NCART backs consumers

Friday, June 30, 2006

WASHINGTON - Looking to strengthen its relationships with consumers, NCART has thrown its weight behind two bills being pushed by the National Council on Independent Living and the American Association of People with Disabilities.
The bills, The Medicaid Community-based Services and Supports Act of 2005 (MiCassa) and the Money Follows the Person Act of 2005 (MFP), would favor home and community-based services over institutional care.
"We've been asking, all along, for the disability community to support our needs, but we haven't turned around and said, 'Oh, this is important to you,'" said Simon Margolis, an NCART executive committee member and vice president for clinical and professional development for National Seating & Mobility. "It's a strong connection that we haven't really been able to capitalize on."
MiCassa would require Medicaid programs to cover community-based attendant services and supports. MFP would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants that either increase the use of home and community-based long-term care services or eliminate barriers, policies and other mechanisms that prevent Medicaid recipients from remaining in the setting of their choice.
During NCART's congressional fly-in May 22-23, members provided legislators with packets of information that included position papers on MiCassa and MFP. In turn, the National Council on Independent Living, which had its own congressional fly-in May 24, plans to throw its weight behind NCART's rehab carve-out bill. NCART hopes others, such as the ALS Association, follow suit, Margolis said.
"We're trying not to fight these battles on our own, anymore, because we, as providers, don't deserve anything," he said. "The consumer has a right to something, but we don't. It's a whole different paradigm that we're trying to move in."