The Legislature requires DHS to update the existing regional variance factors (RVFs) in the Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS) frameworks to account for regional cost differences every five years, starting in 2017 (Minn. Stat. §256B.4914, subd.10f). DHS will begin using these updated factors on Jan. 1, 2018.
In order to update the RVFs, DHS conducted a study duplicating the methodology used in the 2015 RVF study by Truven Analytics (see 2015 Regional Variance Factor Report [PDF]). DHS calculates the RVFs based on independent wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The DWRS Advisory Committee stakeholders helped DHS decide how to conduct the updated RVF analysis.
DHS will begin to use the updated regional variance factors (RVFs) on a rolling basis as service agreements renew beginning Jan. 1, 2018. The 2018 RVF values and regions are listed under the Updated Regional Variance Factors and Regions tabs of this page.
During this implementation, lead agencies do not have to change their process for Rate Management System or MnCHOICES Support Plan input. DHS will apply these factors to the framework rate only. Because of banding, most recipient rates will not change significantly. Full impact of this change will occur when banding ends.
The Rate Management System and MnCHOICES Support Plan will apply regional variance factors according to the recipient’s county of residence. The regions are Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The table below lists the lead agencies included within each region. The map shows where these regions are located in the state.
The MSAs are shaped by census data and may change with each census. For the 2018 regional variance factors, changes to the MSAs include:
The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington (Metro) region now encompasses three additional counties and one tribe: Le Sueur County, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Mille Lacs County and Sibley County.
The Southeast region decreased by three counties, Fillmore, Le Sueur and Sibley.
The Rochester region now includes Fillmore County.
The Northwest region no longer includes Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Mille Lacs County.
Regions as Defined by Metropolitan Statistical Areas
Duluth MN Area
Carlton and St. Louis counties, and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Fargo ND Area
Grand Forks ND Area
La Crosse WI Area
Mankato MN Area
Blue Earth and Nicollet counties
Metro MN Area
Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Le Sueur, Mille Lacs, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Washington and Wright Counties and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
Aitkin, Cook, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake and Pine counties, and Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Morrison, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin counties; Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Nation, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and White Earth Nation
Rochester MN Area
Dodge, Fillmore, Olmsted and Wabasha counties
Brown, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Martin, Mower, Rice, Steele, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona counties and Prairie Island Indian Community
Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties; Lower Sioux Indian Community and Upper Sioux Community
St. Cloud MN Area
Benton and Stearns counties
Updated MSA Regions in Minnesota
Updated Regional Variance Factors
The Rate Management System and MnCHOICES Support Plan will apply regional variance factors (RVFs) according to the geographical region and Disability Waiver Rate System service bucket. The table below lists the regional variance factors by region and service bucket that DHS will begin to use on Jan. 1, 2018.