Capitol Correspondence - 01.21.20

Senate to Introduce Companion Bill on Reimbursing DSP Supports in Hospitals

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ANCOR is thrilled to announce that this week, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a companion bill to the Isaiah Baker and Margie Harris-Austin Act, introduced in December in the House. The bills would allow states, if they choose, to include as part of their Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) waivers the reimbursement of Direct Support Professionals’ (DSPs) time supporting individuals during short-term hospital stays. This is currently not covered in some HCBS supports. This has been a priority issue for ANCOR for most of 2019, and in 2020 we are leading a coalition letter in support of the House bill. A letter will be forthcoming on the Senate bill, for which we will also share the bill number once it is available.

Next steps for the legislation:

  • The bills will need to be reviewed by the committees of jurisdiction (Finance in the Senate, Energy and Commerce in the House).
  • Once the bills are reviewed, on the House side the committee is required to hold a hearing on the bill – the hearing may feature other Medicaid bills as well. The Senate committee does not have a hearing requirement.
  • The Committees will then vote on whether the bills are allowed to go to the floor in each chamber.
  • If a floor vote is scheduled and the bills pass, and there are no major differences in the final bills in the House and Senate, then a final bill gets sent to the President to be signed into law.
  • Two shortcuts:
    • The bills might be tucked into larger bills.
    • The bill might pass the House and then get sent to the Senate via the expedited “hotline’ process.

Next steps for advocacy:

  • Say “thank you” to the bill champions.
  • Ask your members of Congress to co-sign these bills. If you need help with this, please contact Doris Parfaite-Claude, Federal Advocacy and Research Manager, at [email protected].