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People served, families, guardians, social workers and other team members are provided a voluntary, annual survey about their experiences with Opportunity Partners. We use this information to better understand our stakeholders’ views on our programs, to celebrate what is going well, and to strive to make improvements.
Select the policy title to see a PDF of the individual policies.
Opportunity Partners is following these subjects closely and we are involved with other disability providers and advocates in analyzing these disability policy matters. We will be posting resources here as they become available.
In 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed Minnesota that its four disability waivers were out of compliance with federal requirements for uniform rate distribution methods and standards. These include the Brain Injury (BI), Community Alternative Care (CAC), Community Alternative for Disabled Individuals (CADI), and Developmental Disabilities (DD) waivers. In January 2014, DHS established what is now known as the Disability Waivers Rate System.
This rule addresses several sections of Medicaid law under which states may use federal Medicaid funds to pay for home and community-based services (HCBS). The rule supports enhanced quality in HCBS programs, adds protections for individuals receiving services, and reflects that individuals receiving supports through HCBS have full access to the benefits of community living and are able to receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.
The MN Department of Human Services released its Employment First Policy as part of its Olmstead Plan. Employment First has four core values: that employment is the first and preferred outcome for working-age people with disabilities; people with disabilities are competitively employed or self-employed; employees with disabilities earn at least minimum wage and benefits; employees with disabilities are fully integrated into the workplace and interact with co-workers, customers and the public. The plan includes addtional sections on informed choice around employment including benefits of work, exploration and support, and work experience and employer engagement, as well as state agency requirements and quality assurance.
MN Employment First Policy (adopted by the Olmstead Subcabinet on 9/29/14)
As a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision, states were required to develop an Olmstead Plan that outlines how people with disabilities will have choices about where they live and are served in community settings suitable to their needs and desires. This involves developing plans for employment, housing, transportation, healthcare, etc., in the most integrated settings.
In 2014 Congress passed WIOA, designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. It increases individuals with disabilities’ access to high quality workforce services and prepares them for competitive, integrated employment. It requires better employer engagement and promotes accessibility to employment and training services for people with disabilities. Youth with disabilities will receive extensive pre-employment transition services to obtain and retain competitive, integrated employment.
Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay special minimum wages to workers who have disabilities. This is highly regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor; however, there are increasing pressures at the federal level and among advocacy groups to eliminate the practice. In February 2014, President Obama signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers, including those with disabilities employed under new government contracts.
Each year, advocates supported by ARRM and the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation & Rehabilitation (MOHR) gather for a Day at the Capitol in St. Paul to raise awareness about important disability issues.
Public Policy Group members are currently strategizing about the 2017 legislative session, and will be sure to share information about next year’s Day at the Capitol as it gets closer.
Check in again soon!