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Bill Bans Construction Of New Nursing Homes For Three Years

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Mike
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/msuner/

Legislation putting a three-year halt to new nursing home construction narrowly passed the House Tuesday.  A similar bill died in the waning hours of last year’s session.

The bill would bar construction of new nursing homes for three years with only a few exceptions.  Those include allowing construction in counties where nursing home occupancy rates are at least 90 percent, and allowing construction of small homes of no more than a hundred beds.  If the bill is signed into law, projects currently in the works must have submitted plans to the state by March 1st to move forward.  Crawfordsville Republican Tim Brown, the bill’s sponsor, says the state’s existing nursing homes are far from full.  And he says the funding structure, through Medicare reimbursement, makes building new homes a bad investment:

“The cost of all buildings, the cost of all beds are borne by the taxpayers of the state of Indiana," says Brown. "So when we have unfilled beds, we are all paying for them as taxpayers.”

Opponents argue the bill will cost jobs in both the nursing home and construction industries, arguing the measure interferes in the free market.  The bill now heads back to the Senate, which can concur to changes made by the House and send the legislation to the governor.  If the Senate doesn’t agree, the bill goes to conference committee.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.