Insist on MiCASSA

The Minnesota Association of Centers for Independent Living alerts persons with disabilities and older Americans to MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services and Supports Act, now before Congress.  The current bills HR3612 and S1298 have some 70 coauthors and wide public support from over 600 national and state organizations representing those with disabilities and older Americans.  We must persuade our entire national delegation to sign on as coauthors and pass MiCASSA.

MiCASSA gives people choices in long-term care options by reforming Title XIX of the Social Security Act (Medicaid) and ending the institutional bias.  It allows individuals eligible for Nursing Facility Services or Intermediate Care Facility Services for the Mentally Retarded (ICF-MR) the opportunity to choose community-based attendant services with the money following the individual.  It offers states financial assistance to reform the long-term service and support system, as guided by a Consumer Task Force, and to provide services in the most integrated setting.

Highlights of MiCASSA

* Provides community-based attendant services and supports for activities of daily living (ADLs):  eating, grooming, dressing, bathing, transferring, planning and preparing meals, managing finances, shopping, doing household chores, phoning, and participating in the community as well as health-related functions, such as dressing changes, injections, and setting up medication.  Allows health-related functions or tasks to be assigned, delegated, or performed by an unlicensed person such as a PCA.  Includes hands-on assistance and supervision by a trained unlicensed individual for a client who needs help to learn, keep, and enhance skills to accomplish ADLs.

* Provides services based on functional need (rather than diagnosis or age), permitting consumers unable to direct their own care independently to choose without interference an “individual’s representative” (such as a friend or family member) to assist them and provide this service in the most integrated setting appropriate (in-home or community).  Each attendant would be selected, managed, and controlled by the consumer and supplemented with backup and emergency attendant services.

* Provides for quality assurance programs that promote consumer payment options, and control of and satisfaction with services.

* Pays transition costs such as utility deposits, bedding, kitchen supplies, and so on from a nursing facility or ICF-MR to a home setting. 

In summary, MiCASSA changes our long-term care system from institutionalization for persons with disabilities and the elderly to independent living with community-based supports.  It recognizes that our society is aging and has more persons with disabilities living longer, and that our current system is overly expensive and restrictive, and offers no options.  MiCASSA values family, choice, integration, and services provided based on individual need not medical diagnosis.  It recognizes the dignity of controlling one’s life and having options for support services that meet one’s needs.

Please contact your representatives in Washington, D.C. and insist on their support of this legislation!

Much more information is available at www.ncil.org/micassa1298.htm or www.adapt.org/casaintr.htm.  Or contact Scott Rostron at micaah@hotmail.com or 651-483-5497.