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Deer Crest specializes in dementia and memory loss care. Republican Eagle file photo

Minnesota’s new Assisted Living Licensure law will take effect Aug. 1 and is expected to create higher expectations for providers, and more protections for those living in assisted care. Although most seniors will not see any significant differences in their service, Deer Crest Senior Living in Red Wing is making sure its facility, staff and residents are prepared for any changes.

Kelly Ellis, executive director at Deer Crest Senior Living, said, “We are working with our advocacy group and following the regulations. It is all new to all of us, so we are just trying to learn.”

Gov. Tim Walz signed Assisted Living Licensure into law May 22, 2019, which created two separate licenses for facilities instead of the previous singular one called, Comprehensive Home Care License with housing services.

Now the law includes: Assisted Living Facility License and Assisted Living Facility License with Dementia Care.

Deer Crest specializes in dementia care and Ellis said they have worked with their corporate management to be up to date with the licensing requirements.

The new law also provides more consumer protection for residents, including the option to choose a roommate, more access to food, the right to refuse services, ability to use electronic monitoring devices and freedom from maltreatment.

“The new licensure structure protects the foundation of assisted living in Minnesota, including consumer choice, independence and the ability to age in place while enhancing transparency and regulatory accountability,” Gayle Kvenvold, CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota, said in a news release. “We encourage patience through this generational change, giving caregivers, regulators, families and residents time to adapt to and complete this significant transition.”

Many seniors in assisted living facilities will not see a significant difference in their service. However, a few residents will see changes in August that might force them to find a different service provider.

The Minnesota Department of Health is encouraging residents and families to contact their current care providers to see if their plans will be affected. 

“It is an important time to discuss your care because providers are currently making decisions about the type of services they will be offering beginning August 1,” Jan Malcolm, Minnesota commissioner of health, said in a news release. “We are working with providers to make sure residents get all the information they need in a timely fashion, but it’s a good idea for residents and families to have these discussions with providers and ask questions now so they are prepared to manage any possible changes.”

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