State policy changes will improve Minnesotans’ lives

Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) is a public policy coalition that works to influence state policies to improve the quality of life for Minnesotans with disabilities. Through our advocacy activities and in collaboration with other groups, MN-CCD was able to successfully pass a number of state policy changes to improve the lives of Minnesotans with disabilities during the 2012 legislative session, including:

 

 Improvements to the Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) Program 

Nick Nelson and his mother, Greta. Photo by Jane McClure

Changes made during the 2012 legislative session allow individuals to enroll in the program at any age and retain assets after turning 65. These changes are retroactive to April 1, 2012. The cost of these changes is $437,000.  

 

A delay of the 20% Relative PCA Cut

Changes made during the 2012 legislative session delay a 20% rate reduction for personal care assistants (PCAs) who provide care to a relative. This cut is now scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2013, although MN-CCD will work to repeal this cut during the 2013 legislative session. The cost of the delay is $5.9 million.

 

A delay of the 1.67% Disability Provider Rate Cut

The 2011 health and human services omnibus bill cut rates to some disability service providers by 1.67% if Minnesota didn’t receive federal approval of a state waiver request. Changes made during the 2012 legislative session provide an additional delay of this cut. The cost of this delay is $2.2 million. 

 

Alternatives to the Mandatory Closure of Corporate Foster Care Beds/10% Congregate Low Need Cut

The 2011 omnibus bill included mandatory closures of some foster care beds as well as a 10% congregate low need cut. MN-CCD worked closely with other advocacy groups on these two issues this past session. Changes made during the 2012 legislative session delay the mandatory bed closures until after July 1, 2013 and put into place a needs determination process with the goal of voluntarily closing some corporate foster care beds instead of mandating their closure. Additional changes made direct the Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner to reduce the congregate low need cut from 10% to 5% if a waiver submitted by the state is approved by the federal government. The cost of the delay of the mandatory bed closures was $1.2 million. 

 

Increased Reporting on Disability Services Required in Annual Long-Term Care Report

Changes made during the 2012 legislative session rebyquire increased focus on disability services in an annual report on the need for long-term services for older Minnesotans, people with disabilities, and people with mental illness.

 

Directing the Health Services Advisory Council to Review Autism Treatment Information

Changes made during the 2012 legislative session direct the DHS Health Services Advisory Council to review currently available literature regarding the efficacy of various treatments for autism spectrum disorder.

Anyone wanting to hear a review of the session can attend a session 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 at Goodwill Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Ave. N,, St. Paul. MN-CCD policy experts will share their perspectives on what these changes will mean for the disability community and celebrate the positive legislative outcomes the disability advocacy community won. The event is free but attendees need to RSVP to Anni at anni.simons@mnccd.org or call 651 523 0823 ext. 112 for more information.

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