EIDBI Rate Increase – Why are Somali Providers not at the Table?

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Minnesota House of Representatives

Human Services Finance Committee

Chair – Rep. Noor

February 21st, 2023

        Re: HF 1626 Supporting, but with questions and concerns

Dear Mr. Chair and Members, many thanks for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Idil Abdull, I am a Somali Autism Mom and a pissed-off advocate who would like to retire soon.

HF 1626 is asking for a rate increase for EIDBI. This is for autism therapy providers. I want to let you know that autism is extremely high in children born in Minnesota to Somali parents according to research done by Gov Pawlenty’s health department in 2009 and UMN in 2013.

Additionally, I want the record to state that Early Intensive Developmental & Behavior Intervention passed the state legislature around midnight on Thursday, May 16, 2013. I know because I was the only person of color advocating for this bill at that time. It was Somali autism parents and the Somali community that solely advocated and fought tooth and nail to ensure Medicaid-covered autism therapy.

Fast forward to today, 2.21.23, there are more minority children particularly Somalis being served under EIDBI and more Somali EIDBI providers than any other ethnicity including non-minority providers who were initially against EIDBI.

Here are my concerns, given this dark and long-fought history in getting EIDBI to pass both in Minnesota and in CMS which was no day at the park, why are there not more Somali and other minority EIDBI providers at the table when this was being written?

Further, what is the cost and what does DHS shall develop a rate framework mean? Who is at the table for this development?

We know that DHS is notorious for excluding providers of color, and in general people of color from being at the table and prefers that we are on the menu. If this committee is serious about racial equity and person-centered then it needs to be action-oriented, not just using pretty hip words. Additionally, DHS’ commissioner refused to add fair rate adjustments for EIDBI providers even though the state has billions in surplus. What message do you think that gives? I hope someone asks DHS why they refused to support autism families and providers.

Finally, while I thank the author for bringing this bill forward, I wish our community was asked to be involved. It is not lost on me that the chair of this committee reflects our community. Racial disparity cannot survive and thrive when folks in power reflect minority communities. In Somalia, we call that “Lax Bacaad Lagu Lisay”.

Thanks for your time.

When EIDBI was approved by CMS.


Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom

The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.

Idil Abdull