SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Sunday, the Minnesota House approved a package of Health and Human Services policy legislation. The bill includes a variety of changes including those related to scope of practice, child welfare and child protection, behavioral health, services for people with disabilities and vulnerable adults, child care, and others.
“All Minnesotans deserve a healthy future in our state. Our HHS policy bill reflects collaborative, bipartisan reforms to improve health care and other critical services people and families count on,” said Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth). “Looking forward, House DFLers remain committed to reaching an HHS budget agreement to address the high costs of health care, rebuild our health care workforce and create opportunities for workers in our caring professions, and support seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable Minnesotans in their communities. These folks are counting on us to get this important work done, and I hope Senate Republicans will join us to move these critical investments past the finish line.”
The legislation includes health policy changes including criteria for intractable pain medication, a prohibition on discrimination based on race or ethnicity for access to transplants, and clear regulations on products containing cannabinoids. The bill contains scope of practice changes for dental therapists, podiatrists, and pharmacists, and allows telesupervision for counselors, therapists, and social workers. Health, safety, and welfare of nursing home and long-term care facilities will be protected with changes to assisted living licensure, change of ownership protections, and other reforms.
The package supports families by raising the eligibility limit for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Several changes to child welfare and child protection policies are included in the bill, including those related to out-of-home placement costs, child maltreatment investigations, and permeance dispositions to help ensure children who can’t return home can be placed with relatives.
To support people experiencing a mental health crisis, the legislation allows mental health data to be exchanged with law enforcement. The bill includes other behavioral health and substance abuse disorder provisions, including those related to community clinics, information presented by guest speakers, children’s therapeutic services, and flexibility for psychiatric residential treatment facility overnight staffing ratios.
People with disabilities and older adults are supported in the bill with service termination requirements, strengthened case management quality, and a temporary increase in Intermediate Care Facility capacity in group homes. To support people experiencing homelessness, the bill lengthens the time people can stay in transitional housing and allows providers to apply for grants under the Homeless Youth Act to repair facilities. The bill also modernizes child care regulations and improves special family child care policy.
The bill now goes to Governor Walz who is expected to sign the legislation into law.