The state budget Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law on Wednesday includes funding to strengthen long-term care.
It funds a direct care workforce training program and expands the All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program, which provides care for elderly residents, including home and community services.
Melissa Seifert — associate state director of government affairs for AARP Michigan — added that more than $1 million has been allocated to non-Medicaid home-based senior services, such as Meals on Wheels and others. programs administered by regional councils on aging.
“Making sure people have the ability and the options if they choose to stay in their homes as they age rather than go to a nursing home,” Seifert said. “So we want people to age with dignity, grace and purpose and make choices that reflect who they are and what they want to do.”
In addition to funding for long-term care, the budget includes funds 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 to 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 seen an uptick in COVID cases and nursing home deaths.
And Seifert pointed out that while more than 80% of Michigan’s healthcare workers received the first COVID vaccine, about half are boosted.
“It reflects what’s happening on the outside,” Seifert said. “But the problem is that these people are really confined in this space, and it’s a very delicate kind of care that they receive.”
Nearly 40% of Michigan nursing homes are facing staffing shortages. Seifert said she hopes funds from the Direct Care Workforce Budget will improve the experience for social workers and nursing home residents.