Dear Friends and Neighbors,
September has arrived and school is back in session. I’d like to welcome all students and teachers back to school and hope you have a successful year in the classroom! Across our district we have exciting new things happening.
DHS COMMISSIONER BEGINS TO DISCUSS AGENCY TURMOIL
On Wednesday I attended another Department of Human Services hearing in St. Paul to learn more about the continued chaos taking place within the agency.
New DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead testified and talked about implementing a 90 day plan and rebuilding trust. She stated that her focus will be on learning about the well-known issues within the agency, addressing the continued personnel problems, and finding ways to build upon programs that are working well.
I commend her for the frank approach she brought to her testimony and the recognition that things need to change in DHS. She has a difficult task ahead of her and I hope that she can be the “change-maker” that we so badly need in this agency.
Later we heard testimony on County Based Purchasing (CBP), which is a health plan operated by a county or group of counties that purchases health care services for residents enrolled in Medical Assistance, Prepaid Assistance Medical Program, and MinnesotaCare. CBP exists to help rural counties save money, help the needy, and strengthen their communities. CBP models have served both Wabasha and Goodhue counties very well for years and I support their integrated approach to serving our residents.
In yet another head scratching move by DHS, it decided to end County-Based Purchasing. DHS’s interactions with our counties and CBP providers has been yet another example of poor management and a lack of responsiveness and transparency from the department.
This issue required a Minnesota Court decision (which came out on Tuesday) to reverse and a last minute meeting with Governor Walz to then have DHS back off of its procurement process to end CBP.
Goodhue County health and human services officials attended yesterday’s gathering and County Commissioner Brad Anderson testified about CBP. My thanks to the group for traveling to St. Paul and making their voices heard. I will continue to work with our local officials to outline a path forward and provide recommendations to DHS on how to improve both the procurement process and relationships with our counties.
If and when changes are addressed within DHS, I will be sure to share them with you.
On Saturday, the 2019 Hispanic Festival will take place in Red Wing’s Central Park. The activities take place from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. Admission is free.
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.