HEALTHSTAR HOME HEALTH, INC. v. JESSON
Healthstar Home Health, Inc., et al., Appellants,
Lucinda Jesson, in her official capacity as Commissioner of Human Services, Respondent.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
Filed December 17, 2012.
David B. Olsen, Henson & Efron, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for appellants.
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Collins, Judge.*
Appellants—personal care attendants, agencies who employ personal care attendants, individuals who receive services from personal care attendants, and the mother of an individual who receives personal care attendant services—challenge the district court's grant of summary judgment to respondent commissioner of human services dismissing appellants' claim that the 2011 amendment to Minn. Stat. § 256B.0659, subd. 11(c), reducing the pay of personal care attendants who are related to recipients to 80% of the pay of nonrelative personal care attendants, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Minnesota Constitution. Because we conclude that the amendment violates our state constitution, we reverse summary judgment granted to respondent and remand to the district court for entry of summary judgment against respondent and determination of appellants' claim for attorney fees.FACTS
Under Minnesota's medical-assistance program, some individuals qualify to receive the paid services of a personal care attendant (PCA) to assist in activities of daily living, health-related procedures and tasks, observation and redirection of behaviors, and instrumental activities of daily living. Minn. Stat. § 256B.0659, subd. 2 (2012). Persons who have a legal support obligation for such an individual are disqualified from being PCAs. Id., subd. 11(c) (2012) (disqualifying parents, stepparents, and legal guardians of minors; spouses; paid legal guardians of adults; family foster-care providers (with some exceptions), and staff of a residential setting).
It is the policy of the medical-assistance program that recipients of medical assistance have free choice of a vendor. Minn. Stat. § 256B.01 (2012). And the personal-care-assistance program specifically provides for the use of a fiscal intermediary to assist the recipient of services to exercise free choice of a PCA. See Minn. Stat. § 256B.0659, subds. 18-20 (2012).
In 2011, the legislature amended Minn. Stat. § 256B.0659, subd. 11(c), to provide that, "[w]hen the [PCA] is a relative of the recipient, the commissioner shall pay 80 percent of the provider rate." 2011 Minn. Laws 1st Spec. Sess. ch. 9, art. 7, § 10, at 1300 (2011 amendment). For the purpose of this provision, "relative" is defined as a parent or adoptive parent of an adult child, a sibling over age 16, an adult child, a grandparent, or a grandchild of the recipient. Id. at 1301. The amendment became effective on October 1, 2011.