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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services

Active dates:2019 - October 2020

The commissioners of health and human services shall convene a Blue Ribbon Commission to advise and assist the legislature and governor in transforming the health and human services system to build greater efficiencies, savings, and better outcomes for Minnesotans. By October 1, 2020, the commission shall develop and present to the legislature and the governor an action plan for transforming the health and human services system to improve program efficiencies, produce savings, and promote better outcomes for Minnesotans.

The action plan developed by the commission must include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • strategies to increase administrative efficiencies and improve program simplification within health and human services public programs, including examining the roles and experience of counties and tribes in delivering services and identifying any conflicting and duplicative roles and responsibilities among health and human services agencies, counties, and tribes;
  • approaches to reducing health and human services expenditures, including identifying evidence-based strategies for addressing the significant cost drivers of state spending on health and human services, including the medical assistance program;
  • opportunities for reducing fraud and improving program integrity in health and human services; and
  • statewide strategies for improving access to health and human services with a focus on addressing geographic, racial, and ethnic disparities.

The commission may contract with a private entity or consultant as necessary to complete its duties under this section, and shall be exempt from state procurement process requirements under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 16C.

In developing the action plan, the commission shall take into consideration the impact of its recommendations on: the existing capacity of state agencies, including staffing needs, technology resources, and existing agency responsibilities; and the capacity of county and tribal partners.

The commission shall not include in the action plan recommendations that may result in loss of benefits for the individuals eligible for state health and human services public programs or exacerbate health disparities and inequities in access to health care and human services.


An article on the Blue Ribbon Commission in the September 1, 2020 issue of Access Press reported: 

"Twenty-two strategies have emerged from the work of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services. The commission is to complete its work and finalize the [draft] report in October. The commission was created by the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz in 2019 to develop an action plan 'to advise and assist the legislature and governor in transforming the health and human services system to build greater efficiencies, savings, and better outcomes for Minnesotans.' Minnesotans with disabilities have been watching the commission’s work carefully as they are impacted by many of the recommendations.

"Five issues called out by state lawmakers drove the work of the commission: health and human services expenditures (cost savings), health equity, administrative efficiencies and simplification, waste (including fraud and program integrity), and system transformation. Although much focus has been on the commission’s need to find $100 million in cost savings for the next biennium, its members also reviewed strategies focused on administrative simplification, reducing waste, and addressing health equity."

The Blue Ribbon Commission expires October 2, 2020, or the day after submitting the action plan, whichever is earlier.


The Blue Ribbon Commission consists of 17 members as follows:

  • two members of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house;
  • two members of the senate appointed by the senate majority leader;
  • the commissioner of human services or designee;
  • the commissioner of health or designee;
  • four members appointed by the governor who have demonstrated expertise and leadership in health care, long-term care, or social service organization, health and human services technology, or other collaborative health and human services system improvement activities with a history of providing guidance to state and local governments;
  • two members appointed by the governor who have demonstrated leadership in employer and group purchaser activities in which the group purchaser is not a health plan company; one of the members appointed must be from a labor organization; and
  • five members appointed by the governor who have demonstrated public or private leadership, cultural responsiveness, and innovation in the area of health and human services.

The governor is exempt from the requirements of the open appointments process for purposes of appointing commission members. 

In September 2019, the following commission members were announced:

  • DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead (co-chair)
  • Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm (co-chair)
  • Rep. Tina Liebling
  • Rep. Joe Schomacker
  • Sen. Rich Draheim
  • Sen. Matt Klein
  • Gayle Kvenvold, CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota
  • Sue Schettle, CEO of ARRM
  • Sida Ly-Xiong, national program manager for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Jennifer DuPuis, associate director of health and human service for the Fond du Lac Nation
  • Debra Krause, vice president of Minnesota Health Action Group
  • Lisa Weed, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota
  • Jennifer DeCubellis, deputy county administrator — health and human services for Hennepin County
  • Sheila Kiscaden, Olmsted County commissioner
  • Nona Ferguson, senior vice president for economic assistance and aging services at the Wilder Foundation
  • Shauna Reitmeier, CEO of Northwestern Mental Health Center
  • Julia Freeman, senior organizer of Voices for Racial Justice

Entries for this agency in the Annual Compilation and Statistical Report of Multi-Member Agencies Report: 2020, 2019.

Note: This report provides membership details as well as meeting information and a summary of the group's activities.

Agency heads:

The commissioners of health and human services shall serve as co-chairs of the commission. The commissioner of human services shall convene the first meeting.

Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
MMA submits comments to Blue Ribbon Commission. Minnesota Medicine, September/October 2020.
Conclusion draws near for blue ribbon commission's work. Access Press, 9/1/2020.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 2019-2020.
Record last updated: 10/27/2020

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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