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Action Alert: Send Comments Now on Community Services in California

Dear friends,

The federal government has announced a new rule that will make sure that Medicaid-funded home and community-based services are actually in the community. Home and community based services help people with disabilities get the supports and services they need to live, work, and stay in their own homes and communities instead of segregated, institution-like places.

California wrote a plan for how they will follow the new rule, and they want your comments. You can read the plan and learn more details here. ASAN’s own comments are posted online here.

The deadline to send comments is December 8. We need to make sure that California hears the voices of self-advocates and allies loud and clear. Without your comments, the plan might not be enough to protect real community living and freedom of choice.

ASAN has prepared a set of talking points to help you write comments:

I’m writing in support of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s comments on California’s 5-year transition plan.

  • Disabled self-advocates and self-advocacy organizations need a real chance to comment on both parts of the plan. Disabled people must know about any more updates or possible changes so we can give feedback. Information about public participation has to be in accessible language and formats, including letting disabled people send comments by mail and visiting disabled people where they live and work.
  • All of the assessment teams that review services and programs must include people with disabilities. When providers have the only say in whether they are following the rule, they will not be able to judge fairly. The people who receive services from them must participate in the process to make sure it is accurate and fair. The Department should make special efforts to involve people with disabilities, including educating disabled people about the right to live in the community and what that means.
  • The Department must actually visit the places where disabled people live and work to figure out if they are following the rule. They cannot visit only some of each type of program.
  • The transition plan has to make sure that disabled people are included in the community in all parts of their lives. If people with disabilities spend their days in large group programs only with other people with disabilities, that is not really community.
  • The current plan says that California does not think that they will have to move many people with disabilities out of a lot of programs, including nursing homes and large group homes, to follow the rule. These types of programs aren’t actually community living. Other states, like New York and Illinois, have Olmstead plans to help people in these types of programs move to real, community-based services where they are happy, but these plans can take many years. California has only five years to make sure that its programs are really community-based. Because this is such a short time, the state needs to start planning now about how it will help people move to more community-based programs, so that it can make the most of these five years.
  • Gated communities and sheltered workshops are not home and community-based. The state should plan to move people out of gated communities and sheltered workshops, and ultimately do away with them.
  • California must increase services that are in the community, like supported housing, employment, and day services, so more people with disabilities can have real chances to move out of institutional settings. At the same time, California needs to stop putting people with disabilities in programs that aren’t in the community, especially places where large numbers of disabled people only get to live, work, or spend their days around other disabled people.

Comments can be emailed to STP@dhcs.ca.gov, or sent by mail to:

Department of Health Care Services
Long-Term Care Division, STP comments
1501 Capitol Avenue, MS 4503
PO Box 997437
Sacramento, CA 95899-7437

Nothing About Us, Without Us!

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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