What are waiver services?
Minnesotans with disabilities or chronic illnesses who need certain levels of care may qualify for the state's home and community-based waiver programs.
Medicaid home and community-based service (HCBS) waivers afford states the flexibility to develop and implement creative alternatives to placing Medicaid-eligible people in hospitals, nursing facilities or Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICFs/DD). HCBS waivers allow states to put together various service options that are not available under regular Medical Assistance. These service options are available to people in addition to services covered by Medical Assistance. Generally, these services are targeted to people with specific needs or diagnosis.
DHS recognizes the importance of helping people live where they choose with appropriate services that assure their health and safety.
In 1999, the United States Supreme Court in the Olmstead v. L.C. decision interpreted the Title II of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) to include supporting people with disabilities in the most integrated setting possible. The decision applies to people of any age who have a disability.
The Olmstead v. L.C. decision played an important role in the expansion of consumer-directed services in Minnesota as well as in other states. More information is available on Minnesota's Olmstead Plan.
Corresponding with the Olmstead v. L.C. decision, President George W. Bush in February 2001 announced the New Freedom Initiative. The New Freedom Initiative is a comprehensive plan that represents an important step in working to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, make choices about their daily lives and participate fully in community life.