The Reader's Viewpoint

Gov. plans to slash
Medicaid to nursing homes
I am the Executive Director of Laurel Health & Rehab which is a 79-bed skilled nursing and rehab center. I am writing to let your readers know that Gov. Bullock and the state legislature are proposing massive cuts to the daily rates that Medicaid providers receive for providing care for those that can no longer care for themselves.
The daily Medicaid rate that skilled nursing facilities receive does not cover the cost of providing the care that is required by state and federal regulations. The average daily rate a provider receives is less than the Montana minimum wage of $8.15 per hour (in most cases about $7.31) if you divide it by 24 hours. At this hourly rate a skilled nursing facility is supposed to pay for all building utilities; CNAs to provide care; licensed nursing to provide medications, treatments and carry out physicians orders; medical supplies; OTC medications; dietary staff to prepare required special diets and all other meals plus all food costs; all specialized assessment nurses that are required by regulations; all administration staff required to bill and collect reimbursement; housekeeping, laundry and maintenance staff; all repairs on the building and equipment, property taxes; and all other items involved in providing 24-hour skilled nursing care.
Now the Governor and the legislature want to reduce that rate even further. If they are not stopped the proposed rate cuts will have a devastating effect including possible closure​ of every skilled-nursing center in Montana, from the largest ones to the small ones in some of the smallest rural towns. I have been a long term care Administrator for over 30 years, have worked in several different states and have never seen this kind of disregard for the care of the frail and elderly.
People need to contact their state Senators and Representatives and tell them we need to continue to provide funding to care for our frail elderly and to restore the proposed rate cuts to Medicaid providers.Visit http://leg.mt.gov/css/Sessions/65th/legwebmessage.asp to leave a message for your legislator. Time is of the essence, do it today.
Brian Huso, ED
Laurel Health & Rehab

Pollinators are essential for crops
The majority of Americans pay little attention to pollinators – bees, butterflies, wasps, moths and other insects.
However, without pollinators, many crops would not grow. A large variety of fruits and vegetables would become scarce or incredibly expensive, and the cost of other products, including clothing (as cotton is bee-pollinated), would be impacted.
Over 70 percent of the world’s crop plants depend on pollination. In addition, many fruit and vegetable crops require pollination to produce. Wildlife like deer, quail, pheasants and other animals depend on the production of berries and fruits for food.
Many human actions, such as pollution and conversion of natural habitat, have impacted pollinators and their ability to provide ecosystem services.
In our modern agricultural world, drift (or unintentional off-target contamination) from aerial spraying of pesticides has become a major threat to our pollinators. Most insecticides (and a handful of fungicides and herbicides) can kill bees directly or have sublethal effects that can, among other things, negatively impact bees’ ability to reproduce and forage.
The best thing we can do for pollinator conservation is to avoid using pesticides. Unfortunately, avoiding pesticide use, particularly in today’s precision farming world, is not an option for most farmers.
A solution presented by DriftWatch and Xerces Society is to take steps in reducing drift and maintaining buffer zones between sprayed areas and pollinator habitat areas.
Check out driftwatch.org and xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center/ for more on pollinator conservation.

Becky Keim
beckyk@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Monday, May 6, 2019
• Corinthian Lodge No. 72, AF&AM, first & third Monday, 7:30 p.m., Masonic Temple, Laurel Masonic Temple, 9900 Airport Road (except July-August)

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