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Latest COVID-19 news list

May 22, 2020

Restriction lifted on use of public playgrounds 
DHS Licensing lifted the restriction on use of public playgrounds by licensed or certified child care providers, based on a clarification in the Stay Safe MN FAQs and provided local authorities have not closed public playgrounds. Caregivers should ensure children wash their hands after touching play structures and stay six feet away from other groups of children as much as possible.

Corrected bulletin on Child Care Assistance Program 
DHS issued a corrected bulletin on temporary modifications to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

FAQs for lead agencies and HCBS residential providers updated
FAQs about waiver policy changes have been updated with information about respite services and remote delivery of home and community-based services (HCBS).

Adult foster care and supported living services (SLS) provider survey
DHS launched a new survey tool for adult foster care and SLS providers to alert the department about critical COVID-19-related pressures.

May 20, 2020

Day services facilities to remain closed
Commissioner Jodi Harpstead notifies partners that the risks of COVID-19 spreading in facilities remain too great to open at this time. DHS will continue to assess the situation regularly throughout the pandemic provide new guidance as it is available.

COVID-19 guidance for Moving Home Minnesota transition coordinators and lead agencies
To help during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, DHS has modified Moving Home Minnesota (MHM) practices and procedures to make sure that people who use MHM experience minimum disruptions or delays.

May 19, 2020

Bulletins released
DHS issued four bulletins related to waivers and modifications to processes and policies during the peacetime emergency. Bulletin topics include background studies for foster homes, add-on payments for customized living settings with confirmed COVID-19 cases, guidance for refugee resettlement service providers and extended eligibility for refugee cash assistance.

May 18, 2020

Bulletin issued to waive non-electronic public notice requirement for CADI Waiver renewal
The method changes how DHS provides public notice for the Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver renewal.

May 15, 2020

Bulletin describes temporary changes to Child Care Assistance Program
The bulletin provides information for local agency staff about temporary Child Care Assistance Program policy modifications related to COVID-19, along with reminders of existing policies.

COVID-19 information available for nursing facility providers
A new webpage for nursing facility providers with COVID-19 news, information and resources has been launched. Current information includes reimbursement for emergency expenses, communicative technology grants for virtual social and telehealth visits, health care response grant, CARES Act provider relief fund and FEMA public assistance.

Resources for people with autism, their families, providers and educators during the COVID-19 pandemic
Minnesota state agencies have compiled a list of resources for people with autism, their families, providers and educators to utilize during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, return to the Minnesota Autism Resource Portal for the latest information.

May 14, 2020

Bulletin released regarding increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentages for Titles IV-E and IV-B agencies 

The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate used to determine the federal share of assistance payments to Foster Care, Adoption Assistance and Guardianship Assistance programs has temporarily increased.

Alternative adult day service frequently asked questions posted 
To pride greater guidance to a bulletin issued May 4, DHS posted frequently asked questions about alternative adult day services during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Answers about disability services during COVID-19 updated
Answers to questions from lead agencies and residential service providers about upholding a person’s rights, person-centered practices and service suspensions and terminations during the peacetime emergency.

May 13, 2020

New modification affects personal care assistance services
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to allow flexibility for personal care assistance (PCA) service oversight and hours.

MFIP families to receive Emergency SNAP benefits
In early May, Minnesota will issue Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (E-SNAP) to Minnesota Family Investment Program recipients who receive food benefits through the program. E-SNAP is now available for the duration of the peacetime emergency declaration to all SNAP and MFIP recipients.

May 9, 2020

New waivers and modifications under peacetime emergency authority
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to:

  • Modify certain licensing requirements for adult foster care, community residential settings, child foster care and family adult day services
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for detoxification programs

In addition an amendment was made to modifications and waivers to:

  • Modify certain background study requirements

Under the authority of existing laws, the commissioner made changes to:

  • Allow additional reimbursement to Customized Living providers
  • Cancel RFP for Special Needs BasicCare in three counties

May 8, 2020

FAQs: CARES Act economic stimulus payments for children in foster care
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a federal stimulus payment that is based on tax returns filed for 2019. This may impact families with children who currently are, or have been, in foster care.

May 7, 2020

Mental Health Awareness Month focuses on tools for reducing stress and anxiety during COVID-19
Every May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and with the COVID-19 pandemic this year it’s even more important to take care of our own mental health and support those around us.

Changes to Parent Aware
DHS has temporarily changed some requirements for the Parent Aware Quality Rating and Improvement System, allowing flexibility in rules and deadlines for program participants during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Informational webinar on COVID-19 set for May 13
The DHS Child Safety & Permanency division invites tribal and county children's services supervisors to participate Wednesday, May 13. The webinar looks at impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Minnesota's child welfare system.

May 5, 2020

3 bulletins posted related to COVID-19 response
Operational changes allow for for telemedicine, coordinated care conferences and individual treatment plans in a program for people who have autism. In addition training requirements for child protection workers are waived, and family support and assessment programs have been modified.

May 4, 2020

Bulletins released due to program modifications and waivers
Bulletins released to explains treatment of federal pandemic unemployment compensation payments, to describe alternative adult day service delivery and to expand remote support for home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers.

Online job board helps workers and people with disabilities find each other
The need to stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19 has made it harder for people with disabilities to find the support workers they sometimes need, but an updated web tool can bridge that gap and provide peace of mind. Direct Support Connect, an online job board, connects personal care assistants (PCAs) and other direct support workers with the people who want to hire them.

COVID-19 changes to EIDBI policy and services
To ease limitations on EIDBI providers, DHS is temporarily adjusting how they can provide services during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The changes will allow people both providing and receiving services to follow the public health guidance for social distancing.

May 2, 2020

New waivers and modifications under peacetime emergency authority  
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to:

  • Expand remote Home and Community Based Services waiver services for people living in their own homes
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for substance use disorder treatment
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for children’s residential facilities
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for intensive residential treatment service providers
  • Modify requirements for child protection new worker training
  • Modify certain license requirements for adult day services
  • Modify certain requirements for Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI) services

In addition an amendment was made to modifications and waivers to:

  • Modify certain licensing enforcement requirements and extending licenses for family child care, child and adult foster care, and community residential and treatment settings

Under the authority of existing laws, the commissioner made changes to:

  • Implement federal changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

May 1, 2020

Bulletins released due to program modifications and waivers 
Bulletins released to announce Medical Assistance (MA) coverage of COVID-19 testing during the peacetime emergency for individuals who are uninsured and to explain treatment of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) payments for Minnesota Health Care Programs.

DHS clarifies temporary changes to the renewal process for end-of-life orders under public guardianship 
DHS updated the April 7, 2020, eList announcement to be more clear about the temporary process to renew do not resuscitate/do not intubate (DNR/DNI) and/or limited medical treatment (LMT) orders for people on public guardianship.

April 30, 2020

Bulletins released due to program modifications and waivers
Bulletins released to ensure enrollees maintain Minnesota Health Care Programs coverage, waive county cost when COVID-19 delays discharges from DHS-operated psychiatric hospitals and outline the intrastate process to support placement of foster children.

April 29, 2020

Minnesota flexes human services policies in pandemic
In the past five weeks, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily modified more than 30 rules and regulations to preserve access to critical human services.

2 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to waive county costs when COVID-19 delays discharges from DHS-operated psychiatric hospitals and to allow remote delivery of adult day services.

April 28, 2020

Accessible information about COVID-19
Everyone has been affected by COVID-19, including people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. However, for people in this community, getting the information and services they need to stay safe may be harder to find. We have resources to meet the needs of this community.

Action needed for some social security recipients who do not file taxes to receive COVID-19 payment
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who don’t file tax returns will start receiving their automatic $1,200 individual economic impact payments directly from the Treasury Department in early May. People receiving SSI benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes and have qualifying children under age 17 should go to the IRS’s webpage immediately to provide information. Act by May 5 to receive additional payments for eligible children quickly.

April 27, 2020

Updated cleaning, disinfecting guidance for child care providers
Child care providers can review updated Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and consider changes in their operations. Guidance includes updates for COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting and additional response resources.

Clarification of COVID-19 temporary policies for CCAP caseworkers
Specific instructions for absent day exemptions and redeterminations clarify guidance about COVID-19 temporary policies for Child Care Assistance Program caseworkers.

COVID-19 questions and answers for MFIP and DWP providers
Minnesota’s economic support programs help families and individuals work toward economic stability. The Diversionary Work Program (DWP) is a four-month program that helps low-income Minnesota families find a job. When families first apply for cash assistance, most will participate in DWP. The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) is the state’s primary program for helping low-income families with children move out of poverty through work. This resource is for providers to help answer frequently asked questions.

April 24, 2020

Minnesota prioritizes child care during COVID-19
Temporary changes add flexibility for families and providers and give guidance on operating during peacetime emergency. Minnesotans who provide child care and families who rely on child care should know that the state is working to prioritize and support their operations and availability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 22, 2020

Emergency food aid will help 250,000 Minnesotans
$55 million in SNAP supplements is coming to 134,000 households. Emergency food relief is coming soon to more than 250,000 Minnesotans who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

April 21, 2020

State awards first emergency child care grants
Round one of funding totals $9.8 million to support family child care providers and centers serving children of essential workers. More than 1,200 Minnesota child care providers will receive funds to continue serving children of essential workers through the first round of emergency state funding announced Monday by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

2 new waivers and modifications, 1 amendment posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to allow flexibility in housing licensing requirements and suspend signature requirements for certain medical equipment and transportation. In addition an amendment was made to a waiver intended to preserve health care coverage for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

Bulletins released: COVID-19 response affects out-of-home placement plans and physical exam requirements for foster
To ensure foster children’s well-being and help stop the spread of COVID-19, DHS suspended requirements for social services agencies to arrange for preventative medical exams and modified policy on the due date and signature requirements for out-of-home placement plans.

April 20, 2020

Federal approval received to expand telemedicine in health care, mental health and substance use disorder settings, allow phone or video use for targeted case management
DHS received federal approval today to temporarily expand access to health care services, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment, through telemedicine and to allow telephone and televideo for certain targeted case management services. These waivers have a retroactive effective date of March 19.

FAQs available on child support and federal stimulus payments
Federal stimulus payments are being delivered to qualifying American households. These payments are not exempt from past-due child support collection, so if parents owe past-due support, the federal government may send their stimulus payment to the child support agencies in charge of their cases to pay their past-due support.

COVID-19 guidance for Elderly Waiver customized living
DHS is issuing guidance on Elderly Waiver customized living rate protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lead agencies and providers are partnering in their efforts to prevent and contain COVID-19 in their community. This partnership is critical to continue to meet the needs of people living in the community in customized living provider settings.

Virtual HIV and COVID-19 community meeting
People living with HIV and communities who support them are invited to a virtual HIV and COVID-19 community meeting. Participants can ask questions about access to medical and supportive services, HIV prevention services during COVID-19, how HIV disease and COVID-19 may impact each other or other important issues.

April 19, 2020

2 new waivers and modifications, 2 amendments posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to ensure foster children’s physical health during the peacetime emergency and extend the due date for out-of-home placement plans with adjusted signature requirements for foster children. In addition amendments were made to modifications and waivers to pay Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) payments to child care providers while children not attending care and allow child care assistance payments for a second child care provider when a program temporarily closes or is unavailable.

April 16, 2020

Food, financial assistance available during pandemic
Minnesota makes it easier to get and use essential programs Minnesotans who are struggling to feed themselves and their families or make ends meet should know that help is available and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily modified procedures to make it easier for people to get, keep and use essential programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which offers monthly food benefits.

Supplemental Security Income recipients will receive automatic COVID-19 economic impact payments
SSI recipients with dependent children should still provide their information at IRS.gov. The U.S. Social Security Administration announced that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will receive automatic economic impact payments directly from the U.S. Treasury Department. The Treasury Department anticipates these automatic payments no later than early May. SSI recipients with no qualifying children do not need to take any action in order to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. The payments will be automatic.

National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certificate training available
In an effort to share relevant resources and information for caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS Aging and Adult Services Division would like to highlight the following online training opportunity being offered by partner organizations: National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certification NextStep, in partnership with LeadingAge and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, is offering the National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certification, an online training for individual caregivers and employers.

Guidance on prioritizing child safety and conducting visits for child protection workers
The Child Safety and Permanency Division recently released interim guidance on prioritizing child safety and conducting visits during COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to gathering information about the child maltreatment report, we recommended that child protection intake workers pre-screen calls to assess if the reporter knows if anyone is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19. Local social service agencies have discretion where to document these efforts and information. It is advised that information is documented in a location that is easily observable by the assessment worker.

Options to increase benefit levels for foster, adoptive and kinship families
As the DHS Child Safety and Permanency Division has developed guidance for case managers about options that may increase benefit levels for children and provide additional supports to foster, adoptive and kinship families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 13, 2020

Reminder: SNAP recipients can designate someone to shop for them
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients may be unable to leave their homes to go grocery shopping. The Minnesota Department of Human Services is reminding SNAP recipients that they can designate someone to use their EBT card so that person can shop for them using the SNAP recipient’s benefits.

April 10, 2020

Bulletin released: COVID-19 response affects child support and SSIS codes
Suspension of driver’s license, occupational license and credit reporting is temporarily stopped for child support arrears. The Social Service Information System (SSIS) released a statewide sub-service code and new non-program administrative and payroll codes allowing statewide tracking of work and activities related to COVID-19.

Oral consent for treatment plans in children’s therapeutic services and supports
A parent guardian’s oral consent may be accepted in lieu of a paper written signature as Individual Treatment Plan (ITP) approval for a child receiving services.

DHS behavioral health division authorizes flexibility in budgets and deliverables
For the duration of the peacetime emergency, behavioral health division will allow grantees to use existing grant funds for activities and purchases related to preventing and responding to COVID-19 within the scope of original contracts.

April 9, 2020

Temporary modification of DHS background studies and a suspension of enhanced background studies requirements for child care providers
DHS temporarily modified certain statutory background study procedures for most providers during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to the peacetime state of emergency. The changes are necessary because completing studies that meet current state and federal requirements has become increasingly difficult due to closures of public fingerprinting sites and a lack of responses to requests for records from other states.

Minnesota bolsters health care programs in pandemic
Human services commissioner uses emergency authority to ensure people remain covered and can access care and prescriptions. During the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesotans who rely on Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare should know that their health care coverage is secure and that they have improved access to telemedicine and extended supplies of many prescription drugs.

April 8, 2020

Modified requirements for licensed, certified and family child care providers
The Commissioner of Human Services has temporarily modified certain requirements for licensed family child care providers and child care centers, and certified child care centers, whose services have been designated as essential during the peacetime emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes build upon the modifications announced on March 20. These changes allow child care providers with more flexibility to operate in a pandemic and be able to focus on the most critical health and safety measures needed during this time.

Bulletin released: Modify timelines and face-to-face requirements for Child Protection responses to alleged maltreatment
Policy modification for face-to-face contact requirements and timelines for child protection assessments and investigations in limited circumstances related to COVID-19 precautions.

6 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to provide additional flexibility for child care providers, mitigate the spread of the virus, and protect the health and safety of children and child care staff. Other waivers and modifications allow exemption for temporary absence policy in Housing Support, affect timelines and face-to-face requirements for certain child protection responses to alleged maltreatment, eliminate cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, and expand telemedicine in health care, mental health, and substance use disorder settings.

New Guidance on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for DHS-licensed settings
State agencies continue to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation closely. MDH and DHS are collaborating to ensure that guidance is available for DHS-licensed programs. This guidance is directed at residential and non-residential settings in which individuals at higher risk of COVID-19 illness reside or receive services.

April 3, 2020

2 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead has modified certain background study requirements and waived the in-person requirement to allow fair hearings to take place by telephone or video

DHS expands telemedicine services for public health care program enrollees
DHS received federal approval to temporarily ease certain limits on receiving care and services through telephone and video visits that can instead be provided safely and effectively without an in person face-to-face visit.

Changes made by Minnesota Legislature to fund COVID-19 response
The Minnesota Legislature approved the following investments recommended by Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to address the needs of vulnerable Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bulletin released: Targeted case management changes for face-to-face contact requirements
Policy modification to targeted case management services to temporarily allow telephone and video-conferencing in place of in-person face-to-face contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 1, 2020

DHS allows 90-day supply of prescription maintenance medications for public health care enrollees 
DHS has received federal approval to temporarily cover up to a 90-day supply of many noncontrolled prescription maintenance medications for public health care program enrollees.

FAQs: Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants
As part of their COVID-19 Response Supplemental Budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan proposed $30 million in funding for emergency grants for licensed child care providers serving essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Child care providers and educators themselves are expressly listed as essential.

March 31, 2020

Bulletins released in response to COVID-19 
Recently released bulletins describe operational instructions for counties, tribes, managed care organizations and providers related to waivers and modifications currently in effect.

March 28, 2020

8 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to continue eligibility for families participating in the Child Care Assistance Program, economic assistance for individuals and families, and access to HIV/AIDS services and drug assistance program. In addition to allowing health care providers to continue offering services to low-income Minnesotans through Minnesota Health Care Programs, new waivers also allow telemedicine for select children's mental health programs, using technology for targeted case management visits, and 90-day refill limits for some prescription medications.

March 25, 2020

New waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
Commissioner Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to expand access to telemedicine services for Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees, pending federal approval.  She also used existing authority under state law to provide immediate, expedited reimbursement to Minnesota’s 365 nursing facilities.

March 23, 2020

Statement from Commissioner Jodi Harpstead on Executive Orders 20-11 and 20-12 
Today, we are announcing a list of provisions to support the Minnesotans we serve. These regulatory flexibilities are designed to allow Minnesotans supported by the Department of Human Services to stay safe without losing their critical services.

Governor’s Executive Orders create flexibility to serve vulnerable Minnesotans during COVID-19 pandemic
Governor Tim Walz has granted the Minnesota Department of Human Services emergency temporary authority to change administrative and regulatory requirements for food assistance, home care, public health care and other state programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

List of cancellations and closings
As we collectively participate in social distancing as recommended by the state and federal government, events have been canceled and offices have been closed.

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