The Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS) determines individualized payment rates for certain Brain Injury (BI), Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI), Community Alternative Care (CAC) and Developmental Disabilities (DD) waiver services. The DWRS divides disability waiver services into three service categories: framework rate, market rate and pre-determined rate. For more information, see DHS – DWRS.
DWRS cost reporting is a requirement for providers to report the actual costs of providing services by the established cost centers (e.g., wages, program administration or facilities).
DHS will use the data gathered from DWRS cost reporting to make evidence-based recommendations to the Legislature about the payment rates for disability waiver services. We will collect this data on an ongoing basis to inform policy makers of the cost drivers and allow DWRS to set rates that:
For more information, see DHS – DWRS cost reporting.
The Minnesota Legislature directed DHS to develop and implement a provider cost review for agencies that provide at least one service covered by DWRS (Minn. Stat., §256B.4914, subd. 10a).
You must submit your organization’s final cost report via the online DWRS cost reporting platform. DHS intends for this online platform to be easier and more user-friendly than spreadsheet submissions, while also allowing DHS to use providers’ information quickly to report to decision makers.
DHS is partnering with Minnesota IT Services (MN.IT) to develop the online platform. Please check back for more information on the platform in spring 2021.
There are multiple parts of Minn. Stat. §256B.4914, subd. 10a that aim to collect information from DWRS providers. DHS uses labor market reporting to gather high-level information about wages of the direct support workforce, benefits costs and access and turnover/retention. DHS uses cost reporting to achieve a real understanding of the cost of providing services, including line-item dollar reporting. The two efforts are separate and gather different information.
The approach to data collection is also different. For labor market reporting, DHS takes a sample-based reporting approach so only a portion of providers have to report each year. For cost reporting, all DWRS providers must report at least once over a five-year cycle.
Thank you for preparing ahead of time for your reporting year! We suggest you review the introductory cost reporting materials on the resources tab of DHS – DWRS cost reporting. It includes information about:
When completing the cost report, include the revenues and costs associated with providing DWRS framework services. Do not report incomes received for non-service revenues, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Housing Support, non-DWRS waiver services income or costs not allowed under Medical Assistance.
Do not report any room and board costs on the cost report, including costs for residential services facilities or homes. This includes, but is not limited to:
HCBS waivers cannot pay for room and board, so DWRS payments do not cover these costs. Other programs (e.g., Housing Support) cover these costs, so provider organizations should not count them as DWRS costs.
The only acceptable facility costs that can be reported are non-residential facility costs, such as administrative offices, day programs or other types of administrative offices.
If an employee works both as a direct care worker and as an administrative worker, consider the work they do most of the time or what their role is in the workplace.
The cost report allows you to allocate an employee’s time to direct care and administrative categories in both reporting sections, so you are able to allocate their time to the tasks they perform.
You should never split one employee’s duties between two reporting sections. You must report whole positions only once, on one section.
Example: Gabi is the clinical director of Organization ABC, and she is a registered nurse (RN). Gabi spends 20% of her time providing RN services directly to people who receive DWRS day services, and she spends 80% of her time overseeing the organization’s administration of its clinical practice. Organization ABC reports Gabi as an administrative employee and allocates 80% of Gabi’s salaries, wages, benefits and payroll tax costs to the DWRS service administration and 20% percent of the cost to the DWRS day services direct care.
An employee is considered full time if they work at least 40 hours per week, on average, during the reporting period.
An in-program or in-service cost means that what is being provided is included in the rate for the service. These costs are considered direct care costs, so you should report them on the client and programming supports section of the cost report.
Example: Cody, a direct care worker, is taking public transportation with a person receiving services on their way to community activities as part of their service. In this situation, the cost of public transportation is considered in-program or in-service.
Out-of-program or out-of-service costs are activities that are related to providing services but are not part of the service itself. Generally, these costs are part of the administrative or program support costs, instead of direct care costs. You should report them as non-billable time for direct care staff as program support or on the transportation section of the cost report, as appropriate.
Example: Johan, a direct care worker, plans for activities and tasks he will work on with the person during a service. This pre-planning is generally not considered a billable service because the person receiving services is not present. However, Johan still must complete this task to deliver the service.
DHS suggests tracking the miles driven in one week by each vehicle your organization owns/leases. Then, in one month, track the miles again. Use the information you gathered to estimate the total miles driven by each vehicle per year. To estimate, use the following equation:
(week 1 miles + week 2 miles) x 52 = Subtotal
Subtotal ÷ 2 = Annual miles driven
Only use this method if you have not had dramatic changes in the miles or routes driven for the vehicles you are estimating.
Beginning in 2021, DHS expects all provider organizations to start tracking the annual miles driven by each of their vehicles to prepare for future reporting.
The cost reporting system only includes day and administrative facility costs. Only use the facility costs section of the cost report for facilities that are for the delivery of day services or administrative purposes. All other services do not have a built-in component for a facility and, therefore, should not be included.
Due to federal waiver regulations, you may only report day facility and administrative facility costs. This is because waivers only cover the costs of services delivered through residential settings, and they do not pay for room and board. For more information on what costs should and should not be included, see DWRS Cost Reporting Manual – What to include.
All sections that require you to allocate wages of direct care staff include additional, more specific cost categories that break down DWRS costs. These categories are based on the different wage assumptions in the DWRS rate frameworks.
Example: The DWRS residential services category includes options for awake direct care worker, asleep direct care worker, supervisor, nursing, etc., because these are all different direct care roles within the framework. This allocation allows the provider to connect reported costs to the appropriate framework assumption and allows DHS to understand the costs to provide DWRS services.
Due to the specific nature of these categories, you might need to take additional considerations to allocate wage and benefit costs. DHS suggests basing the allocation of direct care wages and benefits by the portion of the work performed in the different roles, as defined in the direct care worker cost categories. For more information, see DWRS Cost Reporting Manual – Cost categories and allocation methodology.
Think about program plan support as non-direct time for direct care staff. The cost report includes an additional cost category for program support in each of the direct care cost categories. This accounts for time direct care staff did not spend working directly with people but that is still related to providing services. This could include:
You can also report the travel time between people receiving services as program support when it is considered outside of the service. While this category likely will not be a large portion of most staff members’ time, it is important to understand how much time staff members spend outside of providing direct care.