Governor’s Budget Amendments Jeopardize Waiver Services

April 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Action Alert!Please call/email your state legislators as soon as possible!

Amendments proposed by Governor McDonnell put community-based services for people with disabilities in jeopardy!

Note:

This alert is extremely important. It is almost certain that this issue will impact you or someone you care about. It explains what has happened since the General Assembly adjourned in March, and what you need to do to prevent the latest attempt to cuts in waiver services. But, we must take action before Wednesday, April 21!

Background:

The General Assembly passed the 2011-2012 Budget on March 15, 2010. This week, Governor McDonnell proposed a number of amendments to the 2010-2012 Budget. The General Assembly will now meet for a reconvened “veto” session this Wednesday, April 21st at 12pm to vote on these amendments, finalizing the budget process.

There are two very serious concerns about Governor McDonnell’s proposed amendments.

Concern #1:

Amendments allow FMAP funds to be redirected

The Governor’s proposed amendments give him the authority to use new federal Medicaid funding (FMAP) for items other than the restoration of funding for home and community-based services through the Medicaid Waivers that were approved by the General Assembly in its final budget. Since the language requiring use of FMAP funds for these restorations has been removed in the governor’s amendments, this action essentially leaves many critical services for people with disabilities and senior adults “up in the air”.

What This Means to You:

All of restorations of funding for Medicaid waiver services approved by the General Assembly are now in jeopardy, including the use of anticipated federal Medicaid monies to prevent:

  • Imposition of a proposed freeze in new admissions to Virginia Medicaid waivers.
  • Cuts in the number of respite hours from 720 to 240 per year (a 2/3 cut in respite services).
  • Reductions of 5% in HCBS Waiver provider reimbursement rates, including personal assistant salaries.
  • Loss of 250 new slots for the Intellectual Disabilities waiver approved by the General Assembly.
  • Maximum monthly income to qualify for waivers from being reduced from a monthly income equal to 300% of SSI to one equal to 250% of SSI.
  • Cuts to the annual amount of funding for Assistive Technology and Environmental Modifications Service provided through the waivers.

Concern #2:

Amendment mandates “managed care” for all Medicaid Home and Commnunity-based Services waivers (HCBS)

The Governor proposed an amendment mandating the “managed care” model for all HCBS waivers (i.e. using insurance companies to coordinate/authorize care). The managed care model is used to “reduce and control costs” of services.

What This Means to You:

Based on what has been reported by advocates in other states, it is believed that moving to this model would have a detrimental impact on people with disabilities in the following ways:

  • There will be “caps” or limits on HCBS Services.
  • People with significant disabilities whose support needs exceed caps could be at increased risk of institutionalization.
  • Funding for services/supports could be redirected to administrative costs/profits for insurance companies.
  • Individuals/families could experience difficulty accessing/navigating supports and services.
  • More information about these proposed amendments can be accessed on Governor McDonnell’s website http://bit.ly/ddynyU.

The Bottom Lline:

In order to defeat proposed amendments that are harmful to people with disabilities – we need a simple majority in the House of Delegates or Senate to vote NO to these amendments on Wednesday, April 21 during the General Assembly “veto” session!

What You Need to Do:

1. Call Your Legislators As Soon As Possible!

Sample message:

“I urge you to reject Governor McDonnell’s amendment that moves home and community-based waivers to managed care. This would be very detrimental to thousands of Virginians with disabilities and senior adults!

I also urge you to reject the proposed amendments that allow redirection of FMAP funds. The proposed FMAP amendments would jeopardize the restorations of community-based services for Virginians with disabilities and senior adults approved by the General Assembly at the conclusion of its 2010 Session.

These critical services that prevent unnecessary institutionalization of Virginians with disabilities, and separating families, are “hanging in the balance!”

Telephone Number of Your Legislators:

Visit Who’s My Legislator http://bit.ly/aokTOs on the General Assembly website to find telephone number of your legislators.

ECNV Contact Information:

If your Delegate/Senator requests further information about the amendments, feel free to encourage them to contact the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia at 703-525-3268 and speak with Doris Ray (ext. 8006) or email her at mailto: dorisr@ecnv.org.

ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV)
David V. Burds, Executive Director
2300 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 305, Arlington, VA 22201
703-525-3268 ext. 8001 (Voice), mailto: davidb@ecnv.org

2. Email Your Legislators Too!

We’ve got to get the message to our Delegates and Senators as soon as possible – before they get to Richmond to vote on Wednesday. We need everyone to both call and email to ensure the message is delivered.

Remember – it is very important that we take action swiftly and in big numbers!
Your efforts during the general assembly session really did make a difference.
Don’t let it be for nothing. We can win!

By Doris Ray, ECNV Director of Advocacy and Outreach

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Entry filed under: Action Alerts, Advocacy. Tags: , , .

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