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 2018 ARRM Legislative Agenda handout
2018 Legislative Session Outcomes
ARRM approached the 2018 Legislative Session with the intent on building upon the successful policy changes that were passed in 2017. However, with the announcement at the end of February of an impending 7% cut to Disability Waiver Rates in July, ARRM, in partnership with the Best Life Alliance, quickly adjusted its strategy with the main focus on Stopping the Cut.
The legislative session officially began on Tuesday, February 20th and news of the cut came out at the end of that week. In just three months, we were able to educate legislators and stakeholders on the broad impact of the 7% cut and were able to position ourselves as a funding priority for both the House and Senate, and in the end the Governor’s office. A temporary stop to the 7% cut was included in the Omnibus Supplemental Spending bill. Unfortunately, that bill was vetoed by the Governor due to reasons unrelated to our priorities.
As it stands right now, a 7% cut will go into effect on July 1st, 2018 for all individuals that are un-banded and will impact banded individuals when banding ends in 2019. On June 12th, 2018, ARRM, in partnership with MOHR officially filed suit in federal court against Commissioner of Human Services Emily Johnson Piper, seeking an emergency injunction against the implementation of a the 7% cut. You can read more here .
In addition to stopping the 7% cut, ARRM also carried a policy bill with initiatives that came out of our Service Innovations Committee. This bill included provisions that would extend the current licensing moratorium exception for unlicensed settings, change qualifications needed for Behavior Support Professionals, extend the sunset for adding a fifth bed to a CRS, and mandate the discussion of technology at every Service Authorization Planning meeting. The language was included in both the House and Senate Omnibus bills and made it into the larger Omnibus Supplemental Spending Bill. Unfortunately, this language was not passed as a result of the Governor’s veto of the overall bill.
While the 2018 Legislative Session can be viewed as disappointment with big losses coming when the Governor vetoed the Omnibus bill, it is important to highlight and celebrate the tremendous support and advocacy that ARRM members showed this session.
Invest in Individuals, support the Best Life Alliance legislation (SF 2889/ HF 3191)
ARRM is an active member in the Best Life Alliance Coalition. This year, the Best Life Alliance legislation stabilizes and strengthens the ability of Minnesotans with disabilities to access the valuable supports they rely on for health, safety, and living out fulfilling lives in our communities as independently as possible.
ARRM’s 2018 Policy Bill builds off of the important policy legislation that ARRM passed in 2017. This bill seeks to continue the advancement of technology in the lives of people with disabilities as well as make necessary changes to allow for a more efficient way of providing important services:
- Enhance Technology use
- Maximize Staff Capacity
- Create Sensible Staff Qualifications
HCBS providers are unique as private businesses in that they can have unfunded government regulations placed upon them but little to not ability to adjust their cost of services to reflect increased expenses and increased quality of services. With over 95% of revenue coming from state and federal determined Medicaid reimbursement rates, costly mandates force providers to choose between innovative services, staff wages, serving individuals or simply keeping their doors open.