Jan. 8, 2002 --
Following up on last summer's Executive Order promising that the federal government would "assist States and localities to implement swiftly the Olmstead decision, so as to help ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to live close to their families and friends, to live more independently, to engage in productive employment, and to participate in community life," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson released a preliminary report in late December on progress toward implementation of the order. The full text of "Delivering on the Promise: Preliminary Report of Federal Agencies' Actions to Eliminate Barriers and Promote Community Integration" can be found online at http://www.hhs.gov/newfreedom/presidentrpt.html
The report "sets forth a summary of the actions that federal agencies propose to take" in "health care structure and financing; housing; personal assistance, direct care services and community workers; caregiver and family support; transportation; employment; education; access to technology; accountability and legal compliance; public awareness, outreach, and partnerships; income supports; gathering, assessment and use of data; and cross-agency collaboration and coordination."
Agencies involved in the report include the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and the Social Security Administration, the Department of Transportation, Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration, and the Office of Personnel Management. HHS proposes to "establish a Medicaid Community Services Reform Task Force to advise the Department on actions that may be advisable to remove barriers and promote community living for people with disabilities"; "propose a coordinated package of regulatory or potential legislative improvements that would quickly reduce some of the barriers to community living and reduce institutional biases in the Medicaid program"; "examine the costs and benefits of a statutory change to establish a state option enabling presumptive Medicaid eligibility for people determined to need nursing facility or Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded (ICF-MRs) level of care who are being discharged from hospitals or other institutions to the community" and "propose statutory improvements to create a ten-year Home and Community-Based Services demonstration as an alternative to Medicaid-funded psychiatric residential treatment centers."
For more on the Bush Administration's Olmstead Executive Order, visit our website at http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/programs-policy/olmsteadexecorder061901.htm