Emergency legislation submitted to help home health care facilities

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Emergency legislation has been filed in Augusta to help home health care facilities stay open in Maine.

Proponents say the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, and state Rep. Thom Harnett, D-Gardiner, would increase reimbursement rates by $8.5 million.

This comes after the recent closure of Home Care for Maine in Farmingdale that provided service to about 600 aging Mainers.

Bellows says this is needed before more home health care facilities are forced to shut down.

"We recognize that there's a comprehensive review that has to happen, and at the same time, we are in crisis," said Bellows. "Long-term care and personal care services for our seniors are in crisis, and we need to fix it."

In response, Senate Republicans said in a statement in part, "While we are glad that Senator Bellows has finally acknowledged the loss of this important organization and employer in her district, we only wish she would have been as concerned last year when the state budget increase of one billion dollars was being doled out to everything but nursing care."