The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center For Assisted Living (NCAL) today praised the effort by U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to protect the nation’s most vulnerable frail, elderly and disabled seniors as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proceeds to implement regulations pertaining to the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), and the need for special consideration of cost sharing and hardship exemptions within the regulatory framework.
In a letter to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan, which serves as the basis for a Dear Colleague letter, King writes, “Congress included several significant Medicaid changes with the intent of slowing the growth of spending in this critical safety net program. The regulations you issue to implement these changes will play a pivotal role in helping us meet that goal. The regulations will also clarify the intent of Congress that these new policies should not harm innocent people who rely on Medicaid for essential health and long-term care needs.”
Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, praised King, and urged broad bipartisan congressional support for his efforts: “In implementing the DRA, Congressman King is attempting to make certain there are special exemptions for the neediest, most vulnerable U.S. seniors. AHCA/NCAL is completely behind his effort, and we urge Congress to join him in ensuring any regulations issued by CMS do not harm our frail and elderly in an inadvertent manner.”
Rep. King’s letter asks CMS to:
– Set minimum standards for the hardship exceptions process for people who might be denied needed help because of changes in asset transfer rules.
– Establish uniform criteria for how states evaluate whether a penalty will cause hardship (such as depriving someone of necessary medical or long term care such that their life or health would be endangered or they would be deprived of food, clothing, shelter, or other necessities of life).
– Allow an individual to appeal a denial of Medicaid eligibility based on the determination of the individual’s home equity with the individual being presumptively eligible until a final decision is rendered.
The American Health Care Association and the National Center For Assisted Living are the USA’s leading long term care organizations. AHCA/NCAL and their membership are committed to performance excellence and Quality First, a covenant for healthy, affordable and ethical long term care. AHCA/NCAL represent nearly 11,000 non-profit and proprietary facilities dedicated to continuous improvement in the delivery of professional and compassionate care provided daily by millions of caring employees to more than 1.5 million of our nation’s frail, elderly and disabled citizens who live in nursing facilities, assisted living residences, subacute centers and homes for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.