Happy New Year!! I hope that all of you had an enjoyable holiday season, you’re staying warm and are ready to jump head long into this New Year. Many exciting things are in process. Affiliation letters have gone out and many of your organizations have already responded. May 4th, 2019, Fun(d)raiser letters and tickets are going in the mail as I write today.
Our Rockin’ Retiree Volunteers are having an impact in the Special Election in Senate District 11 writing postcards and making calls to retirees for the Minnesota AFL-CIO Endorsed Candidate, Stu Lourey. THANK YOU to all those who have worked on those projects. More chances for your participation in retiree activities will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.
Many of you will remember the Council voted to support the Lymphedema Treatment Act (https://lymphedematreatmentact.org/). In the 115th Congress it was the highest ranked bill for changes in Medicare with 451 cosponsors in the House and Senate. Sadly it was not included in any budget bills prior to the end of the 115th Congress. That means we will be seeking your help to request our Congressional Representatives and Senators to sign on as cosponsors to get this much needed legislation to become law.
Closer to home many of you may have heard calls for reforms in senior care. Representatives from Elder Voice Family Advocates (https://www.eldervoicefamilyadvocates.org), Vice President Jean Peters and Treasurer Kay Bromelkamp, appeared at our last State Retiree Board meeting to report on the need for and importance of licensing assisted-living facilities. They spoke of their own experiences when caring for their mother while she was a resident in a metro area assisted living facility. In 2018 the state received 400+ complaints per week regarding care in these facilities (84% are maltreatment complaints). Many of those complaints fall through the “cracks” because of budget constraints in Department of Health Investigation and Enforcement, and the lack of licensing. Minnesota is the only state which does not license such facilities.
StarTribune writer Chris Serres did a five-part series titled “Left to Suffer” in November 2017. Serres recently did an in depth report on Minnesota’s Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm’s call for licensing of assisted living facilities (http://www.startribune.com/health-commissioner-calls-for-tougher-state-oversight-of-assisted-living-facilities-for-seniors/504782002/).
Take heed. As with most regulation of an industry you have to “follow the money”. The fight to insure abuse free competent care; rights for vulnerable adults and their families; and, justice for victims will be met with strong opposition from the profiteers whose only interest is their bottom line. While we all may reach a point where we will need a nursing home or an assisted living facility, none of us want to be abused, assaulted or left to die because of the profiteers’ concern about their bottom line in the assisted living industry! Remember it’s always good to let your elected officials know what you think, especially regarding your future care.
Kenneth McInnis, President