Health Regulation Division
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division is focused during this difficult time to help protect Minnesotans from exposure to COVID-19 and to offer support and guidance to health care providers.
On August 12, 2020, the Governor rescinded Emergency Executive Order 20-32 (PDF) as the ability to delay, waive, or modify a number of health-related statutory and regulatory requirements for health care facilities was codified in Minnesota Laws 2020, Chapter 74, article 1, section 13. Due to the authority provided in Section 13, all waivers created under Emergency Executive Order 20-32 will remain in effect under Section 13, unless otherwise communicated by MDH.
New and renewing licensees or registrants, please see updated guidance regarding our operations: Memo: Licensing and registration operations restart (PDF). It includes guidance that a license or registration that expired on or after April 8, 2020, while in good standing, is considered in effect until notified otherwise.
Below is a list of current waivers that MDH Health Regulation Division continues to utilize to manage operations during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Waiving hospital licensing, inspection, and fee requirements, and construction moratoriums
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) temporarily waived the statutes noted below that affect hospital licensing, inspection, and fees as well as construction moratoriums. These waivers address the need for hospitals to expand their bed capacity at current sites and alternative care sites to respond to the expected surge in demand from COVID-19. They also allow for the expansion of hospital beds at current sites and alternate healthcare facility sites to respond to the anticipated surge without increasing the hospital licensing fees. In addition, waiving the moratorium on hospital construction; the public interest review process for new construction; and the licensing and inspection of new hospitals will allow health care systems to quickly set up alternative care facilities to respond to the need for additional bed capacity. These waivers will be in place for the period of the declared peace-time emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.
For more details about this waiver, please see Hospital Capacity Waiver (PDF).
Waiving nursing home bed layaway requirements
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) waived statutes that affect nursing home facilities’ ability to add licensed beds quickly without incurring a financial burden during this pandemic. Specifically, these waivers allow nursing home facilities immediate access to beds, and to use nursing home beds to relocate patients from hospitals or other settings to nursing homes. MDH still requires nursing homes to notify MDH about the bed changes and to ensure adequate and CDC-compliant space to care for COVID-19 residents. This waiver is for the period of the peacetime emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.
For more details about this waiver, please see Nursing Home Capacity Waiver (PDF).
Waiving requirements for how deceased persons are held pending disposition
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) waived statutes and rules that affect how deceased persons are held pending disposition. These changes will allow facilities to hold a deceased person longer than the statutory limit (six days for funeral establishments and 24 hours for alkaline hydrolysis facilities and crematories), with proper refrigeration. These changes will also provide facilities with more options for storing deceased persons, such as mobile refrigeration units or coolers located either on or off-site, to increase capacity to store human remains. Waiving these requirements supports the public’s desire to put off funerals during this time, and addresses the resulting impact this could have on providers’ storage capacity. These waivers are for the period of the peacetime emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.
For more details about this waiver, please see Mortuary Science Storage Standards Waiver (PDF).
Waiving registration requirements and maximum charge amounts for Supplemental Nursing Services Agency
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) waived statutes that affect state registration requirements and maximum charge amounts for supplemental nursing services agencies (SNSAs). This allows any in-state licensed health facility regulated by MDH, including hospitals among others, to provide temporary staff in other health facilities that serve residents with COVID-19 without having to be registered as an SNSA. In addition, waiving maximum hourly charges for SNSA services in nursing homes allows the State Emergency Operations Center, in consultation with the Department of Human Services Nursing Home Rates and Policy Division, to set new maximum charge amounts for SNSAs when they are providing staff to work in nursing homes that serve residents with COVID-19. These changes provide flexibility for health facilities assisting other health facilities in finding staff. These waivers will be in place for the duration of the peace-time emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.
For more details about this waiver, please see SNSA Waiver (PDF).
Waiving resident notification of transfer and discharge at nursing homes
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) temporarily waived the statute noted below that affects Minnesota’s nursing home bill of rights as it relates to resident notification of transfer and discharge. Waiving the resident notification timeframes related to transfer and discharge in the Health Care Bill of Rights allows facilities to become specialized sites in response to COVID-19 care needs. It gives nursing homes greater flexibility in the transfer and discharge of residents in order to assess and treat COVID-19 patients and meet healthcare requirements. This waiver will be in place for the period of the declared peace-time emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.
Affected Minnesota Patient Bill of Rights Statute 144.651, Subd. 29.
Modifying nursing home non-layaway bed requirements
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) modified statutes that affect nursing homes without a layaway bed option, allowing them to quickly add licensed beds without incurring a financial burden. The modification lifts the moratorium on nursing home beds and waives the per-bed licensing fee during the COVID-19 emergency. It allows nursing homes to quickly expand their numbers of beds in order to relocate patients from hospitals or other settings to nursing homes that do not have a layaway bed option. MDH still requires nursing homes to notify MDH about the bed changes and to ensure adequate and CDC-compliant space to care for COVID-19 residents. A condition of this waiver approval would be that newly added nursing home beds be certified for Medicare only and this waiver will not add Medicaid certified beds, assuring that the Medicare benefit is accessed for those dually eligible under both Medicare and Medicaid. COVID-19-affected Medicaid eligible residents without a Medicare benefit can still access the Medicaid service regardless of the bed location on the campus if the nursing facility does not exceed their current Medicaid certified capacity. This waiver is for the period of the peacetime emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.
Waiving licensing and practice standards for morticians, interns, and funeral providers
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has waived and modified specific regulatory requirements for licensing and practice standards for morticians, interns, and funeral providers. These changes will help providers manage the surge in projected deaths due to COVID-19. Specifically, they allow licensed providers to have their trained, unlicensed employees, or alternatively, hire and have emergency responders remove and transport deceased persons to the funeral homes. They also may hire morticians in good standing from other states and those with emeritus status, provided they have a temporary license issued by MDH. Finally, providers will have extended time to process their renewal applications and fees, while waiving late fees. The waiver also allows interns and morticians who apply by reciprocity to start working before they pass the state exam and the national exam, and to submit case reports on duties related to cremation, alkaline hydrolysis, or other COVID-19 related duties. These waivers are for the period of the peacetime emergency and up to 60 days past the end of the emergency.
Modifying and waiving requirements for the Maltreatment of Minors Act (MOMA) and the Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA)
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has temporarily waived or modified certain statutes that affect investigations, background studies, and enforcement activities for the Maltreatment of Minors Act (MOMA) and the Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA). For more information, see the Office of Health Facility Complaints.
Modifying and delaying licensing and registration requirements for regulated health occupations
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) has temporarily modified and delayed certain requirements for licensing, certification, and registration of occupations regulated by the Health Occupations Program. These health occupations include speech language pathologists, audiologists, hearing instrument dispensers, doulas, body art technicians, and body art establishments. The statutory modifications and delays will allow current licensees in good standing to practice during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency while protecting public safety. MDH will temporarily cease licensing activities for practitioners that are not supporting COVID-19 in health care facilities and critical access hospitals. This will allow existing staff to support MDH in other critical areas during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
Home Care and Assisted Living Program Licensing, Survey, and Enforcement Modifications
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Health Regulation Division (HRD) has temporarily delayed or modified certain requirements for home care licensing, survey, and enforcement activities. The modifications to these standards can be found on the HRD Home Care and Assisted Living Program website.
Health Occupations Program and Mortuary Science Section Modifications
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) is temporarily granting a blanket variance of the continuing education requirements for hearing instrument dispensers, speech language pathologists, audiologists, and body art technicians regulated by the Health Occupations Program, and morticians regulated by the Mortuary Science Section. The modifications to these standards can be found on the Mortuary Science website.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Health Regulation Division (HRD) has temporarily modified specific regulatory requirements for licensing audiologists and certifying hearing instrument dispensers currently regulated under Minnesota Statutes, chapters 148 and 153A, through the authority granted in Laws 2020, chapter 74, article 1, section 13.
The in-person practical exam that is a requirement of licensure or certification, has been suspended because of COVID-19 safety concerns. To reduce hardships for providers, HRD will allow qualified applicants to obtain a conditional license before they pass the practical exam; and allow qualified applicants for hearing instrument dispensing to obtain a conditional certification before they pass the practical exam.
Please see the individual programs below for additional recommendations and guidance that has been issued to providers to help them care for their residents, patients and clients.
Directories and Contact Information
Inspects labs following federal regulations.
Enforcement of state and federal rules and regulations relating to physical plant for purposes of state licensure and federal certification of health care facilities.
Health Care Facilities Licensing
Access to the required documents, forms, and information regarding state licensure and/or registration for health care facilities and service providers, including home care, long-term care, non-long term care.
Information about health occupation programs, licensing and certification.
Minnesota Case Mix Review Program
Assesses the level of care required for each resident, helping to determine the amount a facility certified for medical assistance is paid to provide care.
Funeral home licensure, crematories, morticians, funeral directors, mortuary science regulations.
Office of Health Facility Complaints
Investigates complaints and answers questions or concerns related to hospitals, nursing homes, boarding care homes, supervised living facilities, assisted living and home health agencies.