Ernst, Hassan Lead Bipartisan Effort to Support Disability Service Providers Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Iowa senator is working with Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan to press federal agencies to provide relief for Medicaid disability service providers.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) are working to provide financial relief to Medicaid providers who support and care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In a bipartisan letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the senators are requesting relief for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities through the funding provided by Congress in the COVID-19 relief packages recently signed into law.

In their letter, the senators write, “We are writing because the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing an immediate crisis among the providers of high quality, long-term supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism across the country financed through Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IID). We specifically request that you ensure these providers receive a meaningful level of financial relief from the Public Health and Social Services Fund (PHSSF).”

The senators continue, “Dedicating these funds for disability community providers from the Public Health and Social Services Fund would be an important step in providing needed support and services to millions of people with disabilities living in the community. We will continue to work together to support and strengthen HCBS to help ensure that people with disabilities are able to remain in their homes and workers who provide direct services received the support that they need to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19.”

Background:

This letter builds on Ernst’s efforts to ensure Medicaid providers in Iowa receive relief through the CARES Act. Earlier this week, Ernst called for support for Community Mental Health Centers and Community Behavioral Health Centers.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Ernst has spoken with Iowa’s health care providers about their needs and concerns, and she successfully helped include critical funding for the health care community in both bipartisan relief packages.

Ernst also previously announced she had helped secure over $383 million for Iowa’s rural health care providers. This builds on earlier relief the senator helped garner for Iowa’s health providers through the CARES Act, which totaled over $336 million for Iowa, as well as supplemental funding of over $11 million for the state’s community health centers.

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