Contact our local North Texas representation and encourage them to continue providing support for day habilitation programs.
COVID-19 has put the disabilities industry and the people it serves, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, IDD, at high risk of dissolving. Across the United States, there are thousands of programs that exist to take care of adults with special needs. These programs provide continued learning, job training, therapy services, socialization, and an increased quality of life to millions of Americans who require unique support in their desire for inclusion. The vast majority of these programs operate exclusively on Medicaid Waiver funding, a combination of state and federal Medicaid funding that provides daily reimbursement for services rendered.
In many states, including Texas, these services have halted completely and as a result, there is no way to bill for funding support through Medicaid waivers because no service has been rendered. These programs already operate on the thinnest of margins and will not last a 30-90 day shut down. The downward spiral that this will create is massive.
How can you help?
- Urge the State of Texas to be proactive in including adult day programming (day habilitation centers) in any economic relief package that may become available
- If there is expanded Medicaid funding or disaster relief funds, we need these programs included in said coverage.
- State leadership needs to direct the Health & Human Services Department to seek a waiver from the Center of Medicaid Services (CMS) that allows funding to continue to these programs in lieu of providing services due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19
- This has taken place in the State of California and programs are secured in their funding during this time of closure
- A letter from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, it states:
“As a result of the State of Emergency declared for California, the Department of Developmental Services is authorizing, pursuant to Title 17, California Code of Regulations section 54326(a)(11), regional centers to pay vendors for absences that are the direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak in California. The applicable regulation section reads as follows:
[All vendors shall…] Not bill for consumer absences for nonresidential services. The department shall authorize payment for absences which are the direct result of situations and/or occurrences for which a State of Emergency has been declared by the Governor. If payment for absences due to a State of Emergency is authorized by the Department, the vendor shall bill only for absences in excess of the average number of absences experienced by the vendor during the 12-month period prior to the month in which the disaster occurred.”
We ask for the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide direction to each state Health & Human Services office to ensure that these programs can continue to receive funding. This is a crucial step to ensure that adult day programs across the country exist when we are recovering from COVID-19, enabling the parents of these adults to go back to work.”
The State of California and Governor Newsome is taking swift and well thought out action to protect adults with IDD and make sure they are not overlooked when the COVID-19 crisis is over. By acknowledging the effects of program closures, the State of California will save day habilitation programs, ensuring that individuals with IDD have a place to return and that their families can go back to work.
As our representative for North Texas, please advocate and urge Governor Abbott to follow suit and take the actions necessary to ensure that funding continue to support adult day programs in Texas.
Office of the Texas Governor
Governor Greg Abbott, 512-463-2000
Head of Appropriations Committee
Representative Giovanni Capriglione, District 98, 817-431-5339
Health and Human Services Committee
Representative James Frank, District 69, 940-767-1700
Representative Gina Hinojosa, District 49, 512-463-0668
North Texas Representatives
Senator Angela Paxton, District 8, 972-908-3424
Senator Jane Nelson, District 12, 817-424-3446
Representative Jeff Leach, District 67, 972-908-3358
Representative Matt Shaheen, District 66, 469-642-8708
The below information is great language to use when you contact your US members of Congress and urge them to remember individuals with IDD in regard to the COVID-19 relief funding.
Dear [Senator xx or Congressman xx] –
I am writing today to urge you to remember the needs of people with disabilities and the service system that supports them, as Congress considers additional help to the many Americans being impacted by COVID-19 through a new relief package. This issue is particularly relevant to me as a constituent living with [add your personalized story, such as a “a child with down syndrome who is supported by the Medicaid program” or “as an employee at MP who serves adults with intellectual disabilities daily”]. I ask that you support the proposals drafted by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) regarding supplemental appropriations to expand access to Medicare/Medicaid and Nutritional Services for older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions. We ask that you support grants to states to enhance access to vital home and community-based services (HCBS), via any program providing HCBS that is operating under a State Medicaid program, whether or not the program is operating under waiver authority. Funds would be used to supplement (not supplant) existing State funds for HCBS.
I ask that you would specifically consider including the following in any new COVID-19 relief package:
- Increased rates for home health and direct support professional (DSP) agencies to provide HCBS
- To provide paid sick leave, paid family leave, and paid medical leave to DSPs
- To provide hazard pay, overtime pay, and shift differential pay
- To provide HCBS to eligible individuals who are on waiting lists for HCBS programs
- To purchase emergency supplies and equipment necessary to enhance access to services and to protect the health & well-being of DSPs
- To pay for DSP travel to conduct HCBS
- To recruit new DSPs
- To support family care providers of eligible individuals with needed supplies, equipment and pay
- To pay for training for DSPs specific to COVID-19 emergency
- To pay for assistive technology, staffing and other costs incurred during the public health emergency in order to facilitate community integration and implementation of an individual’s person-centered service plan
- To support DSPs going to nursing facilities, institutions and quarantine settings to provide services to individuals who usually receive HCBS but choose to temporarily move to a more restrictive setting
- To prepare information and educational materials in accessible formats about prevention, treatment and recovery of COVID-19, including formats accessible to people with low literacy or intellectual disability
- To pay for ASL interpreters to assist in providing HCBS and to inform the public about COVID-19
- To allow for day service providers to shift to providing home-based services
- To pay for COVID-19 testing in home settings
- To pay for other expenses deemed appropriate and which meet the criteria of the HCBS settings rule
Thank you so much for all you do for your constituent base.
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