In a letter sent to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on November 23, the National Disability Leadership Alliance urged the federal government to finalize new regulations limiting the type of residences eligible for Medicaid’s housing assistance program for people with disabilities.
The new regulations, proposed in April, were inspired by concerns that Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waivers are being used to keep people with disabilities in institution-like setting, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s prohibition against unnecessary institutionalization.
The regulations would require that the waivers be used to provide housing options that are not located in institutional buildings and must not be designed expressly around a diagnosis or disability, to ensure the individuals are integrated into their local communities.
The National Disability Leadership Alliance strongly supports the new regulations.
“Without a clear and sufficiently narrow definition of (home and community based services) that delineates it from institutional settings, the effectiveness of de-institutionalization efforts could be seriously hindered, leaving the door open to subjective interpretations by policymakers and the likelihood of wide-ranging and inconsistent applications of the rules,” the alliance stated in the letter.
The National Disability Leadership Alliance is a coalition of 14 major disability rights groups, though the letter was signed by dozens of other advocacy groups.
Disability Rights Washington is a part of the National Disability Rights Network, which signed the letter.