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Minnesota is one step closer to establishing new rules that will establish a licensing system for assisted living communities.

The Minnesota Department of Health opened the public comment period for the proposed rules, which stem from the Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2019. The rules are set to take effect in August. 

Assisted living communities formerly had separate licenses for housing and services. The proposed rules stipulate that each community will now have one license that combines housing with services and care regulations. Minnesota reportedly is the last state to license assisted living settings. 

LeadingAge Minnesota, which has been actively involved in the rulemaking process as a member of the Rulemaking Advisory Task Force, told McKnight’s Senior Living that the proposed rule reflects association feedback so far. But “there are still several significant concerns” to be addressed in the comment period.

“We are eager to begin the next step of the journey to a new assisted living licensure structure in Minnesota, which represents generational change in the way we approach assisted living service for older adults and their families, providers and regulators in our state,” an association spokeswoman said.

The group, she added, will continue to ensure that the regulatory structure governing assisted living settings “balances safety and transparency, and prioritizes choice and flexibility for older adults and their families.”

Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota, told McKnight’s Senior Living the organization collaborated with the state’s health department to develop the new rules. The organization also was part of a team that created the complementary assisted living licensure law passed in 2019.

“We look forward to our continued discussions to ensure that the intent of the law is followed and that the implementing rules are operationally feasible,” Cullen said.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said that more work remains, but this is an important step.

“These changes are designed to create clarity for consumers and caregivers and a process for ensuring high quality of housing and care for Minnesota’s seniors,” Malcolm said.

The state Office of Administrative Hearings will conduct a hearing on the proposed rules on Jan. 19 and 20. The initial comment period closes Feb. 9.

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