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RELEASE: Baker: HHS bill invests in senior care, expands mental health services

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
ST. PAUL, MN—Assistant Majority Leader Dave Baker, R-Willmar, issued the following statement regarding the passage of the Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus bill, which grows HHS spending by 5% for 2016-2017 over 2014-2015 spending. The bill contains costs while making critical investments including $138 million for Minnesota senior care facilities, $90 million to provide a 5% increase for home and community based care services to increase wages for caregivers, and funding for mental health services, dental service, and services for the disabled. The bill passed early Wednesday morning on a 72-60 vote.


The bill also includes several provisions chief authored by Rep. Baker including:

  • A provision to create a scholarship and loan forgiveness program for long-term care health professionals to further develop Minnesota's senior care work force
  • A provision to expand mental health services for children
  • A provision to increase reimbursement rates for hospitals that treat cerebral palsy
  • A provision to increase medical assistance rates for chemical dependency providers
  • "Steve's Law" Grant Program funding to train emergency medical service personnel on use of an opiate antagonist to help prevent opioid or heroin overdoses.
"This bill will help develop Minnesota's workforce for our senior care facilities, and expand access to mental health and other services for vulnerable Minnesotans," Baker said. "I'm grateful that these bills were included in the omnibus bill, and am proud of the tremendous bipartisan support they have received through the legislative process. These provisions will make a difference for people facing mental health, chemical dependency, and other challenges here in Willmar and in all parts of the state."
 
According to non-partisan House Research, all nursing home facilities in District 17B will receive substantial funding increases under the GOP proposal, including:
 
Bethesda Nursing Home Pleasantview—Willmar, MN—25.39% increase, $1,452,909 increase in 2016
Benedictine Living Community of New London—New London, MN—19.34%, $493,615 increase in 2016
Rice Care Center—Willmar, MN—33.10%, $911,653 increase in 2016
Bethesda Heritage Center—Willmar, MN—26.83%, $1,499,527 increase in 2016


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