Thank you to all who attended the Town Hall Meeting on Saturday at Metcalf Middle Schoool. There were over a hundred people that came, so there is a broad concern about our health care system. Senator Carlson and I were very pleased to have a number of people help us focus on issues in the health care field.
Bernadine (Bunny) Engledorf presented some of the priorities of the Minnesota Nurses Association. Safe staffing is still a top concern in many hospitals . This ranges from patients not receiving appropriate medications and help in a timely manner to violence against nurses and other personnel.
Beth Tollefson of Living Well talked about the difficulty in keeping staff in group homes and community facilities. The turnover rate for their company is well over 40%. The problem is the compensation is so low that people can make more money in fast-food places and grocery stores without all the stress involved in helping our most vulnerable citizens. The pay is set by the legislature and has not kept up with rising costs over the past decade. House File 873/ Senate File 669 provide for a 4% raise. The speaker said that is not nearly enough,but it something. House File 1776 by Representative Considine has a 10% percent increase. At this point, it is uncertain whether either of these will be passed this year. This would be a travesty! The need is critical and people believe their taxes should be used to help in this area.
A resident talked about his experiences working in medical clinics in refugee camps. He stressed that about of the people there are children. He mentioned one child that is a triple amputee.
Then Senator John Marty talked about the health care access in our country and the fact that other countries have better outcomes than our country in spite of all the money spent here. He is the author of the Minnesota Health Plan. Representative David Bly, who carries the bill in the House, also made some comments about the shortfalls of our current health system. We were fortunate to have others present who provided additional information about health care and health insurance.
There is much work to be done in this area and no time to lose in creating a system that benefits all.