Increased Flexibility, Savings for Minnesota Home Health Care?

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton submitted earlier this month a proposal that would save care recipients and the state money on health care by allowing patients more flexibility in receiving home care and extending the reach of the state’s home care services, according to a letter from the governor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Dayton projects proposed efforts would save “tens of millions over the next few years” for the state and its taxpayers. Overall, the proposal aims to lower the cost of health care, provide more effective and high impact care, and shed the reliance on more expensive health care in nursing home facilities.

In 2010 61% of Medicaid eligible seniors lived in a community setting rather than an institutional one, and currently over 22,000 patients use the state’s Personal Care Assistance (PCA) program, according to the proposal. The proposed initiative, Reform 2012: Pathways to Independence, was submitted to CMS Aug. 24 aims to continue Minnesota’s commitment to keeping patients in their homes and out of hospitals and nursing facilities for as long as possible, according to Dayton’s letter. 

“We will keep [vulnerable Minnesotans] in their communities longer and out of expensive facilities and programs,” wrote Dayton in his letter to HHS. “We are creating more consumer-directed options to allow clients to select their own services and hire their own staff.”

A long-term care realignment waiver section of the proposal reiterates the state’s Feb. 13 submission, Long-Term Care Realignment Section 1115 Waiver to CMS. It aims to modify criteria and make it more difficult for patients to enter nursing homes in attempt to steer more seniors toward in-home and community care. The section also proposes extending community and in-home care services to seniors who need assistance with daily activities but cannot afford a nursing home. 

The proposal also aims to strengthen the state’s current Return to Community transition program for nursing home patients and bring home care to patients currently receiving ineffective or expensive care, according to the proposal. 

Read Dayton’s letter and full proposal here

Written by Erin Hegarty

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