Category: Featured News

Welcome to the Featured News category. The following news items include major developments in the aging services world, as well as important notifications and timely reminders.

Effective Date for OSHA COVID-19 Standard Is Drawing Near

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry published a notice on July 19 (Page 31) that it has adopted the federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19. With this publication, the ETS is now effective in Minnesota and will remain in effect for up to six months. During that period, MN-OSHA invites comments about the standard, and LeadingAge Minnesota will submit a memo to the agency in the weeks ahead.

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Review Recently Published Assisted Living Licensure Rules

The Minnesota Department of Health has announced the Notice of Adoption for the Rules Governing Assisted Living Facilities was published in the State Register on July 19. You may review the Notice of Adoption on the Minnesota State Register website, State Register Volume 46, Number 3 (Page 33).

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Effective Date for OSHA COVID-19 Standard Is Drawing Near for Minnesota Providers

As members are aware, federal OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) on June 21 to protect health care and health care support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19.

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MDH Expecting Individualized Abuse Prevention Plans for All Assisted Living Residents

Assisted living settings are working diligently to have the necessary components in place by Aug. 1. 

Under the new assisted living license, which goes into place on Aug. 1, all assisted living residents must have an individualized abuse prevention plan (IAPP).

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Lawmakers Wrap Up Work on State Budget

With a final push and some surprise twists, Minnesota lawmakers dodged the threat of state agency and services shutdowns, just barely meeting their deadline to pass a $52 billion state budget. Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. was lawmakers' deadline to get all 13 of their state budget bills through both chambers of the Legislature and to Governor Walz's desk for his signature. Governor Walz has signed the 12 budget bills and the tax bill, averting the potential disaster of state agency shutdown.

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What Waivers Are Still in Place Now that the Peacetime Emergency is Over?

With Minnesota's COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency ending July 1, a question on members' minds is what waivers are still in place and for how long. We do not have a lot of detail yet, but here is a summary of what we currently know.

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President and CEO Gayle Kvenvold to Retire from LeadingAge Minnesota After 40 Years of Service

Board of Directors Begins National Search for a Successor

SAINT PAUL, MN (July 1, 2021) – LeadingAge Minnesota recently announced that Gayle Kvenvold, the association's long-time President and CEO, will retire at the end of 2021.

For 40 years, Kvenvold has led dramatic change in services and supports for Minnesota’s senior population. She spent 32 years of her 40 years at the association as the organization’s president and CEO. Under her leadership, LeadingAge Minnesota – once named Minnesota Health & Housing Alliance and then Aging Services of Minnesota – has grown into one of the largest associations addressing senior care in the nation.

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HHS Budget Reflects Key LTC Imperative Priorities

The Minnesota State Legislature has passed the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget bill for the next biennium, and the bill has been signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz. The passage of this legislation, a bill that lawmakers heavily debated, is a critical step in finalizing a state budget before the new fiscal year on July 1. Since the bill is now law, there will be no shutdown of health and human services programs even if lawmakers fail to agree in other budget areas.

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Hero Pay Legislation Advances in Tax Bill

A top legislative priority for LeadingAge Minnesota this year has been to secure hero pay bonuses to employees in senior care settings. Last week, legislative leaders announced an agreement to set aside some funding for hero pay bonuses. But until recently, we had few details. This weekend, lawmakers adopted an amendment that laid out a process to finalize hero pay bonuses this summer.

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Peacetime Emergency to End July 1

After nearly 16 months, the State’s Peacetime Emergency will end on July 1. A deal was struck between legislative leaders to end emergency powers in exchange for several stipulations related to food benefits, state COVID-19 staffing, and vaccination efforts. Just last week, Gov. Walz announced at a press conference that he intended to end the emergency peacetime declaration on Aug. 1, but this end-of-session bargaining moved up the timeline.

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Legacy LALD Applications Due on June 30

The legacy pathway for the Licensed Assisted Living Director (LALD) sunsets at the end of the month, and applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on June 30. If you don't hit the apply by then, you’ll need to meet the new Assisted Living Director or Assisted Living Director in Residence requirements that begin on July 1. Application verifications such as transcripts, resumes, official employment verifications can be sent in AFTER July 1 if needed.

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At the Capitol: Hero Pay Bonuses for LTC Workers Included in Budget Deal

As lawmakers work to complete their work to agree upon a two-year budget before July 1, legislative leaders announced an agreement to allocate $250 million for Hero Pay bonuses for frontline workers during the pandemic.

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BELTSS Board Receives Over 2000 Legacy LALD Applications

The Board of Executives for Long-term Services and Supports (BELTSS) has received over 2400 applications from those eligible for licensing under the legacy licensing opportunities. The deadline to apply via the legacy path is June 30.

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Bipartisan Agreement Reached to Phase Out Eviction Moratorium

Minnesota legislators announced on Monday an agreement to end Gov. Tim Walz's eviction moratorium over the next three-and-a-half months. The eviction moratorium has been in place since March 2020, when the governor used executive powers to ban evictions except in extreme circumstances. The agreement still needs to be approved by legislators, but the vote could occur later this week. The bipartisan deal creates a phased eviction moratorium off-ramp, with some protections lasting into June 2022. Governor Walz has said he will rescind the moratorium once a legislative solution is passed.

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DHS to Begin Issuing Medicaid Termination Letters due to Potential for Government Shutdown

In the event of a state government shutdown, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will cease payments to providers of Medicaid services. Per the statutory obligation, DHS will begin to inform Medicaid providers, including aging services providers who serve Medicaid clients, via letters that will be sent out as early as this week.

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Updated Environmental Scan Available to Members

LeadingAge Minnesota has recently completed an update of our environmental scan, which tracks key trends and issues across various categories, including demographics, workforce, payment and consumer preferences. The scan is an excellent tool for strategic planning discussions with boards and other key leaders, and the recent updates reflect some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and questions it raises for the future of long-term care.

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At the Capitol: Minnesota Lawmakers Prepare to Return for Special Session

With Governor Walz expected to call a special session on Monday, lawmakers worked this past week, mostly behind closed doors, to iron out differences in the two-year budget. By Monday, June 7, only three committees--Commerce and Energy, Legacy, and Higher Education--had publicly announced their joint budget agreements. Here is what you need to know about what is happening at the capitol this week:

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3 Steps to Finalize your Assisted Living License Approval

Providers that recently applied for an assisted living license (ALL) must take three easy but essential steps by July 1 to ensure the application's approval and prepare for the Aug. 1 implementation date.

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As ALL Conversion Application Closes, Providers Move to Provisional Application

As of Wednesday, June 2, the assisted living license conversion application has been frozen, and the deadline to apply has passed. However, if you did not submit your application, you can still move ahead with a provisional application to comply with licensure requirements by Aug. 1.

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EEOC Updates Guidance Regarding Vaccines

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 guidance regarding employers and COVID-19 vaccines. The expanded guidance provides new information about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply when an employer offers incentives for employees to confirm vaccination when an employee gets a vaccine in the community or from the employer or its agent. The critical updates to the guidance are as follows:

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