A new law recently went into effect in Minnesota that requires all people seeking to enter an assisted living facility to receive a consultation about the \various care options to them– aside from care at an assisted living facility.
Originally proposed by Governor Mark Dayton, the policy was tailored by the state’s Health and Human Services Committee (HHSC), with the primary goal of providing cost savings to the state. Within the first two years of the program, state officials believe it may save the state $3.8 million.
According to chairman of the HHSC, Jim Abeler, the state has a real interest in educating people about different types of care alternatives. Abeler fears that people many not have a full understanding of how expensive the care can be during a long-term stay. “The backstop for people paying cash when they go broke is the state.” Further reasoning, “[s]o we’re on the hook for the choices people male about how people spend their money in their long-term care.”
Not surprisingly, the program is opposed by several assisted living facilities and trade groups who claim that the new law is overly burdensome and interferes with personal decision making of the individual.
“We completely oppose it. It’s really government overreach – telling a person a person who wants to use their own private dollars how they have to use those dollars,” according to Eric Schubert, vice president of communications and public affairs at Ecumen assisted living.
Incidentally, Minnesota has already adopted a similar preadmission consultation for people seeking admission to nursing homes in the state.
As an attorney involved in long-term care litigation, I strongly support this law and wish other states would adopt similar measures. Of course, the transition to an assisted living facility or nursing home is indeed a significant change, but too often– I find families confused about the real impact of both the economic and the legal implications of their decision. In addition to a frank discussion about the cost of care, I also hope this this program provides information about what the care limitations are at each living arrangement (group home, assisted living or nursing home).
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