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.
Photo EBT Moves to Statewide Implementation
AUGUSTA – After a successful pilot project in the Bangor Office, the Maine Department of Health and Human services will begin producing Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards with photographs statewide, beginning July 1.
“Placing photos on the Maine EBT card is one additional way to strengthen the integrity of our public assistance programs,’’ said Maine DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew. “The photo will also help our staff to verify the identity of the benefit recipient and will be helpful in EBT trafficking cases where cards are sold for cash or drugs, or when multiple cards are in the possession of an individual.”
Approximately 223,000 EBT cards are active in Maine. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other welfare benefits are placed on the EBT card. Over the last 12 months, more than $383 million in benefits have been placed on EBT cards in Maine.
The new card features a white background and a blue banner. It replaces the former Pine Tree Card, which has scenic photographs of Maine on the front. The card will also include language that clearly indicates that misuse of the benefit card is considered a crime.
“Adding a photo to the EBT card will help to deter fraud and protect benefits for those who are legally and legitimately receiving them,’’ said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The card now makes it crystal clear that using EBT inappropriately is a crime, which makes it easier to prosecute those who take advantage of the system.”
Governor LePage Announces $11.3 Million to Support At-risk Students
PORTLAND – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that the Maine Department of Education is giving out $11.3 million over the next five years to support extended learning opportunities for at-risk students.
The Governor announced the awards alongside Education Commissioner Jim Rier, LearningWorks CEO Ethan Strimling, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk and South Portland School Department Superintendent Suzanne Godin at the Reiche School in Portland.
LearningWorks will receive around $2.5 million over the five-year award period to provide hands-on, engaging and relevant extended day and summer programming at six schools in Portland and South Portland through the establishment and continuation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
Community learning centers provide academic support and enrichment opportunities outside of school hours that improve the in-school performance of at-risk students – including those who struggle academically or are from low-income or immigrant families.