Capitol Correspondence - 06.23.20

ANCOR Joins Group Letter Urging Congress to Ensure Adequate Funding for Disability Supports

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As part of ANCOR’s two-pronged administrative and congressional strategy to ensure members have the funding they need to protect the individuals they support during the pandemic, we joined 12 other provider organizations in a letter to congressional leadership. The letter highlights key provisions of the HEROES Act, which passed the House but is pending action in the Senate, that we are urging Congress to preserve as negotiations on the bill unfold. As written in the letter:

“Because people with I/DD often have other medical challenges, they are at greater risk if they or someone they have close contact with tests positive for COVID-19. Many people with I/DD live in group homes and rely daily on caregivers who provide support to them around-the-clock, all-year-round. This means social distancing and quarantine measures may not be just inconvenient for people with I/DD but restrict their ability to carry out daily self-care functions. If a caregiver falls ill or chooses not to come to work to limit their COVID-19 exposure risk, there is nowhere else for these individuals to go and few caretakers with the skill set to provide the right support. This is an issue of equity for people with I/DD. Federal funding will help ensure their continuity of care.

The support and services that people with I/DD need to live in their homes and communities are funded, almost exclusively, through Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). When states face budget crises and other stressors, they often respond by cutting Medicaid benefits, eligibility, or payments to providers. We appreciate that Congress included added protections to eligibility and coverage for beneficiaries as part of the 6.2% FMAP increase in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, we strongly believe that Congress must also protect beneficiaries against cuts to reimbursement rates for critical services.

We urge you to support provider protections and the dedicated 10 percent FMAP increase for HCBS providers and the increase in the global FMAP included in the HEROES Act. Both are essential to provide stability to the Medicaid program for people with I/DD and are urgently needed as none of the funding that has flowed from the prior relief packages have supported these systems.”