Capitol Correspondence - 12.11.18

ANCOR Applauds Extension of Funding for Money Follows the Person Program in U.S. House’s Passage of IMPROVE Act

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National association takes the lead protecting funding for program that empowers individuals with disabilities to transition from institutions to the community

ANCOR CEO Barbara Merrill with Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersAs the leading proponent for the extension of MFP funding, ANCOR applauds the House’s bipartisanship and legislative leadership in passing the IMPROVE Act and looks forward to the legislation passing in the Senate, potentially as early as tomorrow.

ANCOR has actively supported reauthorization of MFP since 2015, when Senate Finance Committee staff approached the association for its input on how the program impacts the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). ANCOR responded to congressional requests for input back then and has led a coalition of advocates in the intervening years because of its belief that MFP is a critical ingredient in our mission to ensure people with I/DD can be where they belong: in their homes and alongside their communities in the places they live, work and play.

“Money Follows the Person is essential to true community integration because it helps transition individuals from nursing homes and large institutions to places that better serve their needs,” said Sarah Meek, Director of Legislative Affairs for ANCOR. “A 20-year-old with Down Syndrome, for example, doesn’t belong in a nursing home, and MFP gives people the flexibility they need to transition into community settings while giving providers the support they need for staff training and other important transitional tools.”

The power of MFP is demonstrated not only by the experiences of more than 1,600 I/DD service providers that comprise ANCOR’s membership, but also by independent, bipartisan evaluations of the program. In 2017, for example, an assessment of the program by CMS found strong evidence that beneficiaries’ quality of life improves when they transition from institutional long-term care to home- and community-based environments.

“The passage of the IMPROVE Act in the House and its accompanying MFP provision is an especially big deal considering that it’s the only health care package to pass during Congress’ lame duck session, showing that programs with a proven track record and bipartisan appeal belong at the top of our federal lawmakers’ agenda,” said Barbara Merrill, CEO of ANCOR. “That ANCOR and its members were at the forefront of advocating for MFP reauthorization is yet another reminder that when we come together, we can accomplish a great deal, even against the backdrop of an incredibly challenging public policy environment.”

Although the IMPROVE Act is likely to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump, more work remains for ANCOR and its committed base of advocates, primarily to ensure a longer-term funding extension for Money Follows the Person and future opportunities to improve rebalancing programs like the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP). To stay abreast of opportunities to take action, be sure to follow ANCOR on Twitter and
visit the ANCOR Amplifier.