AUGUSTA — Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, met with seniors, workers and nursing home administrators on Monday, shortly after his bill to provide funding for nursing homes became law without the governor’s signature over the weekend. The new law — 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.
“This much-needed funding will help nursing homes stay afloat and continue to provide a high standard of care to our loved ones. But our work isn’t over,” said President Jackson. “If we want our parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles to get quality compassionate care — the type of care they deserve — we need to make long-term investments in our nursing homes and the incredible professionals who work there. In Augusta, I will continue to stand strong and fight to ensure nursing homes, like Caribou Rehab and Nursing Center, get the attention and commitment they need from lawmakers.”
Maine has experienced a decline in the number of nursing home facilities over the past several decades. Twelve nursing homes have closed since 2012; 94 nursing homes remain operational today. At the same time, Maine’s demographics are only getting older. 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.
LD 1758 received strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and House earlier this year but was held by the governor’s office due to concerns over federal funding. After a period of review, the administration determined that the legislation wouldn’t threaten federal funding and announced that it would become law in a letter to the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.
The new law takes effect immediately and applies retroactively to July 1.