You have heard a lot about ARRM, now learn more about what they do for Disability Providers and why we need them now more than ever. In the past few months, we have talked a lot about advocacy and the staffing crisis affecting our entire industry. We have also partnered with ARRM for many of the events and committee meetings addressing these issues. To better understand ARRM and the significance of the organization we wanted to take this opportunity to give our supporters more information.
What is ARRM, and why are they so important to the cause:
ARRM is a nonprofit association of nearly 200 provider organizations, businesses and advocates dedicated to leading the advancement of home and community-based services supporting people living with disabilities in their pursuit of meaningful lives.
What is ARRM advocating for this session? Detailed info on the bills:
ARRM’s 2023 legislative agenda contains priorities that are focused on impacting the workforce crisis in a variety of ways. Their bills propose changes to our reimbursement system to help raise the wages of our Direct Support Professionals, provide for recruitment and retention bonuses for staff, launch a statewide public awareness campaign for the caring professions, better utilize technology and shared services and enhance other service models. Details include:
—Best Life Alliance DWRS Reform (HF 999/SF 1015): This legislation will provide sustainable adjustments to the Disability Waiver Rate System, increasing reimbursement rates and allowing for wages increases for DSPs. The bill has been heard in the Human Service Finance Committee and laid over for possible inclusion in the Human Service Omnibus bill, we are still waiting on a scheduled hearing in the Senate Human Service Committee.
—Workforce Grant and Public Awareness Campaign Legislation (HF 813/SF 993): This legislation contains a $43 million appropriation to allow for a one-time grant for providers to provide up to $1,000 retention or recruitment bonus for staff. The bill also contains a $4 million appropriation for DEED to launch a broad scale public awareness building campaign for the caring professions, aimed at drawing attention to the critical work DSPs and other caring professions do every day and to bring new people into our workforce. The bill was heard in the Human Service Policy and Human Service Finance committee and referred to the Workforce Development committee in the House where we are awaiting a hearing. We are still awaiting a hearing the Human Service Finance committee in the Senate.
—Alternative Overnight Supervision with Technology Licensing Changes (HF 339/SF 758): This legislation will remove the requirement that providers obtain a separate license when supporting individuals through AOST in a CRS. The bill was heard in the Human Service Policy and Human Service Finance committee in the House and laid over for possible inclusion in the Human Service Omnibus bill. In the Senate, the bill was heard in the Human Service committee and laid over for possible inclusion in the Human Service Omnibus bill.
—Changes to the IHS Service (HF 716/SF 654): ARRM is partnering with the Disability Law Center and The Arc MN to make changes to the IHS Tiered Service. The legislation would allow for up to three individuals who are living independently in their own home to share the service, the bill would also allow for staff to travel out of state with an individual utilizing IHS and allow for some indirect billing for IHS. The bill has been heard in the Human Service Policy and Human Service Finance Committee in the House and laid over for possible inclusion in the Human Service Omnibus bill, we are awaiting a hearing in the Senate.
—Rate changes for ICF/DD Services (HF 568/SF 756): This legislation will increase the reimbursement rates for ICF/DDs by $50 a day and creates a new rate floor for Class A and Class B ICF/DDs. The bill was heard in the Human Service Finance Committee in both the House and Senate and laid over for possible inclusion in their Omnibus bills.
—Changes to Integrated Community Supports (HF 1416/SF 1009): This legislation makes changes to policy within the ICS services and adds nursing and transportation costs into the service rate framework. The bill has been heard in the Human Service Policy Committee in the House and referred to the Human Service Finance Committee where we are awaiting a hearing. In the Senate, we are awaiting a hearing in the Human Service Committee.
Why is advocacy important?
Individual and member advocacy is critical to the success ARRM has in advancing their legislative agenda. Legislators hear from lobbyists all day; it is the personal stories and firsthand experiences from constituents that really stick with them. We need to put a personal face to each of the policy initiatives we bring forward and highlight for legislators why these issues must be a priority this legislative session, we do that by sharing our story and talking to legislators.
Throughout this session and in past legislative sessions, ARRM has called on members to advocate directly to their legislators. Whether it be through direct testimony during committee hearings, responding to action alerts, attending Day at the Capitol or hosting site visits, every contact and conversation makes a difference in educating legislators about the critical role that Direct Support Professionals play in supporting people with disabilities, the crisis that our services are currently under and the role that the state legislature has in supporting people with disabilities and their staff.
“Minnesota’s eye-popping surplus continues to give disability advocates and workers hope that long-term financial support is coming, but the Legislature needs to move quickly as the workforce crisis is only continuing to worsen,” said ARRM CEO Sue Schettle. “We need all hands on deck to contact their legislators and make sure they know that the time is now to pass meaningful legislation that increases Direct Support Professional wages.”
As you can see, passing the bills is critical to insure people living with disabilities can continue to live rich and full lives, and that staff will once again be drawn to making a career out of caring. Now is for sure the time to rise and advocate. We need the support and funding, so the infrastructure of disability services does not collapse.
All of us at Living Well are grateful for the team at ARRM and the organizations like us who are gathering to find solutions to this perfect storm. Direct support professionals deserve our support and people living with disabilities deserve the funding to live with comfort, kindness, and the best care possible.
Interested in helping to advocate for disability services and help the people we support living with disabilities and the people how care for them? Mark your calendar for Disabilities Day at the Capitol on March 28, 2022. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list and sign up to be part of the Living Well groups attending. And consider a donation to Living Well. Over 96% of our funding comes from government sources but the money has not been enough for quite some time. Help us cover the cost of staffing and getting the word out about open positions.
Special thanks to Sara Grafstrom for compiling some of the above information on ARRM. She serves as ARRM’s Director of State and Federal Policy, representing ARRM members at the Capitol in both St. Paul and Washington D.C. The conclusion of the 2022 Legislative Session marks the 12th legislative session that Sara has been with ARRM for, beginning first as ARRM’s Grassroots Organizer before moving into her current position a few years ago. In her current role, Sara is responsible for developing and moving forward ARRM’s legislative agenda as well as monitoring and responding to issues impacting ARRM members. Prior to coming to ARRM, Sara spent two legislative sessions working in the Minnesota House of Representatives as a legislative assistant and prior to that working on various House races as well as a congressional race in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.