Tag Archives: health

2012 Legislative Session update

An update on legislative bills and movement, so far. The 2012 legislative session is expected to end by mid to late April. To view more information about these bills, visit our 2012 legislative agenda page:


HF 645 and SF 947 – Collaborative grant program to reduce minority populations unemployment and appropriation.

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: Last heard in 2011, this bill did not make any movement in 2012. The bills are not expected to pass in 2012.


HF 1953 – Prohibits bullying and retaliation against bullying in public schools

CAPM’s position: Neutral

Status: CAPM was informed that the language in the bill may have unintentional and undesirable consequences on how bullying is treated in schools. We await the governor’s bullying taskforce’s recommendation as they conduct hearing and discussions on how best to protect all students from harassment and bullying in school.


HF 1907 / SF 1556 - Restores the 20% wage cut for family members providing PCA services.

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: see below…


HF 1888 / SF 1672 – Restores cuts to Emergency Medical Assistance for non-citizens.

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: see below….

The Senate passed the Omnibus Health and Human Services Bill (HF 2294) sponsored by Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) on Thursday afternoon. The legislation includes $22 million in new spending as a result of an announcement by Governor Dayton this week that health plans would repay $73 million to the government due to a cap on Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) profits. The bill partially restores the Emergency Medical Assistance program, temporarily restores pay for personal care attendants (PCAs) who attend to relatives, and provides dialysis and cancer treatments for non-citizens. The House companion bill was passed on March 29. The bills will eventually go to a conference committee to sort out any differences. Sen. Hann said Thursday that the bill won’t be perfect for everyone but it’s his intention to produce a bill with broad support from the Legislature that the Governor will sign into law.

CAPM will keep an eye on things for the HHS bill.

State Government

HF 2555 / SF 2304 –Sunset advisory commission sunset review changes implementation, administrative procedures and fees modification and appropriation

CAPM’s position: Support

Status: Both bills have been active during the 2012 session and we are cautiously optimistic about the passage of the bills.

Constitutional Amendment

Voter ID – Constitutional amendment to require Minnesotans to show a valid photo ID in order to vote.

CAPM’s position: Oppose

Status: The last step to put the question on the Election Day ballot came April 4, when the Minnesota Senate approved legislation passed earlier by the House.

Voters will be asked:

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?”

Expect a voter education campaign from organizations on both sides of the issue this summer and fall.

To learn more, MPR has a voter ID primer at:

The Voter ID amendment proposal joins the marriage amendment proposal this November on the ballot.

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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Legislative


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March 12, 2012 – Burma Health Dialogue recap


On March 12, 2011, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans joined with five other sponsors to host the Burma Health Forum, which aimed to create greater dialogue pertaining to the health needs of refugees from Burma in Minnesota. The forum featured keynote speaker, Dr. Myo Nyunt, who provided political and historical background information on the country of Burma; a first-hand refugee story from Eh Tha Khu, a newly arrived Karen refugee to Minnesota; and several panelists who work in both systems navigation and health integration for refugee community members in the state of Minnesota.

SponsorsThe Language BancThe Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans,Karen Organization of MinnesotaHealthEast Care SystemUCareMN Department of Health

Event Materials

Presentations (all files are in PDF format, will open in new window)

It is the hope of this council and its sponsors that this forum will be the first of many discussions about how to better address the various healthcare needs of refugees from Burma living in Minnesota. It is imperative that healthcare providers work with both local refugee integration organizations as well as the Burma community itself to gain a greater understanding of the unique cultural, linguistic, and personal barriers that prevent these citizens from getting the care they need and deserve.

Call to ActionWithout action, there is no change.

  • Contact your legislators: Individuals, groups, or organizations interested in speaking to legislators to advocate on behalf of the community from Burma may contact the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.
  • Connecting with stakeholders: Want to be more involved in discussing way to improve health outcomes and health care access for refugees from Burma? Please contact the Council at as a way to get in touch with organizations and individuals working on this topic.

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Legislation of interest, an update (Education, welfare reform, veterans bills..)

Education Funding

HF 2480 (Winkler) / SF 2029 (Sieben)
Corporate tax provisions and school shift requirements modifications

Named “Pay Back Our Kids Act,” read more in a Star Tribune article “DFLers call for payback of money borrowed from schools”

Jobs and workforce training

HF 2277 (Mahoney) / SF 1768 (Skoe)
New jobs tax credit established, corporate franchise and sales and use taxes changes made, and money appropriated.

This legislation would provide a one-time $3,000 tax credit to any Minnesota business for each veteran, unemployed worker or recent college graduate hired during the 2012 calendar year, and a $1,500 credit for each new hire through June 2013.

HF 2181 (Brynaert)  / SF1751 (Eaton)
FastTRAC adult career pathway program establishment and appropriation

Welfare Reform

SF 1833 (Benson) / HF 2080 (Daudt)
Minnesota family imvestment program (MFIP) ineligibility, sanctions, time limit, and exit level modifications

The above bills were among a series of welfare reforms proposed in February that met with strong opposition from low-income advocacy groups. Read more in the article: ‘Welfare Reform 2.0’ moves ahead, but met with anger at Legislature


HF 2261 (Dettmer)
Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery burial eligibility expanded to include deceased allied Hmong-American or Lao-American veterans of the American Secret War in Laos.

HF 2260 (Dettmer)
Congress and the President of the United States memorialized to amend federal veterans cemetery law to expand eligibility for burial in state veterans cemeteries developed with federal funding to include allied Hmong-American and Lao-American veterans of America’s Secret War in Laos.

HF 2629 (Anderson, B.)
Resolution; Congress and the President of the United States memorialized to formally recognize the Khmer Freedom Fighters.

Read more about this bill in the article: Resolution would affirm Khmer soldiers

Click the “Read the rest of this entry” link to view previously mentioned legislation of interest (from Feb. 7th, 2012)

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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Legislative


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News for immigrants, non-citizens, and new Americans

Update from US Citizenship and Immigration Services

USCIS is considering changes that would allow certain immediate relatives (the spouse, children or parents of a U.S. citizen) who can demonstrate extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent to receive a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence bars before leaving the United States.

These procedures are not in effect and will not be available to potential applicants until USCIS publishes a final rule in the Federal Register specifying the effective date. USCIS plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the coming months and will consider all comments received as part of that process before publishing a final rule.

  • Do not send an application requesting a provisional waiver at this time. USCIS will reject any application requesting this new process and we will return the application package and any related fees to the applicant. USCIS cannot accept applications until a final rule is issued and the process change becomes effective. 
  • Be aware that some unauthorized practitioners of immigration law may wrongly claim they can currently file a provisional waiver application (Form I-601) for you. These same individuals may ask you to pay them to file such forms although the process is not yet in place. Please avoid such scams. USCIS wants you to learn the facts about protecting yourself and your family against scammers by visiting

If you already have an immigrant visa interview with the U.S. Department of State, we strongly encourage you to attend. The Department of State may cancel your immigrant visa registration if you fail to appear at this interview.


The following was taken from a newsletter from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

Emergency Medical Assistance: Recently, 2,300 Minnesotans received letters informing them that they would no longer qualify for Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) beginning January 1, 2012. Specifically, due to changes made during the 2011 special legislative session, EMA would no longer cover such treatment as dialysis, chemotherapy, in-patient treatment, or mental health treatment. Due to the nature of who EMA covers, these changes impacted only non-citizens. The persons affected ranged from children to the elderly; from undocumented parents with U.S. citizen children to persons who have been legal permanent residents in Minnesota for years. Among other actions, ILCM began taking calls from affected immigrants and community partners almost immediately. Thanks to the generosity of the Minneapolis Foundation, we were recently able to hire a part-time attorney to screen immigrants for possible immigration relief such as applying for U.S. citizenship, U-visas, or a family petition to address both their immigration status and their eligibility to access life-saving healthcare. ILCM is also working hard with multiple partners to try to reinstate EMA coverage for as many persons as possible. Please be sure to sign up for action alerts and we promise to keep you informed as this issue moves forward. For more details, read this January 10 article from Minnesota Public Radio.

Click here to read a fact sheet compiled by the Department of Human Services on how last years change to EMA reduced coverage of serious medical conditions for some of Minnesota’s low-income immigrants.


Family Visa Waiver Petition: On January 6, USCIS announced its intent to reduce the time that U.S. citizens are separated from their family members under certain circumstances while those family members proceed through the legal immigration process. This announcement from USCIS is wonderful news for immigrant families across the United States. We believe the announcement is the result of high-profile advocacy efforts like that of film director Ruth Leitman in her stellar documentary Tony and Janina’s American Wedding: A Deportation Love Story, as well as stories like Emily and Raul’s represented by ILCM and its pro bono attorneys, and another one in which an ILCM board member’s client died while waiting to be reunited with his U.S. citizen spouse from Hinckley.


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Burma Health Dialogue: From Entry to Integration

Burma Health Dialogue: From Entry to Integration

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Location: MN Department of Health’s Snelling Office Park

Mississippi Room, 1645 Energy Park Drive, St Paul, MN

Link for directions:


This dialogue is a follow up to the event ‘Healthcare for the Burmese and Karen Communities in Minnesota: A Community Conversation’ held on October 29, 2011 at Rondo St. Paul Public Library.


Suggested attendees include: health providers, social workers, educators, health plans, legislators, social service providers, community agencies and others serving refugees from Burma.


Highlights Include:

Overview:   Refugees from Burma

Panel 1: Entry – Journey to the United States 

This panel will include a personal refugee story, as well as provide insight into the role that several agencies play when new refugees come to Minnesota. Panelists will include representatives from the state health department, a local refugee resettlement agency and a community based organization.

Panel 2: Integration – Health Care Coordination

This panel will explore the systems needed to ensure care coordination for refugees after initial resettlement in the U.S. as well as an overview by a primary care provider on working with refugees from Burma. Panelists will include representatives from an interpreter service agency, a health plan, a health provider, and a healthcare navigator. 

Interactive discussion will be encouraged throughout the afternoon.

Stay tuned for a detailed agenda coming soon!

CEUs will be available. This event is FREE to the public.

RSVP to Scott Ruhsam at or 612-588-9410 by March 5.

This program is sponsored by MDH, HealthEast Care System, UCare, Karen Organization of Minnesota, Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and Language Banc.

healthdialogue sponsors

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in CAPM Events, CAPM news


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Baby Talks: Support and Education for Pregnant or Parenting Teens

What Do You Want to Talk About?

“What should I expect as my baby grows and develops?”
“What are some good parenting techniques?”
“Where can I go for prenatal classes?”
“How can I balance school, a job, and caring for my child?”

Baby Talks offer support and resources for young parents through group learning and individual meetings. Pregnant or parenting young women twenty-four years of age or younger are eligible for Baby Talks.

  • Spanish and Hmong-speaking capabilities
  • Daycare provided on site
  • Transportation available

Where: The Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building
Neighborhood House, 179 Robie Street East, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55107

Please contact the Baby Talks Program for more information:
Neighborhood House: 651.789.2500

  • Tania Villalobos 651.789.2551 (
  • Maypahou Ly 651.789.2522 ( (Hmong language)
  • John Guertin 651.789.2517 (

*Funding for Baby Talks is provided in part by the Minnesota Department of Health.

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Community news


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Planning for Higher Education

Century Hosts PSEO Information Night Feb 14

Century College will host a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Information Night on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m. on the East Campus Lincoln Mall.

Students and their families are invited to learn how high school students can earn both high school and college credit through this popular public program.

For more information, please call 651-773-1700 or email


Dual Credit courses are working, and Minnesota should do more to encourage participation

By Paj Ntaub Lee and Joe Nathan, originally posted on
Dual Credit courses offer important benefits to high-school students. This includes saving money by earning free, or almost free, college credits while still in high school. It also includes reducing the likelihood of taking remedial courses in reading, writing or math on entering any form of post-high school education. Since taxpayers help pay for remedial courses, reducing the number that are needed saves us money too. Whether students are considering enrolling in a one, two or four-year program after high school, these are great options.

more info at


First Step Summer Institute at St. Kate’s

The First Step Summer Institute is a free, unique college-immersion experience that prepares 50 young women of color for higher education. In each one-week residential program, 25 students gain a deeper sense of commitment to pursue higher education, a strong network of diverse, college-bound friends and mentors, a sense of support and encouragement from St. Kate’s staff, faculty, and students, and more perspective on college living and college expectations. Plus, students have a great time exploring campus and the surrounding Highland Park area.

If accepted to First Step, students have the option of attending one of two sessions:

* Session I: June 18-22, 2012
* Session II: June 25-June 29, 2012

By participating in First Step, students will get:

* Instruction from college staff and faculty about career exploration, ACT test prep, financial aid, essay writing, scholarships, study skills, college culture, women’s empowerment, and college money management
* Advice from students of color attending St. Kates and professional women of color who are leaders in the Twin Cities
* Fun, interactive, outdoor training on leadership and teamwork skills

All First Step graduates are eligible to receive a scholarship of up to $2,000 per year for four years (totaling up to $8,000), if they enroll at St. Catherine University.

Students must meet the following eligibility requirements in order to be considered for admission to First Step:

* Be currently enrolled as a sophomore or a junior in high school
* Identify as a woman of color
* Have at least a 2.5 G.P.A.
* Submit two completed letters of recommendation (see attached document)
* Submit a completed application (see attached document)
* Submit an official transcript

The APPLICATION DEADLINE for First Step is Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Admission decisions will be mailed to students and families by the last week in May. All application materials should be mailed to me at the following address:

St. Catherine University
Multicultural & International Programs & Services (MIPS) Office
Attn: Carolyn Jackson
2004 Randolph Ave., F-29
St. Paul, MN 55105

First Step website:

Carolyn Jackson,


UMN Asian American College Day seeks volunteers on Friday April 27th

Interested in volunteering? Planning meeting is this Thursday, January 26th from 4:00pm- 5:00pm in the Social Sciences Building, room 260

During this daylong event, we invite local Asian American high school students to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. The purpose of College Day is to promote post-secondary education for Asian American students and to empower these potential college students to succeed in academic excellence. College Day provides a unique on-campus experience at the University of Minnesota that will offer insight to higher education by partnering Asian American high school students with a small group of U of M undergraduate students.high school students will meet current undergraduate students, faculty and staff, and gain access to available resources and services that can prepare them for college admission and academic readiness. Participants will attend a series of workshops to help prepare them for college. The workshop series will consist of Admissions, Financial Aid, Career Exploration, and Gender Issues in Higher Education. This will also help the high school student network and build connection to the University.

For more info, contact Saengmany Ratsabout at ratsa001 [at]


Lastly, US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, made a stop in Minnesota last month. Here is a video of the event at Irondale High School where he addressed Minnesota’s education and government leaders.

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Community news


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2012 legislation of interest (so far)

SF 1556 (Lourey; Higgins; Marty; Hayden and Sheran) (Companion to HF

Referred to the Health and Human Services committee. Restores the 20% wage cut for family members providing personal care assistance (PCA) services.
HF 1953 (Abeler and Hilstrom)

Referred to the Education Reform
committee. Prohibits bullying and retaliation against bullying in public schools and requires public and charter schools to provide bullying prevention programs for all K-12 students.

HF 1986 (Gottwalt)

Referred to the Health and Human Services Reform committee. Reduces the income eligibility criteria for the Healthy Minnesota Contribution Program, which provides MinnesotaCare enrollees with vouchers to purchase health insurance on the private market, from 200% to 150% of the federal poverty level. Extends the period of time the person on the program has to choose a health insurance plan from three to four months before they lose their eligibility and have to reapply. Allows MinnesotaCare enrollees who are eligible for MCHA (Minnesota’s high-risk pool) to enroll in MCHA without first being denied coverage by a health plan.

Council on Affairs of Chicano/Latino People, Council on Black Minnesotans, Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, Indian Affairs Council, and Council on Disabilities continued existence provided.

Collaborative grant program to reduce minority populations unemployment and appropriation

SF1672 and HF1888
Expands medical assistance eligibility to include qualified noncitizens that entered the United States on or after August 22, 1996 and noncitizens that are not legally “qualified noncitizens” as they work toward citizenship. (this repeals the new provision passed in 2011 that cut off EMA for non-citizens).

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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Legislative


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Originally posted in the Asian American Press on 09 JANUARY 2012


AAP staff columnist

ST. PAUL (Dec. 29, 2011) — What happens when people perceive and attribute success, unilaterally based on being Asian?

The stereotype of the, “Model Minority,” suggests that Asians are hard workers, conscientious, highly intellectual, obsessed with perfection, plagued with the trait of internal drive, academically superior, on automatic pilot and competitive at all costs. These perceived attributes of Asians too often, knowingly or unknowingly turn into attributional errors and come at a high emotional and psychological price tag.

Attributional errors occur when the traits of one person from a specific ethnic or racial group are generalized to the whole group. Attributional errors leave little room for others who are in the group to deviate without being over pathologized.

Sometimes, the myth of the, “Model Minority,” emulates what some Western Europeans may deem as attractive, positive and necessary qualities that lead to inevitable success. However, traits or Asian stereotypes can also feel like an unreasonable life sentence that serves over generalize and marginalize Asians.

Inevitably, the stereotype implies that no matter what social, biological or psychological stressors that are encountered, Asians will inevitably transcend and prevail beyond what is too often humanly possible.

Recently, a White man in his thirties stated, “What do you mean you have stress, you have yoga?” He further joked, “I don’t mean it in a bad way.”

This suggestion, attributing yoga to Asians and that yoga completely aborts distress is a perfect stereotype that many Asians encounter daily. Although it was said in jest, with no harm intended, stereotypic statements like this glorifies and sensationalizes one way that Asians are viewed as the, “Model Minorities.”

It insinuates that Eastern activities are a panacea for ills that come our way. The construct of the, “Model Minority,” is insidious and internalized at unconscious levels. It starts with one idea and is applied to everyone.

The statement in and of itself all joking aside, implied that even though Asians experience the everyday stress of most humans, given our unending access to yoga or our ability to participate in mindfulness activities, we should feel emotionally balanced despite distress encountered.

Consequently, statements that reflect the idea that Asians are, “Model Minorities,” are too often absorbed by the Western human psyche. This creates an altruistic unattainable image of Asians, which inevitably leads to disappointment.

Some Whites who consider themselves culturally or racially sensitive likely don’t intend to create harm by espousing ignorant stereotypes. In fact, the dominant White culture has done such a perfect job of projecting, “Model Minority,” expectations onto Asians, that most people hold this myth as a truth, even many Asians.

However, a belief that yoga or any other mindfulness practice is intuitive to Asians is a myth. While mindfulness practices may work to reduce the impact of everyday stress, the assumption that Asians will ultimately prevail is a colossal burden of expectation that is simply unachievable.

Truth be told, there is no one-way to live. The term, “Model,” is relative to each individual. Asians, like any other group of people fail on any given day and raise to occasional high expectations the next.

As we head into the New Year of 2012, let’s keep in mind that while we may desire a, “Model,” from which to emulate positive mental health decisions, success cannot be isolated to one’s ethnic groups’ traits. This type of fragmented view of race overshadows the modern day realities that Asians are just as much apart of the, “Rat Race,” as every other race.

Kim S. Hwang, PsyD is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor with Master’s Degrees in Education and Clinical Psychology. He can be reached at

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Community news




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