Nursing Home Crisis

6/17/14 BDN

While Senator Thibodeau refers to the “chronic underfunding issues” that nursing homes face, he does not offer details as to what legislative forces have created this chronic problem in Maine in the first place.

I live in Waldo County and have worked in a skilled nursing facility for over ten years as an occupational therapist. As a clinician, I understand that when a condition is termed “chronic” the first question to ask is why?

We need to look below the surface of the nursing home crisis. Governor LePage’s last ditch effort to find funds for nursing homes failed to address a situation that has been allowed to remain unbalanced. A long term solution requires a well-crafted plan that will bring nursing home reimbursements in line with present day costs.

Part of the solution is to recognize that the funding of nursing homes is closely tied to Medicaid funding: one issue cannot be considered without the other.

Why did Senator Thibodeau vote not to expand Medicaid eligibility for Mainers even under the compromise bill? All citizens need access to affordable healthcare throughout their lifespan. Caring for our entire population should be our top priority. Then nursing homes will be able to provide the kind of health care Mainers need and deserve.

I will be voting for Democrat Jonathan Fulford for State Senate because he will not play partisan politics, and will work to make access to affordable healthcare a reality for elders and for everyone.

Lauren Murray