Governor Tom Vilsack is setting a target date for legislative action on a proposal to revamp the state’s elder care system. Vilsack wants a bill passed by month’s end which would create a “long-term care” fund — to deposit up to 65-million dollars worth of federal money. That money would be used to create more assisted living and in-home care services for Iowa’s seniors.Vilsack wants to change the way nursing homes are paid for caring for patients, too, by giving more Medicare money for patients who get 24-hour care and less for patients who require little care. Vilsack says too much of government money is being spent on nursing home care, when most Seniors want to stay out of a nursing home as long as possible.Vilsack travels to Washington, D.C. at the end of this month, and wants to schedule a face-to-face meeting with federal officials who would have to o-k the new spending scheme.Senator Sheldon Ritmer is a republican working on the proposal — and he says the democrat Governor’s ideas are getting a good reception in the republican-controlled legislature and there’s a “good chance” the changes will be made in time for Vilsack’s trip to Washington at month’s end.
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