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Waiver Reimagine August feedback event summary: Simplifying the Service Menu

Waiver Reimagine is a project that aims to improve and simplify services for people in Minnesota who use the disability waivers. For more information on Waiver Reimagine basics, go to:

Stakeholder input has and will inform Waiver Reimagine’s goals and the project’s course. The following is a summary of the first Waiver Reimagine feedback event in August, but it also will serve as a topic brief. It will be the first in a series of briefs that will explore key Waiver Reimagine improvements.
This page:

  • Provides information about service-menu simplification
  • Documents feedback about the changes
  • Describes how we will put the feedback into action

Summary of August event

During the first Waiver Reimagine feedback events in August, we asked people, their families, advocates, providers and lead agencies for their thoughts on the suggested simplified service menu and related improvements. Participants shared that they are ready to learn more details about the simplified service menu, including:

  • How it will impact them
  • How it will interact with other services
  • The broader waiver system and when the changes will happen

As a result, the Department of Human Services (DHS) plans to develop resources (including training for service providers and lead agencies), case studies and additional materials for people and families.


DHS’ plans to simplify the service menu will make waiver programs easier to use and help people match the right services to their needs. We also are working on an online service-planning tool that will be a helpful resource to learn about available services and supports.
We based these changes on feedback provided in 2018 by people, their families, caregivers, providers, counties and tribal nations about the current service menu. They said it was difficult to understand and that it limited options. In response to the feedback, we have worked to combine similar services across waivers and create more service options.
In the new system, twelve of the current services will be simplified into six new service categories. The services will offer the same level of support, even though the names are changing. People who use waivers will have access to these services regardless of which waiver they use. These changes will make it easier to:

  • Understand waiver programs while ensuring people still get the supports they need
  • Say what is important to the person and for the person
  • Match the right services to the person’s needs

Table 1- Simplified service menu

Existing service(s)

Simplified service

Corporate foster care
Supported living services (corporate)

Community residential services

Family foster care
Supported living services (family)

Family residential services

Personal support
Adult companion

Individualized home supports (without training)

Independent living skills (training)
Individualized home supports
Supported living services (15 min. unit)

Individualized home support with training

In-home family supports

Individualized home supports (with family training)

Day training and habilitation
Structured day program

Day support services

Table 2- New service or service model



Integrated community supports

New service

Remote support

Allows several services to be provided in person or remotely (using live, 2-way communication)

We are also developing a secure, online resource people can use to access information about available services and supports. We plan to build the tool in two stages:

  • The first version will offer general information about available services and supports.
  • A future version would connect to other state systems to provide personalized information about people’s active programs, such as renewal dates or budget information.

Event specifics

Participants say they are ready to learn more about the simplified service menu.
For the August 2020 feedback event, we gathered feedback about the simplified service menu and related improvements through a pre-event input form and interactive feedback events. To recruit participants, we posted information about the pre-event input form and events on the Waiver Reimagine webpage. We notified stakeholders through a DHS Disability Services Division eList announcement. DHS, along with our communication partner, The Improve Group, conducted direct outreach to those who had previously expressed interest in joining Waiver Reimagine feedback events.
The pre-event input form received 291 responses from Aug. 14-25, 2020. Seventy-eight percent of respondents were representatives of service providers, lead agencies and advocacy organizations, while 22 percent were people, their families and members of the public.
Respondents had the option to register for one of two feedback sessions on Aug. 31, 2020, designed for different audiences. Fifty representatives of providers and lead agencies were invited to attend an afternoon session intended for those audiences (participants were selected to ensure representation from all regions of Minnesota and to maximize the number of organizations that could take part). All people and families who registered were invited to attend an evening session tailored to people, their family members and advocates.
During each session, we briefly shared information about our goals to simplify the waiver service menu and other proposed improvements. Then, we asked participants to join small groups and provide feedback. The sessions covered the following:

  • Session 1 gathered input from 48 representatives of providers and lead agencies. We gathered feedback about descriptions of the proposed services and draft versions of the Community-Based Services Manual (CBSM), a policy/guidance tool for providers and lead agencies. A recording of the session 1 presentation is available to view until March 31, 2021.
  • Session 2 gathered input from 44 people, family members and advocates. We asked for input on draft service descriptions for the MinnesotaHelp.Info website and feedback about the online service-planning tool for people and families. A recording of the session 2 presentation is available to view until March 31, 2021.


Providers and lead agencies who shared feedback had a range of thoughts about the simplified service menu, but some overall themes emerged. They asked for:

  • More information about Waiver Reimagine and the planned improvements.
  • Details about how the service menu changes relate to other proposed Waiver Reimagine changes.
  • A crosswalk between the current and new simplified service menu.

There were some overall themes in the feedback that people, families and advocates provided around the simplified service menu and the online service-planning tool. Participants asked for:

  • More information about how the service changes will benefit people.
  • Clear service descriptions that reflect the way people talk about their services.
  • More details about individualized services and the differences between different service categories.

Overall, people and family members shared that they would use a secure and easy-to-use online service-planning tool. They would like to access all their information through the tool, including budget, service and planning information. Participants also suggested specific features (including chat, email support and search functionality). Some participants raised concerns related to assistive technology and internet access.

Using participant feedback

In response to participant input, we will develop a variety of resources and tools for people, families, advocates, providers and lead agencies. The specific steps we plan to take include:

  • Training providers and lead agency staff during Fall/Winter 2020 on how to put the simplified service menu into effect.
  • Creating resources (such as scenarios and case studies) for people and families to make more informed decisions about services and supports that align with the new service menu.
  • Offering more opportunities over the next year to provide input on the online service-planning tool.

Additional resources

Continued feedback will influence how we carry out and communicate about Waiver Reimagine. We hope to include more participants so we can gather more input during future feedback events. To learn more about the project and the events to attend:

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