We need your help!!!
For the first time since the pandemic started, Congress is working on a COVID-19 relief bill with funds for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). The current COVID-19 relief bill has $9.7 billion to support states (like Colorado) with Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). These funds will be a shot in the arm that our state desperately needs.
We need your help to ensure the funding for HCBS stays in this COVID-19 relief bill. We need everyone who cares about people with IDD, that is every person we know and everybody you know, to tell Congress to Include the disability community in the next COVID-19 relief package!”.
Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) are critical for people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional (DSP) workforce. Unfortunately, they have been overlooked in all the previous coronavirus relief bills. With a new President and a new Congress, we have a chance to make sure we are not left out again.
Act now to tell Congress that we need dedicated funding for Medicaid Home and Community-based Services (HCBS). These funds are necessary to serve people with disabilities in their homes and communities and will provide better wages and support for the DSP workforce. Access to HCBS will reduce the risk of people with disabilities being put in institutions. Furthermore, state systems are already facing large cuts across the country making these federal dollars more important than ever.
How can you act? The Arcs have 3 simple ways for you to voice your concerns:
- Follow this link: https://bit.ly/3q0u9A5 and enter your name, address, and zip code and an email will be created telling your members of Congress to keep Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in the current COVID-19 relief bill. You can also get your members of Congress’s Twitter and phone contact information to go beyond your email request.
- Create your own personal message. Simply go to this link: #WeAreEssential: Share Your Story! (p2a.co), answer a few questions, write a short personal story on why HCBS services matter to you or those you love, and The Arc will create an email to send to your members of Congress.
- Spread this far and wide. Send it to any providers, teachers, family members, or friends in any state to ensure Congress does right by people with disabilities and keeps Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in the current COVID-19 relief bill.
Why are Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) so important to The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties? Because it is the life blood for funding for a broad range of services for individuals with varying needs. The HCBS programs target three groups – individuals who are aged and disabled or both, children and adults with intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities, and individuals with mental illnesses. HCBS programs allow individuals within these target populations to receive a mix of services in their own home or community rather than in the traditional, institutional setting. Here in Colorado these are what we call “Waiver Services” and for our IDD community the Children’s Habilitative Waiver, The Children’s Extensive Support Waiver, Supported Living Services Waiver (SLS) and Developmental Disabilities Waiver (DD-Waiver). These services support individuals with supported employment, personal care and respite services, residential services (in the DD-Waiver), day program, home delivered meals; home health aides; and homemaker services. According to Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) HCBS services are “effective and necessary to avoid institutionalization.”
The creation of HCBS is has been vital to reducing one-size fits all institutional care in Colorado. As everyone, disability or not, should have the right to receive care in the comfort of their own home or community rather than in an institutional setting.
The funding outlined in the new COVID-19 relief bill will support our HCBS providers, ensuring there are people to care for those in waiver funded services. Here is a short video from The Arc from self-advocates on why HCBS matters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AkkHS3CoNo&t
Thank you for your advocacy and being a voice to our Colorado members of Congress!