AUGUSTA - Maine's nursing homes are getting a much needed boost. After months of fighting with Democrats, Governor Paul LePage says he has a plan to inject millions of dollars into the struggling facilities.
"Two have closed recently and we suspect we might lose two more," said LePage.
He hopes relief will come from $25 million in funding. About $12 million of that was approved by the legislature, but the Governor said he's found the rest of it through savings in the Department of Health and Human Services.
"We have stabilized the financial foundation," said DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew. "We are not staring at a sea of red ink that leads to crisis driven decision making."
Mayhew credits better management of the Medicaid program, but Democrats aren't convinced.
"She never even told you today where they're actually coming from," said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D). "She just said there were savings, how do we know?"
Politics aside, the director of Maine's Health Care Association said this funding will help thousands of Mainers.
"We have a huge growing elder population," said Rick Erb. "We need to keep our long-term care facilities and other services on sound fiscal footing."
The money will go to all of the state's 104 nursing homes, but the Governor said it's just a band-aid and a better solution needs to be found when the legislature returns in January. LePage said he doesn't need legislative approval to shift the money around within DHHS.