HHS Approves Alabama Disability Program

U.S. Newswire

10 Feb 19:39

HHS Approves Alabama Program for Individuals with a Disability

To: National Desk

Contact: CMS Public Affairs, 202-690-6145

 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson

today announced the approval of a new Medicaid waiver in Alabama that will

provide services to certain Medicaid-eligible individuals over the age of

21 with a substantial disability.

 

The waiver will assure continued support for people who might otherwise

lose their services simply because they turn 21. Many such individuals

receive vital health coverage under the Early and Periodic Screening,

Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program, but that coverage ends at age 21.

 

"We are pleased to see Alabama come forward with a program that will allow

people with a disability to continue living in their own homes, in their

own communities," Secretary Thompson said. "The Bush administration is

committed to helping states and the disability community change old

programs and develop new ones that will serve people with disabilities in

the settings that work best for them.''

 

Eligible individuals under the new Alabama waiver will be offered private

duty nursing, personal care/personal attendant services, medical supplies

and appliances, and assistive technology services in addition to the

Alabama Medicaid State Plan services. Participants in this home and

community based waiver will also be offered newly approved targeted

case management services. The program is expected to serve up to 30

individuals in the first year.

 

The federal home and community based waiver program, administered by the

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, was developed to help those

individuals who would otherwise require care in a nursing facility to avoid

institutional or other high-cost, out-of-home placement by providing

services that are not offered under the Medicaid state plan.

 

The president has strongly encouraged states to develop better community

services in his Executive Order 13217 for his New Freedom Initiative. The

initiative directed federal agencies to identify and tear down barriers

that prevent community living on the part of people of any age who have a

disability.

 

The president's proposed 2004 New Freedom budget proposal includes more

than $1.75 billion over 5 years to help federal and state Medicaid funds to

"follow the person" to the most appropriate and preferred setting and

enable states to reduce their reliance on institutions.

 

"We are glad to work with Alabama -- and any state -- to help elderly and

people with disabilities participate fully in their communities," CMS

Administrator Tom Scully said. "This will be helpful to a lot of people,

including Nick Dupree."

 

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are

available at http://www.hhs.gov/news