The state budget Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Wednesday includes funding for bolstering long-term care.
It funds a direct-care workforce training program, as well as expands the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which provides care to elderly residents, including home and community-based services.
Melissa Seifert – associate state director for government affairs for AARP Michigan – added that more than a million dollars has been allocated for non-Medicaid in-home senior services, such as Meals on Wheels and other programs administered through Area Councils on Aging.
“Making sure that people have the ability and options if they so choose to stay in their home as they age as opposed to going into a nursing home,” said Seifert. “So we want people to age with dignity and grace and purpose and make choices that reflect who they are and what they want to do.”
In addition to the funding for long-term care, the budget includes money for transportation and infrastructure, public pension systems, public safety and community policing resources, and economic and community development.
Whitmer vetoed parts of the Legislature’s proposal that allocated resources for anti-abortion causes, such as a marketing program to encourage adoption over abortion.
According to the latest data from AARP’s nursing home COVID dashboard, Michigan has been seeing a slight uptick in COVID cases and deaths in nursing homes.
And Seifert pointed out that while more than 80% of Michigan health-care workers have received the initial COVID vaccine, just about half are boosted.
“It is reflective of what’s happening outside,” said Seifert. “But the problem is that these individuals are really confined into this space, and it’s a very hands-on kind of touchy care that they’re getting.”
Nearly 40% of Michigan nursing homes are facing staffing shortages. Seifert said she hopes the funds from the budget for the direct-care workforce will improve the experience for care workers and nursing-home residents alike.