Senator Kevin Cramer says his office has discussed the issue of compassionate care in long-term care settings, essentially paving the way for compassionate care visits to occur. Residents in long-term care have been impacted largely by the Coronavirus pandemic, with many facilities in North Dakota still not open to internal visitation.

This week, Cramer’s office was instrumental in a change to compassionate care.

Compassionate care is a hot topic that has been on the forefront of minds in the North Dakota Long Term Care Association’s Reuniting Residents and Families Task Force. Family members across the state have been lobbying for compassionate care to be allowed in certain situations that do not necessarily mean end of life for residents.

Previously, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tied together compassionate and end-of-life care. But recent change clarified that compassionate care should no longer be tied to end-of-life care.

“It means so much to our residents and families to have compassionate care clarified,” task force chairman Chris Larson said on Friday. “We look forward to working with our state partners to allow compassionate care in long-term care.”

Cramer told WZFG Radio’s Scott Hennen that Larson has been “invaluable” to his team, who has been the “bridge” between the state taskforce and CMS. He says CMS Administrator Seema Verma has been “very responsive” to the issue of compassionate care. Yet, he says, results are yet to be coming.

“You can have all the good policies,” Cramer says. “But the implementation is still where the rubber meets the road.”

He says his office will continue to provide policy and guidance during the pandemic.