Disability Policy News In Brief

June 1, 2015

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
June 1, 2015   |   Vol. XV, Issue 22
AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, FacebookAUCD, Disability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, TwitterDisability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, SharespaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, YouTube list Tuesday Morning with LizspaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, Subscription formAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, ArchiveAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, RSS

Congressional Schedule
Congress returns from recess.  The House plans to address at least one more appropriations bill on the floor this week (Commerce-Justice and possibly Transportation-HUD). The Senate has already been in session for a day, after holding a rare Sunday evening session to take up the House-passed USA Freedom Act (HR 2048). Consideration of that bill may take up most of the week.

Budget and Appropriations
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee marks up the draft FY 2016 Defense spending bill. On Wednesday, House Budget Committee holds an oversight hearing of the Congressional Budget Office, with testimony from CBO Director Keith Hal.  There is still no date scheduled for consideration of the Labor, HHS, and Education spending bill.

Health Care/ Technology
On Friday, AUCD submitted comments to the Centers on Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) and encouraged adoption of the recently released draft National Coverage Determination (NCD) on speech generating devices (SGDs). The proposed new policy for speech-generating devices expands the definition of speech to include text messaging, email and phone capabilities. Individuals with the most severe disabilities rely on these technologies for independence, to sustain relationships, and to direct their healthcare. AUCD also applauded CMS for recognizing the importance of providing access to non-communication related capabilities of these devices (at the beneficiaries' expense), and the fact that these features are part and parcel of modern technologies. AUCD also signed on to more extensive comments submitted by the Independence through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition that garnered 27 national organizational signatures.  The ITEM Coalition and AUCD's comments also urged CMS to resolve two other concerns that have to do with covering eye-tracking devices and the ability of individuals to buy devices instead of the current "capped-rental" policy.  AUCD appreciates the Technology Special Interest Group (SIG), chaired by Amy Goldman (PA UCEDD), for its leadership and expert guidance to policy staff on this issue.

Health Care/Managed Care Rules
On May 26, CMS announced proposed regulations to update Medicaid and CHIP managed care.  According to the Georgetown Health Policy Institute, more than 70% of Medicaid beneficiaries are served through managed care delivery systems (see the Institutes state profiles). According to the CMS press release, the proposed rule will modernize Medicaid managed care in a number of ways, including to better align Medicaid and CHIP managed care rules and practices with other types of health care coverage.  Comments are due July 27.  AUCD will work with the Aging and Disability Collaboration to provide comments.

Child Abuse/Welfare
On May 5, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a discussion draft  bill that would invest new money into child welfare services through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. As the Senator describes it, the "Wyden proposal would expand the federal foster care entitlement to do more than just pay a daily rate to keep children housed in foster care homes.  Instead, states would be able to use foster care funds to provide families in crisis with the supports, services, and evidence-based interventions needed to keep their children safely at home and out of foster care." Among the services included but not limited to: parenting skills and training, parent support, individual and family counseling, services to address domestic violence, substance abuse, housing barriers, mentoring and tutoring, crisis intervention and other family services approved by HHS.  There are also requirements for states to spend 50 percent of total services on evidence-based programs and 25 percent for promising models.

In addition to the expansion of Title IV-E funding the bill would increasing mandatory funding under the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) (Title IV-B part 2) program, from the current $345 million in mandatory funding to $1 billion (meaning it does not require an annual appropriations).  It would also lift the requirement that states spend at least 20 percent on each of the four services under PSSF and it would take off the current restrictions that limits family reunification spending to no more than 15 months from the date a child enters foster care.  Finally, the bill would restore the Family Connections Grants which expired in FY 2014. 

Supplemental Security Income and Unemployment Insurance
On Wednesday June 3, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, chaired by Rep. Boustany (R-LA), will hold a hearing on "Protecting the Safety Net from Waste, Fraud, and Abuse." The hearing will review multiple bills related to Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Unemployment Insurance (UI), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), including a number of bills that the CCD Social Security Task Force opposes or has significant concerns about.

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by  Representative Murphy (R-PA), is holding a hearing on June 2, titled "Medicaid Program Integrity: Screening out Error, Fraud and Abuse." The hearing will focus on findings from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report: "Medicaid: Additional Actions Needed to Help Improve Provider and Beneficiary Fraud Controls." 

Administration for Community Living (ACL)
ACL announced today a new organization structure.  The new structure formally incorporates the programs that were transferred to ACL as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into law last year. The National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and the independent living and assistive technology programs were all moved from the Department of Education to ACL.  The most significant change, according to the ACL press release, is the creation of the Administration on Disabilities (AOD).  The AOD will be led by Aaron Bishop as its Commissioner.  The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) will retain the same functions and be directly under the new AOD (see organization chart).  A new director for AIDD will be named soon.  AIDD is the agency responsible for overseeing the DD Act network of university centers, protection and advocacy systems, and DD Councils.

ADA 25th Anniversary
The Census Bureau is commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by releasing a "Facts for Features" providing a demographic snapshot of the U.S. population with a disability and examines various services available to them.  The demographic snapshot includes information about institutionalization, transportation, employment, and accessibility.  The statistics come from various Census Bureau censuses and surveys, covering differing periods of time.


For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 


AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910