MHCA Spearheads Coalition to Advocate for Increased Funding for Long Term Care

On Monday, the Maine Health Care Association held a press conference at the State House to announce the launch of the Who Will Care Coalition. The coalition consists of numerous health care entities, advocacy organizations, and public health professionals. The group is advocating to prevent the loss of Maine's nursing homes and residential care facilities currently jeopardized by a $120 million reimbursement shortfall. 

The coalition was joined by Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) and Senator Rick Bennett (R-Oxford) as they called for additional funding for long term care facilities in Maine. The chronic underfunding and lack of staff have seriously impeded Maine's ability to provide long term care services to the aging population.
“Over a quarter of residents in Aroostook County are 65 years old or older. The County and other rural parts of the state have a significant need for nursing homes, but they continue to close because of underfunding,” said Senate President Jackson. “I stand here today as part of this call to action to impress upon my colleagues in the legislature that the time to act is now.”
The problems facing nursing homes and assisted living providers have been exacerbated in the last few years by high inflation and the workforce recruitment and retention crisis. To continue providing high-quality care, homes often use costly temporary staffing.
“It is clear that the past approach of one-time supplemental payments is not working, and Maine needs to make a serious, concerted effort to save its nursing homes,” shared Senator Bennett. “We will continue to lose these services across Maine if we do not work to close the shortfall nursing facilities experience. Rural Mainers will be disproportionately impacted by Augusta's inability to act.”
Closures also impact the whole healthcare system as many Mainers are stuck in hospitals waiting months for a long term care placement. Two nurses, Jessica Duffy, RN, Executive Director of Affinity Care of Maine and Doreen Locke, RN, Director of Nursing at Odd Fellows' and Rebekah's Home of Maine also spoke at the press conference to talk about their experiences working with residents in long term care.  
“The partners on this campaign want to underscore the fundamental question that is the namesake of this coalition, Who Will Care?,” said Angela Cole Westhoff, Executive Director of the Maine Health Care Association. “We know legislators on both sides of the aisle care, and now our residents, their families, and our staff are calling on them to show their passion and commitment with a meaningful investment that will stop these closures.”

The coalition is asking the legislature to allocate $31 million of state general funds. Current coalition partners include the Alzheimer's Association, Leading Age Maine, Maine Council on Aging, MaineHealth, Maine Hospital Association, Maine Long Term Care Ombudsman, Maine Medical Association, Maine Public Health Association, Maine Osteopathic Association, and Northern Light. 

You can learn more at:
Staff contact: