Medicaid/Rights – Senate Vote Expected This Week on Delay of EVV

The Senate is expected to vote as early as today on a bill to delay by one year Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) requirements for tracking when personal care services are provided to people with disabilities. The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should hold at least one public meeting and solicit ongoing stakeholder input on its recently-issued guidance. The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill (H.R.6042) by voice vote last month. Learn more about this bill here. The Arc urges advocates to contact their Senators as soon as possible.

Medicaid – Judge Blocks KY Medicaid Waiver Request

On June 29, a federal judge ruled that Kentucky’s proposed waiver, which included work requirements, monthly premiums, lockouts for non-payment, limits on retroactive eligibility and non-emergency medical transportation, and penalties for non-emergency use of emergency rooms was arbitrary and capricious. The judge ruled that the waiver was invalid because the Department of Health and Human Services did not take into account the primary objective of the Medicaid statute: “to furnish medical assistance.” However, the ruling did leave open the possibility that a waiver including work requirements might pass legal muster if its impact is more carefully considered. The Arc is very concerned about potential barriers to health care created by work requirements and other policies.

Medicaid/Rights – House Passes Bill to Delay EVV Implementation

On June 19, the House of Representatives passed H.R.6042 by voice vote. This bill delays implementation of the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act by one year, until January 2020. The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that CMS should hold at least one public meeting and solicit ongoing stakeholder input on its recently-issued guidance. Learn more about this newly-passed bill here.

Medicaid/Rights – CMS Issues Guidance on Electronic Visit Verification

On May 16, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance on implementation of electronic visit verification (EVV) required in the 21st Century Cures Act. Congress directed CMS to issue this guidance at least one year before the implementation deadline of January 19, 2019. The statute requires EVV for personal care services and home health services. However, the guidance provides a very expansive interpretation that includes any service where assistance with activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living is provided in part in the home. Furthermore, it leaves many decisions with privacy implications up to states. The Arc believes the short time frame is insufficient for states to engage with stakeholders to implement these requirements in a way that does not put an undue burden on providers and does not violates the privacy of beneficiaries.

Medicaid/LTSS – Money Follows the Person Reauthorization Bill Introduced in House

On March 15, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care (EMPOWER Care) Act (H.R. 5306). This bipartisan bill reauthorizes the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program, which provides grants to states to transition people from institutions to community based settings. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this program has helped over 63,000 people transition into the community and saved almost $1 billion for Medicare and Medicaid as of 2013. The Arc strongly supports this legislation.

Health/Medicaid – Senate Committee Votes to Approve Azar Nomination

On January 17, the Senate Finance Committee voted 15-12 to recommend that the full Senate confirm Alex Azar as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). All Republicans and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) voted in favor. All other Democrats voted against confirmation. HHS is the cabinet level department that administers most federal health and social service programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act programs, Developmental Disabilities Act programs, Head Start, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Additionally, it oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to view archived video of the hearing.

Medicaid/LTSS – The Arc and Partners Hosts Congressional Briefing on Community Integration for People with Disabilities

The Arc and other disability rights organizations joined the offices of Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in hosting a briefing on January 11 for Congressional staff titled “Community Integration for People with Disabilities: Policy Opportunities and Challenges.” Julia Bascom, Executive Director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, moderated the briefing. Panelists were Cathy Ficker Terrill, national disability services expert and parent; Alison Barkoff, Director of Advocacy, Center for Public Representation; Nicole Jorwic, Director of Rights Policy, The Arc of the United States; Ken Capone, Public Policy Director, People on the go Maryland; and Pam Wright, a parent advocate.

Health/Medicaid – Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on HHS Secretary Nomination

On January 9, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Alexander Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). During the hearing, Azar stated that he supported elements of last year’s health care bills, including the repeal of Medicaid expansion and per capita caps on traditional Medicaid. HHS is the cabinet level department that administers most federal health and social service programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act programs, Developmental Disabilities Act programs, Head Start, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Additionally, it oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Visit the committee web site for more information, including archived video of the hearing.

Medicaid – CMS to Allow States to Impose Work Requirement for Medicaid Eligibility

On January 11, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance about how states can require some Medicaid recipients to work in order to receive coverage. While the guidance requires states to exclude some people with disabilities from the requirement, it acknowledges that such an exception will not cover all people with disabilities. To learn more, read The Arc’s statement on the guidance.

Medicaid/Long Term Services and Supports – Senators Introduce Bipartisan Money Follows the Person Reauthorization

On December 14, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care (EMPOWER Care) Act (S. 2227). This bill reauthorizes the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program, which provides grants to states to transition people from institutions to community based settings. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this program has helped over 63,000 people transition into the community and saved almost $1 billion for Medicare and Medicaid as of 2013.