COVID-19 update regarding Minnesota Department of Human Services licensing

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COVID-19 update regarding Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) licensing

March 23, 2020

Governor/DHS Suspending Certain Licensing Regulations

You may have received this message from Minnesota Department of Human Services Licensing. We are forwarding it to be sure it reaches all who may need to know about this change.

The DHS Licensing Division would like to thank you for your commitment to Minnesotans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. On a typical day, the services you provide are critical to the health and safety of residents across the state and keep Minnesota’s economy moving. In this environment, they are more important than ever. Thank you for the critical role you play in our community.

Gov. Tim Walz, issued Executive Order 20-12 on Mar. 20, 2020, and Human Service Commissioner Jodi Harpstead is suspending certain licensing requirements and activities to allow greater flexibility in these challenging times. This will give providers the necessary regulatory flexibility to comply with recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by modifying certain licensing requirements and ensuring the best interests of your clients and communities are met.

To assure the DHS Licensing is not interfering with the work providers are doing to care for their clients or service recipients during this pandemic, the Department of Human Services is suspending or modifying most licensing enforcement activity until May 1, 2020, as follows:

  • Suspending routine licensing and certification reviews. (under Minnesota Statute 245A, 245H.05)
  • Continuing to respond to critical incidents involving high risk of harm to clients or allegation of abuse and neglect — and prioritizing on-site visits as needed on a case-by-case basis. In addition, DHS Licensing staff, county licensing staff and private licensing agencies will communicate with and provide technical assistance to providers to the greatest extent possible, using remote technologies that support social distancing and community mitigation.
  • Conducting on a case-by-case basis inspections for licensing applications, pre-licensure visits and change of premises inspections (under 245A.04). This is in order to prioritize enabling programs to provide additional capacity. DHS Licensing staff, county licensing staff and private licensing agencies will conduct these activities to the greatest extent possible using remote technologies that support social distancing and community mitigation.
  • Suspending payment of outstanding fines previously ordered (under 245A.07)
  • Suspending the issuance of fix-it tickets for licensed family child care providers and licensed child care centers (under 245A.065) and providing technical assistance
  • Suspending the issuance of correction orders (under 245A.06) and providing technical assistance
  • Suspending the issuance of fines under 245A.07
  • Suspending the issuance of licensing actions other than Temporary Immediate Suspensions under 245A.07, subdivision 2 unless necessary to enforce pandemic or licensing regulations as necessary to enforce the health and safety of those receiving care or services.
  • Automatically extending for three months licenses for family child care, child and adult foster care and community residential settings that are set to expire during March, April or May 2020; any training, re-licensing or documentation requirements are extended. (245A.04, 245A.16 )
  • Extending training timelines for existing staff and license holders that expire during the declared peacetime emergency and cannot be met. Further direction on orientation and training will be coming.

County licensing agencies and private placing agencies are expected to comply with these suspensions or modifications of licensing activities. (245A.16)

The Department will provide additional guidance by March 27, 2020, to license holders on COVID-19 modifications to the background study process.

Any additional suspensions or modifications to licensing requirements will be specific to each type of service provided and will be communicated to programs electronically and will be posted on the DHS COVID-19 and the Licensing website.

Providers Should Follow MDH and CDC Guidance

Providers should first and foremost follow the guidance provided by MDH and the CDC available at the resources listed below. If a DHS requirement seems to conflict with this guidance, follow the MDH and CDC guidance:

COVID-19 Hotlines

  • Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 800-657-3903 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Statewide hotline for child care providers only: 888-234-1268 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Additional information

  • Child care providers, please also see the Child Care Update distributed by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet earlier today.
  • For COVID-19 information related to DHS programs, visit https://mn.gov/dhs/

Thank you again for the critical services you provide.

DHS Licensing Division