UCP RELEASES NEW REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

 

UCP RELEASES NEW REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

New format highlights states’ successes with managed care and employment initiatives

Washington, DC (May 2, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) released the 2013 Case for Inclusion today, an annual report that tracks the progress of community living standards for Americans living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).

The 2013 report, in addition to data from all previous reports since 2006, is available on UCP’s website using a robust new web module and design at http://www.ucp.org/the-case-for-inclusion/2013/.

Each state and the District of Columbia (DC) is analyzed and ranked based on five key outcome areas: promoting independence, tracking quality and safety, keeping families together, promoting productivity, and reaching those in need. Since 2006, these rankings enable families, advocates, the media and policymakers to fully understand each state’s progress or lack of improvement, and help to protect programs and services against unwise funding cuts, as well as guide future reforms to promote inclusion and enhance the quality of life for these, and ultimately all, Americans.

This year’s report highlights the progress that has been made, including:

·      38 states now meet the 80/80 Community standard, a dramatic increase from just 14 states in the 2007 report.

·      As of 2011, 13 states have no state institutions to seclude those with ID/DD. 10 states have only one institution each.

·      Since 1960, 209 of 354 state institutions have been closed, leaving just 149 remaining.

·      21 states now meet the 80% Home-like Setting standard (80% in settings with 1-3 residents).  This is up from just 17 states in the 2007 report.

·      34 states participate in the National Core Indicators, an increase from 24 in the 2007 report. 

·      15 states were supporting a large share of families through family support, up from just 10 states in the 2007 report.

The report also identifies problems, such as:

·      All states still have room for improvement, but some states have consistently remained at the bottom since 2007, Arkansas (#50), Illinois (#48), Mississippi (#51) and Texas (#49).

·      Just ten states have at least one-third (33%) of individuals in competitive employment. This is a downturn from 2007, when 17 states met this standard.

·      Waiting lists for residential and community services are high and have grown from 138,000 people in 2007 to 268,000. At this level, a growth of 44 percent would be needed to meet the need for services. 

New in the 2013 Case for Inclusion is highlights of three case studies—two that examine trends in managed care for those with ID/DD with reforms in Kansas and Massachusetts, and one outlining the success of Washington State in promoting competitive employment through its Employment First policy and practices.

Kansas:

·      KanCare represents one of the most aggressive and comprehensive Medicaid reforms affecting those with ID/DD, directly integrating work, health and community; broadening the scope of benefits; and prioritizing competitive employment and improving health outcomes.

·      As of January 1, 2014, individuals with ID/DD will be able to chose from the three private plans currently offered to Medicaid enrollees, all of which fully integrate medical and behavioral health benefits and home and community-based services.

·      KanCare will focus on specific outcomes to determine success, including: increased competitive employment; improved life expectancy; integration of physical health, behavioral health and home and community based services; and improved health.

Massachusetts:

·      The first state to implement a statewide pilot program (called a demonstration) for all dually eligible individuals, including those with ID/DD, Massachusetts aims to improve coordination of care, actual health outcomes, and overall quality of life for Americans with developmental disabilities.

·      Individuals with ID/DD will have new benefits available through the ICO plans, including restorative dental services, expanded personal care assistance, and greater access to durable medical equipment, and the program defines its success on actual outcomes.

·      Although the actual outcomes tracked have yet to be determined, some of the possible measures to be included include access, person-centered care, integration of services and enrollee outcomes.

Washington:

·      Washington State’s Employment First policy supports employment and day program funds targeted for working-age adults and ensures that after nine months of employment services the individual may choose community access programs.

·      By focusing its efforts on this narrow window of time, Washington’s leaders and advocates addressed the difficult goal of finding a job directly through leadership, training and innovation, and clearly defined goals.

·      The impact of this was profound: in seven years, the number of individuals competitively employed rose from 4,440 in 2004 (before the policy) to 5,562 by 2011.

“The Case for Inclusion is a valuable tool for United Cerebral Palsy and advocates across the country to use as we work to advance the civil rights protections and public policies that help support individuals living with disabilities, ensuring fair and full citizenship for all Americans. This year’s report shows in great detail the states are able to provide services and supports that result in better outcomes for people with disabilities, as well as three case studies that can serve as road maps to success,” said Stephen Bennett, President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “It is our hope that the Case for Inclusion can be used to strengthen the efforts of states and advocates to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities.”

Using the interactive website, users can:

·      Compare state & national data. 

·      View state scorecards. 

·      Interact with the ranking map. 

·      See highlights of the 2013 report, the top and bottom 10 states, most improved states and those with biggest drops, and facts about the best performing states. 

·      Learn how to use the report to advocate for areas needing improvement in states, and promote achievements that maintain high quality outcomes, like eliminating waiting lists and closing large institutions. 

·      View in-depth information about each of the states feature in the case studies: Massachusetts, Kansas and Washington State. 

·      Users can pull individual state outcomes and measures, track each state’s performance over time, and compare states among one another and to the U.S. average. The Case for Inclusion data, tables and graphs are exportable and printable as needed for personal and professional use.

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About United Cerebral Palsy

 

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org. 

Sequestration and its Effects on Special Populations

Overview

On March 1, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB will sequester approximately $85 billion in Fiscal Year 2013 spending as mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011.

OMB recently calculated that sequestration will require an annual reduction of roughly 5 percent for nondefense programs and roughly 8 percent for defense programs. However, given that these cuts must be achieved over only seven months instead of 12, the effective percentage reductions will be approximately 9 percent for nondefense programs and 13 percent for defense programs. These large and arbitrary cuts will have severe impacts across the government.

This overview on sequestration and its effects on special populations includes information related to: Medicaid, Social Security, and CHIP programs; Medicare; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Education and Special education (IDEA); the Head Start Program; and Housing.

National Implications

Medicaid, Social Security, and CHIP: While Medicaid, Social Security, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are exempt from the talks, most other health programs will be affected.

While Social Security payments are not affected, sequestration would force the Social Security Administration (SSA) to furlough most of their workforce, causing SSA offices to close earlier or permanently. Beneficiaries who visit these offices or call the 1-800 number will most likely have to wait longer for services. The furlough would also impact the ability of disability claims, retirement claims, and disability hearings to be processed.

Medicare: The sequester includes a two percent cut to Medicare, as well as much larger cuts to federal healthcare agencies. The Medicare cut is big — $11 billion just this year, according to the White House budget office. These cuts will affect those who receive Medicare, including Dual Eligible’s (those who receive both Medicare and Medicaid).

This would also result in billions of dollars in lost revenues to Medicare doctors, hospitals, and other providers, who will only be reimbursed at 98 cents on the dollar for their services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Sequestration would reduce access to behavioral healthcare. If sequestration takes effect, up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated. This would likely lead to increased hospitalizations, involvement in the criminal justice system, and homelessness for these individuals.

In addition, close to 8,900 homeless persons with serious mental illness would not get outreach, treatment, housing, and support they need through the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. Admissions to inpatient facilities for people in need of critical addiction services could be reduced by 109,000, and almost 91,000 fewer people could receive substance abuse treatment services.

Education and Special education (IDEA):

Title I: Title I education funds would be eliminated for more than 2,700 schools, cutting support for nearly 1.2 million disadvantaged students. This funding reduction would put the jobs of approximately 10,000 teachers and aides at risk. Students would lose access to individual instruction, afterschool programs, and other interventions that help close achievement gaps.

Special Education (IDEA): Cuts to special education funding would eliminate Federal support for more than 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and support to preschool and school-aged students with disabilities.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 70,000 children, reducing access to critical early education. Community and faith based organizations, small businesses, local governments, and school systems would have to lay off over 14,000 teachers, teacher assistants, and other staff.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Under sequestration, HUD would not renew about 125,000 Tenant Based Rental Assistance vouchers (Section 8). This would affect over 300,000 individuals across the country. Half of Section 8 households have children, 40 percent are disabled, and 20 percent are elderly.

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY RESPONDS TO FISCAL CLIFF VOTE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY RESPONDS TO FISCAL CLIFF VOTE

Washington, DC (January 2, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) issued the following statement in response to the passage by Congress of legislation to avert the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ of tax increases and spending cuts.

“We applaud Congress’s action to prevent harmful tax increases and cuts to vital services and supports for millions of Americans. The deal passed by Congress protects Social Security benefits and Medicaid— but most importantly, the individuals and their families who depend on these safety net programs, and particularly those living with disabilities.

“However, we are very disappointed that the CLASS Act, which offered a framework for funding long-term services and supports, was repealed in the ‘fiscal cliff’ legislation. We are hopeful that the replacement Commission that was created in its place will be successful in helping our country to address these critical issues.

“United Cerebral Palsy urges Congress and President Obama to continue to work together to ensure that the programs and services that help so many Americans with disabilities and their families are protected in our ongoing budget debates.”

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About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MAKE DISABILITY ISSUES A PRIORITY

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MAKE DISABILITY ISSUES A PRIORITY

Washington, DC (November 7, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama winning the presidential election.

“We are pleased to have reached the end of this campaign, and congratulate President Obama. While there are many topics to be addressed in the next four years, we urge President Obama to work towards achieving real progress on issues that have an impact on Americans with disabilities. Particularly in critical areas such as accessibility, civil rights, education, Medicaid, employment and health care, there are serious concerns to be addressed— and we urge President Obama to make them a priority,” said Stephen Bennett, President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “There are more than 57 million people in this country living with a disability today. We are a strong, diverse community and we look forward to working with President Obama as we continue our efforts to ensure that people with disabilities can live their lives to the fullest.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org. 

UCP APPLAUDS NATIONAL FORUM ON DISABILITY ISSUES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UCP APPLAUDS NATIONAL FORUM ON DISABILITY ISSUES

 

Obama and Romney campaigns send representatives to speak to Americans living with disabilities

 

Washington, DC (September 28, 2012) – More than 500 people attended the only national event for the presidential campaigns on disability issues with more than 1,000 people watching online, reported United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), one of the more than 80 sponsors of the National Forum on Disability Issues, hosted in Columbus, OH today.

The non-partisan forum featured President Barack Obama’s campaign surrogate Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., a disability rights advocate and son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and former Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign surrogate U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Also participating in the forum on behalf of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was Ohio State Representative Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), and Senator Brown’s opponent, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Each participant presented the policy positions of the respective campaigns and responded to questions posed by the moderator, Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University. Many of the questions were submitted by the disability community, and focused on employment, health care, long-term care, education, and housing issues.  

“United Cerebral Palsy is very excited to be a part of the National Forum on Disability Issues, which has helped engage the presidential campaigns on issues that are critical to the disability community. With more than 57 million Americans living with disabilities today, people with disabilities are not a ‘minority’ constituency but a real and powerful voice in the electoral process,” said Stephen Bennett, President & CEO of UCP. “While we are disappointed that President Obama and Governor Romney were not able to participate, we applaud all of those who contributed to today’s success and look forward to continuing to work together in advocating for the public policies that ensure fair and full citizenship for people with disabilities.” 

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UCP WELCOMES NEW POLITICAL STRATEGIST AND ADVOCATE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175,

UCP WELCOMES NEW POLITICAL STRATEGIST AND ADVOCATE

Swenson assumes role as Director, Political Leadership and Strategy 

Washington, DC (June 4, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), an international service provider and advocate for children and adults with a spectrum of disabilities, has appointed Will Swenson as Director, Political Leadership and Strategy, effective May 29, 2012. Swenson will report to Connie Garner, Executive Vice President of Public Policy, and Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP.

Swenson joins UCP after six years in the office of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he played a key role in Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 650 mayors across the country dedicated to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Working with mayors, law enforcement, gun violence survivors and family members, the coalition has built a strong and effective new grassroots force in the gun violence prevention movement. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics, Swenson brings considerable experience and insight to UCP and its growing public policy team.

“I am very pleased to welcome Will to United Cerebral Palsy and I look forward to working with him to further develop our public policy and strategic initiatives,” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP. “Will’s expertise as a grassroots organizer will help to strengthen UCP’s voice and role as a national advocate for people living with disabilities. His work in developing Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition into a national force for change was outstanding, and we are excited for Will to apply his talents here at UCP.”

Swenson will work closely with UCP’s public policy team to help build consensus and momentum among policymakers, advocates and the disability community to achieve full citizenship for Americans living with disabilities.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Will Swenson to UCP. He is a great addition to our team and will help to strengthen our efforts to ensure that people living with disabilities have a voice in the critical public policy decisions that shape their lives,” said Connie Garner, Executive Vice President of Public Policy. “Will’s expertise and experience will help to move UCP forward in its mission to help make this country a place where public policy always reflects the priorities of people living with disabilities.”

“UCP is recognized as a leader in the disability community, and I am proud to be joining such a strong and dedicated team,” said Swenson. “UCP, together with their network of affiliates and partners, has helped shape the policies that make a difference in the lives of people living with disabilities and their families for over sixty years, and I look forward to continuing UCP’s work in new and innovative ways.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UCP APPLAUDS PRINCIPLES ON RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: 
Kalean Richards: 202-973-77175,  

 

UCP APPLAUDS PRINCIPLES ON RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION


Department of Education issued principles document to help educators, parents and stakeholders shape policies

Washington, DC (May 15, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) congratulates the Department of Education and the Obama Administration for taking a proactive stand on protecting our nation’s students by highlighting the use of positive behavioral supports in schools.

Achieving a safe learning environment that is free from abuse should be the objective of every school, and the Department’s 15 principles issued in today’s guiding document are a step forward in reaching that goal. As noted by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), there is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the problem behaviors that cause these techniques to be utilized. Furthermore, there have been cases of alleged abuse, including deaths, related to the use of restraint or seclusion of children in public and private schools.

“I applaud the Department of Education and the Obama Administration for issuing this document, which will act as a guide for teachers, parents, and policymakers on behavioral interventions in schools. By using these 15 principles to determine school policies and actions, the use of restraint and seclusion in our schools will be carefully regulated and hopefully eliminated. As the GAO points out, these techniques are not only ineffective in preventing negative behaviors, but can lead to tragic consequences when used inappropriately,” said Stephen Bennett, UCP President and Chief Executive Officer.  “These principles are important for all our students, not just students living with disabilities. Every student should be able to learn and grow in a safe environment, and be given the opportunities they need to reach their fullest potential.”

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About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

Department of Education Releases Guidelines on Restraint and Seclusion

In a press release today, the US Department of Education released guidelines that schools should follow to enure the safe and carefully considered use of this controversial practice in dealing with children with behavioral problems.

As noted by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), there is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the problem behaviors that cause these techniques to be utilized. Furthermore, there have been cases of alleged abuse, including deaths, related to the use of restraint or seclusion of children in public and private schools.

Read the full resource document from the Department of Education.

Read the UCP Press Release about the new guidelines.

CONGRESSIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR JOINS GROWING POLICY TEAM AT UCP

CONTACTS: 
Lauren Cozzi: 202-973-7114, LCozzi@ucp.org
Alicia Kubert Smith, 202-973-7168, akubertsmith@ucp.org

 

CONGRESSIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR JOINS
GROWING POLICY TEAM AT UCP

Richards to assume role as Director of Policy Communications

Washington, DC (March 27, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), an international service provider and advocate for children and adults with a spectrum of disabilities, has appointed Kaelan Richards its new Senior Director of Public Policy, Communications & Advocacy, effective March 26, 2012. Richards will report to Dr. Connie Garner, who UCP appointed as Executive Vice President of Public Policy earlier this year.

Richards joins UCP after nearly three years as Communications Director for Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT).  She has also served as Press Secretary for Senator Paul G. Kirk, Jr. (D-Mass.) and Deputy Press Secretary for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass). She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Miami and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Communications from American University.

“I am pleased to welcome Kaelan to UCP as Communications Director for our public policy initiatives,” Garner said. “Her longstanding commitment to communicating the importance of disability issues to legislators and national media is evident in her work with Senator Kennedy and Senator Kirk, and most recently Representative Rosa DeLauro. Kaelan is a welcomed addition to our developing public policy and outreach team at UCP.”

Richards will serve as the lead press and communications coordinator for UCP’s policy efforts, helping to create communications strategies that link UCP’s national programs with key legislative initiatives while mobilizing advocates throughout the nation to advance for the full citizenship for people with disabilities.

“UCP is an innovative and dedicated organization with strong national network of affiliates all working toward the same goal: creating a ‘life without limits’ for people with disabilities and providing the support their families need,” Richards said. “It is an honor to be joining the amazing team at UCP, and I look forward to working with them to advance smart policies that ensure all doors of opportunity are open to Americans with disabilities and their families.”

About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

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United Cerebral Palsy Celebrates Enactment of Comprehensive Health Care Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Lauren Cozzi
(202) 973-7114 (direct)
(203) 858-5292 (cell)
LCozzi@ucp.org

Washington, D.C. (April 2, 2010) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) applauds President Obama’s March 30 signing of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) into law, which contains "fixes" to the health care reform bill (H.R. 3590). This historic legislation is certain to rank among the top domestic legislative achievements of this generation. It will bring about comprehensive health care reform that will benefit nearly all Americans while reducing the federal deficit.

The Disability Policy Collaboration, and UCP’s grasstops and grassroots work were instrumental in securing enactment of this landmark legislation.

"We are extremely pleased that the new law marks the attainment of several of United Cerebral Palsy’s priority public policy goals, because people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will benefit greatly from a number of important provisions of the law," said Stephen Bennett, President & CEO, United Cerebral Palsy. "However we know that no bill is perfect, and we have a significant amount of work ahead to ensure the law is implemented properly. This includes the impact some of the provisions have on the budgets of the developmental disability provider network without the critical funding supports from the federal and state governments."

"This law, coupled with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  (H.R. 3590), which President Obama signed last week, will dramatically improve disability related health care and long term services and supports," explained Liz Savage, Director of Health Policy for the Disability Policy Collaboration, who attended the historic ceremony. "These laws represent a sea change in access to quality, affordable health care for people with disabilities."

Law provisions include the following:

Coverage

  • Prohibiting private health insurance exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
  • Eliminating annual and lifetime caps in private insurance policies.
  • Restricting the consideration of health status in setting premiums.
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover individuals with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line (approximately $29,000 per year for a family of four).

Benefits

  • Ensuring that minimum covered benefits include products and services that enable people with disabilities to maintain and improve function, such as rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices.

Access to Quality Care

  • Improving training of physicians, dentists, and allied health professionals on how to treat persons with disabilities.
  • Requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to collect data on beneficiaries with disabilities access to primary care services and the level to which primary care service providers have been trained on disability issues. Ensuring prevention programs include a focus on individuals with disabilities.

Long Term Services and Supports
Strengthening long-term services and supports through a two pronged approach:

  1. Taking pressure off of the Medicaid program
    • The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act would create a national long term services insurance program which assists eligible individuals and their families to meet long term needs with a cash benefit and without forcing them into poverty to receive Medicaid benefits.
  2. Improving the Medicaid program
    • The Community First Choice Option would help to eliminate the institutional bias by encouraging states to cover personal attendant services under the state’s optional service plan instead of through the waiver system by offering a 6% increase in the federal share of Medicaid for these services.
    • Increasing the federal share of Medicaid, known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (or FMAP), for home and community based services (HCBS) and during periods of economic downturn.
    • Allowing states to offer additional services under the 1915(i) Medicaid HCBS Waivers State Plan Option.
    • Providing spousal impoverishment protections for HCBS Beneficiaries.

This bill signing came after a week filled with events, including:

  • On March 21, the U.S. House of Representatives (House) voted 219 to 212 to pass the Senate health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (H.R. 3590). Thirty four Democrats and all Republicans opposed the bill. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation would cost $940 billion over ten years and reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion over the first ten years and $1.2 trillion in the second ten years. The House then took up a budget reconciliation bill [the Reconciliation Act of 2010 H.R. (4872)] to make amendments to the health care reform bill to address issues which were problematic to many Members of Congress. The reconciliation bill was passed by a vote of 220 to 211.
  • On March 23, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590)into law, which includes the CLASS Act and the Community First Choice (CFC) Option.
  • On March 25, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) which contains "fixes" to the health care reform bill (HR 3590) by a vote of 56 to 43. The House then passed the reconciliation bill for a second time, because the Senate had made some technical changes to it by a vote of 220 to 207.

About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) was founded over 60 years ago by parents of children with cerebral palsy, and today UCP is a leading service provider and advocate for adults and children with disabilities. The UCP mission is to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities through an affiliate network. This includes approximately 100 local service providers reaching over 176,000 adults and children daily in the U.S., Canada, Scotland and Australia. The UCP national office in Washington DC supports affiliates through programmatic assistance; an annual conference; events to raise awareness and support; marketing and communication services; advocacy; advancement of federal disability public policy through the Disability Policy Collaboration (DPC); and development of forward-thinking programs like Life Without Limits, a national movement to empower people with disabilities to envision and build a better future, and MyChildWithoutLimits, an online resource and community for parents, families and caregivers of children ages zero to five, newly diagnosed with a disability or developmental delay. For more information, please visit www.UCP.org.