Thursday, April 23, 2015

What the Americans with Disabilities Act Means 25 Years Later

April Bautista
Participant Engagement Coordinator

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. At the time, the ADA was the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law prohibiting discrimination in employment, transportation, and public programs based on disabilities. This year, the ADA celebrates its 25th anniversary…and there is a lot to celebrate!

The Legacy of the ADA
Because of the ADA, people with disabilities enjoy the benefits of wheelchair ramps and lifts on buses, accessible bathrooms, and books offered in Braille at public libraries. Universal design is now the “gold standard” in retail product development and architecture. Assistive technologies and devices that increase capabilities of people with disabilities have made it easier than ever to fully participate in society.
However, there are significant shortcomings. Despite major strides, the employment rate for people with disabilities is 17.6%. Barriers to accessibility persist in areas like voting and education, and discrimination and bullying are still rampant problems.

The ADA: The Next 25 Years
Despite these obstacles, I remain optimistic. The last 25 years have empowered a new generation of activists who have lived their entire lives during the ADA era. Many Americans have grown up believing that central to the ADA is the notion that every human has the right to be free. It is my belief that we will not only continue to hold businesses, lawmakers, and society at-large to the highest possible standard in upholding the tenets of the ADA but also strive to broaden its scope over the next 25 years and beyond.

We use the infographic below as a training tool for internal education about the history of disability rights. We also share it with consumers and the people we serve to celebrate the ADA anniversary and the work that remains.

Please share this infographic and think about how your organization can support people with disabilities for the next 25 years and beyond.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

What is a Medicaid Waiver?

Amanda Cavanagh
Director, Research & Business Development

What is a Medicaid waiver?
Home and Community Based Services are available through waiver programs.  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) allows states to “waive” certain Medicaid requirements and pay for home and community based services as an alternative to institutions, nursing homes or hospitalization.  These Medicaid waivers help provide services and to allow people to receive long-term care in the community and in their homes.  Waivers are also ways states can test new or existing ways to deliver and pay for health care services in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Types of Medicaid waivers
There are four primary types of waivers and demonstration projects:

  1. Section 1115 Research & Demonstration Projects: States can apply for program flexibility to test new or existing approaches to financing and delivering Medicaid and CHIP.
  2. Section 1915(b) Managed Care Waivers: States can apply for waivers to provide services through managed care delivery systems or otherwise limit people's choice of providers.
  3. Section 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Services Waivers: States can apply for waivers to provide long-term care services in home and community settings rather than institutional settings.
  4. Concurrent Section 1915(b) and 1915(c) Waivers: States can apply to simultaneously implement two types of waivers to provide a continuum of services to the elderly and people with disabilities, as long as all Federal requirements for both programs are met.

Medicaid HCBS can be provided as part of state-plan services or through waivers. State plan HCBS include mandatory services (all states must offer them), and optional services (offered at state discretion). Whether the services are mandatory or optional, if they are provided under the state plan, they must be offered to all eligible individuals. Services provided under waivers may be restricted to specific groups based on geographic region, income, or type of disability. Waivers may include a wider range of service types than can be provided under state plans. Individuals may receive both state plan and waiver services.

How iLIFE supports Medicaid waiver programs
iLIFE offers a full range of financial services to support federal and state Medicaid Waiver programs.  iLIFE helps people in Medicaid Waiver programs by: 

  • guiding employers through the hiring process.
  • ensuring workers are qualified caregivers.
  • receiving time reports.
  • issuing payments.
  • handling tax responsibilities.
  • detecting and preventing fraud and abuse.