June 04, 2014

June 4 Washington DC Update

June 4 Washington DC Update

Washington DC Update 6/04/14

{Don’t forget to check out the Family Voices/NCFPP ACA webpage!}

Greetings from Washington!  It has been a quiet week in Washington, with both the Senate and House in recess for all or part of the week after Memorial Day, and a lull in the issuance of rules related to the Affordable Care Act. Nevertheless, a House subcommittee advanced legislation to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act, and the full House passed a measure intended to reduce gun violence.


Promising Practices and Technologies for Communicating with Persons with Access and Functional Needs during Emergencies

Wednesday, June 4, 1:00-2:30 pm ET

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s First Responders Group, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), this webinar will provide an overview of practices and technologies used for communicating with persons with access and functional needs during emergencies, and will review common challenges, practical solutions, and lists of resources. Registration is not required. Login: https://share.dhs.gov/capacitybuildingseries. Log in as a guest. Participants can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) upon successful completion. For more information visit the "Grants and Training" section on www.firstresponder.gov

Got Coverage? Next Steps in Using Your Health Insurance

Wednesday, June 4, 2:00-3:00 pm ET.

Sponsored by the HHS/Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, this webinar and conference call for consumers will discuss how to read an insurance card, how to find a doctor, what you need to know in making an appointment, and what to do in case you have a health emergency. Key terms will be discussed as well as recommended health screenings. Please send questions to ACA101@hhs.gov prior to noon ET on June 4. Register here.

Improved Planning for Vulnerable Populations through Use of Closed PODs (Points of Dispensing)
Thursday, June 5, 2:30-4:00 pm ET

Sponsored by the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO), this webinar will explore how local health departments from St Paul-Ramsey County, MN, and Oakland County, MI, utilize closed Points of Dispensing (PODs) to improve emergency planning for vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities who may not be able to easily access public PODs. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear about new resources and tools being developed by NACCHO’s Health and Disability team, including:

  • A Health and Disability Toolkit
  • A guide to including people with disabilities in public health practice
  • A directory of community-based organizations that serve people with disabilities

NACCHO will also briefly present on findings from its current assessment of local health department activities that are inclusive of people with disabilities. Register here.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Overview in Spanish
Saturday, June 21, 1:00-2:00 pm ET
The Autism NOW Center, a project of The Arc and the Autism Society of America, will offer a new webinar, entirely in Spanish, about autism spectrum disorders. Presenters will provide an overview of ASD; discuss steps involved in screening and diagnosis; address existing barriers for Latino families; and help connect families to resources in their community. Space is limited. Register here.  Below is an announcement in Spanish that can be shared with families:

Autismo: Una Visión General en Español
Sábado, 21 de Junio, 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET

Se estima que 1 de cada 68 niños tiene un trastorno del espectro autista (TEA). Las investigaciones muestran que los niños hispanos se les diagnostica a menudo más tarde del promedio nacional. Con las tasas de prevalencia en aumento, es importante que las familias de las comunidades insuficientemente atendidas tengan acceso a información de calidad y recursos.

El Autism Now Center y el Autism Society se han asociado para ofrecer un recurso gratuito para las familias de habla hispana. Únete a nosotros en este seminario, que será ofrecido completamente en español, para aprender más acerca de los trastornos del espectro autista. Los presentadores proporcionar una visión general de la CIA; discutir los pasos involucrados en la detección y el diagnóstico; abordar las barreras existentes para las familias latinas; y ayudar a conectar a las familias a los recursos disponibles en su comunidad. Registrate en este seminario web hoy mismo! Presentadores: Yuliana Diaz, el Autism Society Marisol Ramos, Vision for Equality.

El espacio es limitado. Registrate en este seminario. 

FREE State-Based and In-Person Advocacy Skills Trainings – Long-Term Care

Applications will run from June 2 - June 23.

As part of its Consumers for Quality Care, No Matter Where Initiative, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) will be offering FREE state-based, in-person advocacy trainings for groups to make an impact on policy and contribute to the Consumer Voice's national efforts. Participants will include long-term care ombudsman programs, consumer advocacy groups, family/caregiving groups, consumer alliances, and community and senior organizations.

The trainings will involve:

  • A pre-training conference call where participants will learn how to strategize around a particular issue. 
  • On-site half-day or full-day training with Consumer Voice staff.

A full-day training will cover all topics listed below; a half-day training will include two out of the four following topics: 

  • How to craft an effective advocacy message.
  • Delivering your message in person: the nuts and bolts of meeting with a key decision maker.
  • Delivering your message: utilizing both traditional approaches and social media.
  • How to grow, support, and activate your network.

More details about the application process and the trainings will follow soon. In the interim, organizations should acquire 20 individuals who want to receive these trainings. Priority will be given to applicants who will be joined by other advocates outside their organization or program. 

Click here to contact Sara Cirba, Advocacy and Development Associate, if you are interested in receiving Consumer Voice's advocacy skills training or have any questions; or call 202-332-2275 ext. 221.


House Subcommittee Approves Reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act

On May 28, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved bipartisan legislation (H.R. 4631) to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act, which was introduced by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA). The measure that was passed by the committee amended the introduced bill by, among other things, adding a new autism position at the Department of Health and Human Services, increasing the number of non-federal members on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), and studying the needs of and services available to children with autism as they transition to adulthood. The bill would provide $1 billion for autism research for the next five years.

Health Subcommittee Chairman Pitts (R-PA) and Ranking Minority Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) both said that additional changes could be made before or during the full committee markup, including a possible name change, and that they are working in a bicameral, bipartisan way to move this bill quickly through Congress before the September 30 sunset of the current law. It is expected that Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Enzi (R-WY) will introduce a Senate bill to reauthorize the law in the next couple of weeks.

Family Voices joined other child health groups in a letter urging that the CAA be reauthorized this year.

House Approves Gun Measure

In response to the recent mass shooting in California, the House last week approved an additional $19.5 million in grant funding for the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used to screen potential gun purchasers to see if they are prohibited from gun ownership due to a criminal record or mental illness. The funding was provided via an amendment to a 2015 appropriations bill, which was adopted by a vote of 260-145. Members of the Republican House leadership were divided on the amendment; all but four Democrats voted in favor of it. Significantly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) did not take a position on the amendment; had the NRA opposed it, the amendment likely would not have been approved. See this story from The Hill.

ACA NEWS AND INFORMATION [See below for ACA resources.]

Suit Filed Under Anti-Discrimination Provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Two leading health organizations: the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and the AIDS Institute, filed a complaint last week with the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The complaint charges that four Florida insurers are breaching Obamacare's anti-discrimination requirements by structuring their prescription drug policies to discourage people with HIV/AIDS from enrolling.


Effective Communications for People with Disabilities: Before, During, and After Emergencies

On May 27, the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency, issued the report, “Effective Communications for People with Disabilities: Before, During, and After Emergencies.”  The study examines the current state of affairs concerning the accessibility of emergency-related communications and describes the experiences and perceptions of people with disabilities as they relate to emergency-related communications. It also includes a series of recommendations for policy makers, federal partners, and emergency managers to ensure that they provide effective communication to people with disabilities before, during, and after emergencies. See this article from Disability Scoop.


Tool to Determine Eligibility for a Special Enrollment Period, Medicaid, or CHIP

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a screener tool on the HealthCare.gov website to help consumers know whether they are likely to be eligible for a special enrollment period or eligible for Medicaid and or CHIP. The tool will launch in both English and Spanish and is located at https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/. Additional information is available on this Health Insurance Blog. Questions or Concerns? Contact HHSIEA@hhs.gov.


Becoming A Medicaid Provider of Family and Youth Peer Support: Considerations for Family-Run Organizations. Slides and a recording are available from this April 1 webinar, offered by the Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association (FREDLA) in partnership with the TA Network, the Center for Health Care Strategies and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Long-Term Services and Supports

As reported in earlier Updates, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently issued a final rule on Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services. Advocates have been finding, creating, and posting materials on the rule at HCBSadvocacy.org. New resources include:


June 30 – Deadline for Former PCIP Enrollees to Enroll in a Qualified Health Plan

The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) terminated on April 30, 2014. Those who were covered under the PCIP will be eligible for a 60-day Special Enrollment Period starting on May 1, enabling them to enroll in a qualified health plan offered through the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace until June 30. State-based Marketplaces are adopting similar special enrollment periods. If the enrollee is otherwise eligible to enroll in a qualified health plan, coverage will be effective back to May 1. An HHS Fact Sheet explaining this process is available here, and the formal notice is available here.

Survey on How Consumers Obtain Health Information

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), established under the ACA, is conducting research on how to make its health care research findings more readily available to consumers so they can use it to make health care decisions. Accordingly, they are seeking feedback from healthcare consumers and their family members, through a confidential two-question survey. Participants can add responses, suggest edits for existing responses, and rank existing responses. All feedback will help the researchers identify strategies to get information to health care consumers, their family members, and their providers sooner and help them use the information to make decisions about their health care. Take the survey at https://pcori-patient.codigital.com/c/pcori-patient/user/login.