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Essential Community Supports

Page posted: 12/26/14

Page reviewed: 6/30/16

Page updated: 1/4/19

Legal authority

Minn. Stat. §256B.0922, Minn. Stat. §144.0724, subd. 11, Minn. Stat. §256B.0911, Minn. Stat. §256B.0913


Essential Community Supports (ECS) program: Community-based services for people who do not meet nursing facility level of care (NF LOC) criteria.


Seniors and people in transition may be eligible for ECS.

ECS for seniors

A person is eligible for ECS if he or she:

  • • Is age 65 or older
  • • Is not eligible for Medical Assistance (MA)
  • • Could benefit from one or more ECS services
  • • Does not or no longer meets NF LOC criteria
  • • Meets Alternative Care (AC) financial eligibility criteria.
  • ECS for people in transition

    A person age 21 or older was eligible to transition to ECS in two situations:

    1. If the person both:

  • • Was on the Brain Injury (BI) Waiver, Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver, Elderly Waiver (EW) or AC program on Jan. 1, 2015
  • • Lost eligibility for those programs at his or her next reassessment in 2015 due to changes in NF LOC criteria.
  • 2. If the person was admitted to a nursing facility between Oct. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015 and did not meet NF LOC criteria at his or her first quarterly Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessment after Jan. 1, 2015.

    A person who transitioned to ECS during 2015 may remain on the program as long as he or she continues to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • • Is not eligible for state plan (MA) personal care assistance (PCA) services or community first services and supports (CFSS)
  • • Could benefit from one or more ECS services
  • • Meets Alternative Care Program financial eligibility criteria if he or she is not on MA
  • • Continues to not meet NF LOC criteria.
  • Reassessments on or after Jan. 1, 2016

    A person is not eligible to transition to ECS if, at his or her next reassessment on or after Jan. 1, 2016, he or she loses eligibility for MA-funded waiver programs because he or she no longer meets NF LOC criteria.

    Covered services

    ECS includes service coordination plus one or more of the following services:


    The lead agency conducts an assessment for ECS through a long-term care consultation (LTCC) or MnCHOICES.

    It is the lead agency's responsibility to reassess each person at least annually to ensure the person continues to meet ECS program eligibility requirements.


    ECS has a maximum monthly budget per person for all ECS services.

    Service coordination:

  • • Is limited to a maximum annual amount
  • • Must be included within the maximum monthly budget amount.
  • For people in transition, an additional $600 is available one time, per person for service coordination to assist with transition planning. This amount is not included in the monthly budget amount.

    For more information about ECS budgets, see ECS monthly limit in Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Service Rate Limits, DHS-3945 (PDF).


    The lead agency authorizes services using MMIS service agreements. Each service agreement is limited to 12 months. A person can continue to receive ECS services for as long as he or she meets eligibility requirements, but the lead agency must complete a reassessment and MMIS service agreement every 12 months.


    ECS financial eligibility

    ECS financial disclosure

    ECS service authorization

    Additional resources

    CBSM – Level of care
    CBSM – Long-term care consultation


    DHS – Long-term services and supports rates changes

    Essential Community Supports brochure, DHS-6546 (PDF)

    Nursing facility level of care (NF LOC) criteria, DHS-7028 (PDF)

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