Minnesota Latest State Reporting Caregiver Shortages. National Guard Called In to Help

Nationwide labor shortages are adversely impacting the long-term care industry. Greater demand and fewer caregivers mean higher costs and lack of available care, placing tremendous burdens on families and finances.

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Minnesota Latest State Reporting Caregiver Shortages. National Guard Called In to Help
5 Min Read October 11th, 2021 Updated:November 23rd, 2021

The labor shortage across the country is adversely affecting the long-term care industry nationwide. The problem in Minnesota is growing, with 23,000 job vacancies forcing 70% of long-term care facilities in the state to turn away potential residents. 

Labor shortages are adversely impacting the long-term care industry nationwide. Greater demand and fewer caregivers mean higher costs and lack of available care, placing tremendous burdens on families and finances. In some states, the problem is in crisis mode, and Minnesota is one of those states. 

Fewer caregivers mean fewer rooms available in facilities and fewer home care providers. The growing demand for long-term health care services, along with labor shortages, are increasing costs and creating a crisis for Minnesota families. 

No Staff – No Care

"We can't admit people if we don't have the staff to take care of them," Patti Cullen, CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota.

Cullen made the remarks at a recent press conference. Leading Age Minnesota and Care Providers Minnesota, the state's two largest long-term care trade associations, says 70 percent of Minnesota care facilities surveyed reported a shortage in staffing. This shortage is hampering their ability to admit new residents. 

The labor shortage is not limited to just nursing homes and memory care facilities. The trade associations report 29 percent of assisted living facilities are experiencing problems with admitting new residents.  

"It's not that we don't want to take care of the seniors and help the families; we cannot because we don't have the staff available to do that," Cullen said.

National Guard Called In

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has activated the National Guard to assist staffing problems in the state's long-term care facilities. To start, 400 guard members are being trained as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aides.

Rural Areas Drastically Affected

Smaller nursing homes in rural parts of the state are significantly affected as they have many beds paid for by Medicaid. Health insurance, including Medicare, pays only for a limited amount of skilled nursing home costs. Many people fail to obtain Long-Term Care Insurance that pays for care either in long-term care facilities or at home. However, you cannot purchase LTC Insurance when you have poor health, as it is designed to be purchased when you are younger and in reasonably good health. 

Since many people don't even think about long-term care until a crisis has occurred, families are forced to become caregivers or pay for care out of income and assets. 

Medicaid will pay for long-term care once you have little or no assets. However, Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes hardly cover the costs that private pay facilities are charging. 

Minnesota's 2021 reimbursement rate is $270 for a nursing home. While that is much higher than neighboring states, it is short of the average daily cost of nursing homes in the state.  

According to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, the 2021 state median average for a nursing home is $355.36 a day - a shortage of $85.36 a day - Minnesota Long-Term Care | LTC News.

In-home care is costly as well but less expensive than a nursing home. The median average for care at home (based on a 44-hour week) runs $70,393 a year - almost $5900 a month.

The base assisted living cost statewide is now averaging almost $51,000 a year. Surcharges will increase the cost based on the number of services a resident may require - adding anywhere from a few hundred extra a month to as much as eighteen hundred more on top of the base cost.

Higher Demand – Labor Shortages – Higher Cost in Decades Ahead

The cost of care problem is not just a dilemma for today; the costs of all long-term care services are expected to increase in the decades ahead. There are many people over age 45 getting older, and lifespans continue to grow. However, because of longevity and medical advances, more people will need help with daily living activities or require supervision due to dementia. 

Family caregivers are not an answer as they are untrained and unprepared for the job that is physically and emotionally demanding. Adult children have careers and family responsibilities, and juggling those roles creates a burden on everyone.

In addition to rising costs, some areas of the state are more expensive. According to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, the St. Cloud, Minnesota, area is the most expensive for nursing homes. Minneapolis-St. Paul area is the most expensive for assisted living facilities, and St. Cloud is the most expensive for home care services. 

In twenty-five years, these costs will adversely affect the income and assets of Minnesota families. Without planning, families will see a financial crisis. 

Minnesota Long-Term Care Partnership Program

Minnesota is one of many states that participate in the Long-Term Care Partnership program. Policyholders with qualified plans receive dollar-for-dollar asset protection - What is a Long-Term Care Partnership Policy? | LTC News.

Even smaller plans can shelter a significant amount of assets for couples and their children and grandchildren. Plus, Long-Term Care Insurance reduces the stress and burdens otherwise placed on family members. 

As the costs increase, the effect on a family's finances becomes even greater. Long-term health care is both a cash flow problem as well as a family problem. With few caregivers, greater demand, and higher costs, being prepared will ease the stress otherwise placed on the entire family.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

No matter where you live, being prepared for the costs and burdens of longevity is vital. The costs of long-term care services continue to rise and increasing demand and labor shortages will place a burden on your family and your saving. 

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives you guaranteed tax-free benefits offering you the choice of quality care - at home or in a facility. Your loved ones will have the time to be family instead of caregivers.

The best time to plan is before retirement, ideally in your 40s or 50s.

Planning Resources Available on LTC NEWS

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. There are also available tax incentives, and see if these tax incentives are helpful - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

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Fund Care or Purchase LTC Coverage with A Reverse Mortgage

If you - or your loved one needs care now, a reverse mortgage could be an answer. Many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. 

With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now. 

Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

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