State Rep. Patti Fritz, who is also a member of our union and herself a Licensed Practical Nurse of over 35 years, introduced a bill in the state legislature that would increase nursing home rates by 4 percent, with 75 percent of the money going directly to wage increases and benefits.
Rep. Fritz pointed out that this bill’s increases don’t even catch up to inflation, saying “Today we’re asking for 4 percent; we are 20 percent behind.”
“It’s almost not humanly possible to give quality care or prevent accidents with current reimbursement rates.”
With our state budget deficit, it is highly unlikely that this bill will pass, but we know that Patti is fighting for us every day!
In response to a legislative report released by the Minnesota Department of Human Services on Managed Care Organizations’ Aggregate Provider Payment and Reimbursement Rates, long term care workers today called for greater transparency and fiscal accountability in state Medicaid program administration by HMOs as legislators work to address our state budget deficit.
“Our tax dollars should be spent on care for our elderly and citizens with disabilities, not on padding the HMOs’ bottom line,” said Sonja Lemire, a Licensed Practical Nurse at Parkview Care Center in Buffalo. “The data released by the Department of Human Services does not include administrative costs or profits, so out of the $3 billion we are giving big HMOs to run Medical Assistance, we still have no idea how much it costs them to do so or how much they are keeping for themselves.”
The call for transparency and fiscal accountability comes on the day that the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee is scheduled to hold hearings to scrutinize how the HMOs are spending the $3 billion in taxpayer money they are given.
Seven major Minnesota health care providers and insurance companies recently released a report titled, “Minnesota’s Healthcare Imperative,” which recommended funding cuts for Personal Care Attendant services as well as dental care for people with disabilities. In a version of the insurance companies’ report obtained by TPT Almanac with workgroup notes in the margins, one note asks, “Given the choice of protecting the developmentally disabled and elderly, or protecting health plan profitability, which should we choose?”
“We were disappointed to see that the report was developed and released by providers and insurers without input from those that would be directly impacted by their proposals, including people with disabilities, the elderly, and the frontline workers that care for them day in and day out” said Julie Schnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “Furthermore, the data released by the Department of Human Services highlights the need for greater fiscal accountability in our Medical Assistance administration by HMOs.”
– 30 –