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MnCHOICES Initiative launches in Crow Wing County

Crow Wing County is one of 15 counties and two tribes that will launch the MnCHOICES Initiative this month. MnCHOICES is a single, comprehensive assessment and support planning web-based application for long-term services and supports in Minnesota.

To better assess the needs of people who use long-term services and supports, the 2009 Legislature authorized the Department of Human Services to develop an integrated process.

The MnCHOICES assessment takes the place of the following tools that are currently used: Developmental Disability Screening, Long-Term Care Consultation, Personal Care Assistance Assessment and, in the future, it will also replace the Private Duty Nursing Assessment.

In 2012, a total of 1,654 assessments were completed in Crow Wing County. It is projected that more than 1,700 assessments will be completed this year.

While MnCHOICES is a new way to assess for long-term services and supports and develop a plan, there are a number of things that will stay the same. The rules to access all current long-term services and support programs and services will stay the same. The programs and service eligibility also is not changing.

Those currently receiving long-term services and supports paid with public funds will not have a MnCHOICES assessment for another year. In the beginning, only new assessments for people who currently are not on publicly funded long-term services and supports will use MnCHOICES. Eventually, all assessments and reassessments will use MnCHOICES.

MnCHOICES will use a person-centered planning approach, said Tami Lueck, adult services supervisor in community services. "The assessment will provide each individual with program and service options which best suit their needs."

A certified assessor (much like a case manager or care coordinator) will complete the MnCHOICES assessment with the applicant in their home. This will give the applicant an opportunity to share preferences, strengths and needs. From the information, the assessor will be able to determine what services will be the most beneficial in multiple program areas.

For more information on MnCHOICES, visit