For example, the state sets the daily rate charged by nursing homes for all Medicaid and private-paying patients. By law, all Minnesotans are charged the same daily rate for the care they receive in a nursing home – the Medicaid rate – regardless of whether they need public assistance, or they can pay for their own care. The rate is approved by state regulators.
That means the state’s funding rate decisions directly impacts the salaries of professional caregivers, the range of services a facility can provide, and the number of residents a senior community can serve. For many years, the rate had not kept up with the true cost of care.
To address this, Minnesota lawmakers passed a law in 2015 that increased the daily rates to reflect the actual cost of care, called Value-Based Reimbursement (VBR). This led to unprecedented investment in direct care employee wages, with the average for certified nursing assistants increasing by over 20% and for registered nurses by almost 20%. Further, VBR has increased health care coverage for nursing home employees by over 10%.
As we reset our priorities in the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 crisis, we must remember that our senior population is still growing, and as a result, the demands for support and services will be expanding.
Sixty-thousand Minnesotans will turn 65 this year, next year and every year from now until at least 2030. We need to continue investing in safe, quality care and a professional caregiving workforce to make sure we are ready to serve our seniors in communities across the state.
Learn more about the state’s role in funding senior care on pages 4-5: Understanding Senior Care in Minnesota