Union Member Offers Testimony Objecting to Proposed Cuts to Long Term Care Budgets

The 2019 legislature and Governor Tim Walz created the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services to develop an action plan for transforming the health and human services system. "The proposed strategy would result in estimated state share savings of $11 to $13 million for the biennium ending June 30, 2023. The total savings would be impacted by the timing and design of the revised VBR quality incentive. The population impacted by the strategy includes private pay and Medicaid eligible nursing home residents. The daily payment rates established under the proposed rate modifications would likely be less than rates established under existing law." 

UFCW 1189 Union member and Nursing Assistant Carri Krantz from Augustana in Hastings agreed to speak to officials about her perspective on the impact of such "savings". She along with Mike Dreyer (UFCW 1189 Union Representative) tesitfied before the committee, objecting to the proposed cuts to the nursing home budget.  Thank you Carrie and Mike for speaking up for the residents, their families and our members working in Long term care facilities across the state.

Below is a copy of Carrie's testimony.

"Hello, my name is Carrie Kranz.  I have been employed at Augustana Care at the Hastings campus since October 4, 2011 as a certified nursing assistant/nursing assistant registered.

I am here to ask the state of Minnesota not to make cuts to long-term care facilities due to the projected budget for the current year, 2020.

Long-term care staff, including nurses and trained medication aides, are staffed at only 3.481 hours per patient or resident per day (PPD).  These staffed hours have been set because of projected funding and regulation by the state of Minnesota without consideration of 2-person assistance to our patients and have resulted in low funding for long-term care staff.

Long-term care staff care for vulnerable adults who have different needs, allowing for just little more than three hours per patient.  This time allotment falls short of state regulations and expectations; not to mention falling short of our own expectations to provide the best quality care.  Our patients and residents deserve better.  In addition to the normal aging process, these patients incur crippling neurology diseases as well as functioning body parts.

It is difficult to expect new employees who are joining our already depleted work force to understand or even want to work in such a stressful environment on a daily basis.

As a CNA, I understand that money is important to carry on with my own personal daily living needs; however, that’s just one part of the process for caring for people who can longer do so for themselves.  Funding provides so much more, including ensuring the utmost care and safety of the patients entrusted to long-term care by their family members, quality nutrition, satisfactory heat in the cold winter months, newer or updated equipment to carry out activities of daily living and housekeeping upkeep in their place they call home.  Most importantly, adequate staffing so each patient receives the care they need.  Additional funding would create quality new hires, competitive wages and a less stressful work environment.

This is more than numbers, census and dollars.  As a long-term care provider, I have a personal calling to help those in need.  I invite any of you to work an 8-hour shift in my shoes.  Because of lack of staffing, I sometimes am covering longer shifts, many times working 14-16 hours per day.  Our positions are at times very physical as well as mentally draining; yet, it is my choice because I have a deep passion for caring for my residents.

By cutting funding, you will have taken more from these long-term care residents who have already exhausted their personal savings, pensions and given up their homes in order to be cared for.  I ask you please, do not cut funding any further than it already has, crippling this industry. 

Thank you for your time and consideration."