2001 Legislative Session Summary
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The Ventura Administration proposed a comprehensive budget package of health improvement initiatives during the 2001 legislative session. Several of those initiatives were approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ventura. This is a brief summary of the approved budget initiatives, along with those recommended by the Ventura Administration but not approved by the Legislature. (All amounts are for the 2002-2003 biennium.)
Health Disparities, $13.9 M (same as recommended)
Provides resources to reduce the health disparities affecting American Indians and racial and ethnic populations. Areas of focus will be adult and child immunizations; infant mortality; HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases; breast and cervical cancer screening; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; and unintentional injuries and violence. An additional $4 million in TANF welfare-reform funds (see Youth Health Improvement) will help address risk factors related to infant mortality.
Health Care Safety Net, $18 M ($12 M less than recommended)
Provides funding from the Health Care Access Fund to support Minnesota's health care safety net providers. $8 million is appropriated to community clinics to improve their long-term viability through grants to improve information systems, upgrade direct care infrastructure, and improve delivery of services through interpreter or translation services. $5 million is appropriated to reauthorize the rural hospital capital improvement grants (roughly doubling the current size of the program) to ensure that a vital and strong safety net remains in rural Minnesota. In addition, new intergovernmental transfers were created to help fund the cost of charity care provided by the hospitals that provide the great majority of that care.
Suicide Prevention, $2.2 M (same as requested)
Provides grants to communities to implement suicide education and outreach strategies, as outlined in the state's suicide prevention plan.
Emerging Health Threats, $3.6 M (1.2 M less than recommended)
Provides funding to provide an effective and timely response to emerging threats (e.g., bio-terrorism and antibiotic-resistant diseases) and enables state and local officials to better coordinate their efforts in responding to those threats. Funds provide assistance to local communities to respond to incidents involving methamphetamine labs, where the public's health is at risk.
Youth Health Improvement, $18 M (replaces $20 M recommended for teen pregnancy prevention)
Provides resources from TANF welfare-reform funds to improve youth health through the following programs:
$8 million for Home Visiting Program
$2 million for MN-ENABL (Education Now and Babies Later)
An additional $4 million for the disparities initiative
$4 million for youth risk behavior programs
Health Workforce, $1.115 M ($3.285 M less than recommended)
Expands dental loan forgiveness programs and awards competitive grants to support planning and implementation of local and regional initiatives to alleviate the health worker shortage.
Poison Control System, $2.7 M (same as recommended, but not carried forward in future years)
Provides funding for the Minnesota Poison Control System, which provides the general public with information and treatment advice about poisonings and toxic exposures. Ongoing funding will remain a topic of discussion with the legislature.
Medical Education Endowment Expansion, $8.2 M in Higher Education Bill (same as recommended)
Provides funding from the state's tobacco settlement proceeds directly to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center to expand medical education in the state.
Long-term Care Task Force Initiatives, $2.659 M ($1.4 M less than recommended)
Provides a number of improvements for the state's long-term care system, including reducing paperwork for providers; allowing for ongoing monitoring of nursing homes; establishing transitional planning grants for nursing homes to better meet the needs of seniors in the community; providing grants for facilities that have innovative ideas for improving quality of care; and authorizing the commissioner of health to approve some new long-term care construction projects.
Fee Initiatives (same as recommended)
The following fee initiatives and appropriations from the State Government Special Revenue fund were approved, allowing MDH to better monitor care in health facilities and protect the safety of our food, water and environment, among other things.
Health Care Facility, $6.406 M
Home Care Quality Assurance, $820,000
School Food Safety Inspections, $420,000
Drinking Water Protection, $920,000
Food, Beverage and Lodging, $1.3 M
Radioactive Materials, $600,000
Water Well Management, $1.036 M
Vital Records System, $1.0 M
Laboratory Certification, $150,000
Health Technology Advisory Committee (HTAC) Extension, $656,000
Provides funding to extend the work of HTAC for another four years. HTAC is a non-partisan advisory body that evaluates new and emerging health care technologies.
Children's Health Insurance Expansion (in Department of Human Services budget)
Provides funding to ensure continuous health care coverage for 20,000 low-income kids who either don't have it now or fall in and out of coverage due to the complexity of current eligibility rules.
Initiatives recommended but not approved
The following initiatives were included in the Ventura Administration's proposed budget, but were not approved by the Legislature.
Healthy Kids Learn, $5 M
Would have provided funding from the remaining one-time tobacco-settlement payments for addressing problems facing our state's school children, such as asthma, autism and low immunization rates. Also included funding for expert assistance for schools, helping them address issues such as medication management, medically fragile students, and concerns about behavior and mental health.
Teen Pregnancy Reduction, $20 M
Would have provided $10 million in TANF (welfare reform) funds to create a comprehensive, statewide teen pregnancy prevention program.
Health Plan Regulation, no cost
Would have modified health plan regulation to ensure equitable and consistent regulation across all managed care health plans in Minnesota.
Center for Health Quality
Would have helped improve health quality and reduce health care costs for Minnesotans by:
enabling consumers to use health care cost and quality information to guide their choices;
increasing the accountability of the health care system by monitoring and publicly reporting comparative measures of care delivery and health outcomes; and
assuring quality health care and health improvement by measuring results and prioritizing health services and programs that make a difference in health status.
Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, $4M
Would have provided more stable funding for statewide maternal and child health services, and would have provided funding to local Community Health Boards to strengthen their ability to work with community partners to eliminate health disparities. Please also see 2001 SESSION – MDH Summary and the final biennial budget spreadsheet on the 2001 Legislative Session Information page.
More information about health-related legislation can be found on the Minnesota Department of Human Services Web site