After a recent visit to his home state, which has been beset by numerous nursing home closures, a U.S. congressman says that he’ll push for reforms to help provide relief for the industry.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) vowed to delve deeper into issues plaguing long-term care, according to local news coverage. One report noted that seven Maine nursing homes have closed in the past five years, with an official saying that as many as 10 others could possibly shutter in 2018.
Poliquin said local minimum wage increases and higher expenses to pay for federal regulatory compliance are squeezing providers. Officials at recently shuttered facilities in Patten and Jonesport blamed low Medicaid pay rates for their undoing, notes the Ellsworth American.
After meeting with the administrator at Seaport Village Healthcare, a skilled care and assisted living provider in Ellsworth, the two-term congressman said he will fight to help the struggling industry, both locally and at the federal level. He plans “to push reforms to lighten the heavy paperwork burden faced by our nursing homes and will do everything I can for those in need of this critical care,” he said in a statement to the newspaper.
Poliquin added that he is open to fighting for better reimbursement rates for long-term care, but he has, in the past, expressed opposition to expanding Medicaid locally.
“In addition to the minimum wage increase, falling occupancy and a shortage of nurses, all of which have put pressure on our nursing homes in Maine,” he said in the article, “lower reimbursement rates is an issue, and I will fight for fair reimbursement rates.”