Letter to the Editor: Time is now to invest in long term care industry

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

As an administrator in the long term care industry since 2019, I’ve witnessed many difficult choices in the last few years. I’ve seen caregivers wrestle with whether to leave a rewarding profession and people they love or continue under the weight of low wages and stress. I’ve seen care settings forced to turn away seniors who need care due to a lack of caregivers.

However, a decision that shouldn’t be difficult is whether the Minnesota Legislature should invest in the long-term care system now or wait until 2023. It’s simple: the time is now.

The Long-Term Care Imperative recently released shocking survey data showing the dire financial condition of senior care settings. In fact, 45% of nursing facilities and 40% of assisted living settings are operating with margins of negative 10% or worse. Further, 400 assisted living settings and 40 nursing homes are at risk of closing this year if the state refuses to act, which means 14,000 seniors could be left without care.

Without sufficient funding from the state, care providers can neither raise caregiver wages to attract workers nor keep up with the growing cost of care. The long-term care system faces this challenge today due to years of underfunding from our state leaders.

State lawmakers, our one million Minnesota seniors and their families need your support this session. Without permanent funding to reverse this crisis, the caregiver shortage will only worsen, and more seniors will lose access to critical care.

Justin Boldt, LNHA, LALD

Executive Director

St. Mark’s Living

Austin, MN