Your Opinion Matters - Public Comment on HCBS Access Act is Due 4/26

Dear TFC Members:

Senators Hassan, Casey, and Brown, and Representative Dingell, have circulated a draft bill called the Home and Community-Based Services Access Act (the “HAA”). They have asked members of the public to provide comments on the HAA. It is critically important that each of you send in your own comments on this proposed legislation.

The HAA is being portrayed as legislation that will help individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, the way it is drafted, it will have a devastating effect on the men and women with the most significant intellectual disabilities. The bill would end any requirement that states provide the services of intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (“ICF/IIDs”). It would also create a strong financial incentive for all states to close all ICF/IIDs, both state operated and private. 70,000 men and women across the country have chosen to live in ICF/IIDs because they have found that these settings best meet their needs and preferences. All of these men and women would be forced to leave their chosen homes.

The HAA directly contradicts TFC’s central mission. TFC seeks to expand residential and vocational options and ensure that the individual and their family choose the option that best works for them. The HAA reduces options and disregards individual choice.

Many people and organizations across the country will be submitting comments supporting the HAA. It is critically important that our voices - the voices of choice - be heard.

Comments must be submitted by APRIL 26. Comments can be emailed to: 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'

You will find below the comment submitted by TFC. You can use this comment as a basis for your own comment. Your comment does not need to be as long as TFC’s. Please individualize your comment so that the comments we submit are not identical.

 ***A SPECIAL NOTE FOR MISERICORDIA FAMILIES***

Please note that this request for you to submit a comment is separate from and in addition to the comment I asked you to submit last week regarding Illinois’s new Rule 115. Last week’s request for action dealt with Illinois’ new rule on where CILA’s can be located. This new request for comment relates to a proposed federal statute that could spell the end for ICF/IIDs, including Misericordia’s campus homes. I apologize that you are being asked to submit two comments so close together, but both the new Illinois rule and the new proposed federal statute are extremely important. We must speak out.

Thanks

Scott M. Mendel

Chairperson