Home is in the Community

Most people with I/DD share the dream of living in the community in a home of their own.  For some, that dream may become a reality.

Earlier this week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the federal government will dedicate billions of dollars to help individuals with disabilities access care in the community as opposed to institutions.

“There is more evidence than ever that people who need long-term care prefer to live in their own homes and communities whenever possible,” said Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “To restrict these individuals to institutions where even the simplest decisions of the day such as when to get up, what to eat and when to sleep are made by someone else must no longer be the norm.”

HHS is also proposing new rules to allow states to access additional federal Medicaid matching funds if they encourage individuals to live in a community setting, as opposed to a nursing home or other institutional setting.

Thirteen states are slated to receive about $45 million for demonstration grants this year, with $621 million budgeted through 2016.   Federal officials are awarding $621 million over the next five years to expand the Money Follows the Person to help people with disabilities who are living in institutions transition into the community with services and supports programs.

The new grants will have an impact on 13,000 people in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia.

The Arc believes that adults with I/DD should have the opportunity to lead lives of their own choosing, reside in the community and to live independently with ready access to whatever services and supports they need to be included and participate as full members of the community.

3 thoughts on “Home is in the Community

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  2. “The Arc believes that adults with I/DD should have the opportunity to lead lives of their own choosing, reside in the community and to live independently with ready access to whatever services and supports they need to be included and participate as full members of the community.”

    What I’d like to know is how The Arc publishes that they support the opportunity for people to lead lives of their own choosing yet also advocate to remove choice from our most vulnerable citizens –

    “Please take a minute to provide your comments to ADD and let them know that segregated, congregate living for people with disabilities should NOT be a choice.”

    The rhetoric and propagation of false information is frustrating. Congregate Care is ESSENTIAL for the health and safety of many of our family and community members and it is critical to maintain this continuum of care. Congregate care is the most COST EFFECTIVE way to meet the needs of many who need this level of care.

    Yes, it is true that there are very high acuity residents living at home. Yes, it is true that the cost of care for our residents with the highest acuity is expensive. No one is disputing those facts. But if we were to move all the residents who choose to live in the ICF/MR into smaller, community homes, the cost to maintain their health and safety will be enormous and rather than save money will actually take away services from those who are already living in the “community.”

    Our facilities of today are communities and they are the community of choice for many. The Arc should start to advocate for ALL people with disabilities, not just the people who can advocate for themselves. This line that The Arc has drawn is inhumane and taking away this life saving choice for many is unjustified.

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