown of Lyon Contracting and Brian Musech of Granite City Real Estate.
Trace Roller and Mark Boe of Guardian Pharmacy of St. Cloud were our hosts.