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HHS awards $40 million for programs to keep disabled in community

October 7, 2003 -- The Bush Administration has announced over $40 million in a series of grants and demonstration programs awarded by the Dept. of Health and Human Services in a continuing effort to " enable people with disabilities to reside in their homes and participate fully in community life," as HHS Sec Tommy Thompson put it in announcing the awards.

Five new demonstration grants aimed at helping recruit, train and retain direct service workers who provide personal assistance to people with disabilities who need help with eating, bathing, dressing and other activities of daily living.

The "Demonstration to Improve the Direct Service Community Workforce" is awarding $1.4 million each to the New Mexico Department of Health, the Maine Governor's Office of Health Policy and Finance and Pathways for the Future, a service provider in North Carolina.Each of these grantees will be offering health insurance to direct service workers during the three-year demonstration.

Grants of $680,500 each will go to the University of Delaware and Volunteers of America in Louisiana for developing educational materials, training of service workers, mentorship programs and other activities.

"These personal assistance workers are the backbone of the nation's community-based long-term care system, and should have the same access to health insurance and other work incentives as millions of working Americans," HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Administrator Tom Scully said in a press statement. "Through these demonstrations we hope to be able to attract and retain more of them."

The grants are part of the Administration's New Freedom Initiative, launched in 2001, "which promotes the goal of removing barriers to community living for people with disabilities."

Over $33 million was awarded in "Real Choice Systems Change Grants for Community Living" grants to states to help develop programs to help disabled people remain in the community and avoid institutionalization. A total of 75 grants were awarded in the $100,000 to $500,000 range. A list of these grants can be found in the press release at

More information about the grants and the New Freedom Initiative is available at










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