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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 256

Section 256.045

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256.045 ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL REVIEW OF HUMAN SERVICE
MATTERS.
    Subdivision 1. Powers of the state agency. The commissioner of human services may
appoint one or more state human services referees to conduct hearings and recommend orders in
accordance with subdivisions 3, 3a, 3b, 4a, and 5. Human services referees designated pursuant
to this section may administer oaths and shall be under the control and supervision of the
commissioner of human services and shall not be a part of the Office of Administrative Hearings
established pursuant to sections 14.48 to 14.56.
    Subd. 2.[Repealed, 1987 c 148 s 9]
    Subd. 3. State agency hearings. (a) State agency hearings are available for the following:
(1) any person applying for, receiving or having received public assistance, medical care, or a
program of social services granted by the state agency or a county agency or the federal Food
Stamp Act whose application for assistance is denied, not acted upon with reasonable promptness,
or whose assistance is suspended, reduced, terminated, or claimed to have been incorrectly paid;
(2) any patient or relative aggrieved by an order of the commissioner under section 252.27; (3) a
party aggrieved by a ruling of a prepaid health plan; (4) except as provided under chapter 245C,
any individual or facility determined by a lead agency to have maltreated a vulnerable adult under
section 626.557 after they have exercised their right to administrative reconsideration under
section 626.557; (5) any person whose claim for foster care payment according to a placement
of the child resulting from a child protection assessment under section 626.556 is denied or not
acted upon with reasonable promptness, regardless of funding source; (6) any person to whom a
right of appeal according to this section is given by other provision of law; (7) an applicant
aggrieved by an adverse decision to an application for a hardship waiver under section 256B.15;
(8) an applicant aggrieved by an adverse decision to an application or redetermination for a
Medicare Part D prescription drug subsidy under section 256B.04, subdivision 4a; (9) except as
provided under chapter 245A, an individual or facility determined to have maltreated a minor
under section 626.556, after the individual or facility has exercised the right to administrative
reconsideration under section 626.556; or (10) except as provided under chapter 245C, an
individual disqualified under sections 245C.14 and 245C.15, on the basis of serious or recurring
maltreatment; a preponderance of the evidence that the individual has committed an act or acts
that meet the definition of any of the crimes listed in section 245C.15, subdivisions 1 to 4; or for
failing to make reports required under section 626.556, subdivision 3, or 626.557, subdivision 3.
Hearings regarding a maltreatment determination under clause (4) or (9) and a disqualification
under this clause in which the basis for a disqualification is serious or recurring maltreatment,
which has not been set aside under sections 245C.22 and 245C.23, shall be consolidated into a
single fair hearing. In such cases, the scope of review by the human services referee shall include
both the maltreatment determination and the disqualification. The failure to exercise the right
to an administrative reconsideration shall not be a bar to a hearing under this section if federal
law provides an individual the right to a hearing to dispute a finding of maltreatment. Individuals
and organizations specified in this section may contest the specified action, decision, or final
disposition before the state agency by submitting a written request for a hearing to the state
agency within 30 days after receiving written notice of the action, decision, or final disposition, or
within 90 days of such written notice if the applicant, recipient, patient, or relative shows good
cause why the request was not submitted within the 30-day time limit.
The hearing for an individual or facility under clause (4), (9), or (10) is the only
administrative appeal to the final agency determination specifically, including a challenge to the
accuracy and completeness of data under section 13.04. Hearings requested under clause (4)
apply only to incidents of maltreatment that occur on or after October 1, 1995. Hearings requested
by nursing assistants in nursing homes alleged to have maltreated a resident prior to October 1,
1995, shall be held as a contested case proceeding under the provisions of chapter 14. Hearings
requested under clause (9) apply only to incidents of maltreatment that occur on or after July 1,
1997. A hearing for an individual or facility under clause (9) is only available when there is no
juvenile court or adult criminal action pending. If such action is filed in either court while an
administrative review is pending, the administrative review must be suspended until the judicial
actions are completed. If the juvenile court action or criminal charge is dismissed or the criminal
action overturned, the matter may be considered in an administrative hearing.
For purposes of this section, bargaining unit grievance procedures are not an administrative
appeal.
The scope of hearings involving claims to foster care payments under clause (5) shall be
limited to the issue of whether the county is legally responsible for a child's placement under court
order or voluntary placement agreement and, if so, the correct amount of foster care payment to
be made on the child's behalf and shall not include review of the propriety of the county's child
protection determination or child placement decision.
(b) A vendor of medical care as defined in section 256B.02, subdivision 7, or a vendor under
contract with a county agency to provide social services is not a party and may not request a
hearing under this section, except if assisting a recipient as provided in subdivision 4.
(c) An applicant or recipient is not entitled to receive social services beyond the services
prescribed under chapter 256M or other social services the person is eligible for under state law.
(d) The commissioner may summarily affirm the county or state agency's proposed action
without a hearing when the sole issue is an automatic change due to a change in state or federal law.
    Subd. 3a. Prepaid health plan appeals. (a) All prepaid health plans under contract to the
commissioner under chapter 256B or 256D must provide for a complaint system according to
section 62D.11. When a prepaid health plan denies, reduces, or terminates a health service or
denies a request to authorize a previously authorized health service, the prepaid health plan must
notify the recipient of the right to file a complaint or an appeal. The notice must include the name
and telephone number of the ombudsman and notice of the recipient's right to request a hearing
under paragraph (b). Recipients may request the assistance of the ombudsman in the complaint
system process. The prepaid health plan must issue a written resolution of the complaint to the
recipient within 30 days after the complaint is filed with the prepaid health plan. A recipient is
not required to exhaust the complaint system procedures in order to request a hearing under
paragraph (b).
(b) Recipients enrolled in a prepaid health plan under chapter 256B or 256D may contest a
prepaid health plan's denial, reduction, or termination of health services, a prepaid health plan's
denial of a request to authorize a previously authorized health service, or the prepaid health
plan's written resolution of a complaint by submitting a written request for a hearing according
to subdivision 3. A state human services referee shall conduct a hearing on the matter and shall
recommend an order to the commissioner of human services. The commissioner need not grant a
hearing if the sole issue raised by a recipient is the commissioner's authority to require mandatory
enrollment in a prepaid health plan in a county where prepaid health plans are under contract with
the commissioner. The state human services referee may order a second medical opinion from
the prepaid health plan or may order a second medical opinion from a nonprepaid health plan
provider at the expense of the prepaid health plan. Recipients may request the assistance of the
ombudsman in the appeal process.
(c) In the written request for a hearing to appeal from a prepaid health plan's denial,
reduction, or termination of a health service, a prepaid health plan's denial of a request to authorize
a previously authorized service, or the prepaid health plan's written resolution to a complaint, a
recipient may request an expedited hearing. If an expedited appeal is warranted, the state human
services referee shall hear the appeal and render a decision within a time commensurate with the
level of urgency involved, based on the individual circumstances of the case.
    Subd. 3b. Standard of evidence for maltreatment and disqualification hearings. (a) The
state human services referee shall determine that maltreatment has occurred if a preponderance of
evidence exists to support the final disposition under sections 626.556 and 626.557. For purposes
of hearings regarding disqualification, the state human services referee shall affirm the proposed
disqualification in an appeal under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), clause (9), if a preponderance of
the evidence shows the individual has:
(1) committed maltreatment under section 626.556 or 626.557, which is serious or recurring;
(2) committed an act or acts meeting the definition of any of the crimes listed in section
245C.15, subdivisions 1 to 4; or
(3) failed to make required reports under section 626.556 or 626.557, for incidents in which
the final disposition under section 626.556 or 626.557 was substantiated maltreatment that was
serious or recurring.
(b) If the disqualification is affirmed, the state human services referee shall determine
whether the individual poses a risk of harm in accordance with the requirements of section
245C.16, and whether the disqualification should be set aside or not set aside. In determining
whether the disqualification should be set aside, the human services referee shall consider all of the
characteristics that cause the individual to be disqualified, including those characteristics that were
not subject to review under paragraph (a), in order to determine whether the individual poses a risk
of harm. A decision to set aside a disqualification that is the subject of the hearing constitutes a
determination that the individual does not pose a risk of harm and that the individual may provide
direct contact services in the individual program specified in the set aside. If a determination that
the information relied upon to disqualify an individual was correct and is conclusive under section
245C.29, and the individual is subsequently disqualified under section 245C.14, the individual has
a right to again request reconsideration on the risk of harm under section 245C.21. Subsequent
determinations regarding risk of harm are not subject to another hearing under this section.
(c) The state human services referee shall recommend an order to the commissioner of health,
education, or human services, as applicable, who shall issue a final order. The commissioner
shall affirm, reverse, or modify the final disposition. Any order of the commissioner issued in
accordance with this subdivision is conclusive upon the parties unless appeal is taken in the
manner provided in subdivision 7. In any licensing appeal under chapters 245A and 245C and
sections 144.50 to 144.58 and 144A.02 to 144A.46, the commissioner's determination as to
maltreatment is conclusive, as provided under section 245C.29.
    Subd. 3c.[Repealed, 2005 c 98 art 2 s 18]
    Subd. 4. Conduct of hearings. (a) All hearings held pursuant to subdivision 3, 3a, 3b, or
4a shall be conducted according to the provisions of the federal Social Security Act and the
regulations implemented in accordance with that act to enable this state to qualify for federal
grants-in-aid, and according to the rules and written policies of the commissioner of human
services. County agencies shall install equipment necessary to conduct telephone hearings. A
state human services referee may schedule a telephone conference hearing when the distance or
time required to travel to the county agency offices will cause a delay in the issuance of an order,
or to promote efficiency, or at the mutual request of the parties. Hearings may be conducted
by telephone conferences unless the applicant, recipient, former recipient, person, or facility
contesting maltreatment objects. The hearing shall not be held earlier than five days after filing
of the required notice with the county or state agency. The state human services referee shall
notify all interested persons of the time, date, and location of the hearing at least five days
before the date of the hearing. Interested persons may be represented by legal counsel or other
representative of their choice, including a provider of therapy services, at the hearing and may
appear personally, testify and offer evidence, and examine and cross-examine witnesses. The
applicant, recipient, former recipient, person, or facility contesting maltreatment shall have the
opportunity to examine the contents of the case file and all documents and records to be used by
the county or state agency at the hearing at a reasonable time before the date of the hearing and
during the hearing. In hearings under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), clauses (4), (8), and (9), either
party may subpoena the private data relating to the investigation prepared by the agency under
section 626.556 or 626.557 that is not otherwise accessible under section 13.04, provided the
identity of the reporter may not be disclosed.
(b) The private data obtained by subpoena in a hearing under subdivision 3, paragraph (a),
clause (4), (8), or (9), must be subject to a protective order which prohibits its disclosure for
any other purpose outside the hearing provided for in this section without prior order of the
district court. Disclosure without court order is punishable by a sentence of not more than 90 days
imprisonment or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both. These restrictions on the use of private
data do not prohibit access to the data under section 13.03, subdivision 6. Except for appeals
under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), clauses (4), (5), (8), and (9), upon request, the county agency
shall provide reimbursement for transportation, child care, photocopying, medical assessment,
witness fee, and other necessary and reasonable costs incurred by the applicant, recipient, or
former recipient in connection with the appeal. All evidence, except that privileged by law,
commonly accepted by reasonable people in the conduct of their affairs as having probative
value with respect to the issues shall be submitted at the hearing and such hearing shall not be
"a contested case" within the meaning of section 14.02, subdivision 3. The agency must present
its evidence prior to or at the hearing, and may not submit evidence after the hearing except by
agreement of the parties at the hearing, provided the petitioner has the opportunity to respond.
(c) In hearings under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), clauses (4), (8), and (9), involving
determinations of maltreatment or disqualification made by more than one county agency,
by a county agency and a state agency, or by more than one state agency, the hearings may
be consolidated into a single fair hearing upon the consent of all parties and the state human
services referee.
    Subd. 4a. Case management appeals. Any recipient of case management services pursuant
to section 256B.092, who contests the county agency's action or failure to act in the provision of
those services, other than a failure to act with reasonable promptness or a suspension, reduction,
denial, or termination of services, must submit a written request for a conciliation conference to
the county agency. The county agency shall inform the commissioner of the receipt of a request
when it is submitted and shall schedule a conciliation conference. The county agency shall notify
the recipient, the commissioner, and all interested persons of the time, date, and location of the
conciliation conference. The commissioner may assist the county by providing mediation services
or by identifying other resources that may assist in the mediation between the parties. Within 30
days, the county agency shall conduct the conciliation conference and inform the recipient in
writing of the action the county agency is going to take and when that action will be taken and
notify the recipient of the right to a hearing under this subdivision. The conciliation conference
shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the commissioner's instructions. If the county fails
to conduct the conciliation conference and issue its report within 30 days, or, at any time up to
90 days after the conciliation conference is held, a recipient may submit to the commissioner a
written request for a hearing before a state human services referee to determine whether case
management services have been provided in accordance with applicable laws and rules or whether
the county agency has assured that the services identified in the recipient's individual service plan
have been delivered in accordance with the laws and rules governing the provision of those
services. The state human services referee shall recommend an order to the commissioner, who
shall, in accordance with the procedure in subdivision 5, issue a final order within 60 days of the
receipt of the request for a hearing, unless the commissioner refuses to accept the recommended
order, in which event a final order shall issue within 90 days of the receipt of that request. The
order may direct the county agency to take those actions necessary to comply with applicable
laws or rules. The commissioner may issue a temporary order prohibiting the demission of a
recipient of case management services from a residential or day habilitation program licensed
under chapter 245A, while a county agency review process or an appeal brought by a recipient
under this subdivision is pending, or for the period of time necessary for the county agency to
implement the commissioner's order. The commissioner shall not issue a final order staying the
demission of a recipient of case management services from a residential or day habilitation
program licensed under chapter 245A.
    Subd. 5. Orders of the commissioner of human services. A state human services referee
shall conduct a hearing on the appeal and shall recommend an order to the commissioner of
human services. The recommended order must be based on all relevant evidence and must not
be limited to a review of the propriety of the state or county agency's action. A referee may
take official notice of adjudicative facts. The commissioner of human services may accept the
recommended order of a state human services referee and issue the order to the county agency
and the applicant, recipient, former recipient, or prepaid health plan. The commissioner on
refusing to accept the recommended order of the state human services referee, shall notify the
petitioner, the agency, or prepaid health plan of that fact and shall state reasons therefor and
shall allow each party ten days' time to submit additional written argument on the matter. After
the expiration of the ten-day period, the commissioner shall issue an order on the matter to the
petitioner, the agency, or prepaid health plan.
A party aggrieved by an order of the commissioner may appeal under subdivision 7, or
request reconsideration by the commissioner within 30 days after the date the commissioner
issues the order. The commissioner may reconsider an order upon request of any party or on the
commissioner's own motion. A request for reconsideration does not stay implementation of the
commissioner's order. Upon reconsideration, the commissioner may issue an amended order or an
order affirming the original order.
Any order of the commissioner issued under this subdivision shall be conclusive upon
the parties unless appeal is taken in the manner provided by subdivision 7. Any order of the
commissioner is binding on the parties and must be implemented by the state agency, a county
agency, or a prepaid health plan according to subdivision 3a, until the order is reversed by the
district court, or unless the commissioner or a district court orders monthly assistance or aid or
services paid or provided under subdivision 10.
A vendor of medical care as defined in section 256B.02, subdivision 7, or a vendor under
contract with a county agency to provide social services is not a party and may not request a
hearing or seek judicial review of an order issued under this section, unless assisting a recipient as
provided in subdivision 4. A prepaid health plan is a party to an appeal under subdivision 3a, but
cannot seek judicial review of an order issued under this section.
    Subd. 6. Additional powers of commissioner; subpoenas. (a) The commissioner of human
services, or the commissioner of health for matters within the commissioner's jurisdiction under
subdivision 3b, may initiate a review of any action or decision of a county agency and direct that
the matter be presented to a state human services referee for a hearing held under subdivision 3,
3a, 3b, or 4a. In all matters dealing with human services committed by law to the discretion of the
county agency, the commissioner's judgment may be substituted for that of the county agency.
The commissioner may order an independent examination when appropriate.
(b) Any party to a hearing held pursuant to subdivision 3, 3a, 3b, or 4a may request that
the commissioner issue a subpoena to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production
of records at the hearing. A local agency may request that the commissioner issue a subpoena
to compel the release of information from third parties prior to a request for a hearing under
section 256.046 upon a showing of relevance to such a proceeding. The issuance, service,
and enforcement of subpoenas under this subdivision is governed by section 357.22 and the
Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.
(c) The commissioner may issue a temporary order staying a proposed demission by a
residential facility licensed under chapter 245A while an appeal by a recipient under subdivision
3 is pending or for the period of time necessary for the county agency to implement the
commissioner's order.
    Subd. 7. Judicial review. Except for a prepaid health plan, any party who is aggrieved
by an order of the commissioner of human services, or the commissioner of health in appeals
within the commissioner's jurisdiction under subdivision 3b, may appeal the order to the district
court of the county responsible for furnishing assistance, or, in appeals under subdivision 3b, the
county where the maltreatment occurred, by serving a written copy of a notice of appeal upon the
commissioner and any adverse party of record within 30 days after the date the commissioner
issued the order, the amended order, or order affirming the original order, and by filing the original
notice and proof of service with the court administrator of the district court. Service may be made
personally or by mail; service by mail is complete upon mailing; no filing fee shall be required by
the court administrator in appeals taken pursuant to this subdivision, with the exception of appeals
taken under subdivision 3b. The commissioner may elect to become a party to the proceedings
in the district court. Except for appeals under subdivision 3b, any party may demand that the
commissioner furnish all parties to the proceedings with a copy of the decision, and a transcript
of any testimony, evidence, or other supporting papers from the hearing held before the human
services referee, by serving a written demand upon the commissioner within 30 days after service
of the notice of appeal. Any party aggrieved by the failure of an adverse party to obey an order
issued by the commissioner under subdivision 5 may compel performance according to the order
in the manner prescribed in sections 586.01 to 586.12.
    Subd. 8. Hearing. Any party may obtain a hearing at a special term of the district court by
serving a written notice of the time and place of the hearing at least ten days prior to the date
of the hearing. The court may consider the matter in or out of chambers, and shall take no new
or additional evidence unless it determines that such evidence is necessary for a more equitable
disposition of the appeal.
    Subd. 9. Appeal. Any party aggrieved by the order of the district court may appeal the order
as in other civil cases. Except for appeals under subdivision 3b, no costs or disbursements shall be
taxed against any party nor shall any filing fee or bond be required of any party.
    Subd. 10. Payments pending appeal. If the commissioner of human services or district
court orders monthly assistance or aid or services paid or provided in any proceeding under this
section, it shall be paid or provided pending appeal to the commissioner of human services,
district court, court of appeals, or supreme court. The human services referee may order the local
human services agency to reduce or terminate medical assistance or general assistance medical
care to a recipient before a final order is issued under this section if: (1) the human services referee
determines at the hearing that the sole issue on appeal is one of a change in state or federal law;
and (2) the commissioner or the local agency notifies the recipient before the action. The state or
county agency has a claim for food stamps, food support, cash payments, medical assistance,
general assistance medical care, and MinnesotaCare program payments made to or on behalf of
a recipient or former recipient while an appeal is pending if the recipient or former recipient is
determined ineligible for the food stamps, food support, cash payments, medical assistance,
general assistance medical care, or MinnesotaCare as a result of the appeal, except for medical
assistance and general assistance medical care made on behalf of a recipient pursuant to a court
order. In enforcing a claim on MinnesotaCare program payments, the state or county agency shall
reduce the claim amount by the value of any premium payments made by a recipient or former
recipient during the period for which the recipient or former recipient has been determined to
be ineligible. Provision of a health care service by the state agency under medical assistance,
general assistance medical care, or MinnesotaCare pending appeal shall not render moot the state
agency's position in a court of law.
History: 1976 c 131 s 1; 1978 c 560 s 7; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1983 c 247 s 108,109; 1983 c
312 art 5 s 4; 1984 c 534 s 14-18; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1984 c 654 art 5 s 58; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c
3 art 1 s 82; 1987 c 148 s 1-8; 1987 c 403 art 2 s 61; 1989 c 282 art 5 s 12-20; 1990 c 568 art 4 s
84; 1991 c 94 s 11; 1991 c 292 art 4 s 16; art 6 s 58 subd 2; 1993 c 247 art 4 s 1; 1993 c 339 s
9; 1994 c 625 art 8 s 72; 1995 c 207 art 2 s 27-29; art 11 s 5; 1995 c 229 art 3 s 6-14; 1996 c
408 art 10 s 6; 1996 c 416 s 1; 1996 c 451 art 5 s 9; 1997 c 85 art 5 s 5; 1997 c 203 art 4 s 11;
art 5 s 6-10; art 9 s 5; 1997 c 225 art 2 s 55; 1999 c 205 art 1 s 49-51; 2001 c 178 art 2 s 6;
1Sp2001 c 9 art 14 s 26-28; 2002 c 375 art 1 s 19,20; 2002 c 379 art 1 s 113; 2003 c 15 art 1 s
33; 2003 c 130 s 12; 1Sp2003 c 14 art 1 s 106; art 11 s 11; 2004 c 228 art 1 s 72; 2004 c 288 art 1
s 76,77; 2005 c 98 art 1 s 9,10; art 3 s 18; 1Sp2005 c 4 art 8 s 8,9