Disability Policy News In Brief

September 5, 2016

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September 05, 2016   |   Vol. XV, Issue 88
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Happy Labor Day

Congressional Schedule

Congress will return from recess on September 6.

Health Care

Durable Medical Equipment

AUCD signed onto an ITEM letter to Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in response to a request for information on Access to Care Issues for Durable Medical Equipment (DME). The letter expresses concerns regarding obstacles to obtaining DME among people with both Medicaid and Medicare benefits ("dual-eligibles") in many states. There continues to be a misalignment of payment procedures in Medicare and Medicaid, which results in denials, delays, and higher than appropriate health care costs for essential DME. The coalition urges CMS to adopt a prior authorization solution. This would require state Medicaid programs to prior authorize DME for dually eligible beneficiaries, as it does for those who receive only Medicaid.

Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification

AUCD, along with several other national organization, signed onto a letter to Senators Casey (D-PA) and Schumer (D-NY), and Representatives Ruiz of California and Meehan of Pennsylvania expressing support for the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (HR 5772/S 3236). The BENES Act shields people with Medicare from steep premium penalties, fills gaps in coverage, and expands avenues for relief among those who mistakenly delay or decline Part B. The BENES Act requires that a clear and detailed notice explaining Part B enrollment rules is mailed to all individuals aging into Medicare and those nearing eligibility because they receive Social Security disability benefits; it also guarantees that people with Medicare will no longer go without needed outpatient care due to needlessly delayed coverage start dates.


The CDC issued Zika virus travel notices for the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and Singapore, which means that local mosquito transmission of Zika has been officially reported in all three areas. Singapore is the first country in Asia to have been the subject of a Zika travel notice. The CDC is not advising against travel to any of these regions, but recommends that individuals practice enhanced precautions to avoid contracting the virus from local mosquitoes. A full list of countries and territories that have been given a Zika travel notice can be found here.


AUCD signed on to two sets of comments developed by the CCD Education Task Force related to implementation of Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new law that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  The first set of comments responded to proposed regulation to implement the accountability provisions of ESSA.  The second set of comments was in response to proposed regulations dealing with assessments.  Both sets of comments will be posted on the CCD Education Task Force website.

Home and Community Based Services

Money Follows the Person

The Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration program helps states rebalance their Medicaid long-term care systems; since December of 2014 MFP has helped over 51,000 people with chronic conditions and disabilities transition from institutions back into their community. Despite strong bi-partisan support, this program is due to expire September 30, 2016. In an effort to make this demonstration program permanent, AUCD has partnered with National Consumer Voice and other national organizations to create an action alert emphasizing the need to preserve this vital lifeline. Ask your members of Congress to continue the Money Follows the Person program today!


On September 1, the Co-Chairs of the CCD Housing & Rights Task Force, of which AUCD is a member, sent a letter to Karen Humes, Population Division Chief of the U.S. Census Bureau, regarding the Proposed 2020 Census Residence Criteria and Residence Situations. The letter explains that the census data collected every ten years excludes individuals who live in specific types of Group Quarters settings. Currently, the Census Bureau does not provide public access to national or state level data that is specific to one or more of the five sub-categories of facilities within the Non-institutional Facilities category of Group Quarters (1. Emergency and Transitional Shelters for People Experiencing Homelessness, 2. Group Homes Intended for Adults, 3. Residential Treatment Centers for Adults, 4. Religious Group Quarters, and 5. Workers Group Living Quarters and Job Corps Centers). The letter makes urges the Census Bureau to provide Special Tabulations of data on these subcategories as these data are critically important to both housing advocates struggling to accurately assess the full scope of the housing needs of people with disabilities as well as to legal advocates for people with disabilities who are working to enforce the community integration mandates of the ADA.

HCBS Conference

This past week, AUCD staff presented at the 2016 National Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Conference. The conference brought together hundreds of federal, state, and local policymakers and those who administer, manage, and deliver waiver and other HCBS programs. The agenda was robust and extremely informative; PowerPoints for each presentation can be found here

Public Policy Intern, Nicole LeBlanc

Tina Campanella

This week Nicole LeBlanc, former Advocacy Director for Green Mountain Self-Advocates, began her 13 week public policy internship. Nicole was chosen by the Arc to be this year's Paul Marchand Disability Public Policy intern, which will be hosted by AUCD. During her internship, Nicole will be involved in a number of activities including researching existing laws and monitoring pending legislation, attending hearings, briefings and coalition meetings, and writing policy newsletters. Nicole brings with her over 8 years of experience in advocating for people with developmental disabilities at the state level as part of the Self Advocacy Movement in Vermont (the former chair of the Vermont Senate Appropriations Committees would call her the "Budget Watchdog" and the "Guardian of Inclusion").  It has always been a dream of hers to work on disability policy at the federal level in the areas of Social Security, Medicaid, Employment, ABLE Act, Voting, and HCBS rule implementation. She is very excited about her new role and AUCD is as equally enthusiastic.   

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All       

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Michael Gamel-McCormick , Director of the Promise TA center and Leon Barnett, Program Specialist for the Promise TA center about the Promise TA center. In case you missed last week's edition, Liz spoke to AUCD's Director of Public Policy Kim Musheno, about the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and the ways in which it engages with lawmakers to support and encourage legislation that is in the interest of individuals with disabilities. Kim also serves as the Chair of CCD for 2016.



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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 

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