NASHIA’s Washington Weekly: Updates from Washington

As a personal injury attorney in Hawaii, Ian Mattoch represents many catastrophically injured persons.  He is proud to serve as President of the Brain Injury Association of Hawaii to ensure that his clients are informed on resources available to them.  As a state head injury administrator, he receives weekly reports from Washington we public policy that effects disabled persons.  This week’s update was prepared by Susan Vaughn, Director of Public Policy for the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA).  Below are some highlights from last week’s Washington Weekly: 

Administration News:
Obama Releases Fiscal Year 2014 Budget
On Wednesday, President Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget proposal. The proposal calls for $3.77 trillion in spending for FY 2014, and would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion by increasing taxes for the wealthy and other measures. Cuts to the budget include approximately $130 billion in reductions over 10 years by enforcing chained consumer price indexing (CPI), as well as cuts to the Medicare program. The President proposes level funding for TBI Act programs. More details will be provided in the next issue of Capitol News.

DOL Releases March Disability Employment Statistics
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics released a new report on disability employment statistics. The report shows a small increase in disability employment; the unemployment rate in March 2013 was 13 percent, versus an unemployment rate of approximately 12.7 percent in February 2013. For more information click here.

HUD Launches Media Campaign on Fair Housing
As April is Fair Housing Month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in conjunction with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), launched a new national media campaign meant to educate the public and providers about rights and responsibilities under the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability. This year’s Fair Housing Month theme is “Our Work Today Defines Our Tomorrow,” spotlighting HUD’s current enforcement and education and outreach efforts and the work of its fair housing partners which are helping to foster sustainable, inclusive communities of opportunity for future generations. Click here to read the press release.

Federal Grants:
CMS Announces Funding for Navigators in Federal and State Partnership Marketplaces
On April 9th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the availability of new funding to support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. Navigators are individuals and entities that will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The new funding opportunity provides up to $54 million in total funding and applications are due by June 7, 2013. The funding opportunity announcement is open to eligible self-employed individuals and private and public entities applying to serve as Navigators in States with a Federally-facilitated or State Partnership Marketplace. (To read a fact sheet about the Navigator FOA click here.)

Reports and Resources:
AIRS Releases New Standards for I&R Services
The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) has released the 7th edition of the AIRS Standards and Quality Indicators for Professional Information and Referral. AIRS has changed the title of the Standards slightly to better incorporate the concept of quality indicators. The purpose of the AIRS Standards is to establish reference points that define expected practices within the field and provide guidelines that communities or other jurisdictions can use when they develop an I&R program to meet the needs of their people. The Standards are the foundation for AIRS Accreditation and provide an organizational context for certification of I&R and resource specialists through the AIRS Certified Information and Referral Specialist (CIRS), Certified Resource Specialist (CRS) and Certified Information and Referral Specialist Aging (CIRS-A) programs. For more information click here.

Kaiser Foundation Produces Briefs on Insurance Exchanges and ACA LTSS Options
Last month, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured produced “Establishing Health Insurance Exchanges: An Overview of State Efforts” providing a brief overview of State decisions and efforts surrounding Health Insurance Exchanges. State-based health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, are a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the places where individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for coverage. States can build a fully State-based exchange, enter into a State-Federal partnership exchange, or default to a federally-facilitated exchange. To date, 17 States plus the District of Columbia have declared that they intend to establish a State-based exchange and have received conditional approval from HHS. Seven States are planning to pursue a State-Federal partnership exchange with 26 States have indicated they will not create a State-based exchange and will likely default to a Federally-facilitated exchange.

This month, the Kaiser Family Foundation posted a new brief on the status of States use of long-term services options provided by the ACA, entitled, “How is the Affordable Care Act Leading to Changes in Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Today? State Adoption of Six LTSS Options.” To date, nearly every State (47 States and DC) has taken steps forward with at least one of the six options. Many States are pursuing or plan to pursue multiple new LTSS options. The most popular State options have been the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration grants (45 States and DC) and financial alignment models for dual eligible beneficiaries (26 States).

Upcoming Conferences and Webinars:
CDC to Present Webinar on Implementing Clinical Fall Prevention in Your Community
On Wednesday, April 17th, the Centers for Injury Control and Prevention’s (CDC) InjuryCenter will host a webinar to learn about the development of the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) Tool Kit, a suite of materials created by CDC’s InjuryCenter for health care providers. STEADI Tool Kit resources can be used to help assess, treat, and refer older adult patients based on their fall risk. The webinar will be held from noon – 1:00 pm (EST). Presenters will be Judy A. Stevens, Ph.D., Epidemiologist, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and Richard J. Schuster, MD, MMM, FACP, Professor of Health Policy & Management, Director of Center for Global Health, University of Georgia College of Public Health. To register for the webinar click here.

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