AUGUSTA—The Maine Legislature voted to enact legislation from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, that would support nursing homes, in a unanimous vote on Thursday. The bill – LD 1758, “An Act To Clarify and Amend MaineCare Reimbursement Provisions for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities” – increases reimbursement for nursing home facilities to ensure access to care in both rural and nonrural areas.
“Mainer seniors and families are counting on quality, affordability nursing homes and elder care facilities to be there when they need them most,” said President Jackson. “Raising reimbursement rates will ensure that nursing homes can afford to not just stay open but continue to offer the type of care that our seniors deserve.”
In Maine, seven nursing homes have closed in just the last 15 months and others are struggling to pay the bills. Six of those seven closed in 2018, leaving 250 nursing home residents displaced and 400 people without jobs.
Reports indicate that by 2030 the population of Mainers over 65 will increase by 47 percent. In 1995, Maine had 132 nursing homes, but today only 94 remain in operation. A report from the 2013 Commission to Study Long-term Care Facilities specifically noted the ongoing need for adequate reimbursement for facilities to ensure access in both rural and urban areas.
The bill is backed by Maine Health Care Association, First Atlantic Health Care, and LeadingAge Maine & New Hampshire. LD 1758 will now go to the governor’s desk. Gov. Mills has 10 days to sign the bill into law, let it become law without her signature or veto it.