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COVID-19 information for all partners and providers

Service centers closed to all partners and public

All partners and providers who are co-located in a Hennepin County human service center must remain closed to all staff and members of the public until further notice. In addition to existing restrictions to serving the public, partner staff can no longer work inside human service center buildings.

Find more information about closures and the county’s COVID-19 response here.

Online invoicing now available

As part of Hennepin County’s response to COVID-19, online invoicing is now available for all health and human services providers. All contracted providers are strongly encouraged to begin submitting their invoices electronically effective immediately.

  • For providers who have contracts paid through APEX (those contracts with PO numbers assigned), continue to submit invoices to obf.internet@hennepin.
  • For providers who have service authorized or unit rate contracts paid through SSIS which were previously mailed to Accounts Payable, submit invoices using the online invoicing system. Instructions on how to invoice the county online (PDF)

If you have any questions about online invoicing, please contact Financial Accounting and Analysis at hsph.fin.payables@hennepin.us.

Continuity of operations planning

Partners and providers are encouraged to review or develop Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) to ensure that services to residents continue if the availability of provider staff is limited by the spread of COVID-19 in the community. If the service that you provide requires a state license, please make sure that plans around continuity of operations meet licensing standards. Find more information on license standards from the State of Minnesota.

For more information on developing a COOP, providers may want to review materials from the “Preparing Minnesota’s Independent Sector for Coronavirus” webinar, a presentation hosted by the Minnesota Council on Foundations in partnership with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the State of Minnesota.

Guidance for in-person service delivery

In response to COVID-19, the State of Minnesota has issued interim guidance (PDF) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in state-licensed residential and non-residential settings with at-risk persons. This interim guidance comes from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minnesota Department of Health.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily waived or modified requirements for many programs and services. View this up to date list of services with modified state requirements.

As providers learn more about changes to requirements to meet with residents face-to-face, they may need to adapt their service delivery approach. Hennepin County has shared the following guidance with our own staff internally, and we are sharing it here as a general resource for providers. These guidelines are for a wide range of programs at Hennepin County, and may not reflect current state requirements for specific services. Suspending in-person visits (PDF)

Substitutes, exceptions and pre-visit screening instructions

  • Use available technology as a substitute for in-person visits. Consider making telephone calls, video calls, text messages, email or similar approaches as a means to communicate with the people you serve.
  • Document exceptions to in-person visits to address compliance with federal and state requirements, if applicable.
  • If an in-person visit is necessary, before meeting with the person, follow these pre-visit screening instructions to determine if the person has been exposed to COVID-19. Pre-screening for home visits (PDF)

Guidance for most Hennepin County forms

Electronic signatures for county forms

Hennepin County has issued general guidance on electronic signatures to county staff during the COVID-19 public health emergency. We recommend following this temporary guidance for obtaining signatures for most Hennepin County forms. Hennepin County cannot provide guidance for DHS signature requirements at this time. Electronic signatures guidance for county staff (PDF)

Questions and updates

Please check this page for updates and send questions to hhspartners@hennepin.us. We will compile program-specific information on this page.

COVID-19 info for county-funded contracts

For county property tax funded contracts: Changes to services and programs

Hennepin County is extending flexibility to providers who deliver services and programs funded by Hennepin County property tax dollars and whose services or programs are affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Hennepin County intends to continue funding providers who adapt their service delivery approach, as long as the target population specified in contracts continues to receive services. This only applies to programs and services that do not require state, federal or other waivers to change service delivery. Providers with county property tax funded contracts may:

  • Modify service delivery models that typically require face-to-face contact with residents, as long as services for the contracted target population continue
  • Contact their contract manager to request changes to existing contract budgets as needed to reflect revised service delivery models, as long as budget item shifts are within the contract’s existing Not-to-Exceed (NTE) amount

Providers should work with their contract manager if they need to make any of these changes to their current contract terms or service delivery. It is important that if providers choose to make changes, they still meet the needs of the target population they are contracted to serve. Providers unable to modify their service delivery model to avoid face-to-face contact with residents and anticipate temporarily ceasing services should contact their contract manager.

COVID-19 program-specific information

A variety of waivers are currently in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is not a comprehensive list of all waivers to federal, state, and grant program requirements. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. Contact your contract manager with questions.

Adult mental health targeted case management

Verbal acknowledgement of service plans

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) under the Governor's Emergency Executive Order 20-12 has temporarily waived the policy requirement for a signed service plan when it is not possible to obtain a signature from the client or the client’s parent or legal representative.

Effective Mar. 1, 2020, Child Welfare Targeted Case Management (CW-TCM) and Mental Health Targeted Case Management (MH-TCM) case managers may complete a service plan with the child and parent, legal guardian or legal representative; or the adult and legal representative via telephone or through videoconference.

Case manager responsibilities

The case manager must:

  • Document who gave verbal acknowledgement and their relationship to the client in the client file
  • Document when the verbal acknowledgement was received
  • Send a copy of the completed CW-TCM service plan to the child and parent, legal guardian or legal representative
  • Send a copy of the completed MH-TCM service plan to the child and parent, legal guardian or legal representative; or the adult or legal representative
  • Obtain signatures within a reasonable time after the Governor's Emergency Executive Order 20-12 has been lifted.

Guidance for Hennepin County forms

Hennepin County has been required to obtain an Information Disclosure Form and a Case Opening Form from contracted providers for all case openings and transfer requests with a “wet signature” or digital signature from the person being served.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Hennepin County will accept verbally-acquired authorizations on our Hennepin County forms. The provider should document that the client authorized verbally. This could be done by entering the clients name in the signature box and adding a note that says something to the effect, "Client signature was received verbally over the phone due to public health emergency protocols."

Video-conferencing meets face-to-face requirement

Effective Mar. 1, 2020, telephone and video-conferencing (for example FaceTime, Skype and other applications) contacts will meet the face-to-face requirement for all MA-eligible individuals receiving TCM services. MA claiming and reimbursement is permitted for covered TCM services provided through allowable modes.

The following criteria apply:

  • Allowable tele-conferencing contacts for MA reimbursement are live audio exchanges by audio (telephone-only), or video, and web-based devices (for example FaceTime, Skype and other applications).
  • Unallowable methods of contact remain: emails, texts, faxes and voicemail.

Intersection with existing telemedicine targeted case management services

For the period of the COVID-19 emergency, claiming for targeted case management delivered via telemedicine under existing state law is temporarily suspended. Bill for all forms of targeted case management (including AMH-TCM and VA-TCM which under current law can be delivered following the telemedicine guidelines) using the face-to-face procedure code for the specific targeted case management service at the required frequency.

DHS directs provider entities to use the face-to-face procedure codes to ensure that all claims are paid promptly. Place of service codes could trigger a requirement for manual claims processing.

All contacts made by phone call, or any other means of real-time audio-only (e.g. telephone) or audio and visual communication (e.g. FaceTime, Skype, etc.) satisfies the requirement for a face-to-face contact for the period of the COVID-19 emergency.

Related resources

Assertive Community Treatment 

The commissioner temporarily expanded access to telemedicine for Minnesotans enrolled in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare who receive health care, mental health treatment, or substance use disorder treatment.

Specifically, the commissioner expanded the providers who are permitted to provide services through telephone and video visits to include the following providers and their tribal provider equivalents:

  • Providers who are considered "licensed health care providers" under Section 256B.0625, subdivision 3b, paragraph (e) , and providers who licensed medical providers supervise;
  • Mental health certified peer specialists and mental health certified family peer specialists where they are currently authorized to provide services;
  • Mental health rehabilitation workers in Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS);
  • Mental health behavioral aides in Children's Therapeutic Support services (CTSS); and
  • Alcohol and drug counselors, alcohol and drug counselor-temps, recovery peers, and student interns in licensed SUD programs.

The commissioner also temporarily expanded telemedicine (including telephone and video visits) to Rule 25 assessments, comprehensive assessments, and group therapy.

These measures help enrollees and providers follow social distancing best practices. DHS has received federal approval for these changes.

This change is effective March 19, 2020, and runs through the end of the public health emergency.

Providers without a telemedicine assurance statement on file with MHCP must submit the Telephonic Telemedicine Provider Assurance Statement (DHS-6806A) (PDF) for coverage of services via telephone or tele-video. Your "Requested Service Effective Date" to the form can be on or after March 19, 2020.

To see covered services changes, refer to the Minnesota Health Care Programs Provider Manual.

Related resources

Children's mental health – outpatient

Providers may use telemedicine to deliver services, which is allowed under existing Medical Assistance requirements. Telemedicine requires both audio and video. Providers will not be required to originate telemedicine communications from a professional or clinical setting and will be reimbursed for telemedicine interactions that originate from a provider’s home setting. Providers must create and implement policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality and HIPAA compliance while using telemedicine.

We are working to develop the necessary accounting structure to allow providers to bill for services delivered via telemedicine, and we will update this page and contact providers with billing information soon.

Related resources

Children's mental health – targeted case management

Verbal acknowledgement of service plans

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) under the Governor's Emergency Executive Order 20-12 has temporarily waived the policy requirement for a signed service plan when it is not possible to obtain a signature from the client or the client’s parent or legal representative.

Effective Mar. 1, 2020, Child Welfare Targeted Case Management (CW-TCM) and Mental Health Targeted Case Management (MH-TCM) case managers may complete a service plan with the child and parent, legal guardian or legal representative; or the adult and legal representative via telephone or through videoconference.

Case manager responsibilities

The case manager must:

  • Document who gave verbal acknowledgement and their relationship to the client in the client file
  • Document when the verbal acknowledgement was received
  • Send a copy of the completed CW-TCM service plan to the child and parent, legal guardian or legal representative
  • Send a copy of the completed MH-TCM service plan to the child and parent, legal guardian or legal representative; or the adult or legal representative
  • Obtain signatures within a reasonable time after the Governor's Emergency Executive Order 20-12 has been lifted.

Video-conferencing meets face-to-face requirement

Effective Mar. 1, 2020, telephone and video-conferencing (for example FaceTime, Skype and other applications) contacts will meet the face-to-face requirement for all MA-eligible individuals receiving TCM services. MA claiming and reimbursement is permitted for covered TCM services provided through allowable modes. The following criteria apply:

  • Allowable tele-conferencing contacts for MA reimbursement are live audio exchanges by audio (telephone-only), or video, and web-based devices (for example FaceTime, Skype and other applications).
  • Unallowable methods of contact remain: emails, texts, faxes and voicemail.

Intersection with existing telemedicine targeted case management services

For the period of the COVID-19 emergency, claiming for targeted case management delivered via telemedicine under existing state law is temporarily suspended. Bill for all forms of targeted case management (including AMH-TCM and VA-TCM which under current law can be delivered following the telemedicine guidelines) using the face-to-face procedure code for the specific targeted case management service at the required frequency.

DHS directs provider entities to use the face-to-face procedure codes to ensure that all claims are paid promptly. Place of service codes could trigger a requirement for manual claims processing.

All contacts made by phone call, or any other means of real-time audio-only (e.g. telephone) or audio and visual communication (e.g. FaceTime, Skype, etc.) satisfies the requirement for a face-to-face contact for the period of the COVID-19 emergency.

Hennepin County will follow this directive for clients who are not MA eligible but receive these services through County funding, so long as providers serve the target population identified in their current contract.

Related resources

Children's school-based mental health

Providers may use telehealth to deliver services, which is allowed under existing Medical Assistance requirements. Providers will not be required to originate telehealth communications from a professional or clinical setting, and will be reimbursed for telehealth interactions that originate from a provider’s home setting. Providers must create and implement policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality and HIPAA compliance while using telehealth.

Related resources

Children's therapeutic supports and services (CTSS) – day treatment

Providers may use telemedicine to deliver the following services: individual and/or family psychotherapy, individual and/or family skills, psychotherapy for crisis, and Diagnostic Assessment. Eligible person attendance for ancillary services has been waived.

No waivers have been approved to deliver psychotherapy or skills for groups settings via telemedicine. We will provide updates as soon as we receive additional guidance from DHS.

Providers should use their best judgment to determine if a face-to-face interaction is urgent for health or safety. Guidance for face-to-face interactions in times of crisis for Hennepin County staff has been shared as a resource for providers here (PDF).

Continue to use current payment structure and payment process when submitting CTSS day treatment claims. When making CTSS day treatment claims for services provided via telemedicine in lieu of face-to-face services, use the face-to-face procedure code and modifier.

Children’s therapeutic supports and services (CTSS) – Structured family therapy (SFT)

Providers are permitted to conduct telemedicine service delivery in lieu of face-to-face services. Telemedicine requires both audio and video. Providers must create and implement policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality and HIPAA compliance. Provider must continue to operate within the terms of the contract by serving the target population outlined in the contract. Provider is permitted to utilize video and audio to deliver training services.

Related resources

Emergency shelters, drop-in centers, outreach services, and housing

Information for housing for partners and providers can be found on the Continuum of Care partnership to end homelessness page.

Family home visiting

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that when possible, home visitors use telephone or telehealth visits in place of in-person visits. MDH is not mandating this, but strongly encourages this as we await further guidance from the Governor, CDC, and our federal funders, and we will send out further information to providers soon.

It is important that home visitors maintain safe connections to their families, help support families in their parenting, assist with access to resources, answer questions, and provide a sense of calm during the COVID-19 global outbreak. Home visitors can regularly check-in with their families by phone, text, e-mails or video conferencing to provide support.

MDH Family Home Visiting will hosting weekly webinars Thursdays at noon to provide brief updates and allow for Q&A time, and will email summaries of webinars to providers. Sign-up to receive MDH bulletins here.

Related resources

Functional family therapy (FFT) and Multisystemic therapy (MST)

Hennepin County is in alignment with the Multisystemic Therapy and Functional Family Therapy contractor recommendations for services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Telehealth/telemedicine (tele-) services are allowable for in-person and in-home sessions. Providers must create and implement policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality and HIPAA compliance.

Consultation and supervision can be conducted by video conferencing. Training will be completed via webinar. Hennepin County will continue to pay according to the terms of the current contracts.

Related resources

Foster care, supervised visitation, and transportation

Supervised visitation or transportation not suspended by Hennepin County

Supervised visitation and transportation should continue as usual. It is vital for children in foster care to stay connected to their parents, and supervised visits between children and their parents are important.

To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, staff, parents, and children should take precautions to stay home if sick, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, and cover coughs and sneezes. If guidance changes, Hennepin County will notify providers and update this page.

No changes to process for cancelling services

If a provider needs to cancel a service for any reason, follow the process for doing so as usual.

Changes to operations

Please communicate your COOP, changes to services or capacity or other concerns to your contract manager or to your Hennepin County contact person.

Home and community-based waiver case management and Rule 185 case management

Case managers can conduct required face-to-face semi-annual visits with people over the phone and/or secure video conference. Providers will identify which resources they will use to conduct phone and/or secure video conference visits. Providers must create and implement policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality and HIPAA compliance. For visits conducted over the phone or secure video conference, case managers should begin case notes begin with: “Due to COVID-19 this phone visit has been completed in lieu of a face to face visit to ensure safety….”

Providers should determine their own practice to obtain signatures either over secure email or by US Mail. If there is a barrier to obtain a signature, note in case notes that it is related to COVID-19.  Document in case notes that the person granted verbal agreement via phone or other means (specify the means).

Related resources

Electronic signatures

Hennepin County has shared the following resources regarding electronic signatures with Hennepin County case managers, and is making this information available here as a resource for contracted case management organizations. Contracted case management organizations are required to consult with their HIPAA Privacy Officer, IT department, and attorney to develop their own guidance. We have not yet received guidance from DHS on this matter.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and Diversionary Work Program

In-person interviews not required to determine eligibility

In-person interviews are not necessary to determine eligibility, to conduct an eligibility review, or to deliver employment services (including orientation and overviews).

Making MFIP and Diversionary Work Program services more accessible

Providers are encouraged to be flexible in making services accessible to participants. Providers should not turn away participants who do not have access to technology to get the services they need.

For documents and signatures:

  • Consider sending self-addressed envelope for participant to return for intake and EP forms.
  • Use of electronic signatures on applications and documents is acceptable, programs such as DocuSign can be utilized.
  • Copies of documents are allowable during this time, should originals or electronic signature not be available.

For support services:

  • We are working with Metro Transit to understand their requirements on signatures for bus cards.
  • Please continue tracking support service spending per contract requirements until further notice.

Sanctions

Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead has temporarily ordered that participants in the Minnesota Family Investment. Program and Diversionary Work Program will not be sanctioned or disqualified for failing to attend meetings, submit paperwork or comply with other specific requirements. This will be in effect for the duration of the public health emergency.

Related resources

Prevention (funded by FHPAP)

Providers are advised to minimize face-to-face contact as much as possible for activities funded by Minnesota Housing’s Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP).

Written signatures

Unless and until Minnesota Housing issues additional guidance, providers may temporarily secure verbal consent from each adult in the household for the following documents:

  • Release of Information
  • Tennessen Warning
  • Other enrollment documents such as applications

In all cases where written signature is not possible due to social distancing, providers should 1) note on the release that it was a verbal release 2) put a memo to file that notes COVID 19 safety precautions as the reason for verbal release.

If at all possible, providers should secure electronic confirmation that the verbal signature was given, such as a text message or e-mail from the client acknowledging the verbal signature.

Income verification

Providers may temporarily incorporate self-reporting of income unless and until Minnesota Housing provides additional guidance. Formal documentation and third-party verification continue to be the best methods for verifying household income; however, during this crisis, Minnesota Housing is allowing households to self-report income when necessary.

Self-reporting of income should only be used in extreme situations when other more appropriate methods are unavailable. When self-reporting is used, staff should inquire about a wide variety of potential income sources and document the household’s response in the client file. Include notes that explain the reason for the self-certification and demonstrate the provider has exercised due diligence in attempting to obtain a higher level of documentation. Staff must still calculate annual income and make sure that households meet the income requirements for FHPAP.

Services for people on a lease

On March 23, 2020, Governor Walz announced Executive Order 20-14 Suspending Evictions and Writs of Recovery During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency.

Standard Prevention program eligibility requirements include that people on a lease must document that they have a housing crisis and face a housing loss within 30 days. Grantees have often obtained a copy of an eviction notice as documentation of a household’s housing crisis for FHPAP eligibility.

During this Executive Order, Minnesota Housing directed grantees to instead try to secure a late rent notice as documentation of housing crisis. If this isn’t possible and will delay the crisis resolution, grantees may secure verbal verification of late rent from the landlord. Securing verbal verification should be a last resort, and the landlord name and contact information should be noted in the file.

In addition, for people on a lease and seeking Prevention assistance, the requirement to document eligibility based on housing loss within 30 days is waived for the duration of the eviction moratorium. Minnesota Housing guidance is that if, under normal circumstances, the tenant would likely be evicted, then they would meet the spirit of what is intended by the 30-day risk of housing loss requirement.

Minnesota Housing has indicated that case managers should use their best judgement and their understanding of the larger circumstances to determine if individuals on a lease would otherwise meet the 30-day housing loss requirement and should document to the case file accordingly.

This waiver remains in effect until the end of the executive order or eviction moratoriums, at which time providers should resume obtaining eviction notices and assessing housing loss within 30 days.

Providers should complete the M-PAT tool as usual, with the notice of late rent serving to document eligibility under Step 1 of the assessment in lieu of a notice to vacate. In order to accurately assess need and eligibility under the eviction moratorium, case managers may override a person’s score in Section 1 of the M-PAT tool. They may do so if 1) due to the moratorium, a person on a lease is not getting points for risk of housing loss or when housing loss will occur, and 2) the case manager’s assessment is that the individual would otherwise be evicted but for the moratorium, and should be receiving those points.

Note that the individual’s calculated M-PAT score should not be changed; instead the case manager should do an override as follows: 1) record the final score based on information from the client as usual 2) note on the M-PAT form that an override was done and why, including both the rationale for the new score AND that it was related to the moratorium 3) include the revised score in addition to the original score on the final page of the scoring tool, and 4) serve the client based on that revised scoring.

Requirements that providers first document that individuals have exhausted other resources remain in effect.

Note that people in doubled up housing situations and facing housing loss are not affected by this waiver. Providers should document their risk of housing loss as normal.

Related resources

Rapid rehousing (funded by FHPAP, ESG, and CoC)

For Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP) funded activities

Providers are advised to minimize face-to-face contact as much as possible for activities funded by Minnesota Housing Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP). This may include social distancing or alternative modes of connection such as phone calls, Skype, or video calling.

Written signatures

Unless and until Minnesota Housing issues additional guidance, providers may temporarily secure verbal consent from each adult in the household for the following documents:

  • Release of Information
  • Tennessen Warning
  • Other enrollment documents such as applications

In all cases where written signature is not possible due to social distancing, providers should 1) note on the release that it was a verbal release 2) put a memo to file that notes COVID 19 safety precautions as the reason for verbal release.

If at all possible, providers should secure electronic confirmation that the verbal signature was given, such as a text message or e-mail from the client acknowledging the verbal signature.

Income verification

Providers may temporarily incorporate self-reporting of income unless and until Minnesota Housing provides additional guidance.Formal documentation and third-party verification continue to be the best methods for verifying household income; however, during this crisis, Minnesota Housing is allowing households to self-report income when necessary.

Self-reporting of income should only be used in extreme situations when other more appropriate methods are unavailable. When self-reporting is used, staff should inquire about a wide variety of potential income sources and document the household’s response in the client file. Include notes that explain the reason for the self-certification and demonstrate the provider has exercised due diligence in attempting to obtain a higher level of documentation.Staff must still calculate annual income and make sure that households meet the income requirements for FHPAP.

For Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and Continuum of Care (CoC) HUD funded activities

Written signatures

Staff with the local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development office have indicated that there is not federal guidance on the topic of written signatures for ROIs or enrollment documents. Local HUD staff are advising grantees to create a COVID-19 policy that would provide direction on deviations from the grantees’ usual practices, such as for ROIs and enrollment documents. Tennessen Warnings are a state requirement not part of HUD programming.

Income verification

For third party documentation, source documents (e.g. wage statements or public benefits statements) are preferred. To the extent that source documents are unobtainable, a written statement by the relevant third party or the written statement by intake staff of the oral verification by the relevant third party is preferred.

To the extent that source documents and third-party verification are unobtainable, a program participant's self-certification of income would be allowable. Self-certification must be accompanied by notes that explain the reason for the self-certification and that demonstrate the provider has exercised due diligence in attempting to obtain a higher level of documentation.

For Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funded activities

Temporary waiver of Fair Market Rent requirements

Waiving the limit on rental assistance to rents that are equal to or less than the Fair Market Rent, established by HUD, will assist ESG funded providers in more quickly locating additional units to house individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

For ESG funded projects, The FMR restriction is waived for any individual or family receiving Rapid Re-housing assistance and who executes a lease for a unit during the period of April 13th, 2020 through September 30th, 2020.

Providers must still ensure that units for which ESG assistance is provided meet the rent reasonableness standard.

Case management

Expectations on frequency of case management as outlined in the RRH provider manual remain in place because of multiple funding streams and related requirements. Per guidance on the HHS Partners webpage, alternate means of connecting with RRH clients are permissible and in order to maintain social distancing, such as texting, phone, and video.

Providers who still have issues assuring case management under this broader authority should contact Hennepin County staff to discuss options and additional flexibilities that could be pursued.

Habitability assessments

Habitability assessment requirements for ESG remain in effect under COVID 19 but can be done creatively. Providers should (in order of preference):

  1. Conduct a virtual assessment themselves using the providers’ standard Habitability Assessment form already in use:
    1. Virtual inspection can include a video, live stream, or photos. Please include date stamp to the extent possible and per HUD guidance to Hennepin County that this is preferred.
    2. Note to the case file that the inspection had to be postponed due to COVID 19 and that it was done virtually as a result.
    3. Complete a physical assessment within 3 months of the date that health officials determine special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are no longer necessary.
  2. If a provider cannot do a virtual assessment themselves:
    1. Have the client, landlord or another individual do the assessment to the best of their ability based on provider guidance and using the providers’ standard Habitability Assessment form. Document it to the provider similar to #1 above using video and/or photos.
    2. Note to the case file that the inspection had to be postponed due to COVID 19 and that it was done virtually instead.
    3. Complete a physical assessment within 3 months of the date that health officials determine special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are no longer necessary.

For Continuum of Care (CoC) funded activities

Temporary waiver of Fair Market Rent requirements

For CoC-funded projects, The FMR restriction is waived for any individual or family receiving Rapid Re-housing assistance and who executes a lease for a unit during the period of April 13th, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

Providers must still ensure that units for which CoC assistance is provided meet the rent reasonableness standard.

Temporary waiver of one-year lease requirement

Providers receiving CoC funds for Rapid Rehousing ordinarily must assure that program participants obtain a lease for a term of one year and which is renewable and terminable for cause. Waiving the one-year lease requirement as specified below will allow recipients to more quickly identify permanent housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, which is helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

For CoC funded programs, the one-year lease requirement is waived for the period of April 13th, 2020 through September 30th, 2020 so long as the initial lease term of all leases is for more than one month.

Case Management

Frequency of case management as outlined in the RRH provider manual remains in effect because of braided funding requirements. Alternate means of connecting with RRH clients to assure staff and client safety are permissible, such as texting, phone, and video.

Recognizing that some clients may not have access to technology, providers who still have difficulty assuring required frequency of case management under this broader authority should contact Hennepin County staff to discuss additional flexibility that could be pursued.

Housing Quality Standards (HQS): Initial physical inspection of unit

Per HUD waiver, the requirement to physically inspect each unit to ensure HQS before providing assistance is waived for the period of April 13th, 2020 through September 30th, 2020 IF AND ONLY IF providers are able to meet the following criteria:

  1. The provider is able to visually inspect the unit using technology, such as video streaming, to ensure the unit meets HQS before any assistance is provided; and
  2. The provider has written policies to physically re-inspect the unit within 3 months after the date that health officials determine special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are no longer necessary.

Per CoC rules, providers must inspect all units for which leasing or rental assistance funds are used at least annually to ensure they continue to meet HQS. This requirement to reinspect is waived for the period of April 13, 2020 to March 30, 2021.

Related resources

Ryan White Program

As of May 1, 2020, DHS and Hennepin County will continue to allow for verbal consent in lieu of client signature for documents for Ryan White services including, but not limited to, service consent forms, release of information, data practice, care plans, service plans, and applications.

DHS and Hennepin County will continue to monitor guidance and work collaboratively with subrecipients to determine when we can resume usual operations with client signatures. DHS and Hennepin County will give appropriate notice to providers when this procedural change will end. Our intent is to give four weeks of notice to subrecipients and clients before resuming usual operations with client signatures. This notice period may be adjusted based on federal and state guidance.

The below document provides guidance on continuity of care and programmatic changes, complying with Ryan White Program requirements, and additional resources.

Related resources

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) waived work requirements for able-bodied adults without children who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

Related resources

Wraparound

If providers have approved that wraparound sessions, groups, or meetings may be conducted via telehealth, telemedicine, phone, or video conferencing, Hennepin County supports these service delivery methods. All supervision, staff, team and staff training sessions may also be conducted using these same tools.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that when possible, home visitors use telephone or telehealth visits in place of in-person visits. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that when possible, home visitors use telephone or telehealth visits in place of in-person visits. Providers will not be required to originate telehealth communications from a professional or clinical setting, and will be reimbursed for telehealth interactions that originate from a provider’s home setting. Providers must create and implement policies and procedures to ensure confidentiality and HIPAA compliance.

All services must continue to maintain fidelity to the Wraparound High Fidelity Model. All services can be billed as if for face-to-face contact, according to contract terms.

Related resources

Changes to payment of late invoices

Effective January 1, 2020

Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health is updating language for contracts that begin January 1, 2020 or later.

The language states that Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health may refuse payment of invoices in these cases:

  • Invoices received after 90 calendar days from the last day of the month of service
  • Invoices received after 90 days from the date the county is determined to be the payer of last resort

When to submit invoices

Submit an itemized invoice within 30 calendar days of the last day of each month in which you provided services or incurred expenses. Following this contract requirement will ensure maximum reimbursement for completed work.

Questions

Contact your assigned contract manager.

New providers who want a contract

Learn about contract opportunities

Compete for a contract

  • Watch this short video to learn how to compete for a contract (YouTube).
  • Read all documents posted with each opportunity to ensure that you meet requirements and qualifications.
  • Be prepared to meet the standards and policies published in our human services and public health contracting guide. Contracting Guide 2019 (PDF)
  • Plan to attend a pre-proposal meeting if one is scheduled. Dates and times are announced online with the contract opportunity notice.
  • Prepare and submit your proposal documents according to the posted requirements and before the deadline. Late submissions will not be considered.

How we assure fairness and quality

  • Watch this short video to learn about the contracting process (YouTube).
  • Contracts are awarded using a competitive selection process.
  • Award decisions are made by a committee.
  • Each contract opportunity has its own timeline and requirements, which are posted online.
  • There are no exceptions to documentation requirements and submission due dates.
  • The county screens all potential vendors.

What to expect if you get a contract

Watch this short video to learn what to expect if you get a contract (YouTube).

A contract manager will be assigned to manage each contract and answer questions.

Providers are expected to comply with all requirements in their unique, signed contract. Some general reporting requirements are covered below.

Financial reporting requirements

Financial documents typically requested include:

  • Independent audit reports and management letters
  • Financial statements
  • Agency wide and program-specific budgets

Performance measures

Contracts contain performance targets and require providers to routinely report their progress toward meeting those targets.

Providers who have a contract

Electronic signatures

Hennepin County will now be using electronic signatures on contracts. Providers do not need any special software – you can even sign them while using a mobile device!

Supporting providers in meeting county requirements

The county supports its contracted providers in a variety of ways to ensure a successful contracting experience.

A contract manager is assigned to manage each contract and answer questions. To find out who your contract manager is, call 612-348-4071.

Standards and policies are outlined in a human services and public health contracting guide. View the 2019 contracting guide (PDF).

Watch these short videos to learn more about contract financial requirements:

Financial reporting

Financial documents typically requested include:

  • Independent audit reports and management letters
  • Financial statements
  • Agency wide and program-specific budgets

A tailored Excel workbook (XLS) is available for providers to adapt for their use when submitting budgets. For help adapting the workbook, contact your contract manager.

Performance measures

Contracts contain performance targets and require providers to routinely report their progress toward meeting those targets. Performance targets are designed in collaboration with providers to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. For questions about performance targets or reporting, contact your contract manager.

Contract renewal

Before a contract expires, the county will evaluate the need to continue contracting for the service. If the county decides to renew a contract, the contract manager will send a request for contract renewal documents.

If the county decides to renew a contract, the provider will be asked to submit new documentation which may include:

  • Service description narrative
  • Current outcome and performance measurement criteria
  • Agency wide and program-specific budgets, with substantiation
  • Current board of directors
  • Organization chart
  • Board directive authorizing contract signatures
  • Affirmative action documents
  • Current and adequate insurance certificate of coverage
  • Proof of tax exempt status
  • Copies of current city, state or federal licenses, when applicable
  • Job descriptions
  • Staffing lists

Client information

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Chapter 13 governs how client data are collected, created, stored, used and shared. It establishes requirements relating to public and individual rights to access government data. Learn more about the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Chapter 13.

Organizations that have a contract with the Human Services and Public Health Department are expected to follow all requirements about collecting, creating, storing and sharing client information. This includes giving a notice, sometimes referred to as a Tennessen Warning, to each client. The notice tells them about how their information will be shared and the possible consequences of not sharing information. Learn more about Tennessen Warnings.

Billing the Human Services and Public Health Department

Providers must bill for services according to the schedule and requirements established by the contract. Talk with your contract manager before you submit a bill, to make sure that your invoice contains all the required information. More information about invoices, payments and over payment collection can be found in the human services and public health contracting guide. Contracting guide 2019 (PDF)

Billing guidelines for service authorized programs

If you need a service authorization to bill the Human Services and Public Health Department, authorized providers are expected to:

  • Exhaust all third-party reimbursement from other sources of insurance
  • Help clients to complete the steps to get medical assistance or other forms of insurance
  • Ask clients to present their insurance cards at the point of service
  • Run periodic checks with the state medical assistance MN-ITS system to identify changes to medical assistance coverage. When retroactive coverage for a date of service is identified, the provider must bill medical assistance and reimburse the county for any payment already made for the covered dates of service.
  • Submit a change authorization request when clients experience a lapse or change in health insurance coverage
  • Submit an insurance denial with clearly stated denial reasons when a client has private insurance that would typically cover the service. This is not necessary for services such as case management, which are not covered by the private insurance policy.
  • Submit a new authorization form to the county. This is required before an invoice can be submitted; the form prompts the county to send the provider a notice of service authorization.
  • Submit an invoice to the county only after the provider has received a notice of service authorization with a service arrangement number. Additional information on preparing invoices can be found in the provider invoice and payment guide for authorized services (PDF).

Program resources

Medical transportation

To become a county-approved medical transportation provider, providers work through the Medical Transportation Management firm. It manages and makes vendor selection decisions for the transportation services network that includes Hennepin County and seven other metro area counties. Medical Transportation Management

Services for seniors and persons with disabilities

Find services and training to help seniors and people with disabilities live in their communities as independently as possible.

Find resources for seniors and people with disabilities.

Home and community-based waiver services

The state enrolls new providers. County contracts are not needed. Some services require state licenses. View the state licensing requirements.

Find provider enrollment information on the Minnesota Department of Human Services website.

Disability waiver rate system

Rates and units of services have been translated to conform with new state requirements. View state rate information.

Client specific questions should go to individual case managers. For general questions, email county staff at hsph.cms.dwrs.database@hennepin.us.

Adult rehabilitation mental health services

To operate in the county, providers must apply with the county. Before the county application is approved, providers must get certified by the state. Providers can submit their county application while state certification is in process. The county will review the application and send a letter of approval if providers show they're working with the state on certification. County application (DOC)

When the state notifies the county of provider certification, the county will add the provider to its list of approved providers. Providers are added to the county provider directory, used by county social workers to refer clients. Site visits and inspections are conducted by the state. State information and resources

Children's mental health

Find information for providers in the resource section of children’s mental health

Children's mental health fax template for MA denials or lapses (DOCX)

Contracted adult behavioral health case management

Find intake, transfer and closure procedures and documents. For questions, call Rebecca Prust at 612-543-0043. If you need services, call 612-348-4111.

Adult mental health services e-file system

Adult mental health services is transitioning to an e-file system with the mental health district court. Some reports continue to be sent directly to the county attorney’s office, and others are now submitted by e-file. Find out which reports can be e-filed in the commitment reference sheet (XLSX).

Review recent training materials about commitments in the commitment training document (DOC).

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