Minnesota state Republicans on Thursday introduced a $322 million package meant to address the staffing challenges facing long-term care, group homes, and home health and other direct care providers.
Tens of thousands of employees stand to earn bonuses of at least $1,000, under the proposal.
“We are facing a serious emergency right now with the staff shortages at long-term care facilities,” stated bill sponsor Sen. Mike Goggin (R). “This funding will help the industry attract new staff, retain the amazing staff they have currently, and close the staffing gaps that are plaguing so many facilities.”
Key components in the $322 million long-term care rescue plan introduced by Senate Republicans:
- Retention bonuses of up to $1,000 for workers in eligible facilities.
- Hiring bonuses up to $1,500 for up to 20,000 new staff members. Half of each bonus would be distributed upon initial hiring, with the other half following 6 months on the job.
- Training funds up to $1,500 for up to 20,000 new staff members.
- Continuation of emergency staffing pool funding as training programs are used to expand the pool of qualified workers.
- Temporary permitting and license changes allowing previously licensed nurses to temporarily practice in facilities.
- Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, streamlining.
- Move up of the date for the advance disability waiver rate setting change, which legislators said would allow programs to work together to save taxpayer dollars without compromising the quality of care.
Testimony at a state Senate Human Services Reform committee hearing Feb. 14 cited data from the results of a survey released by the Long-Term Care Imperative in Oct. 2021 that approximately 23,000 positions were open in Minnesota’s long-term care industry, or 20% of the state’s total workforce.
An August survey showed that the number of resignations of long-term care professionals in Minnesota exceeded new hires by approximately 2,000 workers, signaling a need for the $322 million long-term care package, according to bill sponsors cited by LeadingAge Minnesota,
“This package of bills will keep the workers we have, increase workers in the field, and streamline government to better meet the needs of those served,” Goggin said.