Minnesota Releases Guidance on Mandatory Senior Housing Counseling

A Minnesota law that requires consumers to receive long-term care counseling prior to entering senior housing with services took effect on Oct. 1, immediately after the Department of Human Services released a bulletin outlining the roles and responsibilities of senior housing service providers.

Providers are required to inform prospective residents of the model, which provides a toll-free, statewide phone number to the Senior LinkAge Line; Long Term Care Options counseling is performed by LinkAge staff. The call specialists will use a program to determine a consumer’s risk for service need, and will make suggestions accordingly. Those whose result is “high risk” for needing services are then referred for a Long Term Care Consultation assessment.

Upon receiving counseling, consumers are given a verification code which must be sent to whichever senior housing facility they will reside in. The update details verification code generation and step-by-step protocol for providers; it also specifies steps to be taken in the event a consumer refuses counseling.

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The bulletin outlines several exceptions and special conditions for those who are not required to receive counseling; these exceptions include consumers who have signed a lease for senior housing with services prior to Oct. 1, 2011, or are renewing a lease in an existing setting on or before Oct. 1.

Another exception in the DHS’s budget legislation was for individuals seeking lease-only arrangements in subsidized housing setting, but the legislation failed to define subsidized housing; this definition was included in the update.

A concern previously raised by a group representing 600 long-term care facilities in an initial article about the legislation was how to proceed in terms of emergency placements or weekend transfers from a hospital, at a time when counseling was not available. The update provides for unexpected circumstances by requiring housing with service providers to complete an “after-hours” online form with the consumer’s information to make a referral on behalf of the consumer.

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View the Department of Human Services bulletin here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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