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Sen. Westrom, Rep. Anderson, Rep. Franson, and Professional Caregivers at Knute Nelson | Walker Methodist Discuss Improving Access to Care and Raising Caregiver Wages

Sen. Westrom, Rep. Anderson, Rep. Franson, and Professional Caregivers at Knute Nelson | Walker Methodist Discuss Improving Access to Care and Raising Caregiver Wages
 
ALEXANDRIA, MN – Workforce challenges, caregiver’s wages, and access to care for older adults were the top concerns shared by employees of Knute Nelson | Walker Methodist during a recent legislative visit with Sen. Torrey Westrom, Rep. Mary Franson and Rep. Paul Anderson.
 
Minnesota is home to more than one million people aged 65 and older. Brady Johnsrud, Executive Director of the Knute Nelson Care Center thanked the legislators for their support and work for Minnesotans, specifically for the $300 million given in support for nursing homes in Minnesota. “Because of this, Knute Nelson | Walker Methodist was able to give substantial bonuses to our long-term care team members,” said Johnsrud. “We are grateful that leaders like Sen. Westrom, Rep. Anderson, Rep. Franson are advocating on behalf of aging adults.”
 
Additional individuals present included employees who highlighted the ways the organization is working to recruit and retain staff, including cultivating a positive and supportive workplace, implementing significant hiring bonuses for frontline staff, and advocating for competitive wages to ensure caregivers receive sustainable wages.
 
“Our staff are compassionate and skilled professionals who provide excellent care to our residents,” said Johnsrud. “But the starting wage is a barrier in recruiting and retaining talent. Because the state sets our rates, this directly impacts what we can pay our staff.”
 
Jason Garcia, Executive Director of Glenwood Retirement Village, added, “Reimbursement from the government is processed 21 months late, which is not only too far behind, but it also lags behind inflation rates.” This, along with a multitude of other pay structures stacked against care centers and other health care organizations means that “we are heading into a crisis in health care that must be addressed. Wages that better reflect the quality of care we provide are essential, and support from lawmakers is needed for all Minnesotans,” said Garcia.
 
Knute Nelson | Walker Methodist serves in more than 58 counties in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Their extensive portfolio consists of 34 housing communities, and a continuum of care that includes home health care, wellness, a therapy continuum, assisted living, memory care, hospice care and population health. Annually, they serve more than 11,500 people with over 2,100 team members. For more information about the two organizations, visit www.knutenelson.org and www.walkermethodist.org

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