State representative looking for solutions

DULUTH, MN. — Faced with staffing shortages in hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term facilities, State Representative Natalie Zeleznikar is preparing to take legislative steps to combat these issues.

Hospitals in the area are continuing to see a “significant bottle neck” in their ability to send senior patients into long-term care facilities.

An issue some say is caused by the rise in healthcare workers leaving the field following the pandemic.

Now, Rep. Zeleznikar is looking to where the state can help streamline regulations to get and keep employees on the floor.

Zeleznikar is hoping to bring two key pieces into legislation.

Her first initiative is to introduce intergenerational programming and health occupation classes into local high schools.

She wants to figure out ways to encourage people to enter healthcare from a younger age.

Her second initiative comes with healthcare reimbursement to those in disability, nursing homes, and assisted living lanes.

” I’m going to be talking to providers to look at what we can do to try to get aids in the building, and what we can do with the legislator to pass a bill to get the funding to those facilities fast to help stabilize them ,” said Representative Natalie Zeleznikar. “There’s a survey piece, a regulation piece, and a funding piece, and both have to go simultaneously.”

Rep. Zeleznikar is currently working with the Trade Association and facilities in her district to create short- and long-term plans for the future.

Zeleznikar says once she has a more formalized plan, she’d like to bring a bill to the house floor.

We have reached out to Essentia Health and St Lukes for a statement and have not heard back.

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