ANCOR News - 02.07.24

ANCOR Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of Disability Community Act

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ANCOR CEO Barbara Merrill issued the following statement in response to today’s introduction of the Disability Community Act.

“ANCOR is immensely grateful for Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) for their bipartisan leadership in bringing to fruition the Disability Community Act, a bill that would protect access to critical long-term supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by increasing the federal Medicaid match for I/DD services over a three-year period to meet new federal requirements.

“The leadership of Representatives Fitzpatrick and Tonko couldn’t come at a better time, as it would help ensure that community providers can effectively comply with an array of regulatory changes that, as proposed, insist on additional costs without commensurate funding. Without bipartisan solutions like the Disability Community Act, community providers will have no choice but to discontinue services or close their doors completely.

“To say the least, decades of underinvestment have left fragile the national network of providers of community-based services. The fact that providers are already turning away new referrals and considering further service cuts at alarming rates demonstrates that without additional funding, providers are in no position to incur new expenses.

“In addition to the ongoing direct support workforce crisis, which has forced many providers to reduce services or turn away new referrals, community providers are also grappling with the wind-down of critical pandemic relief funding and the expiration of regulatory flexibilities meant to help temper the impact of the workforce shortage.

“These confounding factors make the strain of new and pending regulations from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health & Human Services all the more challenging. Taken together, impending federal regulations without commensurate funding will exacerbate existing challenges for people with I/DD seeking to access community-based services.

“This is why ANCOR owes a debt of gratitude to Representative Tonko and Representative Fitzpatrick for their introduction of the Disability Community Act. This legislation recognizes that Medicaid-funded services are endangered by a dire workforce shortage and lack of federal investment, and could be further hamstrung by regulatory changes with substantial fiscal impacts. ANCOR and our network of nearly 2,500 community providers are committed to supporting the passage of this crucial legislation, and we call on all members of the House of Representatives to join in support of the Disability Community Act.