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The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.


DHS unveils Reform 2020: Pathways to Independence

The Department of Human Services in June released its plan to reform significant portions of Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program.

The Reform 2020 plan’s scope encompasses three broad reform efforts:

  • It broadens supports to serve people in their homes and communities, increasing independence and avoiding reliance on more intensive, expensive services.

  • It engages consumers in their care by providing more choice and opportunities for self-direction.

  • It furthers DHS’ health reform agenda through integration of primary and behavioral health and direct contracting with providers for health outcomes for groups of people.

The plan is a result of bipartisan legislation and part of the 2011 budget agreement. Components of the plan could save the state an estimated $151 million over five years.

“This plan will give people more choice, get them services earlier and in less costly settings and help secure the stability of our programs for years to come,” said Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “We thank the many stakeholders included in the development and will need their continued involvement in finalizing the plan for submission.”

A major portion of the plan seeks to revamp Minnesota’s home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities. Currently, many participants with complex conditions are on a waiting list or are not eligible for certain services. More flexible community supports accessible to a broader group of people are a key part of this reform package. Individual assessments will result in personal budgets that fit the individual person, rather than a set list of predetermined services. Enrollees will then be able to participate in directing those budgeted dollars, enabling more choice of services and caregivers. Other services in the proposal include employment supports and housing assistance to keep people connected to work and community.

“Minnesota is justifiably proud of our No. 1 national ranking for quality, access and affordability in our current home and community-based Medicaid services,” said Jesson. “But given the demographics of our state, we need to begin the next wave of change to be ready for 2020.”

Many of the proposals in the plan require federal approval, including a provision that would allow the state to contract directly with providers to care for people on publicly funded health care programs. DHS submitted the waiver proposal to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Aug. 24. It is anticipated that negotiations with CMS on the terms and conditions of this request would be completed in December and be reflected in Gov. Mark Dayton’s 2013 budget proposal to the Legislature.

More information is available at www.dhs.state.mn.us/Reform2020.

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