For Immediate Release



February 24, 2005
For more information, contact:
Bob Kafka (512) 431-4085
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504 

ADAPT Scores Meeting with CMS Director to Discuss Medicaid Reform

(WASHINGTON DC) An expected 500 ADAPT activists haven't even arrived in the nation's capitol, yet they have already secured a meeting to discuss Medicaid reform with Mark McClellan, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). McClellan will meet with ADAPT at their hotel in D.C. on the morning of Sunday, February 27. 

ADAPT wants CMS to engage in Medicaid long term care reform that makes home and community based services a mandatory service, and nursing homes and institutions optional, the reverse of the current practice. "We are looking forward to meeting with Administrator McClellan, and we appreciate his coming to us, as former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala did in 1993," said Bob Kafka, National ADAPT Organizer. "It is imperative that there be no cuts or caps in the Medicaid program, because if there are, states will continue to cut optional programs, and always first on the chopping block is home and community based personal care services. When those services are cut, persons with disabilities, old and young, are forced into nursing homes and other institutions." 

In addition to meeting with McClellan, ADAPT will be in D.C. February 26 - March 2 for the introduction of the 2005 Money Follows the Person legislation, and to celebrate the early introduction of the Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services and Supports Act of 2005 (MiCASSA), in both the Senate and House of Representatives. 

Sponsors of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) are Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR). MFP would assure that people wanting to move from nursing homes, developmental disability institutions, psychiatric hospitals, and rehab facilities would have the funding from that setting "move with them" to support them in their own home in the community. "Texas enacted legislation a few years ago that MFP is modeled on," added Kafka, "and it has resulted in amazing outcomes. Since our Texas version of MFP became real, around 2000 persons a year, over a third of whom had been institutionalized for over two years, have used it to move out of nursing homes. This has resulted in a savings of at least 20-25% over the nursing home costs, meaning that the same amount of money can serve more people, more efficiently." 

Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) have again introduced MiCASSA, H.R. 910, in the House of Representatives late last week. Their colleagues in the Senate, Sen. Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced MiCASSA, S. 401, in the Senate on February 16, along with 10 co-sponsors. 

"These are very tough times for America's most vulnerable citizens," said Bob Liston, Montana State Organizer, "and ADAPT is committed to doing whatever it takes to prevent Medicaid cuts and caps, thus preventing our being institutionalized against our wishes and losing our freedom. We won't go away, and we'll keep after those in power until they listen, and assure we have the same rights as the rest of America." 

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54 million Americans have some level of disability, 26 million people have a severe disability. [Current Population Reports. U.S. Department of Commerce - Census Bureau. Aug. 1997 p. 70-61]

Summary of MiCASSA

The ADAPT Action Report