Waiver Services Rise in Morrison County | New


A total of 369 Morrison County residents under the age of 65 have received waiver services through Social Services so far in 2021.

Adult Social Services Supervisor Jeff Bowman gave the Board of Commissioners an update on the programs he is responsible for at Tuesday’s meeting. To be eligible for services, residents must meet eligibility and financial criteria. This includes performing an annual assessment.

There are a total of four exemptions available for people 65 and under. One is for people with developmental disabilities and serves 166 people in Morrison County. The total waiver budget in 2021 is $ 14.673 million, with $ 8.228 million paid through the end of June.

With this, the income from the program has increased in recent years. The total amount in 2020 was $ 352,762, and it was $ 190,378 until June 30 of this year.

“You can see the numbers continue to increase over the years based on the amount of case management work that our case managers do,” Bowman said. “We are working hard to help our customers as best we can to fill the gaps. “

The other three programs – Community Alternative Care (CAC), Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) and Brain Injury (BI) – are combined into one fiscal budget.

The CAC serves clients Bowman described as “very medically fragile.” These include residents who require increased medical assistance, such as on-site nursing care. CADI waivers are a little less specific and include people who need mental or physical health services. Brain injury services are available to those who meet the eligibility requirements due to a brain injury.

In total, Morrison County serves 203 customers who qualify for these waivers. These are mainly CADI exemptions, which represent 198 of these customers. There are three that receive CAC waivers and two for brain damage.

In 2020, 165 adults and 31 children benefited from these three exemptions. As of June 30, there were 181 adults and 22 children in 2021.

“If we looked back over the years, Morrison County’s involvement with children receiving this superior level of service that goes beyond state-planned services has increased dramatically over the years to avoid d ‘having to go to that more restrictive hospital setting,’ Bowman mentioned.

Morrison County’s budget for 2021 is $ 12.944 million, which is actually down from $ 15.441 million the previous year. Bowman said this was due, in part, to greater restrictions on services due to COVID-19 and an inability for people to access service providers due to staff shortages.

“Each year Morrison County is assigned a number of slots for our waivers,” Bowman said. “As you can see, over the past few years we continue to receive more and more benefits. Right now, the state is very generous in being able to provide resources to meet the needs of our individuals. There was a time, many years ago, when we didn’t get benefits every year. When we get an increased allocation, our budget, in turn, also increases. “

So far in 2021, the county has been authorized to use $ 7.689 million of those funds, with $ 1.330 million disbursed, as of June 30.

When residents receive services under the developmental disability waiver, the county bills the waiver itself for its case management in 50 minute increments. Turnover is on the way to exceeding what was budgeted.

“The reason is that our case managers are doing their best to provide services that are not provided by providers at this time,” Bowman said. “They go above and beyond what you would normally expect.”

Regardless of the waiver by which these residents receive services, Bowman said COVID had “a significant impact” on the ability to provide services due to a lack of providers. He said social services were working diligently with their providers and families to find alternatives, including using community resources, family members and churches, for example.

Morrison County Public Health Nursing Supervisor Cindy Nienaber said her department oversees waiver services for residents over 65. These include alternative care, elder waiver, and essential community support.

“These three waivers all require someone to respect the nursing facility’s standard of care,” Nienaber said. “It doesn’t mean they have to go to a nursing home. It just means that, based on our assessment and state guidance, without services they are at risk of ending up in the nursing home. The purpose of these programs is to keep people out of the nursing home. “

In order to meet the requirements, they must also meet financial criteria.

Nienaber said that to receive the elderly waiver, clients must be equivalent to receiving medical assistance. Alternative care, she said, is a little less restrictive but also has fewer services available. These clients must meet income criteria and may have to pay a portion of their services.

In 2020, there was a budgeted income of $ 142,841 for these programs, and public health ended up bringing in $ 149,778. As of June 30 of this year, revenues were $ 73,008 compared to a total projection of $ 127,639.

In terms of expenses, the total for 2020 was $ 141,623 compared to a budgeted amount of $ 139,305. In the first six months of 2021, expenses amounted to $ 76,753, with $ 182,919 shake.

“When we made this budget last year, we anticipated that maybe we could walk into homes and see people face to face,” Nienaber said. “This increases our costs, because then we have driving time and travel costs. Because we still don’t do these visits, mostly face to face, we save money on this expense. We should be over $ 90,000 for expenses and we’re only $ 76,000.

County Commissioner Jeffrey Jelinski said that while the dollar amounts for these programs may seem high, they are vitally important to those who need them.

“First of all, these are big numbers we’re talking about here; dollar values, ”Jelinski said. “From the outside, maybe you could suggest that, ‘Whoa. There is a huge amount of social assistance money, ”perhaps. However, I would like to be very clear and point out that there is not a single person who wants to be on any of these exemptions.

“It’s a big deal,” he continued. “For what’s going on and what you’re going through and what each of your customers is facing – big problems. Really, thanks for that.

Briefs of the Council of Commissioners:

In other matters Tuesday, the Morrison County Board of Commissioners:

• October proclaimed Family Violence Awareness Month in Morrison County;

• Approved the 2022 Lake Sullivan Lake Improvement District (LID) work plan and budget with a royalty of $ 100 per parcel;

• Approved the 2022 work plan and budget of the Lac Shamineau LID with a royalty of $ 905 per plot;

• recognized the importance of cybersecurity and offered their support to a national awareness-raising effort;

• Approved a request to replace a public health nurse position for family home visiting, which includes reflective supervision of nurses as required by the evidence-based program;

• Approved a request from the Director of Public Works, Steve Backowski, to appoint a county employee to perform the duties required by the Noxious Weed Act;

• Accepted a motion to install Area 5 / Visit Little Falls welcome and orientation signs in Belle Prairie Park; and

• Appointed Commissioner Greg Blaine to the Region 5 Development Commission for a new three-year term, starting in 2022.

The next meeting of the Council of Commissioners is a planning session at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 12 in the Council Chamber of the Morrison County Government Center.

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