May 7, 2019
Brooklyn Park Update
I have not written an update about Homeward Bound’s activities related to closing the Brooklyn Park facility and opening several smaller homes since last July. There is lots of news also about ICFs in general. As many of you know, the Board of Directors voted many years ago to close the facility.
While nothing has changed with respect to our analysis of the environment in which the Brooklyn Park facility operates, there is no intent to move this project forward anytime soon. These service models are considered obsolete at best, and contrary to the aims of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. At the same time, we are still studying and learning about whether the waiver system will be able to fund and deliver the services needed by the individuals who currently live at Brooklyn Park.
Many of you may be following my comments about the coming 7% cut in the new waiver rate-setting system. While both houses and the Governor have proposed restoring at least some of the cuts, it is not clear at this moment what will finally come out of the 2019 legislative session.
The 2017 legislature, at the behest of DHS, passed legislation requiring the department to study ICFs. In response, ARRM put together an ICF Task Force to study ICF financial and non-financial issues. I am privileged to serve as a Co-Chair of that group. We worked with DHS representatives to propose legislation that would make it easier for all ICFs in the state to obtain additional funding when the needs of their residents increase. That modest change is in the Senate Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill; hopefully it will pass.
After the legislative session, the Task Force will be meeting with DHS representatives to begin discussing ways to identify what the purpose(s) of ICFs should be in the future. Funding and service delivery will be easier if the state identifies what it wants from the ICF system instead of ignoring it.