Public Policy: 2017 Legislative Priorities
ARRM Policy Reform Bill
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. In 2017, ARRM and its members are focused on passing reforms that help address the significant workforce shortages in our industry.
Download the 2017 ARRM Policy Reform Bill Fact Sheet
Support family and friendships
Volunteers, as well as friends and family (known as 'natural
supports'), are important supplements to paid staff for supporting
people with disabilities. State statue defines these two categories and
requires volunteers to complete a background check. However, the
definition of 'volunteer' is so broad that people who are friends of the
people ARRM members support aren't able to do things like take their
friends to the movies or drive them to a doctor appointment without
getting a background check.
ARRM will be amending statute relating to volunteers, more clearly defining the term to state
only if an agency is soliciting, managing or overseeing the
relationships or work, that person would be defined as a volunteer and
be required to obtain a background study. This will not only allow staff
to work with natural supports to care for people with disabilities but
support more natural relationships between friends and families.
In addition, current 245D requirements have eliminated many options for
respite services for families caring for a loved one with a disability.
For instance, another family member that did not have required training
under 245D could not provide care for a weekend to allow the primary
caregivers a short vacation. The loss of this kind of respite service
and those in other settings puts extreme strain on families and
unnecessary bounds on family dynamics and support.
ARRM proposes making the requirements for respite care training and licensing focused on the needs of the individual case. This will allow more individuals and programs to provide respite care.
Promote independent living
As we work to ensure people with disabilities have access to the most independent living options possible, certain policies must be adapted to provide the necessary support. Current licensing and rate structures do not allow for in-home supports provided under certain disability waivers. If providers are not able to be licensed and reimbursed for providing these allowed services, individuals needing these supports to remain in their own home will be left without a resource.
Similarly, the current moratorium on new corporate foster care beds, while positively intended to promote more people moving into independent settings, has the unintended consequence of creating fear for individuals and families that if they do try a more independent setting and it doesn't work out, there won't be any availability for them to return to a corporate foster care setting, which is still more independent than returning home or moving to a more institutional setting.
ARRM will amend statute to expand exceptions to the current new bed moratorium, allowing for creating space for those transitioning from independent living back to a foster care setting, and expand the continuum of services to cover individualized home supports, creating a stronger network of services and safety net for individuals who wish to live on their own.
Improve training quality and efficiency
Robust and up-to-date training is essential to having strong staff to
support people with disabilities. Minnesota's current training
requirements are based on staff completing a set number of training
hours before they begin working with people, and a set number of ongoing
training hours. While this works fine for many people, we know that
everyone learns and retains information at different rates, and a system
solely based on completing a set number of training hours leaves some
staff who stay in training long after they are competent in the skills
they need, and others may still need a few more hours to feel fully
ARRM proposes allowing providers the flexibility to implement a
training model that works best for their staff while continuing to
support the highest quality workforce. Providers will be able to opt
into either an hours-based training system or a competency-based system.
Enhance technology use
Customized technology solutions are one of the greatest modern tools
we have to support greater independence for people with disabilities and
better support staff in managing workforce shortages. However, there
are some barriers to fully utilizing technology, most notably that not
enough people are educated on the options available, but also some
limitations on using the public dollars people with disabilities may
receive for implementing technology supports.
To ensure technology becomes a fully available support option for
people with disabilities, ARRM is proposing that case managers, people
with disabilities and their support providers must discuss technology
options when developing their care plan. Additionally, ARRM proposes
changing language that currently prevents a person receiving support
under the traditional disability waivers (non-Consumer Directed
Community Support) from using those dollars to purchase supportive
Streamline background checks
A strong background check system is a key component to ensuring people with disabilities are supported by sound and qualified staff. However, while some positions are able to use a modern background check system that returns reports within days, some jobs are forced to use a background check system that is antiquated and can take up to six months for results. Six months is too long to wait to be able to put qualified staff to work while people wait for needed services. The primary area of concern is in child foster care services.
ARRM proposes performing child foster care background studies done through NET Study 2.0, the state’s new system that it uses for all other background studies. NET Study 2.0 meets all of the background check requirements legislated for child foster care and once fully implanted will have an average return time of two to three days.