Public Policy Advocacy Update
Adult day services supporters are on a mission to advance the development, recognition and use of adult day services. On the national journey, we seek to advocate for adult day services at the federal level and influence public policies in ways that advance the service sector. Periodically travelers ask, “Are we there yet? How much farther? Can we stop?”
Facilitating access to adult day services and branding adult day services are two primary objectives for public policy in the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) strategic plan. Legislators prefer to hear from their voters, so your participation in the national public policy efforts determines our progress. The focus of the 2015 Capitol Hill event on May 4-5, 2015, will include bills that support access to adult day services through long term services and supports. NADSA supports the following bills:
- Senate Bill 704—Community-Based Independence for Seniors Act to establish a Community-Based Institutional Special Needs Plan demonstration program to target home and community-based care to eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Most importantly, Adult Day Care Services are specifically included as one of the Medicare options in a bill sponsored by a member of the new Senate Republican majority. This bill offers an opportunity for ADS to fit legislatively into Medicare as an institutional option and the words of the Senator who sponsored the Bill mirror NADSA’s focus of Modernizing Medicare with ADS for Cost Avoidance.
- Senate Bill 739 and House Bill 1369—Veterans Access to Extended Care Act of 2015 (companion bills). In short, the VA is presently permitted to contract with ADHC/ADS centers but reporting requirements in excess of CMS requirements discourage these contracts. In 2013 the VA issued a proposed Rule to change these requirements. The new legislation provides the statutory authority to implement the Rule. The Bills place adult day health care on an equal footing with nursing home care as the only two extended care services specifically named. All other providers are referenced simply as “other extended care services.”
- Senate Bill 263 Adult Day Center Enhancement Bill to expand and enhance existing adult day programs for younger people with neurological diseases or conditions (such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, or other similar diseases or conditions) to support and improve access to respite services for family caregivers who are taking care of such people, and for other purposes.
- Senate Bill 192 Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 addresses the need for improved federal, state and local coordination of person-centered transportation services, and that is of particular importance to us since day centers are non-residential. Many people attend adult day centers through funding authorized by the Older Americans Act.
- House Bill 1383 Medicare Adult Day Services Act of 2015—Bill reintroduced by Representative Linda Sanchez. Note that sponsors and supporters are sought for an alternative bill drafted by NADSA which is more favorable and with less restrictions. Contact us for more information.
Government by the people and for the people requires people—you! Step one is exercising your right to vote. Then, speak up about how you want your tax dollars invested. Are you even on the trip with us? How much farther do we have to go? That depends on you. What networking relationships are you building to make a difference for adult day services? Based on your involvement, are we there yet? Can we stop?
—By Teresa D. Johnson, MBA, NADSA Managing Director