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At the Capitol: Committees on Human Services and Taxes Hear LTC-focused Bills

With about a month to go until the first of three lawmaking deadlines, policy makers are shepherding numerous bills through the committee process, in particular, legislation that allows for providers to have extra time to get background reviews completed for their employees following the expiration of the public health emergency. Here is what you need to know about what’s happening at the Capitol:

This Week
The Senate Committee on Human Services Licensing Policy heard S.F. 496, a bill that extends the waiver on background study requirements issued at the outset of the pandemic to 180 days following the end of the state of emergency. The passage of this bill will help senior care providers maintain the workforce they need to care for their residents. More on this proposal can be found here from Jon Lips’ analysis and overview of his testimony before the committee on Tuesday.

Additionally, the Senate Committee on Taxes heard S.F. 463, a bill that expands the long-term care insurance tax credit. While this would involve additional investment from the state in a tight budget year, we are supportive of the increase in this incentive as it helps offset the increasing costs of care for our seniors, especially those not covered by Medicaid.

Last Week
Last Thursday, the Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee hosted a hearing on nursing facility rate payment in Minnesota. LeadingAge Minnesota, Care Providers of Minnesota and the Department of Human Services (DHS) were asked to provide an overview of the rate process and issues that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the hearing format being informational, the conversation hinted that lawmakers are supportive of holding care centers harmless from rate cuts, however lawmakers may still be interested in reforms that will generate savings. Committee Chairman Senator Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) briefly reviewed how the suggestions from the Health and Human Services Blue Ribbon Commission will be included in the budget and asked the Long-Term Care Imperative to provide their insight to help guide the committee’s analysis.

What’s Ahead
On Wednesday, March 17 at 8:30 a.m., the Senate Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care Policy will review analysis of vaccine rollout data from the Minnesota Department of Health. Committee members will also listen to a presentation from the Volunteers of America on older adult guardianship. We will be monitoring the conversation closely to see if the state makes any shifts from previous weeks in how its distributing vaccines to seniors.

What to Watch
LeadingAge Minnesota will be having its annual Day at the Capitol on the week of March 15. This year’s event will be virtual and will feature expert training from our public affairs team, inspiring conversations with industry leaders, opportunities to meet with your legislator, and times to share with colleagues from around the state about your successes and challenges in serving seniors. Click here to register and find out more information.

Each week during the legislative session, follow Advantage for regular updates about what’s happening at the Capitol.

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