Minnesota is home to one million seniors, and the urgency for action grows.
The staffing shortage in senior care is a crisis, affecting seniors and families in every corner of the state. The Legislature must act to ensure access for all seniors who need care.
There are approximately 20,000 (20%) open caregiver positions across Minnesota's long-term care settings.
Minnesota’s seniors were turned away from long-term care 11,000 times in just one month, most due to a lack of staff.
With another 50,000 Minnesotans turning 80 in the next 5 years, we need solutions now.
The state is responsible for ensuring seniors have care. In nursing homes, the State sets the rates for all who receive care. In assisted living, low-income seniors use Medicaid dollars through a state program for Elderly Waiver. In both cases, the rates set by the state do not cover the total cost of care, including competitive wages for professional caregivers.
Minnesota seniors and their families are being denied the care they need because there aren’t enough caregivers. We want to serve every senior who comes to our doors, but we can’t because we don’t have enough staff to provide safe, quality care.
- Minnesota’s seniors were turned away from long-term care 11,000 times in just one month (Oct. 2022).
- Most nursing homes (65%) and assisted living settings (56%) have waiting lists for admissions.
- Due to the requirements of Minnesota’s cost-based nursing home payment system, nursing homes will not see increased costs reflected in their rates for 21 months. The state can’t ask long-term care providers to operate at a financial loss, and then expect that won’t affect access to care.
- When hospitalized seniors are unable to transition into long-term care, they are forced to remain hospitalized, harming access for other Minnesotans to our healthcare system.
Professional caregivers in aging services cannot make the wages needed to support their families. State leaders set rates for care, so our ability to attract caregivers depends on the state. Current rates do not provide enough money for caregivers to make a living wage.
- Today, the average wage for a direct senior care worker in Minnesota is just $17 per hour. Solving the caregiving crisis will require increasing starting wages to at least $25 an hour. But this can’t be done without the state’s help.
- More than 22,000 caregiver positions are vacant in senior living, a shortage that has not improved over the past year.
- Inadequate funding for senior care is an equity issue for working families; women, people of color and new Americans are the majority of the senior care workforce according to DEED data.
- Many providers have exhausted their means to increase wages. As senior care providers attempt to manage this crisis, they are increasingly operating in the red – further threatening access to care.
Minnesota’s seniors have a right to care in their communities. We must do everything we can to attract caregivers and encourage innovation to serve the growing population of seniors. It’s the state’s responsibility.
- Address the 21-month delay in reimbursement for nursing homes
- Fully fund the state’s Medicaid waivers that are intended to cover the costs of caring for seniors
- Facilitate wage increases for caregivers to attract new workers and reduce turnover
- Provide a direct rate increase for nursing homes ($52/day)
- Make categorical moves of select staff from price to cost
- Invest in the state’s Medicaid waivers
- Continue advocacy and support of PACE and PACE-like models
- Retain assisted living staffing waivers and variances
- Revise Minnesota’s assisted living statutes to improve the affordability of assisted living services