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Legislators tour Good Samaritan nursing home after law helps boost caregiver pay

Minnesota legislators toured a Brainerd nursing home Wednesday, whose administrators said a new state law helped them keep workers on the job. Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, Chair of the Minnesota House Aging and Long Term Care Policy Committee ...

Ryan Cerney, administrator for Good Samaritan Society – Bethany, left gives a tour of the nursing home Wednesday to Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, center, and Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa. Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, chair of the Minnesota House Aging and Long Term Care Policy Comittee, also attended the visit. Submitted photo/Minnesota House of Representatives
Ryan Cerney, administrator for Good Samaritan Society – Bethany, left gives a tour of the nursing home Wednesday to Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, center, and Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa. Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, chair of the Minnesota House Aging and Long Term Care Policy Comittee, also attended the visit. Submitted photo/Minnesota House of Representatives

Minnesota legislators toured a Brainerd nursing home Wednesday, whose administrators said a new state law helped them keep workers on the job.

Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, Chair of the Minnesota House Aging and Long Term Care Policy Committee and Reps. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa and Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin toured the Good Samaritan Society-Bethany.

The three were profusely thanked by the nursing home's management for a law the Legislature passed earlier this year which increases the amount of money going to facilities like the Good Samaritan Society.

The law as a whole gives $138 million in new funding to nursing homes throughout Minnesota. There will be an estimated $1.25 million boost to Good Samaritan, consisting of both Medicaid and private revenue.

Administrator Ryan Cerney and Michael Deuth, executive director, said the new influx of cash helps pay higher salaries to staff, which in turn helps retain workers and provide more care to the seniors that use the facility.

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Deuth likened Good Samaritan to a ship that had been sinking, and the money as help for patching holes to keep it afloat.

"We have struggled for years legislatively," he said. "We were in serious trouble."

An entire wing of the home lies dormant because there aren't enough staff to operate it, Deuth said.

Cerney said while there were serious staffing issues before, the situation was "on the mend" thanks in part to the new money as a result of the law.

ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser .

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