Minnesota Passes Assisted Living Licensure and Elder Care Protection Reform

By Mary Foarde, Laura Nelson and Nolan Hudalla

Minnesota Governor Walz signed H.F. 90 into law on May 22. The bill repeals Minnesota’s current assisted living services and housing with services establishment statutes and replaces them with comprehensive assisted living facility standards and a new licensing framework. Key provisions of H.F. 90 are discussed below.

Licensing Framework 

Beginning August 1, 2021, no assisted living facility may operate in Minnesota unless it is licensed, and licenses must be renewed annually. There are different licensing requirements and fees for an “assisted living facility” and an “assisted living facility with dementia care.”

Electronic Monitoring 

Effective January 1, 2020, a resident or resident representative is authorized to conduct electronic monitoring of the resident’s room or private living unit. Such monitoring may begin only after completion of a notification and consent form by the resident or representative (and the resident’s roommate or the roommate’s representative, if applicable) and its submission to the facility. An electronic monitoring device may be used without submission of the notification form for up to 14 days if:

  • The resident or representative reasonably fears retaliation.
  • There has not been a timely written response from the facility to a written communication from the resident or representative expressing a concern prompting the desire for an electronic monitoring device.
  • The resident or representative has already submitted a Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center report or police report regarding the resident’s concerns prompting the desire for an electronic monitoring desire.

Minimum Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Assisted living facilities will need to meet numerous minimum facility standards. Among others, such standards include:

  • Providing services in a manner that complies with the Nurse Practice Act
  • Maintaining a system for delegation of health care activities to unlicensed personnel by a registered nurse
  • Meeting minimum staffing and dietary requirements
  • Maintaining an infection control program
  • Having a clinical nurse supervisor who is a registered nurse licensed in Minnesota
  • Establishing a number of statutorily prescribed policies and procedures
  • Ensuring that every resident has access to consumer advocacy or legal services 

Assisted Living Bill of Rights 

H.F. 90 establishes an extensive “Assisted Living Bill of Rights” that provides residents of assisted living facilities with a variety of rights, including rights to:

  • Information about resident rights
  • Appropriate care and services
  • Refuse care or services
  • Participate in care and service planning
  • Courteous treatment and freedom from maltreatment
  • The ability to come and go freely
  • Grievances and inquiries

Business Operations

An assisted living facility will be directly responsible to the resident for all housing and service-related matters provided, irrespective of a management contract. Housing and service-related matters include but are not limited to the handling of complaints, the provision of notices, and the initiation of any adverse action against the resident involving housing or services provided by the facility. The law also establishes stricter retaliation and deceptive business practice provisions, and provides further resident safeguards through mandatory resident notices, contract provisions and recordkeeping requirements. Notably, H.F. 90 sets forth prerequisites to and procedures for termination of a resident’s contract. 

Task Force 

A “Resident Quality of Care and Outcomes Improvement Task Force” is created to examine and make recommendations, on an ongoing basis, on how to apply proven safety and quality improvement practices and infrastructure to settings and providers that provide long-term services and support. 

Transition Schedule 

The current transition schedule for the law’s implementation is as follows:

  • The commissioner shall begin rulemaking on July 1, 2019.
  • From July 1, 2020, to July 31, 2021, the commissioner shall prepare for the new assisted living facility and assisted living facility with dementia care licensure by hiring staff, developing forms, and communicating with stakeholders about the new facility licensing.
  • Effective August 1, 2021, all existing housing with services establishments providing home care services under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 144A, must convert their registration to licensure under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 144I.
  • Effective August 1, 2021, all new assisted living facilities and assisted living facilities with dementia care must be licensed by the commissioner.

For more information on the H.F. 90 bill, contact Mary Foarde, Laura Nelson, Nolan Hudalla, Jason Engelhart or the Stinson LLP contact with whom you regularly work.

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