Senate Republican Leader Michael Thibodeau Visits Waldo County Nursing Home
Says Recent Funding Increase Only a Short-Term Solution
BELFAST – Maine Senate Republican Leader Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) today visited residents and employees of Harbor Hill Center in Belfast. In addition to discussing life at the nursing home, Senator Thibodeau also briefed them on recent state government efforts to find more funding for Maine nursing homes, some of which are in danger of closing due to low reimbursement rates for Medicaid patients.
Referring to Maine’s elderly residents who live in nursing homes, Senator Thibodeau said, “If we can’t take care of this population, there’s something wrong with our values.”
Governor Paul LePage last week announced the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had identified savings that, combined with federal dollars, will provide more than $25 million in emergency funding for Maine nursing homes. The Governor and Republican legislative leaders have warned, however, that the funding is a one-time fix and Maine nursing homes will continue to struggle financially in years to come. Two Maine nursing homes, one in Pittsfield and the other in Lubec, recently announced plans to close due to financial problems.
Irving Fraunce, who is the Administrator of Harbor Hill Center, said lawmakers in Augusta need to look beyond the next election cycle and, “take a long-term view” of the situation. “This problem isn’t going away; it’s going to get worse,” Fraunce said.
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Governor LePage Announces Additional Funding for Elderly in Nursing Homes
Measure by Chief Executive Designed to Keep More Nursing Homes from Closing
AUGUSTA – With several Maine nursing homes on the brink of closure, Governor Paul R. LePage and Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew announced today that Maine nursing facilities will receive $25.4 million in additional funding in the upcoming fiscal year.
“Maine is one of the oldest states in the nation, and these nursing homes are critical to our seniors and the family members who care for them,” said Governor LePage. “As we prioritize spending within Maine’s Medicaid program, the elderly stand at the front of the line when it comes to needing our help.”
Underfunded by the state since 2005, many of Maine’s 106 nursing homes have been facing financial difficulties because of less-than-adequate Medicaid reimbursement rates. In fact, two have recently closed their doors.
“Democratic leadership chose to play politics and ignore our elderly by refusing to take action to fund the nursing homes,” said Governor LePage. “I offered a solution to lawmakers in April, but it was rejected. So I directed Commissioner Mayhew to do everything she could to find the money within DHHS. As a result of the department’s successful efforts to rein in spending in the Medicaid program, they were able to find the funding. When that revenue is combined with federal matching funds, our nursing homes will now receive $25.4 million.”
Maine Nursing Home Closes Following Inaction by Democrats in Legislature
Democrat Leaders Failed to Act on Emergency Funding Solution in the Final Days of Legislative Session
AUGUSTA –Maine Senate Republican Leader Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) says a dire prediction about Maine nursing homes is coming true, following the announcement that Pittsfield Rehab and Nursing plans to close in early September.
The 57-bed facility has served people in the Pittsfield area and western Waldo County for more than 30 years. Pittsfield Rehab and Nursing officials cited financial pressures as the reason for closing. Maine nursing homes, particularly rural ones, have had difficulty making ends meet in recent years due to insufficient Medicaid (MaineCare) funding.
“This is exactly what we feared in the closing days of the last legislative session,” Senator Thibodeau said. “Nursing homes have been sounding the alarm about their financial plight, but it’s fallen on deaf ears among the Democratic leadership.
Associated Press: Maine to Issue 9,525 Fewer Deer Hunt Permits
Maine is accepting applications for the 2014 antlerless deer permit lottery.
Paper applications are due by the end of the day on July 25 and online applicants have until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15. The state is scheduled to issue 37,185 “any deer” permits in 12 districts around Maine. The number represents a decrease of 9,525 from last year.
The lottery drawing is scheduled for Sept. 9 and results will be posted on the department’s website after 2 p.m. Hunters who do not get an “any deer” permit may only shoot an antlered deer.