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Capitol Update—Status of Legislation

Toby PearsonBy Toby Pearson, Vice President of Advocacy, Care Providers of Minnesota
April 6, 2018  |  All members

The second deadline of the Minnesota Legislature passed last week at the Capitol—at midnight on Thursday, the policy committees were finished with their work and will no longer be hearing bills. Most of the action moves to the finance committees as they put together budgets and omnibus bill or bills. This also means you will start to hear and read more about taxes and tax policy as the Legislature and the Governor struggle to determine what to do with the tax conformity issues raised by the Federal tax changes. Although they say items that did not meet their deadlines are “dead” for the Session, nothing is truly dead until the legislature adjourns, so we will keep watching to see what happens.

Here is the status of some of the legislation Care Providers staff has worked on, as we leave the Easter/Passover break of the legislative session and head into finance deadlines and then on to adjournment.

Abuse and neglect
In the House, the bill that Care Providers of Minnesota and the Long-Term Care Imperative supports, HF3308 Kiel (R-Crookston), currently waits for the next hearing in Health & Human Services Finance committee in the House. We anticipate they will schedule this bill for its next hearing in the next two weeks (before the third deadline).   

Another bill that Care Providers of Minnesota and the Long-Term Care Imperative support, HF3296 (Kiel, R-Crookston), which establishes a task force to examine crimes against vulnerable adults, is moving separately from the larger bill on abuse and neglect. The bill was passed without opposition to the Public Safety Policy & Finance Committee.

In the Senate, the bill that Care Providers of Minnesota and the Long-Term Care Imperative supports, SF3103 Relph (R-Saint Cloud) did not meet deadline and has not received any action.

In the Senate, the bill that Senate is pushing to address abuse and neglect are encapsulated in Senate Files 3437, 3438, 3450, and 3451 Housley (R-St. Marys Point). They introduced “clone” bills as a procedural move to split up the topics and send them to the committees of jurisdiction in order to meet the deadlines.  We anticipate that the bills will be condensed back into one vehicle and heard in the Senate Health & Human Services Finance Committee in the next two weeks to meet the deadline.

We are hearing mixed information of the future of the bills dealing with abuse and neglect, they will both have to pass off the floor of their respective bodies, but the discussion is if they will be in a bigger omnibus package, or if they will be on their own. Stay tuned for updates.

Home care changes
HF3240 Haley, (R-Red Wing)
SF2826 Relph (R- Saint Cloud)

Another set of bills that Care Providers has been working on has to do with changes to home care legislation. These changes were worked on with the Long-Term Care Imperative and the Home Care Association, as well as the Department of Health. These bills have met the deadlines in their respective bodies and will be moving along in the process as well.

Human services elderly waiver recodification
HF3055 Kiel (R-Crookston)
SF2564 Housley (R-St. Marys Point)

Recodifying the Elderly Waiver (EW) statutes after the multiple changes over the years was a project that Care Providers of Minnesota staff, the Department of Human Services, as well as the Long-Term Care Imperative worked on for the past year. These bills have met the deadlines and are proceeding in the process.

Financial exploitation protections
HF3833 Schomacker (R-Luverne)
SF919 Housley (R-St. Marys Point)

A bill concerning financial exploitation protections for older and vulnerable adults has been moving its way through the process. 

Minnesota Health Policy Commission bill
HF3823 (Schomacker, R-Luverne)
SF3417 (Benson, R-Ham Lake) 

The Chamber of Commerce is leading an effort to establish a Minnesota Health Policy Commission, which would be tasked with providing recommendations on steps to take to improve healthcare and health outcomes at lower cost. Specific duties of the Commission are: 
  • comparing healthcare costs and public healthcare program spending to that of other states, and to costs and spending in previous years; 
  • identifying factors that contribute to Minnesota’s healthcare costs and public healthcare program spending;
  • monitoring efforts to reform the healthcare delivery and payment system; and
  • recommending reforms to the healthcare system.

Care Providers of Minnesota worked with the Chamber throughout the last year leading up to the Legislative Session to move away from focusing only on Medicaid. We opposed their issue paper, which pointed to seniors as a driving cost of public programs. While we remain opposed to the concept, the bill is better than it was originally pitched to the Chamber Health Policy Committee as it has vastly broadened the scope of the Commission and includes a representative of long-term care on the Commission. The bill moved through two House committees this week and one Senate committee. It has met deadlines and will likely be discussed again after legislators return from Easter/Passover recess. Legislators have commented that they are skeptical that the commission would provide any value beyond what previous task forces and workgroups have, but others believe this group will allow a systematic conversation to take place, whereas the Legislature just plays "whack-a-mole" every year.  

Nurse Licensure Compact 
HF3848 (Schomacker, R-Luverne) 
SF3305 (Mathews, R-Milaca) 

The enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact allows a nurse licensed in the nurse’s home state or state of residency (if the state is part of the compact) to practice in other member states. States must adopt the compact through legislation in order to be members. This bill would allow Minnesota to become a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact. The bill was heard last week in the Senate, where it was laid over, which allowed the House bill to meet committee deadlines and be heard this week. Because it started moving so late in the House, they introduced “clone” bills so it could be heard in several committees in one day. It moved through both the House HHS Policy and Government Operations Committees on Tuesday; it will next be heard in Civil Law.  

The bill is controversial and is strongly opposed by the Minnesota Nurses Association. The bill is passing largely on party line votes, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it. Governor Dayton previously vetoed the Nurse Licensure Compact, and it is expected he would do so again.  

Maltreatment investigation quarterly report  
HF3857 (Kiel, R-Crookston) 
SF3451 (Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point) 

This bill requires the Commissioner of Health to provide quarterly reports on investigations conducted by the Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) into allegations of maltreatment of vulnerable adults. It requires:  
  • information on the office’s efforts to improve its internal processes and its compliance with State and Federal requirements;
  • the number of reports received, the number of reports investigated, the percentage and number of reports awaiting triage, the number and percentage of open investigations, and the number and percentage of investigations that failed to meet State or Federal investigation timelines;
  • a trend analysis of internal audits; and
  • trends and patterns in maltreatment of vulnerable adults, licensing violations, and other metric specified by the commissioner.

This bill was heard in the House HHS Reform Committee Tuesday and was passed to HHS Finance unanimously. This bill and its companion in the Senate are possible vehicle bills for the entire elder care bill package, as the bills both Senator Housley and Representative Kiel are carrying to address the issue do not match up and thus are not considered “companion” bills for the purposes of a future conference committee. The bill has also passed the policy committees in the Senate and sits in the HHS Finance & Policy Committee.   

Potential cuts to disability waivers 
HF3191 Schomaker (R-Luverne)
SF2889 Utke (R-Park Rapids)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rejected Minnesota’s Disability Waiver Rate Setting (DWRS) methodology earlier this year because it determined that it impermissibly “stacked” rate increases that were implemented on July 1, 2017. The Governor’s budget proposed to remove the 7% rate increase provided last year. If the Legislature does not act to address this issue, the Governor’s position will take effect on July 1, 2018. The legislative proposals would address the changes by basing DWRS rates on metro wages for all areas of state, updating the rates every two years instead of five and including the quality add-ons from prior years in the rates. 

Toby Pearson – 952-851-2480 – 


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