AUGUSTA—Legislation from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, that would help nursing homes remain open and continue to operate, received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday.
The bill – LD 1758, “An Act To Clarify and Amend MaineCare Reimbursement Provisions for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities” – would increase reimbursement for nursing home facilities to ensure access to care in both rural and non-rural areas.
“As options for nursing home care decrease, so do the options for older Mainers to live out their final years in good health, in comfort, and close to their loved ones,” said Pres. Jackson. “We’ve worked all session on getting quality health care to Mainers that doesn’t depend on where you live, and the same is true for the care older Mainers depend on.
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.
LD 1758 will undergo additional work sessions in committee.