ICYMI: Legislature Adjourns with Historic Funding for Aging Services
Posted on May 25, 2023 by Libbie Chapuran
As of Monday at midnight, the Minnesota Legislature has adjourned the 2023 legislative session. After months of tireless advocacy by seniors, their families, and their caregivers, we are proud to report that we have left the session with historic investments in aging services that will help ensure access to care for Minnesota seniors and support caregivers with the wages they deserve.
Session ends with nearly $1 billion in investments in aging services
In sum, the State will invest nearly $1 billion in services for older adults at a critical time over the next four years as the state’s population continues to grow older. Minnesota is home to over one million people aged 65 and older. The aging services sector that serves them has been hard-hit by high inflation, workforce concerns, and pandemic-related expenses.
After sounding the alarm for the past several years, lawmakers responded with strong support to help ensure older adults have access to the right care at the right time close to home.
Nursing home funding bill passes with unanimous support
While we advocated throughout the session for funding to support the continuum of care, nursing home funding was the final piece added to the puzzle we needed to support all aging services settings. With the help of persistent and passionate advocacy, nursing homes received a hard-fought and much-needed $300 million investment which passed with unanimous support as a stand-alone bill (HF 3342), including:
- $173.487 million will be spent on nursing facility grants, two one-time payments (on Aug. 1, 2023, and Aug. 1, 2024) to all nursing facilities in Minnesota. Because this appropriation uses one-time funding, allowable uses will be restricted to a pre-approved list of operating categories that should not impact future VBR rates, like reducing long-term debt.
- There will also be a temporary, daily rate add-on that leverages federal Medicaid dollars for 18 months. The impact will be an additional $12.35 per resident per day. The rate add-on spends $51.513 million in state funds and leverages additional federal Medicaid dollars.
- The deal also creates a $75 million workforce incentive fund for nursing facilities that can be used for a specific set of eligible expenses like bonuses and employee benefits.
- This funding is in addition to a $100 million loan program passed in the Human Services Budget Bill, which was improved over the weekend to work better for providers.
Assisted living, adult day, and other HCBS settings receive support in the human services bill
In addition to HF 3342, several provisions to support aging services were part of the Omnibus Human Services bill (HF 2847), including:
- $412 million for Elderly Waiver, the program used to serve low-income seniors in assisted living, adult day, and other home and community-based services
- $80 million of one-time money to workforce incentive grants for caregivers who work in long-term care
- $100 million of one-time money for a loan program for financially distressed nursing homes
- $265,000 for a rate study on the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), an innovative program that holds the promise of better integration of health care and social service needs for seniors
- $5 million for Live Well at Home Grants to help seniors receive the care they need in their own homes
Aging issues impact everyone, not just older adults
By prioritizing the needs of Minnesota’s one million older adults, our state’s leaders are fostering a compassionate and supportive environment for all seniors to thrive. We are proud to live in a state that values older adults and the dedicated caregivers who serve them each and every day.
And we are proud to represent you at the Capitol. The collective action of the aging services community in the 2023 legislative session was awe-striking. When we were told no, we pushed harder! We made calls, we wrote letters, and we engaged our communities. And the result is a broad base of support and a better-than-ever understanding of why our issues are among the most important at the State Capitol. Thank you for all you did to make the 2023 session a success.
We ask you to consider taking three more actions this week to close out the 2023 legislative session:
- TAKE ACTION: Say thank you to your lawmakers. We’ve created a simple action alert that will allow you to express your gratitude to the lawmakers for supporting aging services in this session.
- REGISTER: This two-hour webinar will dive deeper into how the 2023 Minnesota Legislative Session laws will impact senior service providers and the seniors they serve from both a financial and operational perspective. Register today!
- REVISIT: We hosted a preliminary conversation about the outcomes of the 2023 session on Wednesday, May 24, which is now available on-demand. Check it out and let us know if you have questions.
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