Thursday, September 24, 2009

Community First Choice Update & Action

Please contact your Senators and let them know that you support the Community First Choice Option in the Senate Finance Committee bill, and that it is critical that it be kept in the final version approved by the Senate. It is also important to thank those who have made this possible. Senator Baucus (MT) and David Schwartz (from the Senate Finance staff) were crucial in making this happen. NCIL also appreciates the efforts of Senator Schumer (D-NY) for submitting the CFC Option Amendment and Senator Harkin, our Senate champion who has tirelessly fought to eliminate the institutional bias. Call and thank them!

You can call using this toll-free number: 866-324-0787. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

The Exact Language of the Amendment:

To Accept with Modification Schumer Amendment #C13:

On page 50, at the end of the Long Term Services and Supports section

Insert - The Chairman’s Mark would establish the Community First Choice Option, which would create a state plan option under section 1915 of the Social Security Act to provide community based attendant supports and services to individuals with disabilities who are Medicaid eligible and who require an institutional level of care. These services and supports include assistance to individuals with disabilities in accomplishing activities of daily living and health related tasks. States who choose the Community First Choice Option would be eligible for enhanced federal match rate of an additional six percentage points for reimbursable expenses in the program. The option would sunset after five years.

-The Community First Choice Option also would require data collection to help determine how states are currently providing home and community based services, the cost of those services, and whether states are currently offering individuals with disabilities who otherwise qualify for institutional care under Medicaid the choice to instead receive home and community based services, as required by the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C. (1999).

- The Community First Choice Option would also modify the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration to reduce the amount of time required for individuals to qualify for that program to 90 days.

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