Pine River and Walker Nursing Facilities Granted Critical Access Status

ST. PAUL, MINN. – As the baby boomer generation ages, more stress is being placed on nursing facilities across the state. Rural nursing centers are particularly feeling the pinch, and that’s why a recent increase in funding to the Critical Access program provided by the Minnesota Legislature is so vital. Two facilities in Sen. Tom Saxhaug’s (DFL-Grand Rapids) district were included in the recent designations: the Good Samaritan Society in Pine River and the Golden Living Center in Walker are among the centers who will share in the additional funding. Their designation as a Critical Access site means each of the facilities will receive a rate increase for two years to help preserve service in remote areas, improve quality and rebalance long-term care.

“This designation is great news for these two facilities. The Pine River and Walker centers are among only 12 awarded Critical Access status in the state, and it shows their importance to our rural communities. Allowing folks to receive care at a facility near their family and friends is good for their overall health, and this extra money will allow the facility to do an even better job of caring for our aging population,” said Sen. Saxhaug.

According to the Department of Human Services (DHS) which decides which facilities receive the Critical Access designation, the program promotes higher quality by reviewing each facility’s performance. DHS scores the centers and takes into consideration resident quality of life and satisfaction as well as looks at the clinical process and outcome quality indicators.

While the Critical Access Nursing Facility (CANF) program has been around for years, the legislature’s recent increase in funding to the program will likely be the first of several moves to address the aging population in Minnesota. The Critical Access status became official on Oct. 1, 2014 and will last two years before the facilities must reapply for designation.

Estimated funding for 12 months for the Good Samaritan Society in Pine River is $162,062, and $59,993 for the Golden Living Center in Walker.

If you have questions for Sen. Saxhaug, you can email him at or call his office at (651) 296-4136.

Senator Tom Saxhaug
Tom Saxhaug represents District 5, which includes portions of Beltrami, Cass, Hubbard, and Itasca counties in the northern part of the state. He is a retired insurance agent. Sen. Saxhaug chairs the State Departments and Veterans Budget Division.

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