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Letter: Crunch time for legislators and long-term care facilities

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We are part of The Trust Project.

It’s crunch time for elected officials at the Minnesota State Legislature as they work to finish in the final week finalizing their policy and budget bills.

It’s also crunch time for those in long-term care facilities, or those considering this option. There is a staffing crisis that is limiting options and availability for seniors across the state.

And while many professions are facing staffing crisis, the long-term care area is unique as the pay is set by the state legislature. Our elected officials need to act, to help immediately. These compassionate workers are indeed heroes but need more than a one-time bonus check after all they’ve sacrificed in the last few years of the pandemic. They need a reliable pay raise.

We’re so proud of the work Samaritan Bethany and our staff provide — a full range of living and care options for seniors, including affordable independent-living apartments and the Household Model.

But we — and senior-focused facilities across the state are needing a legislative fix to staff salaries. We cannot keep living on the brink of financial collapse due to the inflexible government policies.

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The long-term care system serves Minnesota's fastest growing segment of the population. The demands of aging seniors must be met by a high-quality, adequate supply of placements - and within reasonable driving distance from home and family.

We, and the other long-term care facilities in Minnesota, urge the legislature to act immediately — this week — to help seniors and help fix our staffing crisis.

Sue Knutson, Mission Leader/CEO, Samaritan Bethany, Rochester

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