Minnesota businesses currently registered as a housing with services establishment under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 144D must apply for an assisted living facility license no later than June 1, 2021 or case operations. In 2019, Minnesota enacted legislation which requires housing with services establishments that intend to provide assisted living services on or after August 1, 2021 to submit an application to be licensed as an assisted living facility pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 144G. An existing housing with services establishment that does not intend to convert its registration to an assisted living facility license must provide written notice of its closure to its residents at least 60 days before expiration of its registration or May 31, 2021, whichever is later. (Housing with services establishments were sometimes referred to as “group homes,” but that is not a legally recognized term under Minnesota law.) Businesses do not have to change their name to include the words “assisted living” but businesses that are not licensed under Chapter 144G should not use this statutorily defined term. The new legislation aims to combine regulation of services with regulation of the physical home or establishment, which had been regulated separately.
An assisted living facility in Minnesota must employ an Assisted Living Director licensed by the Minnesota Board of Executives for Long Term Services and Supports (BELTSS). Certain licensed professionals like nurses were able to waive in to licensure through a legacy program, but new applicants after June 30, 2021 must now undergo training and pass an examination. The owner or owners of an assisted living facility need not be involved in providing care but must pass a background check.
Other changes to the requirements for assisted living facility licensing passed in 2019 include requirements for each building to be licensed unless they are part of a recognized “campus” and heightened requirements for fire safety, among other regulations. There is also a new licensed category for “assisted living facility with dementia care.” An assisted living facility with dementia care must provide residents with dementia-trained staff who have been instructed in the person-centered care approach. All direct care staff assigned to care for residents with dementia must be specially trained to work with residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The persons providing or overseeing staff training are required per statute to have experience and knowledge in the care of individuals with dementia.
New applicants for licensure must apply for a provisional license that lasts one year. During the first year, the Minnesota Department of Health will conduct a survey of the facility and management staff. Licenses must be renewed annually.
Minnesota attorney V. John Ella has worked with assisted living facilities. Trepanier MacGillis Battina is a Minnesota business law firm.