The Minnesota Disability Health Options Program (MnDHO) ends at the end of 2010, so service providers are working to get the word out and help clients plan for a transition. Although a series of community meetings, which ended in September, drew large crowds, there is still some confusion over the transition. There is also concern that not everyone will be affected has gotten word about the changes. Anyone who hasn’t planned for these changes could have his or her everyday life impacted.
MnDHO, also known as UCare Complete, ends Jan. 1, 2011. One of the organizations working on the transition is AXIS Healthcare. AXIS Healthcare was created to help people with long-term disabilities coordinate not only their health care needs, but also to assist them with living in the community whenever possible. MnDHO was created in partnership with UCare, AXIS, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Through this partnership, MnDHO members were able to have their primary medical needs integrated with the county waiver services that help them live in the community.
AXIS is working closely with UCare and DHS to assist members with the transition. Members can choose another health plan, or decide to go back to fee for service Medical Assistance. If MnDHO members are receiving waiver services, AXIS is working closely with UCare, DHS and the Counties to transition the waiver services.
“Our goal is to have our MnDHO members experience as little disruption as possible,” said Randall Bachman, Executive Director at AXIS. “While this transition will present challenges for members, their families, and providers, it is possible for most MnDHO members to keep AXIS involved in their care coordination by choosing an SNBC health plan that has a contract with AXIS, and by choosing AXIS for their waiver case management.”
Fortunately, for people who want to keep AXIS involved in their care coordination, AXIS has a contract with Medica, and an agreement with UCare to provide care coordination through their Special Needs Basic Care (SNBC) programs. They are also in discussion with Metropolitan Health Plan (MHP) to provide services for Hennepin County residents through their SNBC program. In recent weeks, AXIS has negotiated contracts with Hennepin, Washington and Ramsey Counties to provide waiver case management services. They have submitted a proposal to Dakota County, as well.
While there is much information available on the DHS Website about the MnDHO transition, people with questions are encouraged to contact the Disability Linkage Line, their County Social Services Department, or their AXIS Healthcare coordinator.
“This is a time of great change for all of us,” said Bachman. “Fortunately with these new contracts and agreements we see a way forward for us to continue our work for those who want us involved in their care coordination and case management. We look forward to our new partnerships, and most of all to continuing to serve those who need our help.”
Initially a pilot program, MnDHO evolved to become a program that maintained good health and simplified the lives of many Minnesotans with disabilities. The program was offered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), UCare and AXIS Healthcare.
AXIS Healthcare, the primary care coordinating organization for MnDHO, was founded in 1997 by Courage Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute as an innovative model of care for people with disabilities. Their experience providing health care services to persons with disabilities convinced them that neither the fee-for-service system nor the traditional managed care was able to deliver appropriate, cost-effective care.
Planning for MnDHO began in the 1990s. At the time it was hailed as one of the few times that people with disabilities had been actively involved in creating a solution to the health care maze they face daily. Many of the MnDHO clients receive home and community-based services such as personal care attendant (PCA) and waiver services. The Department of Human Services will work with the counties to plan for the transition of these services from UCare to a client’s home county. For those who are eligible, home and community-based services will be managed through the county fee-for-service system.
Information on the changes is being posted on the MnDHO section of the UCare web site. Go to www.ucare.org and choose “UCare Complete” from among the choices under the “Health Programs” tab on the top menu.
Other assistance is available. Clients can call UCare at 612-676-3200 or toll free at 800-203-7225. The information is available in other forms to people with disabilities by calling 612-676-3200 (voice) or toll free at 800-203-7225 (voice), 612-676-6810 (TTY) or toll free at 800-688-2534 (TTY); or through the Minnesota Relay at 711 or toll free direct access at 800-627-3529 (TTY, Voice, ASCII, Hearing Carry Over), or 877-627-3848 (speech to speech relay service).
Or clients can call their UCare representatives at 612-676-3554 or 800-707-1711 (toll free), or the Disability Linkage Line at 866-333-2466 (toll free). Clients who are hearing impaired can call the TTY line at 612-676-6810 or 800-688-2534 (toll free).