John Johnson, East Grand Forks, column: Too many nursing-home beds in MinnesotaNo one is advocating that facilities should lay off loyal staff. What can happen (and has happened in other states) is that nursing homes can reinvent themselves by becoming partners in the home-care service industry.
By: John Johnson,
By John Johnson
EAST GRAND FORKS — Several recent news stories have reported on the reductions made by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to nursing home facilities in his proposed budget.
There is some rationale to the governor’s thinking. Minnesota has too many nursing home beds!
A national survey indicated that Minnesota has 85.5 nursing home beds per 1,000 residents over the age of 65. The national average is 53.6. Two counties, Kittson and Norman in northwest Minnesota, rank in the top five in the state in beds per resident.
In 1987, the high water mark, there were 48,307 nursing home beds in the state. In 2004, there were 39,016; and by 2009, the bed count was 32,728.
Planners indicate there is a projected goal to have fewer than 50 percent of the 1987 benchmark by 2021. Why?
Cost and consumer choice.
In 2009, the average cost per day for a nursing home in the state was $180. That’s $5,400 a month or $65,000 a year. By comparison, the home and community-based services costs for those older than 65 to stay in their own home was $1,214 a month or $14,568 a year.
It does not take a financial wizard to understand the governor’s thinking. Home and community-based services are not limited to those desiring home stay vs. nursing home care, but also other types of institutional care. For those individuals, the annual savings for delivering community-based service saved Minnesotans from $19,000 to $68,000 per year, per person.
This data was derived from the national Center for Medicaid Services.
Speaking of the center, the Dayton administration applied to it and was awarded a national MFP (Money Follows the Person) grant of $187 million to further relocate those in nursing homes who do not need to be there.
These dollars would let the residents transition from high-cost nursing home care to less costly home care.
What the governor is saying is that for nursing homes, it cannot be “business as usual.” No one is advocating that facilities should lay off loyal staff. What can happen (and has happened in other states) is that nursing homes can reinvent themselves by becoming partners in the home-care service industry.
Why can’t nursing staff, therapists and aides work part of a shift in the facility and part delivering the same services to patients staying at home? Even the nutritional staff could prepare meals for home delivery in addition to cooking for those in residence.
The farming industry has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Many businesses have changed to meet consumer demands. This also can happen for those in the nursing home industry.
Johnson is an advocate/trainer at Options CIL in East Grand Forks.