Leo’s Letter: Important Updates on Day Services and Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

Nearly a year ago, during our COVID 19-sprint, someone commented, “embrace the uncertainty.” That approach depends on what we are uncertain about. But though we’ve learned to live with uncertainty, we continue to work together toward more clarity as reopening occurs. This blog and Monday’s Leo Live will touch on two major, related policy areas: Day Services and Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).

Regarding Day Services:

  • The Department of Developmental (DDS) Services directly and through providers is collecting feedback from families and individuals with disabilities. Earlier this year, staff were interviewed at two forums.
  • MassHealth will be changing its funding reimbursement approach in two ways:
    • it will address the added costs of persons who require more assistance, ending the practice of DDS supplemental wraps, and
    • it will allow providers to bill them for half-day or full-day of participant service; at the present time, billing is done for every 15 minutes at day habilitation.

Regarding HCBS:

  • HCBS services have received a 10% one-year boost from the federal government.
  • But there is more going on at Capitol Hill: a new bill is being crafted that could address our access and workforce challenges. “The Home and Community-Based Services Access Act (HAA) is a discussion draft bill that would eventually end waiting lists to receive disability services everywhere and help people with disabilities and older adults access the Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) they need in order to live at home in their communities with their friends and family, instead of institutions and nursing homes.“ Independence Can’t Wait – learn more here.

Regarding Leo Live on Monday, May 10:

  • On Monday, May 10, Leo will be joined by Nicole Jorwic, Senior Policy Director at The Arc of the US.  The topic: Policy Dialogue on Home and Community-Based Services.  The session will cover the “promise” of developments in Home and Community Based Services in Washington D.C. and efforts to improve Massachusetts day services as reopening is considered. Join them as they talk policy together. Register here. Note: This is a different link than previous Leo Live sessions. You will have to register again, even if you have attended prior sessions.

Policy work goes on despite a very tough year!

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