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Lawmakers look at key proposals for children and long-term care

Key human services proposals that restructure long-term care services and provide for the safe and healthy development of children are scheduled to be heard by legislators Wednesday.

The House Health and Human Services Finance committee is set to review the legislation starting at 10 a.m. in room 200 of the State Office Building. The proposals are part of Gov. Mark Dayton's budget bill for health and human services, which is authored by Sen. Tony Lourey and Rep. Tom Huntley.

"These investments are critical to the well-being of the most vulnerable Minnesotans," said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. "It's our responsibility to ensure that children, the elderly, and people with disabilities have the care and support they need."

The DHS initiatives include:

--Safe and healthy development of children. New items in Gov. Dayton's supplemental budget include proposals to prevent adolescent homelessness and restore funding to Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM), a program that encourages low-income families to improve their economic stability by developing savings skills. These efforts are in addition to items already proposed, including Northstar Care for Children to help more children find permanent homes and proposals that would rebuild an effective Minnesota Family Investment Program. DHS Assistant Commissioner Erin Sullivan Sutton will testify about these proposals.

--Reform 2020. This is a bipartisan effort to reform Medical Assistance, Minnesota's Medicaid program, to better meet the challenges of rising health care costs and the growing aging population. Proposals include enhancing vulnerable adult protection, streamlining access to services, and reforming the Personal Care Assistance program. Gov. Dayton's supplemental budget also preserves $12.8 million in rates for home and community-based services providers, a cornerstone of an effective community-based long-term care system. DHS Assistant Commissioner Loren Colman will testify about these proposals.