Minnesota Organization for Habilitation & Rehabilitation 2023 Legislative Agenda
OUR CURRENT SITUATION
Due to severe staff shortages, more than 3,500 Minnesotans are currently on waiting lists for day and employment services. Some have been waiting more than 3 years. This number grows every day.
The biggest barrier to hiring direct support professionals is the low wage rate funded in the current disability waiver rate framework (DWRS).
LOSS OF ACCESS
On average, MOHR members are serving 27% fewer individuals than they were before COVID. The individuals with the highest needs are the most likely to be left behind due to organizations’ inability to hire enough staff to provide the needed support.
YOU CAN HELP
The legislature can help solve this problem by updating the state-set reimbursement rates for day and employment service providers.
STRENGTHEN THE DISABILITY WAIVER RATE SYSTEM (DWRS)
House File 999 / Senate File 1015
Employment and Day services programs are funded by the state’s Medicaid DWRS reimbursement, meaning staff pay rates are largely controlled by legislative action. The current DWRS is woefully out of date, making it extremely challenging to hire and retain workers because wages are not competitive. This results in individuals with disabilities being left out of the workforce and unable to access day supports because providers cannot hire enough staff to support them. The Best Life Alliance legislation proposes adjustments to the DWRS focused on using more current economic data for updates to reimbursement rates. This will allow providers to offer more competitive wages and benefits, in turn helping more Minnesotans to access services.
STRENGTHEN THE EXTENDED EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
House File 1501 / Senate File 1271
The MN Department of Employment and Economic Development oversees a critical disability employment support service called Extended Employment. This disability employment support program helps Minnesotans to reach their competitive employment goals. The proposed MOHR Extended Employment legislation would increase the sustainability of the Extended Employment program by adjusting the reimbursement rate to be more responsive to current market trends and therefore increasing access to this important service.