Health Regulation Division - MDH

Health Regulation Division COVID-19 Waiver Archive

The COVID-19 peacetime emergency ended on July 1, 2021. All existing state COVID-19 waivers and modifications expired no later than Aug. 30, 2021, and regulated individuals and facilities must return to Minnesota statute and rule compliance by August 30, 2021. Regulated individuals and facilities were strongly encouraged to begin planning for this transition as soon as possible and should contact the appropriate MDH division with questions.

MDH’s Health Regulation Division is working with federal authorities to provide additional guidance. Generally, in instances where a Minnesota statute or rule is more prescriptive, the Minnesota statute will prevail.

Waivers

Health Occupations

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) is temporarily granting a blanket variance of the continuing education requirements for hearing instrument dispensers, speech language pathologists, audiologists, and body art technicians regulated by the Health Occupations Program.

Read the full text of the modifications: Health Occupations Program and Mortuary Science Section Modifications (PDF).

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) has temporarily modified specific regulatory requirements for licensing audiologists and certifying hearing instrument dispensers currently regulated under Minnesota Statutes, chapters 148 and 153A, through the authority granted in Laws 2020, chapter 74, article 1, section 13.

The in-person practical exam that is a requirement of licensure or certification, has been suspended because of COVID-19 safety concerns. To reduce hardships for providers, HRD will allow qualified applicants to obtain a conditional license before they pass the practical exam; and allow qualified applicants for hearing instrument dispensing to obtain a conditional certification before they pass the practical exam.

Read the full text of the modifications: Health Occupations Hearing Instrument Practical Examination Modification and Delay (PDF).

Affects Minnesota Statutes chapter 148.515, subd. 6; and 153A.14, subd. 2h(a)(2)

Modifying and delaying licensing and registration requirements for regulated health occupations

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) has temporarily modified and delayed certain requirements for licensing, certification, and registration of occupations regulated by the Health Occupations Program. These health occupations include speech language pathologists, audiologists, hearing instrument dispensers, doulas, body art technicians, and body art establishments. The statutory modifications and delays will allow current licensees in good standing to practice during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency while protecting public safety. MDH will temporarily cease licensing activities for practitioners that are not supporting COVID-19 in health care facilities and critical access hospitals. This will allow existing staff to support MDH in other critical areas during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Read the full text of the modifications: Health Occupations Program Modifications (PDF).

Affects Minnesota Statutes chapter 146B, sections 148.511 to 148.5198, sections 148.995 to 148.997, and chapter 153A.

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Home Care

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) previously announced temporary modifications to certain requirements related to licensing activities for the Home Care and Assisted Living Program (HCALP) during the COVID-19 emergency. MDH has revised the modification concerning home care license renewal.

This revision:

  • Requires home care licensees to submit their license renewal applications and fees as necessary to bring their license current and maintain compliance with statutory requirements for renewal.

These modifications:

  • Suspend all new applications and in-progress applications for temporary home care licenses.
  • Extend existing temporary home care licenses as needed to allow for an initial full survey for providers who have submitted a notice of providing services.

Read the full text of the modifications: Home Care Licensing Activities Modifications (PDF)

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) previously announced temporary modifications to certain requirements related to survey and enforcement activities for the Home Care and Assisted Living Program (HCALP) during the COVID-19 emergency. MDH has revised the modifications concerning invoicing of fines assessed following survey.

This revision:

  • Requires the payment of fines assessed during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency. MDH will send an invoice for any fines that are due for payment.

These modifications remain in effect:

  • Waive timeframe requirements concerning correction orders.
  • Waive timeframe requirements concerning requests for reconsideration for both HCALP and providers.
  • Waive timeframe requirements concerning all survey types.
  • Allow HCALP to emphasize education and outreach in survey activities.

Read the full text of the modifications: Home Care Survey and Enforcement Activities Modifications (PDF).

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Hospitals

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) has temporarily modified certain requirements for hospitals and their licensed bed capacity during the COVID-19 emergency. The temporary modifications include:

  1. The per-bed license fee for any new beds created during the COVID-19 emergency will be waived.
  2. The hospital construction moratorium will be lifted, and new construction will not require a public interest review process.
  3. The usual and non-emergent licensing and routine inspection requirement for alternate healthcare facilities will be waived during this emergency period.
Read the full text of the waiver: Hospital Capacity Waiver (PDF)

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Mortuary Science

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) is temporarily granting a blanket variance of the continuing education requirements for morticians regulated by the Mortuary Science Section.

Read the full text of the modifications: Health Occupations Program and Mortuary Science Section Modifications (PDF).

Waiving licensing and practice standards for morticians, interns, and funeral providers

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has waived and modified specific regulatory requirements for licensing and practice standards for morticians, interns, and funeral providers. These changes will help providers manage the surge in projected deaths due to COVID-19. Specifically, they allow licensed providers to have their trained, unlicensed employees, or alternatively, hire and have emergency responders remove and transport deceased persons to the funeral homes. They also may hire morticians in good standing from other states and those with emeritus status, provided they have a temporary license issued by MDH. Finally, providers will have extended time to process their renewal applications and fees, while waiving late fees. The waiver also allows interns and morticians who apply by reciprocity to start working before they pass the state exam and the national exam, and to submit case reports on duties related to cremation, alkaline hydrolysis, or other COVID-19 related duties.  These waivers are for the period of the peacetime emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.   

Read the full text of the modifications: Mortuary Science Licensing and Practice Standards Modifications and Waivers (PDF).

Affects Minnesota Statutes, secs. 149A.01, subd. 1 and 2, 149A.20, 149A.30, 149A.45, 149A.50.7, 149A.51.3, 149A.52.6, 149A.53.3, 149A.54.6, 149A.55.3, 149A.70.6, and 149A.90.2.

Waiving requirements for how deceased persons are held pending disposition

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) waived statutes and rules that affect how deceased persons are held pending disposition. These changes will allow facilities to hold a deceased person longer than the statutory limit (six days for funeral establishments and 24 hours for alkaline hydrolysis facilities and crematories), with proper refrigeration. These changes will also provide facilities with more options for storing deceased persons, such as mobile refrigeration units or coolers located either on or off-site, to increase capacity to store human remains. Waiving these requirements supports the public’s desire to put off funerals during this time, and addresses the resulting impact this could have on providers’ storage capacity. These waivers are for the period of the peacetime emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.

Read the full text of the waiver: Mortuary Science Storage Standards Modifications (PDF).

Affects Minnesota Statutes, secs. 149A.90.8, 149A.91.3149A.94.1, 149A.941.15, and 149A.95.6.

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Nursing Homes

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) has temporarily waived the moratorium on beds coming out of layaway; the 60-day notice required to do so; and the per-bed licensing fee for nursing homes during the COVID-19 emergency.This waiver allows nursing home beds to be used to relocate patients from hospitals or other settings to nursing homes. Note that MDH was previously and is still allowed to approve the immediate removal of beds from layaway during an emergency if the beds are used to relocate nursing home residents from one nursing home to another.MDH still requires nursing homes to notify MDH about the bed changes and to ensure adequate and CDC-compliant space to care for COVID-19 residents.

Read the full text of the waiver: Nursing Home Capacity Waiver (PDF)

CMS is modifying the requirements at 42 CFR §§ 483.60(h)(1)(i) and 483.160(a) regarding required training of paid feeding assistants. Specifically, CMS is modifying the minimum timeframe requirements in these sections, which require this training to be a minimum of 8 hours. CMS is modifying to allow that the training can be a minimum of 1 hour in length. CMS is not waiving any other requirements under 42 CFR §483.60(h) related to paid feeding assistants or the required training content at 42 CFR §483.160(a)(1)-(8), which contains infection control training and other elements. Additionally,CMS is also not waiving or modifying the requirements at 42 CFR §483.60(h)(2)(i), whichrequires that a feeding assistant must work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN)or licensed practical nurse (LPN).

Read the full text of the memo: Federal Paid Feeding Assistant: Waived Under 1135 Waiver - 5/11/20 (PDF)

Modifying nursing home non-layaway bed requirements 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) modified statutes that affect nursing homes without a layaway bed option, allowing them to quickly add licensed beds without incurring a financial burden. The modification lifts the moratorium on nursing home beds and waives the per-bed licensing fee during the COVID-19 emergency. It allows nursing homes to quickly expand their numbers of beds in order to relocate patients from hospitals or other settings to nursing homes that do not have a layaway bed option. MDH still requires nursing homes to notify MDH about the bed changes and to ensure adequate and CDC-compliant space to care for COVID-19 residents. A condition of this waiver approval would be that newly added nursing home beds be certified for Medicare only and this waiver will not add Medicaid certified beds, assuring that the Medicare benefit is accessed for those dually eligible under both Medicare and Medicaid. COVID-19-affected Medicaid eligible residents without a Medicare benefit can still access the Medicaid service regardless of the bed location on the campus if the nursing facility does not exceed their current Medicaid certified capacity. This waiver is for the period of the peacetime emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.

Read the full text of the waiver: Nursing Home Non-Layaway Bed Waiver (PDF)

Affects Minnesota Statutes, secs. 144.122 and 144A.071.

This clarification is related to Minnesota Statutes 144A.61 Subdivision 6a that implements federal CFR §483.35(d) related to nursing assistants and the “four month” federal requirement under CFR §483.35(d). 42 CFR 483.35(d), with the exception of 42 CFR 483.35(d) (1) (i) and 42 CFR 483.35(c) is waived under CMS 1135 waiver. This can be found at: COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers (PDF).

Read the full text of the clarification: Nursing Assistant Training & Competency under COVID 1135 Waiver and State Law Clarification (PDF)

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) is temporarily waiving the resident notification timeframes for transfer and discharge of nursing home residents. The waiver of these timeframes, contained in the Health Care Bill of Rights, allows nursing home facilities to become specialized sites in response to COVID-19 care needs.

Read the full text of the waiver: Nursing Home Transfer and Discharge Notification Waiver (PDF).

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Office of Health Facility Complaints

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division previously announced temporary modifications to certain requirements for investigations, background studies, and enforcement activities for the Maltreatment of Minors Act (MOMA) and the Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA). MDH has revised the modifications concerning invoicing of fines assessed following investigation.

This revision:

  • Requires the payment of fines assessed during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency. MDH will send an invoice for any fines that are due for payment.

To allow the MDH Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) to prioritize investigations of allegations of egregious maltreatment that could result in serious harm or death, while also prioritizing COVID-19-specific support to providers and vulnerable adults, the following modifications remain in effect:

  • Timeframe requirements for completing maltreatment investigations and investigation-related notices.
  • Timeframe requirements for requests for reconsideration as needed for OHFC, and timeframe requirements for vulnerable adults or interested person who acts on behalf of the vulnerable adult, providers, and alleged perpetrators who are unable to timely submit requests due to COVID-19 related issues.
  • Timeframe requirements related to data requests.

Read the full text of the modifications: Maltreatment of Minors Act and Vulnerable Adults Act Activities (PDF).

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Supplemental Nursing Service Agencies

Waiving registration requirements and maximum charge amounts for Supplemental Nursing Services Agency

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) waived statutes that affect state registration requirements and maximum charge amounts for supplemental nursing services agencies (SNSAs). This allows any in-state licensed health facility regulated by MDH, including hospitals among others, to provide temporary staff in other health facilities that serve residents with COVID-19 without having to be registered as an SNSA. In addition, waiving maximum hourly charges for SNSA services in nursing homes allows the State Emergency Operations Center, in consultation with the Department of Human Services Nursing Home Rates and Policy Division, to set new maximum charge amounts for SNSAs when they are providing staff to work in nursing homes that serve residents with COVID-19. These changes provide flexibility for health facilities assisting other health facilities in finding staff. These waivers will be in place for the duration of the peace-time emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.

Read the full text of the waiver: Supplemental Nursing Services Agency Waiver (PDF).

Affects Minnesota Statutes secs. 144A.70144A.71, and 144A.74.

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Updated Wednesday, 06-Oct-2021 11:39:49 CDT