ST. PAUL — Minnesota Senate Republicans on Thursday introduced a bailout package to address the staffing crisis for long-term care centers, group homes, and home and direct care providers
In a press release, Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, said many of these facilities continue to face strain as staffing shortages have plagued the industry. He said the package of bills will help these facilities retain workers and increase the number of workers in the field.
“We need to work together to support our community of older and disabled people,” said Dahms. “Caregivers in our nursing homes and group homes are doing a tremendous job of protecting our most vulnerable. We have seen labor shortages and burnout devastate many long-term care facilities in our region. It is crucial that we act quickly to recruit and retain qualified professionals, so that our seniors and people living with disabilities are well taken care of.
Expert testimony at Monday’s Senate committee hearing on human services reform suggests there are currently about 23,000 vacancies in Minnesota’s long-term care sector, or 20% of the workforce. – of total work of the State. The statement said the crisis is further aggravated by closures of residential providers, driving individuals to other facilities already facing staff shortages. As a result, individuals face waiting lists and find themselves unable to access essential services.
Dahms said these combined issues compromise the well-being of people with disabilities, as well as older people who depend on the services offered by these homes.
Key elements of this plan include:
• Retention bonuses of up to $1,000 for workers at eligible establishments
• Hiring bonuses up to $1,500 for a maximum of 20,000 new employees: half of the bonus will be distributed upon initial hiring, the other half after 6 months of employment
• Training fund of up to $1,500 for up to 20,000 new employees
• Continued funding of the emergency staffing pool as training programs are used to expand the pool of skilled workers
• Changes to temporary permits and licenses allowing previously licensed nurses to practice temporarily in facilities
• Rationalization of comprehensive care programs for the elderly (PACE)
• Updated the change date for the early disability waiver rate to allow programs to work together efficiently, saving taxpayer dollars without compromising quality of care