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Courage Center Experts Disagree With Gov. Pawlenty's Proposed Budget Cuts
Date:1/27/2009

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesotans with chronic conditions and disabilities face very real threats to their health and independence under the proposed budget of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, according to health care policy experts at Minneapolis-based Courage Center.

"As a leading rehabilitation service organization we provide therapy services to thousands of Minnesotans following an illness, surgery or tragic accident," said Jan Malcolm, CEO of Courage Center. "While our services would be cut by almost $1.7 million under the proposed budget, the broader effects on the community would be far more severe. The Governor proposes to completely eliminate physical, occupational, speech and audiology therapies from all public health insurance programs for adults in need of rehabilitation.

"When the I-35W bridge fell, we and other providers helped those individuals who were hurt return to their lives and livelihoods. Under this budget, we would get paid for those with employer-based health coverage, but not for those on Medical Assistance. That's short sighted."

Rehabilitation services are the very services that people need in order to avoid loss of function or the development of secondary complications, which cost far more money in the long run. "This is completely contrary to the state's goals in health reform, which call for better management of complex and chronic medical conditions," said Malcolm.

For more than 80 years, Courage Center has been a leading advocate for Minnesotans with disabilities and chronic conditions, providing a wide array of services to promote health and independence across the life span.

    Other proposed budget cuts would:

    -- Cut by 3 percent, all payments for outpatient medical services through
       public health insurance programs.
    -- Cut by 3 percent, all payments for Medical Assistance waiver services.
    -- Cut by 
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SOURCE Courage Center
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