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Learn how health and human services bill will affect The Arc

Teen Connections provides social, recreational, and independent living skill activities such as games, cooking, creative arts, sports, music, dance and community outings. All activities emphasize peer interaction, group participation, social skill development and lots of fun.

June 29: Teen Connections (T) Movie at The Arc or Cinemagic, 3 to 5 p.m.

July 13: Teen Connections (T) Hormel Nature Center or Wii, 3 to 5 p.m.

July 27: Teen Connections (T) Hy-Vee Cards and Snack, 3 to 5 p.m.July 17: Teen Connections (T) Money Management Part 1 of 2, 3 to 5 p.m.

Aug. 31: Teen Connections (T) Money Management Part 2 of 2, 3 to 5 p.m.

For more information, please email jamey@thearcmc.org or call 507-433-8994, extension 102.

Governor signs health and human services bill

 On Tuesday, May 31, Gov. Mark Dayton signed the final health and human services (HHS) bill, which passed during the 2017 special session. A summary of how the provisions we have been tracking this session turned out:

•Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) was amended to make the program work for more adults. This will be done by expanding the exceptions process and creating a pathway for individuals residing in institutions to access CDCS more quickly.

•Minnesota Supplemental Aid Housing Assistance will be expanded so more people with disabilities can find housing that increases their independence.

•Parental fees were reduced 13 percent. This change will take effect July 1, 2017.

•The Medical Assistance spenddown was raised 1 percent, which will allow people to keep approximately $10 more of their own income each month.

•$496,000 in new funding was provided for statewide self-advocacy efforts.

•New services to provide additional support to those looking for competitive employment were approved, pending approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

•Across the board wage increases for direct support professionals were not included in the HHS bill. PCAs under the SEIU contract will receive a 1.5 percent increase. A three percent increase had been negotiated by the Dayton Administration, but the percentage was reduced by the Legislature.

 Any successes we had this session would not have happened without your advocacy.

Whether you were wearing your yellow shirt at the state capitol in support of lower parental fees; sharing your story on the necessity of increasing income and asset limits to help people with disabilities receive Medicaid supports to stay independent; rallying, e-mailing, and/or visiting state legislators to get much-needed wage increases for direct care professionals; speaking up for greater innovations in services; or more than one of the above, your advocacy benefited people with disabilities and their families across the state. We look forward to working with you to build on these successes and to face continued threats to disability services and supports. Thank you!

Jamey Helgeson is the Program Director at The Arc Mower County and can be reached at jamey@thearcmc.org or by calling 507-433-8994, Extension 102.  You can also visit our website (www.thearcmc.org) and follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thearcmc).