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County financial disputes

The Department of Human Services has the statutory authority to resolve disputes between county human services agencies regarding financial responsibility for human services programs ranging from medical assistance to commitment. 

Pursuant to its authority, the department receives about 40 requests per year. The process used by the department to decide financial disputes is first to determine the facts in a particular case, and then to apply to those facts the law governing financial disputes found at Minnesota Statutes, chapter 256G.

Legal authority

Minnesota Statutes, section 256G.09

Procedure

This process does not concern or affect eligibility for public programs. Regardless of whether a county believes they are financially responsible, the county where the individual submits an application must still begin providing services if the individual meets eligibility criteria.

Materials to submit to other county(ies)

When there is a question of financial responsibility, the county where the application was submitted shall conduct an investigation. If the investigation raises questions concerning financial responsibility, the county shall then notify the county it believes is responsible within 60 days of the date the application was approved or services were provided. The initiating county shall forward to the county it believes is responsible the following materials: the application for services, investigation documentation/findings, reasons for denying responsibility and other relevant documentation. After receiving this information, the receiving county has 30 days to accept or reject financial responsibility. Failure to respond within 30 days constitutes acceptance of financial responsibility.

Materials to submit to the department

When a dispute arises, in order to initiate the process, either county agency must complete the Request for Department Resolution of Financial Responsibility (PDF) and then follow the instructions attached to the form.  The county initiating department resolution should make clear why the law supports their position and attach supporting documentation. All materials provided to the state must be copied to the other county(s) involved.  The process will not be initiated until this is done.

After a complete request is submitted, the department will open a file on the case and send a letter to the other county(s) involved inviting them to submit evidence and arguments. The record closes with the deadline for arguments from other county(s). Reasonable requests for an extension of this deadline will be granted but extensions will not be granted merely because counties want to continue responding to arguments back and forth. Decisions concerning financial responsibility are based upon all relevant information submitted by the county(s) involved. The department has the discretion to conduct further inquiries, including holding evidentiary hearings if it deems necessary. However, counties should not withhold relevant information on the presumption that the department will request it from the counties or has access to it by other means. Decisions are issued in written form within 60 days from the date the record closed. 

The department staff responsible for resolving disputes over financial responsibility will not make their decision based on telephone calls, nor will the person responsible for such decisions provide advice to county agencies concerning such matters. The reason for this policy is that department staff cannot perform their role as an impartial decision maker in cases where they have provided technical or legal advice to one or both counties. In all cases, county agencies should be guided by their application of the Minnesota Unitary Residence and Financial Responsibility Act, found at Minnesota Statutes, sections 256G.01 to 256G.12, and other applicable laws that may have a bearing on financial responsibility, including but not limited to sections 144.50; 144A.01; 245A.02, subdivision 14; 252.275; 253B.05, subdivisions 1 and 2; 253B.092; 253B.185, subdivision 1; 256.045, subdivisions 7 and 9; 256.87; 256B.056, subdivision 1; 256B.092; 256D.01 to 256D.23; 256E.12; 256J.12; 256J.75; 260.751 to 260.781; 268A.01.

Appeal

A county agency that disagrees with the department’s decision may obtain judicial review of that decision by the district court pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 256.045, subdivisions 7 and 8. However, payments must be made according to the department's decision until overturned by the district court.

Contact

For questions about this process, contact:

Scott Graham
Fair Hearing Staff Attorney
Department of Human Services
PO Box 64941
St. Paul, MN 55164-0941
651-431-5557
651-431-7523
Scott.P.Graham@state.mn.us

(Content and procedures last updated June 25, 2013.)

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