Working Group on Elderly Waiver Reform Begins Design Work

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Working Group on Elderly Waiver Reform Begins Design Work

On March 30, 2016 by Kari Thurlow
One of our top policy priorities is to develop a proposal to reform the state’s Elderly Waiver program so that it more adequately covers the cost of care and incentivizes quality improvement. Our goal is to develop a proposal to discuss with legislative candidates during the election cycle later this year and to introduce a reform bill in the 2017 legislative session.
A joint working group has been appointed to take on the task of designing a proposal that can be considered for approval by the LeadingAge Minnesota Board and the Long Term Care Imperative later this year. The group is comprised of representatives from the LeadingAge Minnesota and its partner in the Long Term Care Imperative.
Many thanks to the LeadingAge Minnesota members and business partners who have agreed to serve on this working group:

  • Danielle Lesmeister, Director for Community Services, St. Francis Health Services
  • Dustin Lee, Chief Operating Officer, Prairie Senior Cottages
  • Mary Jo Thorne, Regional Director of Housing, Augustana Care
  • Courtney Blomquist, Housing Manager for Assisted Living, Cerenity Residence on Humboldt
  • Mark Anderson, President and CEO, Knute Nelson
  • Barb Blumer, Barb Blumer Law
  • Annaliese Peterson, Vice President of Operations, Walker Methodist

At this first meeting, the group focused on identifying the key issues that should be addressed by a reform proposal. Potential issue areas to address include the following:

  • Revamp the Customize Living rate setting tool
  • Identify a way to better capture behaviors/mental health needs
  • Better define what constitutes “client change”
  • Provide that a defined level of payment would be set for each case mix classification
  • Define standards for the time allotted and approved for specific services
  • Address MA calculation related to rent/food allowance
  • Allow reimbursement through waivers to go back three months from the date of application if the client was actually eligible at that time

There was also an initial discussion on the overall goals and values that the reform should achieve.
The next meeting of this reform group will be on April 19 and will focus on the assessment process and customized living tool and workbook.
As always, please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions or to share your thoughts on Elderly Waiver reform.