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A Positive Legislative Year for an Aging Minnesota

by Pam Hayle May 30, 2015

sunset-web_450As seems to be the norm at this time of year, Minnesota politics seem to be in chaos with opposing parties alternately driving for change or holding the line. Hopefully a special session will deliver an equitable budget with good outcomes for all Minnesotans. The negotiating always seems to leave some public interest groups with less than they had hoped for.

This was a good year, in fact some would say an amazing year, for senior care. The Senior Care Reimbursement Reform bill received bipartisan support from the beginning and it was one of the first bills signed by Governor Dayton. This legislation creates a new system for reimbursing long-term care based on the actual costs. It will have a positive impact on services provided by nursing homes, group residential housing and organizations that serve seniors living at home.

Other highlights include the “Let’s Talk Now” grant program to encourage individuals to have conversations regarding their end-of-life choices and advance care planning. The “Care Act” encourages patients to select an aftercare caregiver when they are admitted to a hospital. Hospitals will provide the designated caregiver instructions and training on aftercare needs. A workgroup was also established to study and make recommendations for a “Silver Alert” system that would help find people who are missing and have a diagnosis of dementia, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s Disease and other mental disorders. Read more about outcomes for older adults from the 2015 session.

For those of us concerned with aging issues this is a very supportive and positive tone our state is taking to meet the needs of an aging society. It is proactive and has far-reaching impact for all older adults regardless of their physical, mental or economic status. Minnesota cares about and when needed cares for seniors—something we can all be proud of and appreciate.

Enjoy your summer in beautiful Minnesota!

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