S.762 – Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Access Act
Introduced by Senator Bob Casey 3/09/2023.
Why is HCBS Access Act Important?
There are many older adults and people with disabilities living in America who need help with daily activities. Many are eligible for Medicaid long-term services and supports (LTSS) to support their everyday needs. For people who want to remain in their homes with the help of Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS), they are often put on a waiting list and can wait years or even decades for services and supports. Yet they have immediate access to nursing homes or other institutional settings. Medicaid policy will cover payment nursing home and other institutional care for those eligible for LTSS but will not pay for home and community-based services unless a Medicaid waiver has been approved and issued. This can lead to people having to live in institutional settings to receive the services and supports they need. They COVID-19 Pandemic shed light on how important these community based services are. It showed how institutional settings put people at higher risk of contracting and dying from the COVID virus.
What will the HCBS Access Act do?
The HCBS Access Act will help older adults and people with disabilities have access to community based supports options. HCBS Access Act will give them choice between community based supports and institutional care. The bill will eventually end HCBS waiting lists and the need for states to reapply for HCBS waivers. The bill will also do the following:
- Increase Medicaid funding for HCBS Services;
- Provide grant funding to states to strengthen their ability to meet the needs of people who prefer HCBS services;
- Improve the stability, availability and quality of direct care providers to help address the workforce shortage crisis;
- Provide states with resources so that caregiving workers—who are disproportionately women of color—have stable, quality jobs and a living wage;
- Provide training and support to family caregivers; and
- Create better assessment process of the quality of HCBS being provided.
What can you do?
Find out who your local legislators are and contact them! You can make phone calls, send emails, or write letters. Tell them what you think about the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Access Act. You can click on the website link below, enter your information, and it will show you who your elected officials are. The website will also give you their contact information.