Capitol Correspondence - 07.21.20

ANCOR Sends Letter to Congress Laying Out Priorities for Pending COVID-19 Bill

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ANCOR sent a letter to congressional leadership, with all members of Congress copied, asking them to prioritize increased funding for the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program during the pandemic in its forthcoming COVID-19 relief package. As written in the letter:

“On behalf of the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), I write to ask you to prioritize increased funding during the pandemic for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) as you negotiate the fourth COVID-19 relief bill. These vital, yet underfunded and understaffed disability programs are facing client and staff deaths, client and staff illness, program closures and continued challenges in meeting increased demand as the pandemic endures. They direly need your support to keep people with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) and frontline staff healthy and safe.

Medicaid-funded HCBS supports are very multi-faceted and play a critical part in the lives of individuals with disabilities – from helping people with tasks that do not allow for social distancing (e.g. daily hygiene, grocery shopping), to finding employment and safely socializing. These services are at risk of program closure, decreased service offerings, and negatively impacted quality and compliance if they do not receive dedicated funding during the pandemic. That is because more general Medicaid funding is not guaranteed to be allocated to the HCBS system as states juggle multiple funding demands. While we fully appreciate the importance of preserving hospitals during the outbreak, if community supports are not also stabilized during this time, we risk losing further ground against the virus as it resurges this summer. […]

We strongly urge you to take these considerations to heart as the House and Senate negotiate to find middle ground for the fourth COVID-19 package. Specifically, we request that you keep provisions in the HEROES Act (Section 30103) that would directly increase funding for Medicaid HCBS programs.”