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NY Disability Rights Advocates Seek Federal Dollars for Home Care

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Thursday, August 5, 2021   

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Advocates for people with disabilities in New York are pushing for the federal budget resolution to include $400 billion in Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services across the U.S. as part of the Better Care Better Jobs Act.

Heidi Siegfried, director of health policy at the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York (CIDNY), said the majority of people in the U.S. would prefer to get long-term care services at home. However, she pointed out in New York and across the country, the field has been drastically underfunded for a long time, and argued incorporating the Better Care Better Jobs Act would lead to better pay and health benefits and address the workforce shortage.

"To put $400 billion in Medicaid that will be targeted specifically to home- and community-based services, this would be a start to helping people with disabilities get the care they need, to stay out of nursing facilities, which have now been shown to be a deathtrap during the pandemic," Siegfried asserted.

The American Rescue Plan gives New York $2.1 billion in increased federal matching funds for Medicaid, but it only lasts one year.

Siegfried noted CIDNY would like to see better oversight and more transparency of the home and community care system, and be involved with creating the care systems themselves.

She added some long-term care companies often fail to authorize the number of hours of care that are necessary for people receiving services to live safely in their own homes. CIDNY workers helping individuals transition to home care report more people are being hospitalized as a result.

"We want people to be able to live independent and meaningful lives in the community," Siegfried explained. "And it's dependent on having adequate home care to be able to do that."

The budget resolution doesn't require a bipartisan agreement, and can pass through the U.S. Senate by a majority of 50 votes, with the vice president's vote to break a tie.

Disclosure: The Center for Independence of the Disabled New York contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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