Senator Claxton sponsors bill to convene task force on long-term acute care

Sen. Claxton: “As many suffer from the shortage of beds, it is necessary to study the needs for long-term acute care in Maine.”

AUGUSTA — Legislation by Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, LD 439 “Resolve, Directing the Commissioner of Health and Human Services To Convene a Task Force To Study the Need for Long-term Acute Care Hospital” would convene a task force to study the need for long-term acute care beds in Maine. The bill received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on Monday.

“Because they have no good placement options, these patients end up with long stays in hospitals that are better designed to help those who have acute, short-term needs,” said Sen. Claxton.

Representatives from the Maine Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, Maine Health and Northern Light Health all spoke in support of the bill. No one spoke in opposition.

Joseph Zamboni, Patient Advocacy Program Manager at the Maine Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, said convening this task force is important because “we need to keep patients in state closer to their support networks.” Joseph spoke of a patient who had passed away outside of the state due to a lack of in-state resources. Sarah Calder of Maine Health echoed the same story, noting that there are patients who have lived in hospitals for up to 7 years before passing away in the hospital rather than being discharged to appropriate care. Lisa McPherson from Northern Light Health also spoke in support of LD 439, citing the crisis in Maine for long-term acute care beds.

LD 439 would be the first step in determining the need for Long-Term Acute Care beds in Maine. The intent of the legislation is to first establish the need for these kinds of beds and then to propose how to best meet that need.

The bill faces more action in the committee, and votes before the full Maine House and Senate.

February 26, 2019

Contact: Lisa Haberzettl [Claxton], 251-3548