Advocating for Seniors at the State House: The Cedars Steps In

On March 5, LD 1776: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Long Term Care Facilities Study Commission received a public hearing before the Committee on Health and Human Services. John Watson, Chief Financial Officer at The Cedars, was one of the presenters.

John was a gubernatorial appointee to the Long Term Care Facilities Study Commission that authored LD 1776 and was recognized for his work and leadership. The Committee concluded Maine must rectify years of chronic underfunding to nursing homes. Rural areas are hardest hit and many are in danger of closing, but even urban facilities are challenged to make ends meet.

The Commission urged the legislature to pass $2 million in relief for struggling facilities in rural Maine; a bill to study funding problems in rural Maine facilities; and a bill sponsored by LeadingAge to end the current system of MaineCare reimbursements and would require the state to pay providers the $35-40 million in care costs it fails to reimburse each year.

“We need to stop relying on providers to meet our obligation to rural and low-income elders,” John explains. “Everyone needs access to quality long term care.” On April 16, John was recognized by LeadingAge with an Advocacy Award for his work on this important issue.