By Sue Hegarty
Members of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee do a walkthrough of the Omnibus HHS Finance bill April 17. Photo by Andrew VonBank
Major reforms proposed in the omnibus health and human services finance bill begin to address low medical reimbursement rates and workforce shortages in the health care industry.
HF1638, sponsored by Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), includes measures proffered by Rep. Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) for implementing a statewide rate of reimbursement to nursing homes. It also includes the Five Percent campaign, led by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake), which would require that 90 percent of a 5 percent rate increase be passed along to home and community-based care workers.
Proponents have said nursing homes compete for workers, who find easier work for higher pay in retail and the fast food industries. Another provision would expand a student loan debt forgiveness program in an attempt to draw more people into health careers.
"This legislation provides a major investment in nursing homes, establishes a sustainable reimbursement system, and encourages our workforce to consider a career in long-term care,” said Schomacker, who chairs the House Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee.