Yesterday Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) introduced a bill to reauthorize the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program. The bipartisan legislation, titled the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care Act (the EMPOWER Care Act), would extend the MFP demonstration program through 2022.
MFP was designed to help states transition people with disabilities from institutions into the community, and to assist states in rebalancing their long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems to increase access to home and community based services (HCBS). Since it began, 47 states have participated and over 75,000 disabled people have been liberated from institutions, and Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have played a critical role in that.
However, the program expired on September 30, 2016. While States can still use remaining grant funds through 2020, with no reauthorization or additional funding on the horizon, programs are being scaled back and will eventually end. In fact, the program expired last year and we already saw the number of new transitions decline. Reauthorizing MFP will provide additional funding for transitioning people with disabilities into the community, and it will continue incentivizing states to prioritize home and community based services.
Take Action - Sign the Letter of Support!
The introduction of this legislation is wholly due to the ongoing advocacy of the disability community, and it is a big achievement! We will continue to keep you updated on any progress or other advocacy opportunities related this bill. But for now, we need to show the Independent Living community’s strong support for this bipartisan effort!
CILs, SILCs, and other organizations, please sign on to the letter of support.
Signatures are due by 12:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, December 18, 2017.
On this episode of "Resource Central," Joe Reinecker and Andy Rausch talk to Mary Reynolds, the Director of Independent Living and Quality Assurance at SKIL. She talks about the new Grassroots Advocates for Independent Living group, which seeks to advocate for, and also teach disabled individuals how to advocate for themselves.
How will the Trump tax plan affect you?
On this episode of "Resource Central," host Joe Reinecker talks to Lou Ann Kibbee about the impending Republican tax plan and how it would affect SKIL and its customers. Kibbee is the Systems Advocacy Manager at SKIL.
The Southwest ADA Center is carrying out research into the use of service animals and other assistance animals by people with disabilities in public settings. As part of this research, we are asking people, age 18 and up, who use these animals across the country to fill in the attached survey.
This is a final push for public feedback as we are closing the survey on December 15th, 2017.
The information gathered from it will help us 1) understand what access issues people are having with their animals; and 2) to develop and improve the information, support, and guidance needed for the community to improve access for users of assistance animals. These findings will also improve the trainings and technical assistance that the Southwest ADA Center can provide to the public on this topic.
Whether you use a service animal or other type of assistance animal, we would like to hear from you. After the first question which confirms your eligibility for this survey, you can skip any question you prefer not to answer. The questionnaire will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.
On this week's episode of "Resource Central," host Joe Reinecker asks Cinda Davis, a Pittsburg SKIL customer, "What has SKIL done for you?" Davis suffered a head injury as the result of an automobile accident, and also has rheumatoid arthritis and epileptic seizures. She has been a SKIL customer for the past three years. Here she talks about how SKIL's assistance has been beneficial in allowing her to lead a fulfilling life.