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CMS Action Helped NADSA Set Baseline for Public Policy Rapid Response

Thanks to our friends at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), we have had the opportunity to set a baseline for NADSA’s ability, and the ability of the Association’s state affiliates and individual members, to engage in a public policy rapid response. It was gratifying to see that some state Associations have a mechanism in place to provide a rapid response…and it works! In other states, individual members demonstrated their capability and willingness to initiate action when asked to do so…and did so…and it works!

NADSA Chair Chip Cromartie, Managing Director Teresa Johnson, and advocate Garman Troup.

NADSA Chair Chip Cromartie, Managing Director Teresa Johnson, and advocate Garman Troup.

By responding to NADSA’s call to begin contacting CMS and members of Congress to express our concerns with the new Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services regulations published in January, the membership helped to set the stage for Congressional visits on Capitol Hill Day. During those visits, NADSA members received offers by Members of Congress to contact CMS to express their concerns about how the Rule would be applied to adult day services.

Importantly, we learned of the need for a rapid response as a direct result of NADSA’s foresight this past fall, with membership support, in retaining The Afflerbach Group as a public policy advisor/advocate to place NADSA at the tables of several influential Washington, DC-based national organizations and consortiums. It was through this relationship-building of numerous face-to-face meetings that we learned of the potential impact the new CMS rule could have upon adult day services.

Beginning with the first meeting I attended as NADSA’s representative to the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations this past November, I was able to connect NADSA to several groups, in some of which I have had friends of long standing. Among these groups is the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD). It was, in fact, our friends at NASUAD who first alerted me to the potentially serious consequences for adult day services, depending upon the strictness of the interpretation and the as yet unknown “additional guidance” for non-residential settings under the new CMS Medicaid HCBS Rule. With the alert and a subsequent meeting with NASUAD personnel, we were able to engage other friends to help us craft and carry our message of concern.

NADSA is now a member of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). In addition to representing you at CCD meetings, I am also serving on their Long-Term Services and Supports Task Force. By the time you are reading this paragraph, we will have met to discuss a strategy for dealing with…wait for it…the new CMS HCBS Medicaid Rule.

In short, our forced baseline setting for a rapid response protocol has demonstrated that we have developed the capacity for successful networking and early warnings among our friends in our nation’s capital. Our first trial run also verified that we have in place the basic elements for rapid response and are developing, with the support of its membership, the capacity NADSA needs to be an effective force in the arena of national public policy. This can be accomplished only with your continued support!

—By Sen. Roy C. Afflerbach, Ret.,  NADSA Public Policy Advisor