Sadly, the 2015 Minnesota legislature did not approve the 5% increase for home and community based supports. Although the 5% Campaign did an excellent job, and the Professional Home Care Association supported the effort fully, it was not enough to get the increases that we so badly need in home care.
What’s the problem with home care nursing reimbursement from the state? Let’s do a comparison: Since 2005, the social security cost of living has increased 25%. The reimbursement increase for nursing has been 10%. We are 15% behind in basic cost of living increases! That even includes the 5% we received last year; we were 20% behind! With such low reimbursement rates, it is very difficult to hire and retain good staff!
Are Minnesota legislators out to get us? Are they heartless fiends? No, I don’t think so. I think that they are our neighbors, and they are generally good people.
So where is the disconnect? How can the legislators deny increases for home care services? Because we are invisible.
When legislators drive home after a long session at the Capital, they pass hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. They see the signs, they picture the people inside, and they support those care facilities. What they don’t know is that they pass many private homes where people are receiving home care, but there are no signs. We are invisible. Most people don’t know that high-tech, long-term home care even exists.
So what are we to do? Make some noise! Make a lot of noise! I frequently visit with legislators at the Capital to help them understand home care. Now I’m going to ask them to come to us. And I’m going to ask you, home care community, to open your doors and invite them in. We need to educate our legislators, our journalists, our decision makers about home care. The best way to educate people about home care is to invite them in to visit, to see what a HICU (home ICU) looks like, and to talk about the challenges in home care staffing. Join me!