One of two anticipated omnibus health and human services bills was heard this week in committee. The bill is the result of work done in the Human Services Reform Committee. The bill contains a mixture of policy and budgetary provisions that focus on child care, child protection, mental health, and people with disabilities.
Notable provisions include funding for school-linked mental health grants for telemedicine services, the creation of a foster care sibling bill of rights, a working group to address policies and procedure in child protection affecting African American families, and a new training program for child protection workers across the state.
The bill also contains a possible fix to rates paid to providers of services for people with disabilities- called the Disability Waiver Rate System, or DWRS. Several years of continued efforts to increase provider rates was hampered early this year when the federal government declined to match Minnesota’s investments, creating a hole in the budget that forces the state to stop paying increased rates. A provision in this bill will reinvest funds to ensure providers don’t see a large rate decrease as soon as July of this year.
The bill passed and was referred to the Finance Committee. (SF 3937)