Human Services Reform committee hears DFL bills on long-term care and substance abuse reform

Bills from Senate DFLers were heard in the Human Services Reform committee this week aimed at creating long-term supports for substance use disorder (SUD) and long-term care providers. These bills were laid over in committee as providers, agency staff, and legislators continue to work on them.

The first bill is a comprehensive package of solutions to support the SUD workforce and individuals receiving treatment or recovery services. The Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH) testified on the provisions of this bill that would improve patient services and support and bolster the staff who work directly with people in SUD treatment. Highlights include: 

  • Establishing a 5-year pilot program to provide housing fidelity bonds for Medical Assistance enrollees who receive SUD treatment services. Modeled after the U.S. Department of Labor’s fidelity bond program, this will help individuals find stable housing options. 
  • Providing stipends for people who have successfully completed SUD treatment to help with costs of housing, transportation, childcare, and food support.
  • Waiving fees for Medical Assistance enrollees to get copies of vital documents like birth certificates or state identification that may be needed to receive SUD treatment services.
  • Enacting a 10% rate increase for direct care SUD staff.

The second bill would provide a rate increase for customized living services provided under certain disability waivers. Customized living providers, who work with individuals with disabilities and older adults in residential settings, testified that the state has been reimbursing providers well below market rates for years. This ongoing rate increase would not only help providers cover the cost of providing health-related and other supportive services, but make sure the direct care staff can be compensated appropriately.  (SF 3062, SF 3390)