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TLHA seeks to impact more lives at Hope Residence through special bi-partisan bill

Posted on Apr 02, 2019

The Lutheran Home Association seeks to impact more lives at Hope Residence through special bi-partisan bill

Last week, area legislators presented bills to committees in both the Minnesota House and Senate, which would increase provider rates for Hope Residence, an ICF-DD care community in Belle Plaine, Minn. and other intermediate care facilities.

Senator Rich Draheim [R-Madison Lake, Minn.] appeared before the Minnesota Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee with Michael Klatt, president and CEO of The Lutheran Home Association (TLHA). Rep. Bob Vogel [R-Elko New Market, Minn.] appeared before the House Health and Human Services Finance Division with Debra Wilbright, TLHA’s director of disability services.

The Senate bill (SF 1897) was co-sponsored by:

Senator Draheim told his Senate colleagues, “The exceptional level of care means that residents with high medical needs can age in place and reduces the need to admissions into long-term care facilities, crisis homes, or other facilities with very high costs and rates.” He also noted that despite this level of care, Minnesota provides Hope Residence at one of the lowest daily rates in the state.

The House bill (HR 1752) was co-sponsored by:

In his testimony, Klatt shared Hope Residence’s unique history, the long standing national reputation of the program and the 120 year history of The Lutheran Home Association.

For more than 40 years, Hope Residence has served a population where 81 percent of residents have a dual diagnosis of a developmental disability and mental illness and 84 percent have significant other medical diagnoses.

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Klatt stated, “The complex diagnoses require specialized care and Hope Residence has on-site nursing for 16 hours per day and 24 hour on-call nursing services. Without these nursing services, and partnerships with medical providers such as Bluestone, Ridgeview Medical Clinic and Mayo Clinic, many residents would be forced into state-operated settings or nursing homes.”

Despite the high levels of service Hope Residence provides, the program is one of the most efficient, lowest paid providers in the state of Minnesota. Klatt iterated to the committee “Hope Residence is paid $100 less per resident day compared to other providers in their regulatory class.”

Klatt also stated, “Hope Residence has not received a rate increase since 2014 and our model of providing this high level of care relies upon charitable contributions which is not sustainable long term.”

Klatt noted to the committee “our waiting list now is nearing 50 percent of our licensed capacity of 52 beds. In response, Chairman Abeler stated, “I don’t know how some providers are able to do this.” Chairman Abeler noted the concern of the waiting list population, as most people with developmental disabilities are cared for by parents.

For persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the crisis for funding is at a critical point.

With a growing population of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the crisis for funding is at a critical point. The House Committee heard testimony from three other Intermediate Care Facilities seeking increases to rates higher than that of Hope Residence, and the two committees heard dozens of bills last week alone. With major needs across various sectors in the state of Minnesota, the challenge for resources is significant. Passing this bill through the legislative process is going to require a major effort.

Both bills were “laid over” in their respective committees for possible inclusion in omnibus health and human services funding bills. Klatt said he is hopeful that some desperately needed relief for ICFs such as Hope Residence will be included in one or both of the funding proposals, and that the families of Hope Residence and members of the faith community are reaching out to legislators of both parties to share their stories about the need for assistance from the State.

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About The Lutheran Home Association
The Lutheran Home Association is a not-for-profit ministry dedicated to providing for the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of people in our care. We offer a wide variety of health-care, housing, and spiritual outreach services with campuses in several states and congregational programs serving seniors and individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities nationwide. Services and programs include senior living, skilled nursing care, memory care, disability services, rehabilitative therapies, chaplaincy, Bible classes, worship services, and property management services. Learn more at tlha.org, follow @TLHAword on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook.

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