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Nursing home bill goes to governor

A bill that would grant supplemental funding of about $380,000 to the Richardton Health Center received final passage Tuesday morning and now awaits Governor John Hoeven's approval.

House Bill 1433 would grant monies to the Health Center for its nursing home care.

The center will be relinquishing its critical access designation May 1 to transition into a skilled nursing facility. The monies provided in the bill are also expected to help with the transition.

Following the transition, St. Joseph's Hospital is expected to apply for critical access designation.

Rep. Shirley Meyer, D-Dickinson, a sponsor of the bill said an emergency clause is tacked on to the bill, making it law as soon as it is signed.

"We couldn't be more pleased," Meyer said. "There was very little opposition. We did try to make the point that both Richardton and Dickinson do depend on this piece of legislation."

The House concurred with Senate amendments and gave the bill final passage Tuesday with a vote of, 77-12 and with no debate.

The bill was co-sponsored by all of the legislators from District 36 and 37, including: Reps. Meyer, Nancy Johnson, R-Dickinson; Frank Wald, R-Dickinson; Mike Schatz, R-New England; and Sens. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson; and George Nodland, R-Dickinson.

The bill is expected to be on the governor's desk and signed within three days. The bill has a sunset clause of June 30, 2011, Meyer said.

"District 36 and 37 legislators, all six of us, we all tried very hard to make the rest of the assembly to understand how critical it was to get this piece of legislation passed with the emergency clause," Meyer said. "We've worked on this piece of legislation for a couple of years now. Hopefully it will benefit both communities."