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State delays implementation of nursing facility care criteria for one year

The Department of Human Services delayed implementation of the revised Nursing Facility Level of Care criteria and the Essential Community Supports program until Jan. 1, 2015.

“The 2009 legislature eliminated eligibility for in-home services now being provided to about 3,300 Minnesota senior citizens, effective Jan. 1, 2014,” Gov. Mark Dayton stated in a news release Tuesday. “I have asked my administration to delay implementation for at least one year, to assure that the necessary community supports are in place to ensure those seniors will receive alternative care. This delay will also provide the 2014 Legislature the opportunity to reexamine the law and make any changes deemed necessary.”

In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation that changes nursing facility level of care criteria for public payment of long-term care. These revised criteria are found in Minnesota Statutes 144.0724, Subd. 11.

Those changes were to be implemented Jan. 1, 2014.

This delay will provide additional time to make sure that the appropriate supports are available to serve the 3,300 Minnesotans affected by this change, the state reported. These alternative supports are evolving, but need additional time.

The Community First Services and Supports program, for example, is not available currently and is anticipated to be implemented later in 2014. The Essential Community Services program is not fully automated and available statewide. The definition of dependency is likely to be examined this legislative session, and if altered, may impact these upcoming changes.

A one-year delay will allow for these systematic changes to be implemented to ensure the right supports are in place for the people, the Department of Human Services (DHS) reported.

Dayton requested this delay. The DHS has been advised Dayton intends to include the cost of this delayed implementation in his 2014 supplemental budget.

The Nursing Facility Level of Care change affects the most independent people who would receive publicly-funded nursing facility services or publicly-funded long-term care services in the community through programs such as Elderly Waiver, Alternative Care, and Community Alternatives for Disabled Individuals. That legislation also provided for the implementation of the Essential Community Support (ECS) program to provide support for people age 65 and older with emerging needs who are not eligible for Elderly Waiver or Alternative Care. The ECS program was later expanded by the Legislature to provide supportive services to individuals of all ages affected by the changes in the Nursing Facilty Level of Care criteria. Federal maintenance of effort requirements delayed implementation of the modified Nursing Facility Level of Care criteria until Jan. 1, 2014, for adults aged 21 and older.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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