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Community consortium project (new law)

Published (5/30/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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A demonstration project that will allow three community consortiums serving older adults to pool health care funds for long-term care purposes is now law.

Also under the law, effective May 9, 2008, state payments to the victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse will not be counted as income, assets or resources related to eligibility for public assistance programs.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick), the human services, health and housing finance commissioners are allowed to develop a three-year demonstration project by July 1, 2009.

The consortiums will create a joint decision-making process with a goal to pool funds and provide flexibility in the distribution of health care money. An evaluation report is due to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2013.

Each project will be designed to:

ensure consumer access to a continuum of older care services;

create an adequate supply of affordable home-based alternatives to care for those in nursing facilities or those needing a facility in the future;

establish and achieve measurable performance targets for care delivery; and

support management of chronic and complex conditions through greater coordination of all services needed by older adults.

Consortiums will be given priority for technology-related grants, projects designed to create or preserve affordable housing options for older adults and to create transportation options for older adults.

Funding will come, in part, from appropriations to the nursing home moratorium exceptions process for the biennium ending June 30, 2011. According to a Department of Finance fiscal note, the Legislature appropriated $3 million for nursing home moratorium projects during the 2008-09 biennium. The health commissioner can reserve 10 percent of these funds for project distribution.

A community-based consortium will analyze waiver program practices and make recommendations for improvements to the counties and health commissioner.

The consortiums project is effective Aug. 1, 2008.


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