On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune exposed significant shortfalls in Minnesota’s response to COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities. In response, Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point), chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee, called on Governor Tim Walz to take immediate action.
“In no uncertain terms, we are facing an unprecedented crisis in Minnesota’s long-term care facilities. For two months, I have been urging the commissioner and the governor to take decisive and immediate action to protect Minnesotans in long-term care settings. Unfortunately, 19 days after the state’s ‘five-point plan’, we have seen virtually no progress,” said Senator Housley. “We have successfully prepared our hospitals for a potential surge, but I am concerned long-term care facilities – and the seniors and vulnerable Minnesotans that live there – are being left behind.”
Senator Housley sent Governor Walz a letter outlining recommendations developed in consultation with industry officials and medical experts in long-term care. The suggestions include clear, consistent messaging from the Department of Health regarding testing, care, and patient transfers, as well as better supply chain coordination, engagement with on-the-ground experts, and policies for reimbursements.
“Facilities are expressing extreme frustration at the lack of guidance, assistance, and supplies coming from the State – and I don’t blame them,” said Senator Housley. “As I have said many times before, we know where these fatalities are occurring. We need decisive action.”
Today, I again called on @GovTimWalz to take decisive action to protect Minnesotans in long-term care. I was pleased to see his ‘five-point plan’, but 19 DAYS later, 81% of deaths are still in LTC! We cannot leave these people behind! https://t.co/h2LDXOiTVC pic.twitter.com/WJACoxwyxy— Karin Housley (@KarinHousley) May 20, 2020
Senator Karin Housley represents Forest Lake, Stillwater, and the surrounding St. Croix Valley in the Minnesota Senate. She serves as chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee and is an assistant majority leader.