HHS bill gets final nod from Legislature

Published 4:24 pm Saturday, May 25, 2013

Here are details on legislation from the 2013 Legislative Session that affect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and direct care staff.

The biggest piece of legislation is the health and human services omnibus bill (the final spending and policy bill, a.k.a. the HHS Conference Committee Report). This bill passed the Minnesota House and Senate this past weekend and will go to the Governor for his signature.

The 2013 Legislature approved language and/or funding in HF 1233 in the following areas:

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 Individuals with disabilities and families

•Parental fees were rolled back to the 2010 levels, effective July 1 of this year. Fees were eliminated for families under 275 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

•Advocating Change Together received a grant to pilot a peer-to-peer support program (623.1).


•Medical Assistance Early Intervention Benefit (246.6). This will provide $12 million for services to help children with autism improve their communication and social skills and to deal with their behavior challenges.

•Large group health plans are required to cover evidence-based autism services. (513.26)

•Study of future coverage for autism services by the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association (MCHA) (581.15).

•Initiatives to improve the early screening, diagnosis, and treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders in managed care programs (276.25).

Medical assistance – long term services and supports

•A 1.67 percent six month cut that would have started on July 1, was eliminated.

•One percent rate increase for residential and employment programs, effective April 1, 2014 (310.23).

•Reform 2020 – conversion of Personal Care Assistance to a more self-directed program called Community First Services and Supports (277.17).

•Reform 2020 – enhancing vulnerable adult protections, improving First Contact for vulnerable adult cases, a Critical Access Study, and Crisis Diversion and Discharge Planning.

•Implementation of a new Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS), effective Jan. 1, 2014 (588.11).

•The Department of Human Services was given more authority to manage the waivers and move resources around the state as needed.

•The Developmental Disabilities Waiver program will grow from six diversion slots per month currently to 15 per month, effective July 1 (305.31).

Medical Assistance – Other Issues

•MA Income Standards – requires recommendations to be developed to increase the asset limit for individuals with disabilities not living in an institution (309.6).

•DHS Commissioner to request continuation of current Minnesota policy on the spousal income and asset disregard for persons under 65 on HCBS waivers, rather than implement the spousal impoverishment rules under the Affordable Care Act, which now apply to seniors only(308.23).

•A 5 percent provider rate increase for physicians, dentists, and therapists (225.27).

•Home and community-based services (HCBS) will be able to use assistive technology and passive sensors to increase independence of people with disabilities (310.1).

•Dental services expanded for adults with disabilities to allow house calls for on-site delivery of covered dental services, payment for behavioral management when extra staff time needed, oral or IV sedations if needed, and dental cleaning (prophylaxis) (165.23).

Upcoming Events

Monday: The Arc is closed for Memorial Day

Tuesday: Family Networking and Support Group, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•May 1-June 3: Fudge Sale

•June 14: All-You-Can-Eat Summer Salad Fundraiser, Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost: $7.50 per person, Eat-In, take-out or delivery or dinner from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost: $7.50 per person, eat-In, take-out