News from DHS for April 2023

Minnesota Department of Human Services logo


April 2023

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

As renewals begin, Minnesotans who have Medical Assistance urged to watch their mail

Be prepared to renew

Minnesota has started verifying eligibility for people in public health care programs.

Notices went to about 100,000 people who have Medical Assistance this month. By May 2024, state, county and Tribal workers will check eligibility requirements for 1.5 million people.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services and its partners want people who qualify for the insurance to keep it. One in four Minnesotans has Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. Losing insurance makes it harder to get health care and could worsen health disparities.

“It is very important for people to keep their health insurance,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “Please update your contact information so we can reach you and watch your mail for important information.”

People enrolled in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare usually must have their eligibility reviewed once a year to see whether they remain eligible. This process is called a renewal.

Renewals stopped during the pandemic. That helped Minnesotans get health care, kept the uninsurance rate low and brought in billions of federal dollars to help the state cover health care costs and keep people insured. About 360,000 more people signed up for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare, an increase of more than 30%.

Medical Assistance renewals will continue each month. People who have MinnesotaCare will receive notices in the fall.

The renewal forms will arrive by mail. Completing them and sending them back as soon as possible with any necessary documentation will help people stay covered. The state is also developing user-friendly ways to complete the process over the phone or by submitting documents online.

Find out more about renewals, including how to update contact information, at,

This information is also available in EspañolAf Soomaali, Lus HmoobTiếng Việt and Pусский.

Odyssey Minnesota Age & Disabilities

May webinars delve into direct support workforce shortage

Registration is open for the next two webinars in the 2023 Minnesota Age & Disabilities Odyssey series, which will address the workforce shortage challenges of direct support professionals serving older adults and people with disabilities.

  • Tuesday, May 23, 1-3 p.m. — Workforce shortage: Data and current trends
  • Thursday, May 25, 9-11 a.m. — Workforce shortage: Promising practices

Visit the 2023 Odyssey webinar series website for more information and to register. Registration is open until 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 17.

Odyssey events, offered by DHS and the Minnesota Board on Aging, are designed for those interested in long-term services and supports. People who may want to attend include advocates, consumers, policymakers, providers and representatives from Area Agencies on Aging, counties, Tribes, managed care organizations and state government.

In social media: New advisory committee

Parent Aware Advisory Committee

We're looking for members to serve on a new Parent Aware Advisory Committee. Parent Aware is Minnesota’s quality rating and improvement system for child care and early education programs.

We are recruiting community members with the following backgrounds for the committee:
🔷 Parents with children participating in Parent Aware Rated Programs
🔷 Child care providers and teachers from Parent Aware Rated Programs
🔷 Teachers and staff from Parent Aware Rated Head Start and PreK programs

Applications are due Sunday, April 30. Get more details:

>> Follow DHS on Twitter and Facebook for timely updates on DHS news and events.

>> Follow our DHS Careers Facebook page for announcements of hiring events, job postings, internships and more.

Accessible formats

For accessible formats of this publication, write to, or call 651-431-2000 or use your preferred relay service.

Important update for parents and spouses providing PCA services

When the federal public health emergency ends May 11, parents of minors and spouses will no longer be allowed to be paid to provide personal care assistant (PCA) program services.

It is important that family members providing these services make alternate arrangements for PCA workers prior to May 11. This applies to parents and spouses providing PCA services to:

◼ Seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in Medical Assistance (MA), whether fee-for-service or through a health plan
◼ People who are pregnant or age 18 or younger enrolled in MinnesotaCare
◼ People on home and community-based waiver programs.

Contact your family member’s PCA agency or county/tribal case manager to transition service workers or ask questions.

Visit our website to learn more about PCA services at

P-EBT reminder for parents of K-12 students

P-EBT sandwich graphic

Students approved for free or reduced-price school meals may be eligible for Pandemic EBT benefits for days missed due to COVID-19. 

Students who transferred to online school or homeschooling due to COVID-19 also may qualify for P-EBT this year.

Parents should contact their child's school to learn how to apply.

More details about P-EBT are on our website at

Events help families build community connections

During Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in April, a series of events across Minnesota helped families build important connections to help their children thrive in their communities.

All children deserve to grow up in a home where they feel safe and nurtured and have their needs met. To support that goal, DHS provided financial sponsorships totaling almost $75,000 to 18 community organizations for events that celebrate child and family well-being.

“These local organizations are doing important work to prioritize children’s safety and well-being,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead.

“Their efforts help build trust while supporting children and families in ways that connect to their culture and values. Families who have what they need are less likely to experience the child protection system or require more intensive services.”

See the department's news release for a list of organizations that received event sponsorships.

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

What is dental therapy and how is it serving economically challenged communities in Minnesota? The profession of dental therapy has aimed to serve people without access to dental care since its inception. Learn how they serve low-income and underserved populations in Minnesota in a recent MinnPost article.

Autism and April symposium featured on WCCO weekly radio health show: DHS Assistant Commissioner Natasha Merz was one of three guests on a segment of WCCO Radio’s Sunday “Health Show with Susie Jones.” They discussed autism spectrum disorder and services available, ahead of the MN Autism Resource Symposium held April 12.

College is now free for young Minnesotans who were in foster care as teens: Minnesota's new program called Fostering Independence Grants is the first of its kind in the nation to use state funds to pay the full cost of attending college for people who have been in foster care. Learn more in a recent MPR article.

Black maternal health. Keeping ourselves safe from harm: Commissioner Jodi Harpstead and Dr. Nathan Chomilo, Minnesota’s Medicaid medical director, were guests on an episode of The Conversation with Al McFarlane, discussing DHS’ work to support the health and wellbeing of birthing persons and infants, and opportunities to reduce disparities in birth outcomes.