SOUTH SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The way the health and human services bill treats people with disabilities is “deplorable,” according to the CEO of ARRM, an organization of disability providers.
ARRM CEO Bruce Nelson said, “We anticipated some provider rate cuts and they were deeper than expected. But, even worse, is brand new policy that no one ever saw before that treats Minnesotans with disabilities like cattle and will result in disability providers going out of business.”
The new policy says that once someone leaves a four-person group home, the home loses its license for that bed. Nelson said that means the home will have to maintain the same staffing with only 75 percent of its funding. “Many providers are already working on a slim margin, and will have to close and lay off caregivers. Where would those other three people go if all other providers are in the same bind with no new beds?” he asked. “It’s like herding people like cattle into the unknown.”
The bill also calls for a ten percent cut to 3,600 “low need” people with disabilities in foster care group homes. If a group home has just a couple of these low need people, providers may not be able to maintain services to them, and they would have to move. That puts everyone in the group home in jeopardy.
“It saddens me what will happen to many people and that this might not have happened if the public had been allowed to even talk with legislators and commissioners in the locked Capitol building during their negotiations,” Nelson added.
While ARRM believes the disability system must be reformed, the association was hoping to work cooperatively instead of being coerced. “This does nothing to reform regulations,” Nelson said.