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Minnesota ranked as healthiest state for seniors

A report released recently recognizes the direction Minnesota has gone over the years to support older citizens' access to health care services and long-term services and supports, according to human services commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

The ranking of Minnesota as the healthiest state for seniors also paves the way for improvements for seniors just enacted by the 2013 Legislature, she said.

"Our newest initiative, Reform 2020, is on track to continue this strong tradition," Jesson said of the United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings Senior Report for 2013.

Reform 2020 is the state's bipartisan initiative to transform its public health care programs to better meet the challenges of rising health care costs and a growing aging population.

The initiative includes strategies for better service design, care coordination and integration, and ways to make it easier for people to understand and access services and supports.

It also includes such features as more help for people to return to their homes after nursing home stays, a report card to provide information to consumers on long-term services and supports and a critical access study to determine where there are gaps in home and community-based services.

Also approved were additional supports for in-home services that help seniors remain in their communities.

According to Jesson, a 2011 report by AARP found that as many as 200,000 people could be kept out of nursing homes each year if other states emulated Minnesota's offerings of long-term care information and home-care options.

More information about Reform 2020 is available at