People and Places – March 2015

Nursing homes receive funding to improve quality Nursing homes throughout Minnesota will gain a total of about $17 million more […]

Generic Article graphic with Access Press logo

Nursing homes receive funding to improve quality

Nursing homes throughout Minnesota will gain a total of about $17 million more over the next one to three years through a Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) program that rewards a variety of quality improvement efforts. Under the Performance-based Incentive Payment Program, nursing homes sign contracts with DHS to earn higher payments for implementing projects designed to make improvements in key areas.

“Minnesota’s nursing homes provide essential care for our parents, grandparents and loved ones,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “I thank these providers for the efforts they are undertaking to ensure all their residents receive the best possible care.”

The program is among several Dayton administration programs meant to leverage the state’s purchasing role to promote quality in health care and longterm services and supports. DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said that projects designed by the nursing homes themselves have been shown to improve quality not just in targeted areas, but to improve nursing home quality overall.

Projects approved at 95 nursing homes are for funding from October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2017. The examples of projects listed show dollar amounts that include a total of state funds, federal matching funds and private payments. A complete list of projects can be found on the DHS website.

• Care Ventures Cooperative’s nursing facilities throughout Minnesota will receive a total of about $3.3 million for a project to improve employee recruitment, retention and turnover as well as staff and resident satisfaction. The project’s success will be measured by direct care staff retention, employee turnover rates and satisfaction ratings. Facilities involved are in Annandale, Cold Spring, Dassel, Belgrade, Long Prairie, Cokato, New York Mills, Wadena, Frazee, Glenwood, Alexandria, Starbuck, Albany, Fergus Falls, St. Cloud and Wheaton.

• Elim Care, Inc., Collaborative facilities will receive a total of $1 million for a staff training program to improve the overall dining experience for their residents. Facilities involved are in Milaca, Princeton, Watertown, Maple Plain, Buffalo, New Hope, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

• Empira Collaborative facilities will receive a total of $10.9 million to reduce sundown syndrome, which is the onset of confusion and agitation that affects people with dementia or other cognitive impairments and often occurs at sunset. The project will promote realignment of residents’ circadian rhythms and be measured by such factors as incidence or worsening of resident behavior problems and prevalence of depressive symptoms. Empira facilities involved are in Anoka, St. Paul, Edina, Milaca, Princeton, Watertown, Hutchinson, Maple Plain, Buffalo, Maplewood, Buffalo, Arden Hills, Bloomington, Spring Park, North Oaks, Minneapolis, Eden Prairie, Brooklyn Center, New Hope, Brooklyn Park, Oak Park Heights and Sleepy Eye.

• Ecumen Collaborative is receiving a total of $1.7 million for nine facilities throughout Minnesota to partner with local pharmacies on a new medication management system. The goal is to ensure patients being discharged from care centers fully understand their medications and how to take them to avoid re-hospitalization. Prevalence of falls with injury and hospitalization rates will be measured to determine impact of the project. Ecumen facilities involved are in Alexandria, North Branch, Two Harbors, Detroit Lakes, Grand Rapids, Litchfield, Chisago City, Mankato and Austin.



Shopping cart test pleases parents

A Maple Grove Cub Foods store is testing a shopping cart that could be a help to parents of special needs children. The store is testing an invention called Caroline’s Cart. The cart, invented by a mother from Alabama, is a grocery cart with seating for a child with disabilities.

Typical shopping carts have a place for a small child to sit, but that space means the child is riding higher than the cart. In Caroline’s Cart, the child can ride in the cart, facing the person pushing the cart. The seat has a seat belt and is lower than typical shopping cart seating.

The carts are made in North Carolina. The cart at Maple Grove Cub has met a positive response from parents who want to shop with children with physical or cognitive disabilities. The carts are being considered for use through the Cub store chain and at other stores including Target. Learn more at



Workers from Opportunity Services help people in need get food

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month, when people around the state make additional donations to food shelves and good banks. The campaign, led by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, helps stock more than 300 food shelves around the state.

One group of people with disabilities is helping make sure that families in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin have enough food to eat. An Opportunity Services work team from Rochester has volunteered at Channel One Food Bank every Monday for more than five years. The work team consists of Matt, Anthony, Steven, Park and Tom, and Opportunity Services staff Rick Wood and Darci Heikis.

The five clients truly enjoy their volunteer tasks at Channel One. Every week tasks change, but typical job duties include bagging food, sorting groceries, labeling food and more. (One favorite task is sorting through the donated Halloween candy.)

Tammy Musty, repack projects coordinator, works with the team directly during their shift. “The Opportunity Services work team has made a great addition to Channel One. I couldn’t imagine not having them here every week. Their dedication and hard work ethic makes them invaluable,” she said.

The team is making a difference volunteering at Channel One. Last year alone, Channel One distributed nearly 10 million pounds of food to more than 100,000 people in 14 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. “The Opportunity Services work team has become an essential part of the Channel One family,” said Jacob Johnson, Corporate and Individual Giving Manager at Channel One.



Accessibility grants awarded to three Twin Cities arts organizations

With three new grants awarded to Twin Cities arts organizations, VSA Minnesota has now given more than $1 million in Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Access Improvement Grants. Organizations in Minneapolis and St. Paul are the latest award winners. Each group will use the funding to make arts programs more accessible to people with disabilities. Groups can apply for up to $15,000 in grants.

Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts, St. Paul, received $15,000 for its Dis/Cover the Arts program. This program will expand Interact’s capacity to grow audiences of people with disabilities by removing barriers and engaging in pro-active community outreach, better fulfilling its mission to “create art that challenges perceptions of disability.” The dollars from VSA Minnesota will supplement a $57,500 budget.

Soo Visual Arts Center or SooVAC, Minneapolis, received $15,000 to create a permanent accessible entrance ramp from the parking lot to the main entrance of its new gallery space at 2909 Bryant Ave. S. to ensure accessibility for patrons unable to climb stairs. This project has a total cost of $32,000. The Show, St. Paul, received $11,115.

The Show is a nonprofit art gallery in Lowertown neighborhood, It specializing in promoting artists with disabilities, The Show received funding for a webmaster, slat boards to display art at a lower level for artists and guests who use wheelchairs, and in collaboration with the St. Paul Art Collective, an artists’ coordinator to work with artists with disabilities to display and sell art at CHS Field. CHS Field is where the St. Paul Saints and other baseball and softball teams will play starting this spring. Total project cost for The Show’s work is $15,000.

VSA Minnesota started administering the ADA Access Improvement Grant program in 2010 for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). Since 2010, 86 projects by 49 different organizations have been funded, totaling $1,001,258. Funds come from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature. The purpose is to enable nonprofit arts organizations in the seven-county Twin Cities area to improve programs, projects, equipment, or facilities in ways that have the potential for significant or long-term impact in involving more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs.

Grant review panelists for the most recent funding round were Scott Artley, Patrick’s Cabaret performance curator and consultant; Hunter Gullickson, Guthrie Theater access coordinator; Stacy Shamblott, Courage Kenny SHARE Program coordinator; Jill Vaughn, History Theatre access coordinator and consultant; and Patty Gordon, ASL interpreter, teacher, Storyblend founder. The reviewers read and ranked the applications, which were then sent to the VSA Minnesota board of directors for approval. The next application deadline is May 1.

For more information or grant application forms, go to www.vsamn. org, call 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883, “like” VSA Minnesota on Facebook, or email [email protected]





DON'T LOSE IT! • Keep your Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare active • Fill out and return your renewal forms Watch your mail and go online NOW
Health plans as unique as you. Learn more. UCARE.