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.
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.”