kim norton, susan allen, laura sayles, healthcare, family foster care

I left Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), author of HF1586, several messages and sent her an email about certain provisions in the Health Omnibus bill that would end Family Foster Care. I’m concerned because my step brother has finally found a comfortable, healthy and stable living situation with his foster care family. My step brother has Autism Spectrum and schizophrenia. I’ve not been able to get a hold of Rep. Norton. The providers who spoke to me were also quite frustrated. They feel that nobody has been listening to their concerns or is looking out for them. They don’t have connections to people at the Legislature and they’re frightened. I asked a healthcare lobbyist I know and my State Representative (who I also know) to reach out to Norton since she wouldn’t return my phone calls or email. Susan Allen, my State Rep., did get through to her. Allen told me that the the bill was undergoing a re-write, but didn’t have any more information than that. She also sent an email to DHS. Here is the response from Laura Sayles at the Department of Human Services:

HF 1586 is an alternative Rate setting bill that was introduced by a coalition of providers who didn’t like the DHS rate setting bill. It is currently sitting in the HHS Finance committee. The rate setting language that is in the HHS Omnibus bill is the department’s bill as introduced (HF 1448). We’ve been working with the coalition of groups that introduced HF 1586 and have come to a lot of agreement but not a complete and total agreement. There are a few issues that we have not yet resolved. The plan on Friday at the mark-up of the HHS omnibus bill is to introduce a delete-all amendment for the Rates section that represents what we have agreement on. The Coalition will have two amendments that represent the places where we don’t yet have agreement.

I left Sayles a message asking for clarification. I have not yet received a reply from Sayles. Hopefully, the objectionable fees and requirements will be removed and me, my family and thousands of other families can breath easier knowing that the family foster care set up they have will not be ended by the legislature. I will keep you posted as the bill gets marked up.

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