During the 2014 session, Minnesota’s Home and Community-Based Services Standards statute, known as 245D, moved through the Minnesota Legislature with positive, technical changes. These were changes that many self-advocates, MN-CCD organizations and ARRM, which spearheaded the campaign, were requesting. These standards were initially passed by the 2013 legislature as part of a larger initiative to improve the dignity, health and independence of people with disabilities.
The new legislation also eliminated the requirement that two separate professionals must diagnose a child with autism in order to access the new benefit. The new language states that a diagnosis must be completed by either a licensed physician or a mental health practitioner.
Additionally, a new section requires that the DHS commissioner provide statewide training on the autism benefit for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Training for autism service providers on culturally appropriate practices must be online, accessible, and available in multiple languages. The training for families, lead agencies, advocates, and 245D amendments add clarification for providers included family spokespersons, the mental health community, other provider associations, advocacy organizations, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Health.
On May 15 the Minnesota House and Senate passed the Omnibus Health and Human Services Policy Bill, which included several of the 245D changes that ARRM brought to the legislature this session. These changes included clarifying language, reducing administrative burdens for some services, and changes in language to address issues in the area of behavior management.
ARRM plans to bring forward further changes to 245D in 2015 as well as a broad reform package to further enable providers to address the needs of people with disabilities with flexibility. It will also promote operations under standards that focus on quality outcomes for individuals with disabilities across the state.
ARRM is a nonprofit association of providers, businesses and advocates dedicated to leading the advancement of community-based services that support people living with disabilities in their pursuit of meaningful lives. Founded in 1970, ARRM works on industry reforms that support Minnesotans with disabilities.
Barb Turner is ARRM Chief Operations Officer.