Casey Leads the Charge for Improved Home and Community-Based Long-Term Care Services

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U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, has spearheaded an initiative to support home and community-based long-term care services (HCBS) across the country. The senator, backed by 17 Democratic colleagues, introduced the HCBS Relief Act this week.

The legislation aims to address the growing demand for HCBS and the current staffing shortages at direct care providers. If passed, it would provide dedicated Medicaid funds to states for two years to stabilize their HCBS service delivery networks, recruit and retain HCBS direct care workers, and meet the long-term service and support needs of people eligible for Medicaid home and community-based services.

Chairman Casey stated, “A vast majority of seniors and people with disabilities would prefer to receive care at home or in their communities. Unfortunately, because of our Nation’s caregiving crisis, home and community-based care has become increasingly difficult to access. By stabilizing and investing in the caregiving workforce, we can better provide seniors and people with disabilities with a real and significant choice to receive care in the setting of their choosing.”

The proposed HCBS Relief Act would increase the federal match (FMAP) for Medicaid by 10 points for two fiscal years, enhancing HCBS. These funds could be used to increase direct care worker pay, provide benefits such as paid family leave or sick leave, pay for transportation expenses to and from the homes of those being served, support family caregivers, pay for recruitment and training of additional direct care workers, and pay for technology to facilitate services.

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Chairman Casey has been a consistent advocate for increased federal support for state-funded home and community-based long-term care services. Earlier this year, he introduced the Better Care Better Jobs Act with 41 co-sponsors to enhance Medicaid funding for home care services for older adults, people with disabilities, and injured workers.

In March, during a hearing to examine the economic benefit of investing in Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS), Casey introduced the HCBS Access Act to address lengthy waiting lists for home care services. The majority of older adults and people with disabilities prefer receiving care at home, but are often forced to live in an institutional setting due to long wait lists.

The HCBS Relief Act of 2023 is endorsed by numerous organizations including ANCOR, Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP), Cure SMA, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), Care in Action, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) of Pennsylvania, Autism Society of America (ASA), ProVanta Care, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), TASH, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and many others.

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