CFSS moving to unknown start date

The state’s upcoming Community First Supports and Services (CFSS) program has had its twists and during the 2014 legislative session. What everyone is waiting for now is to see how the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) will act on Minnesota’s new program.

CFSS will replace Minnesota’s Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program. Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) staff is working on implementing the program change, looking at a number of issues including the definition of “dependency” and what that means for participants. A commentary from DHS on the program appears can be read here.

The changeover was to take place April 1, but it has been pushed back to much later. That’s prompted some Halloween jokes from mem bers of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD).

At recent meetings of the MN-CCD, there has been much attention focused on CFSS and what the change means. One concern advocacy groups and self-advocates have raised is whether the change to CFSS will exclude people. DHS staff has said that is not the case. Removing the word “constant” from references to supervision and cueing was seen as one way to be more inclusive, said MN-CCD Director Rebecca Covington. But as of early April, that change wasn’t made by state lawmakers.

The worry about the word “constant” is that it could make Minnesota’s program discriminatory, Covington said.

Everyone is watching for when CMS acts on Minnesota’s new program, because the federal government must sign off before CFSS gets underway. Getting federal approval means the state will have 90 days to get the new program in place. CMS action is being watched closely is how Minnesota’s program lines up to get a potential $41 million federal match.