MOHR is an active member of the Best Life Alliance, a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations, people with disabilities, families and supporters advocating for Minnesota’s Home & Community-Based Services. Founded in 2014, this coalition was previously known as The 5% Campaign.
Minnesota’s effective Home & Community- Based Services (HCBS) allow people with intellectual and physical disabilities to receive services tailored to meet their needs – whether that means help getting to work or complex 24/7 medical care. These essential services foster skill development, provide job coaching and medical care, ensure health and safety, and much more. They allow people with disabilities to contribute to their communities and stay as active and independent as possible.
Right now the foundation of the system - a strong and stable direct care workforce - is crumbling away. Direct care workers who assist people with disabilities have demanding, highly-skilled, professional jobs and should receive competitive wages. $12.32/hour is the average wage of HCBS direct care workers in Minnesota, and many earn less. This pay is directly tied to state reimbursement rates set by lawmakers and that pay has not kept up with rising costs over the past decade. Due to these low wages, more than 8,700 unfilled HCBS caregiver and staff jobs exist in Minnesota today.
Without maintenance, the entire system is at risk. People with disabilities and providers cannot hire the staff they need. There is a huge strain on overworked direct care staff, and providers struggling to recruit, train, retain and operate with high turnover rates
Action Needed in 2019
In late February, 2018 the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) received notification from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of a problem with Minnesota's rate setting policy for Minnesotans receiving home and community-based services (HCBS). This problem has resulted in a 7% cut to reimbursement rates for services received by several thousand Minnesotans with disabilities. As of July 1st, 2018, all individuals who are receiving services that are funded by the waiver, and whose rates were not banded sustained a 7% cut. If the legislature does not act to fix this problem in 2019, all services funded through the waiver will receive a 7% cut at the end of 2019.
For information, please view the 2019 Legislative Proposal.