Advocating for stronger disability services
ARRM works to ensure Minnesota's public policy and regulatory environment promotes the independence, health and safety of people with disabilities and strengthens our members' ability to support them. We achieve this by identifying policies that will create positive changes to our disability services system and help achieve the goals and ideals laid out in guiding principles such as the Minnesota Olmstead Plan, working with legislators and supporting coalitions to pass these policies at the state and federal level. Several ARRM member-committees shape the organization's policy platform and revisit it on an annual basis.
Download the 2017 ARRM Legislative Agenda handout
For a full analysis of what was included in the final Health and Human Services bill, ARRM members can download our 2017 HHS Bill Overview from the Members Center.
Support professional wages for a professional workforce (SF 669/ HF 873)
Nearly 100,000 people work as Direct Support Professionals in Minnesota at an average wage of less than $12 an hour. Wages for these professionals are almost entirely influenced by the reimbursement rates for services set by the state. The amazing staff who support people with disabilities deserve so much better. ARRM supports a significant wage increase to benefit staff providing care in group homes, a person's own home and daytime/employment programs.
2017 Legislative Session Outcome: ARRM is active member of the Best Life Alliance, which proposed a wage increase of 4% in 2017 and 4% in 2018 for Direct Support Professionals. Unfortunately, the proposed legislation was not passed this year, resulting in no immediate increase for DSPs.
Policy reform (SF 359/ HF 696)
ARRM’s 2017 Policy Bill, while costing the state no new dollars, will help give solutions to providers as they work to provide innovative, person-centered services to individuals living in the community. This bill seeks to create efficiencies and streamline regulatory practices while supporting family, friendships and independent living, including:
- Support family and friendships
- Promote independent living
- Streamline background checks
- Improve training and quality and efficiency
- Enhance technology use
2017 Legislative Session Outcome: ARRM’s 2017 Policy Bill was unanimously passed off the House and Senate floor and signed into law by Governor Dayton. The bill was amended throughout the committee process; our language clarifying who is a natural support and who is a volunteer as well as our language extending the amount of days a provider has to provide orientation was removed. Added to the bill during the committee process was an extension of the deadline that providers have to add a fifth bed; this deadline was extended by two years to 2019. The enactment date for all components within the bill is August 1, 2017.
Stabilize Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS) impacts (SF 727/ HF 814)
Unfunded mandates and dramatic swings in reimbursement rates are crushing organizations that have little to no ability to adjust revenue to meet increasing costs imposed by the government and economic conditions. This has created an environment of extreme business uncertainty, putting critical services in numerous communities at risk. ARRM seeks to stabilize conditions for providers by implementing previously established long-term inflation adjustments and eliminating unfunded mandates now and in the future, including:
- Distribute BLS rate adjustments
- Reform unit based service reimbursement
- Address unfunded mandates put on providers
- Minimize drastic rate changes
- Adjust RN and LPN wages with BLS
2017 Legislative Session Outcome: The final Health and Human Services Omnibus bill contained many of the proposals from the DWRS. Changes include:
- Addition of a 7th year of banding (contingent on Federal approval)
- Tying the sleep staff rate to minimum wage (effective 2019)
- Tying the RN and Supervisory rate to the BLS (effective 2019)
- New language on a provider cost audit
- Moving respite to a market based service
Support a full spectrum of care (SF 996/ HF 921)
Outdated laws written to address problems that no longer exist are creating new problems for Intermediate Care Facilities for people with intellectual disabilities (ICF/ID), an important part of Minnesota’s support spectrum for people with more significant care needs. Policy from the 1980s to disincentive over-development of ICF/ID programs now penalizes programs with unfilled resident openings who want to help residents go on therapeutic leave, particularly in Greater Minnesota. ARRM seeks to ensure ICF/ID viability and promote therapeutic leave for residents.
2017 Legislative Session Outcome: ARRM’s proposed language to address ICF/ID open beds and providers ability to bill for therapeutic leave days was included and passed in the final HHS Omnibus bill. The new language now treats an open bed as a “reserved bed” allowing providers to bill for therapeutic leave days. The enactment date for this change is July 1st, 2017. Also included in SF 996/HF 921 was direction to the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to study consolidating the four disability waivers into one waiver. This language was also included in the final Health and Human Services Omnibus bill.