A big issue facing families struggling to support their loved ones in nursing care facilities, especially in rural areas with lower occupancy rates than metro areas, is the disparities in the reimbursement rate system. Reimbursement rates are the amount of funding nursing homes receive per patient per day from Medicare or Medicaid at the federal level and MinnesotaCare or Minnesota Medical Assistance at the state level.
In the state of Minnesota, reimbursement rates are affected by a number of issues, including the geographic location and occupancy of a facility. The current regional variations in reimbursement rates is large enough to warrant corrective action and this is why I have authored legislation that will confront the flawed system by reducing disparities in rural areas, and establish fair, unbiased and equitable reimbursement rates.
Currently, in our district, Koronis Manor has a reimbursement rate of $125.55 per patient per day, compared to the Hilltop Care Center, just inside the Meeker County line, which has a reimbursement rate of $114.17 per patient per day. These two nursing care facilities are under the same ownership and are located just miles apart, but because they are in two different counties, the amount of funding each receives varies significantly.
My bill addresses this regional disparity by ranking all nursing homes and establishing a 60th percentile level of reimbursement rates as a floor. All nursing care facilities below the 60th percentile level of reimbursement rates, determined to be $125.03, would be given a four percent increase in funding from the state to close the disparity gap. This legislation will affect how much per resident per day nursing homes get and, indirectly, how much the facilities are able to pay in employee salaries.
Under this legislation, Koronis Manor would be above the $125.03 floor, while Hilltop Care Center would qualify for a four percent increase of $10.86, bringing their reimbursement rate total to $125.03 and leveling the disparity. This results in higher quality service for facility residents and provides the nursing homes themselves with more to entice caregivers to work for their facilities
Other nursing care facilities in our area that would benefit from the reimbursement rate increase are the Emmanuel Lutheran Home, Dassel Lakeside, Howard Lake Good Samaritan, Annandale Care Center and Cokato Charitable Trust.
Dean Urdahl represents District 18B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes Meeker County and a portion of Wright County. This is Urdahl’s third term in the legislature after being elected in 2002, 2004 and 2006.