Disability Policy News In Brief

July 25, 2016

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July 25, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 82
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Happy Anniversary ADA

This week, July 26 marks the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Visit the ADA Anniversary website for information on events and anniversary celebrations. The ADA of 1990 is a civil rights law designed to eliminate discrimination against people based on their disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local government services, privately operated public entities (e.g., hotels, restaurants, museums, parks, etc.), transportation, and telecommunications. Though great strides have been made in our society to ensure the ADA is honored and implemented appropriately there is still a need for continued advocacy.

Congressional Schedule

Both the House and Senate are on recess; members will be in their state until September 6.

Health Care

Trends in Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Expenditures

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to support the expansion of home and community-based services (HCBS) options. As part of their annual LTSS expenditures report, CMS has highlighted trends in spending for HCBS LTSS vs Institutional LTSS from 1981 to 2014. The reports show that the percentage of LTSS expenditures for HCBS has increased to 53% in 2014 and explained that this increase in spending is due to a reduced role of nursing facility and Intermediate Care Facilities. The report also shows that Managed LTSS expenditures have doubled from FY 2012 to FY 2014. More information on the reports can be found here. Future reports will include data specific to LTSS beneficiaries and 1915 (c) waivers.

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

On July 22, President Obama signed this bipartisan, bicameral bill to combat the opioid epidemic. Though this legislation includes steps to address this crisis, the President has expressed his disapproval that "Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatments to get the care that they need, [and] in fact, blocked efforts by Democrats to include $920 million in treatment funding." The new law, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (S 524), aims to expand prevention and educational efforts (particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations) to prevent the abuse of methamphetamines, opioids and heroin, and to promote treatment and recovery; expand the availability of naloxone and resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals; expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications; launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program; and strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs. Also included in this law is a legislative proposal, the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act (HR 4843), which aims to strengthen protections for infants born with drug exposure.


Transition to Independence Act

On July 14, the House version of the Transition to Independence bill (HR 5903) was introduced by Representatives Van Hollen (D-MD) and McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The Senate version (S 1604) was introduced by Senator Grassley (R-IA) in June of 2015. The bill seeks to establish the Transition to Independence Medicaid Buy-In Option demonstration program, which will give ten Medicaid Buy-In states an opportunity to receive bonus payments for meeting benchmarks tied to expanding individual integrated employment and reducing subminimum wage work, congregate setting work, or facility-based day habilitation placement for people with disabilities who receive Medicaid-funded home or community-based services (HCBS), and for taking other actions that help expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities within each state. Many of the CCD taskforces, of which AUCD is a member, have been working closely with Senator Grassley and Representative Van Hollen providing recommendations about how best to support these bills.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment (ACICIEID)

Last week marked the ninth and final meeting of The Advisory Committee. The Committee is a key part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014 to help job seekers, including those with disabilities, access the services they need to succeed in employment. During the final meeting, The Committee finalized their recommendations addressing capacity building in the employment marketplace, in specific federal agencies, in competitive integrated employment (CIE), and for transition-aged youth. The recommendations will be sent to the Secretary of Labor by September of this year. The Committee also heard public testimony at which time Christine Grosso, AUCD Policy Analyst, and Liz Weintraub, AUCD Advocacy Specialist, thanked the Committee for their leadership and commitment on expanding CIE for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other significant disabilities, and also pledged to be a partner in the effort to secure more support and take necessary action to ensuring all individuals with disabilities have the option for CIE.


The Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), that was introduced in the House in October of 2015 and the Senate on June 22 of this year, has passed without amendment by unanimous consent. It was presented to the President for his signature on July 19. HOTMA (HR 3700, S 3038) aims to streamline and reform federal housing programs to cut costs, encourage work, reduce homelessness, improve families' access to high-opportunity neighborhoods, and improve public housing residents' quality of life. The CCD Housing taskforce, of which AUCD is a member, is encouraged by the use of project-based vouchers that provide low-income families with access to areas with lower poverty and crime rates and higher-performing schools. Housing agencies will be able to use project-based vouchers in place of tenant-based vouchers.


On May 26, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement key provisions of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This proposed regulation pertains to school accountability, data reporting, and consolidated state plans. AUCD, along with several other advocacy organizations, are reviewing the proposed rule to consider whether it aligns with goals of making data accessible to families, ensuring students with disabilities are included in all school accountability systems, and resulting in effective interventions for children with disabilities if they are in a consistently underperforming subgroup. Comments to the Department of Ed. are due on August 3rd. For more information, see fact sheet, chart, and a press release produced by the Department.

HRSA Grant Opportunity

On July 20, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $149 million in new awards designed to bolster training and education among community health professionals. The awards will be administered through twelve workforce programs that provide primary care training, advanced nursing education, and health career-related scholarships. For a full list of grant recipients, see here

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All       

During this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Senator Casey (D-PA) about the ABLE Act and the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz interviewed Nicole LeBlanc from Green Mountain Self Advocate about the ABLE act and other policy issues.


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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 



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