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State should get out of nursing home wage issues

Clearly, the formula for how nursing homes are financed through state and federal health care programs is hard to understand. Only nursing home administrators and the state officials who regulate them likely know all the financing complexities.

That said, the Legislature needs to get out of the business of regulating wages for nursing homes.

It’s ironic that during the session when the Legislature passed a law raising the minimum wage, they are holding back wage increases for nursing homes, even though market forces demand them.

According to PioneerCare CEO Nathan Johnson, the inability to increase wages will have a long-term negative effect, since the need for nursing home care continues to increase as the population ages. If PioneerCare, Broen Home and other area nursing homes can’t offer enough to attract employees, the staff to care for residents simply will not exist.

If legislators are concerned about controlling costs, nursing home administrators and boards care about the bottom line, and will only pay what’s necessary.

State government intervention certainly is not. — Fergus Falls Daily Journal