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Capitol Correspondence - 06.02.20

37 U.S. Representatives Send HHS Letter Demanding Emergency Fund for Medicaid Disability Supports

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Thanks to the advocacy of ANCOR members like you, 37 members of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS)  Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. U.S. Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and John Katko (R-NY) led sign-on efforts for this letter (view the letter at the link above to see the 33 additional members of Congress who joined). The letter stated the urgent need for service providers to receive funds from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in order to ensure the well-being of people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the Direct Support Professionals that support their needs. This outreach was timely given that HHS disbursed $4.9 billion to Skilled Nursing Facilities on May 22, but still has not committed any funding to Medicaid services.

As stated in the letter:

“Already facing a workforce shortage and high staff turnover before the pandemic, these providers are at risk of collapse without federal support. A recent survey of 698 community providers serving individuals with disabilities conducted by the American Network of Community Options and Resources illustrates how critical the situation is for these providers. The majority of respondents reported having to shut down services, with closed services accounting for 32% of annual revenue, on average. At the same time, operating costs are up, and respondents reported additional expenditures related to acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff training, onboarding, and overtime. Half of respondents only have enough cash to stay in business for one month.

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Millions of Americans with disabilities rely on Medicaid-funded supports and services to live independent, healthy, and meaningful lives – and during this pandemic, these programs are essential to their very survival, keeping them safe at home during social isolation and funding lifeline supports. As 2 we work to further address this issue in supplemental legislation, it is critical that we provide relief to the organizations and workers that serve these individuals and ensure that Medicaid disability supports continue to operate during this pandemic and long after we defeat it. Thank you for your attention to this request.”