MnDHO: Gathering Lessons Learned-Former MnDHO participants sought for focus group

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is designing new health programs for people with disabilities. As part of that process, DHS staff wants to use insights, ideas, and lessons learned from current and past efforts, including the former Minnesota Disability Health Options (MnDHO) Program. But efforts to reach former MnDHO clients are being met with resounding silence.

DHS want to meet with former MnDHO clients in a focus group. But as Access Press went to press, only a few people had signed up for a Feb. 8 session. A second focus group is scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon, Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building, Room 2370, 540 Cedar St., St. Paul. Anyone with experiences with MnDHO, positive or negative, is encouraged to attend the session.

DHS is working with the Human Systems Dynamics Institute (HSDI) on this project. Anyone wanting to attend or in need of accessibility accommodations should contact Lecia with Human Systems Dynamics Institute (HSDI), at 612-825-1972 or toll free at 1-866-473-4678 or email at leciagrossman@hsdinstitute.org

Former clients will be asked to speak about the benefits and challenges experienced while being served by MnDHO. Participation in a focus group is preferred. However, former MnDHO clients who cannot attend in person can take part in a number of survey options. These include online, paper or even phone surveys. All communications will be anonymous.

DHS will summarize all information and data from any survey. No individuals or agencies will be identified.

The clients’ group is one of four stakeholder focus groups being conducted as part of the study of MnDHO. The project will conclude with a public meeting to share findings and explore future opportunities. The public meeting is 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building, Room 2370.

MnDHO, which closed Dec. 31, 2010, provided many innovative ideas for products and services. DHS is currently conducting focus groups with a variety of stakeholder groups to look at the MnDHO Program.

Initially a pilot program, MnDHO evolved to become a program that maintained good health and simplified the lives of many Minnesotans with disabilities. 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. MnDHO was also known as UCare Complete.

MnDHO was created in partnership with UCare, Courage Center, AXIS Healthcare and DHS. Through this partnership, MnDHO members were able to have their primary medical needs integrated with the county waiver services that helped them live in the community.

Before dissolving MnDHO, members had to either choose another health plan, or go back to fee for service Medical Assistance once MnDHO ended.

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