Disability Policy News In Brief

April 25, 2016

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April 25, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 69
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Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization of 2016

On April 19, the President signed Older American's Reauthorization of 2016 (P.L. 114-144).  The Senate passed the bill (S. 192) in July of 2015 and the House on March 21 of this year. The reauthorization sustains nutrition services, family caregiver support, community service employment, Long-Term Care Ombudsman and elder abuse prevention services.  The reauthorization strengthens the law by providing better protection for vulnerable elders; streamlining programs and improving program administration; promoting the delivery of evidence-based programs; improving nutrition services programs; and aligning senior employment services with the workforce development system. The law also fixed a long-standing problem with the National Family Caregivers Program by allowing the program to serve older Americans caring for children with disabilities of any age.

Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

LTSS Financing Reform

In early 2016, several bipartisan and nonpartisan organizations, including the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative, released reports on future financing of America's long-term care needs. These reports examined concerns over the failure to develop a national plan to pay for healthcare and long-term support services even as the U.S. population is aging and people are living longer with disabilities. The LTSS Task Force, of which AUCD is a member, has finalized its recommendations and will be releasing a statement expressing our support for Medicaid improvements and supporting the emerging consensus on the need for a public insurance program within the week.

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) New Settings Rule

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the first HCBS Statewide Transition Plan (STP) - Tennessee is the first state with official approval, which means public comment, input and summary requirements are met, the STP has provided all necessary information including but not limited to: systemic assessment, site specific assessment, settings presumed to have institutional characteristics, information regarding heightened scrutiny or the state's decision to let the presumption stand, and clear remedial steps with milestones are delineated. The National HCBS Coalition, of which AUCD is a member, will be analyzing the approved STP to identify methodologies and themes as a model for the more than 30 states who are currently revising their STP after public comment period.  

CMS has also released new guidance on Planned Construction for Presumed Institutional Settings and Person-Centered Service Planning Provisions and Modifications to HCBS Settings Criteria. In it, CMS indicates that "pre-approval" is not possible because a setting that does not yet have any participants cannot be evaluated under heightened scrutiny. Reviews cannot rely on program plans and proposed physical design descriptions alone, the individual living in the actual setting must be included in the review as well.


FDA Proposed Rule on Electrical Stimulation Devices

On April 22, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is proposing to ban electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) used to treat aggressive or self-injurious behavior. The FDA has determined that these devices present an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury that cannot be corrected or eliminated by labeling.  FDA is proposing to include in this ban both new devices and devices already in distribution and use. The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Massachusetts is currently the only entity of which the FDA is aware that has recently manufactured and still uses ESDs. AUCD was among 23 national organizations that provided testimony before the FDA Neurological Devices Advisory Committee on April 24, 2014 recommending that the FDA ban such devices. For more information, please view the Federal Register display notice and the FDA Medical Device Bans webpage.  AUCD will be providing comments.

Criminal Justice Reform

On April 25, the White House Council of Economic Advisers unveiled its new report examining the economic consequences of the criminal justice system at an event hosted by the White House, the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Enterprise Institute. AUCD was in attendance. Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman presented a summary of the report, which found that the overall cost of managing the criminal justice system has increased by more than 650% over the last three decades. The report also found that individuals with disabilities continue to be disproportionately present in the prison population, accounting for 50% of all inmates. The report also contains a cost-benefit analysis of existing federal criminal justice policies which found that increasing the minimum wage to twelve dollars an hour would generate a greater decrease in the crime rate than a $10 billion increase in spending on incarceration.

NIH Research

Cancer Moonshot

The National Cancer Institute has launched an online platform through which the research community and the public can submit ideas concerning the National Cancer Moonshot. A Blue Ribbon Panel appointed by Vice President Biden will consider the submissions while the direction of the Moonshot at the National Cancer Institute is being determined. The Panel's members include experts from a wide array of medical fields, including immunology, oncology, neurology, genetics and bioinformatics, as well as patient advocates, the heads of charitable cancer foundations and leaders of pharmaceutical companies. Information gathered through the Panel's work will be used by the National Cancer Advisory Board and the director of the National Cancer Institute to produce a final report by the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force. The Task Force is chaired by Vice President Biden and will deliver the report in question to President Obama by December 31, 2016.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All       

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Michael Morris, director of the National Disability Institute, about financial literacy for individuals with disabilities. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Shannon Haworth, AUCD's Public Health Program Manager, about the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) and the role it plays in federal efforts to address autism spectrum disorder (ASD).



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

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