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Feds Forced to Release Final Regulations for Community First Choice OptionThe Community First Choice Option is a new program under the Affordable Care Act implemented by the Obama Administration in September of 2010. It allows states to receive an additional 6% in federal matching payments (FMAP) for costs associated with the program which makes community living possible for those who would be institutionalized.
Though states have been able to enroll in the program since October 2011, the final regulations associated with the program have never been released. The delay had been attributed to the enormous response when the proposed regulations were submitted for comment in February 2011.
Thanks to the efforts of the group ADAPT that is about to change. For months the group called, emailed, and faxed letters to the Obama Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and more with no results. On Wednesday the group took further action by protesting outside of HHS baracading the doors. Their actions won them a meeting with Cindy Mann, Federal Medicaid Director. After hearing several testimonies, the decision was made that the final regulations would be released in the Federal Registry this week.
This program can be provided to individuals who the state has determined need nursing-facility care, are eligible for medicaid and whose income does not exceed 150% of the poverty level. This program would provide services including, but are not limited to, "attendant services and supports that help individuals with activities of daily living such as bathing and eating, and health-related tasks through hands-on assistance or supervision. States may also cover costs related to moving individuals from an institution to the community, such as security and utility deposits, first month's rent, and purchasing basic household supplies."
The ADAPT website reports Alaska, Arizona, California, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island and Washington have all indicated they will be selecting the option.
Released in the Federal Registry
The Finalized Regulations
New Graduate School for Global Inclusion and Social Development of Persons with Disabilities - UMass