Advocates To Meet With CMS Director McClellan
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 24, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC--ADAPT organizers announced Thursday that they have secured a meeting with the country's top federal Medicaid and Medicare official to discuss proposed changes in long-term care for people with disabilities.
Members of the grassroots disability advocacy group have secured the meeting with Dr. Mark McClellan, Administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for February 27 at a Washington, DC hotel.
The advocates want the long-term care system changed so that in-home and community-based supports are mandatory and nursing homes and institutions are optional. At this time, states must provide institutional supports but do not have to provide funds for community-based settings.
"We are looking forward to meeting with Administrator McClellan, and we appreciate his coming to us, as former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala did in 1993," said Bob Kafka, National ADAPT Organizer from Texas. "It is imperative that there be no cuts or caps in the Medicaid program, because if there are, states will continue to cut optional programs, and always first on the chopping block is home and community based personal care services. When those services are cut, persons with disabilities, old and young, are forced into nursing homes and other institutions."
An estimated 500 members of ADAPT are expected at the nation's capital from February 26 to March 2 for the introduction of the 2005 Money Follows the Person legislation. The measure would allow people who are in nursing homes or other institutions to take their funding with them into the community.
"Texas enacted legislation a few years ago that MFP is modeled on and it has resulted in amazing outcomes," said Kafka. "Since our Texas version of MFP became real, around 2000 persons a year, over a third of whom had been institutionalized for over two years, have used it to move out of nursing homes. This has resulted in a savings of at least 20-25% over the nursing home costs, meaning that the same amount of money can serve more people, more efficiently."
Last week, Senators Tom Harkin, Arlen Specter and 10 other Senators reintroduced the Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services and Supports Act of 2005 (MiCASSA) into Congress. The measure would change Medicaid to allow long-term care recipients to use their funds for community-based and in-home supports if they choose.
"These are very tough times for America's most vulnerable citizens and ADAPT is committed to doing whatever it takes to prevent Medicaid cuts and caps, thus preventing our being institutionalized against our wishes and losing our freedom," said Bob Liston, Montana State Organizer. "We won't go away, and we'll keep after those in power until they listen, and assure we have the same rights as the rest of America."
The Medicaid Community Attendant Services Act, MiCASSA (ADAPT)
"Challenge to the Movement" by Mark Johnson