News from DHS for January 2024

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January 2024

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Minnesota stabilizes Medicaid insurance for kids

Beginning on Jan. 1, Minnesota children got more stable access to Medicaid health insurance.

A new continuous eligibility policy for children will help provide a healthier and more equitable start for the youngest Minnesotans. All children under age 19 who are eligible for Medical Assistance will have 12 months of continuous coverage at a time. Medical Assistance is Minnesota’s Medicaid program.

This important change will prevent paperwork issues due to temporary changes in a parent’s income from disrupting a child’s health insurance. Families with low and moderate incomes may experience fluctuations in income during a year that briefly exceeds the Medicaid limit because of temporary employment, variable work hours or occasional overtime pay.

“Continuous eligibility will help prevent unnecessary, harmful and expensive gaps in children’s health care coverage,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “This policy will go a long way toward helping Minnesota kids reach their full potential.”

More information is in a department news release.

State’s new Assisted Living Report Card goes live

Stock image of an older woman with a younger woman by her side

Minnesotans shopping for assisted living can now turn to a valuable new resource for help.

The state’s new Assisted Living Report Card allows consumers to look up assisted living residences and find comparative ratings based on resident and family surveys, as well as ratings based on state inspections.

Modeled after Minnesota’s longstanding and successful Nursing Home Report Card, the Assisted Living Report Card is designed to deliver useful information to help consumers make decisions about assisted living. Nearly 63,000 Minnesotans live in more than 2,200 licensed assisted living facilities across the state.

Nearly four years in the making, the newly launched web tool is a work in progress. The Assisted Living Report Card currently features ratings for about 20% of the state’s assisted living facilities – focusing on the largest facilities, which are home to almost half of all Minnesotans who use assisted living. The report card will expand early next year, adding more facilities and ratings based on the Minnesota Department of Health’s licensing surveys and investigations.

“Looking for an assisted living residence for yourself or a loved one can be stressful and challenging,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “We hope that this tool will help people make this important choice, recognizing that there are many factors to consider.”

More information is in a department news release.

In social media: Renew My Coverage webpage revamp

Screenshot of renewal webpage update Facebook post

DHS encourages partners to share this entire post or select a photo showing a translated webpage to share for specific audiences.

New translated video collections on social media

We've started Facebook collections of videos translated into multiple languages to make them easy to find and share. The first videos in the collections are about health care renewals. Some translated videos are also posted on X.

>> Follow DHS on X/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.

Sponsorships for family well-being events available

Stock image of a diverse group of children

DHS is sponsoring a limited number of events in April to celebrate and promote family well-being and Child Abuse Prevention Month. 

Community-based organizations and Tribal Nations are eligible to apply for sponsorships that can be used for a variety of activities and materials to increase access to resources, build connections and promote family and community well-being. Events must be in person and may include, but are not limited to, family fun nights, resource fairs, community conversations, film screenings and event recruitment efforts. Sponsored events must take place in April. 

Sponsorships between $1,000 and $5,000 per agency are available for at least 20 agencies. Organizations that engage Black, Indigenous and communities of color and other underserved communities are encouraged to apply and will be prioritized for sponsorships. 

Sponsorship requests are due by Feb. 23, 2024. Information on how to apply is on the DHS website.

New grant opportunity, Office of Child Care Community Partnerships announced

Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan announced a new opportunity for grant funding to create more child care slots in communities across the state, and the creation of a new Office of Child Care Community Partnerships in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The grant program will provide funding to communities to invest in new or expanding child care businesses, including facility improvements, worker training, attraction, retention and licensing, among other strategies to reduce the child care shortage.

The new Office of Child Care Community Partnerships will serve as a front door for communities, businesses and other organizations that provide or are interested in providing child care in their area. The office will coordinate with other state agencies and offices that oversee or fund child care and early education, including DHS and the Minnesota Department of Education.

Learn more in a Governor's Office news release.

Fact sheets updated

Child care assistance: Facts and figures (PDF) 

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Assisted Living Report Card launched in Minnesota: In an effort to help Minnesotans pick the best assisted living residence for them, DHS launched a new Assisted Living Report Card.
FOX 9 spoke with Assistant Commissioner Natasha Merz about how the tool delivers useful information to help families find assisted living facilities for their loved ones. See more in a FOX 9 story.

First-of-its-kind statewide plan to combat homelessness in Minnesota rolls out this spring: The ambitious “Crossroads to Justice” strategic plan seeks a 15% reduction in homelessness across Minnesota by 2026. The plan also aims to lessen the significant racial disparities in people experiencing homelessness, as well as reduce disparities in mortality and improve health outcomes for Minnesotans experiencing housing insecurity. Read more in a Sahan Journal story.

Researchers measure fewer suicide attempts after school-based mental health implemented in Hennepin County: Hennepin County’s school-based mental health program has contributed to a significant drop in self-reported suicide attempts among students in grades 6-12 over the past 20 years, according to University of Minnesota researchers. The program is funded by health insurance, county funds and DHS grants. Read more in a MinnPost story.

"I think I will stay here": Minnesota’s Afghan community establishes deep roots a year after resettlement: When Zahra Wahidy arrived in Minnesota in 2022, her younger brother was the only other Afghan she knew. Now, she works at the Afghan Cultural Society running mental health programming for women in the Afghan community, one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the state. Minnesota welcomed 1,363 Afghan evacuees between September 2021 and September 2022. Read more in a Sahan Journal story.