Friday, February 19, 2010


February 19, 2010

From Doris Ray (ECNV)



In the next two days, the Virginia General Assembly’s money committees will make final decisions on the state budget for FY’2011-2012. In December, outgoing Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine presented the General Assembly with a proposed state budget for the next two years. It contained significant cuts to Virginia’s Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waivers Program, including a yearlong freeze on admissions to 5 of the 7 waivers. It also included an 8% cut in the Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) Personal Assistance Services (PAS) Program.

Additionally, Medicaid waiver provider reimbursements, including the salaries of personal assistants, respite workers, and companions would be cut by 5%.

As a result of YOUR ADVOCACY, state legislators were considering restoring some of these proposed cuts and offered their own budget amendments to do that.

Yesterday, Governor Robert F. McDonnell presented state legislators with a list of additional budget cuts that he would like the General Assembly to adopt. These proposed budget reductions would significantly cut, and in some cases, eliminate, services vital to the independence, self-sufficiency, and community integration of Virginians with disabilities! He said that these cuts are necessary to balance the state budget, but he also said that he would not entertain raising taxes or doing away with the personal property (car) tax relief program to raise revenues to prevent deep budget cuts.

Governor McDonnell’s recommendations for additional budget cuts include ---

· Elimination of consumer-directed personal assistance, respite and companion services from Virginia’s Medicaid Home and Community-Based (HCBS) Waivers. (A new cut proposed by Governor McDonnell, it is expected to reduce the budget by $62.9 million ) Individuals and families would no longer be able to hire and fire their own attendants. Instead, they would either have to use home health agencies, which are notoriously unreliable, or be forced into nursing homes or other institutions.

· Reduction of the financial eligibility threshold for Medicaid long term care services (both waivers and institutional placement) from 300% of the monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check to 250% of SSI. Those with higher social security/retirement checks, for example, or those attempting to return to work, but who rely on waivers in order to afford personal assistance, would have their services curtailed. This budget recommendation notes that those in institutions will not be in jeopardy because they can simply spend-down in order to continue to receive Medicaid.

· Cuts of 25% in the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) Personal Assistance Services (PAS) Program for FY 2011 and 50% in FY 2012. DRS PAS helps those not eligible for Medicaid waivers. A significant number of people would lose services, have to quit jobs, and could be forced into institutions.· Additional reductions in state funding (beyond the 10% cut proposed in Governor Kaine’s budget) for adult in-home chore and companion services provided by local government departments of social services. These services provide an alternative for those needing help with activities of daily living, e.g., bathing, dressing and meal preparation, and who are not eligible for Medicaid waiver or DRS PAS services. The bad economy may force local governments to cut these services or impose waiting lists, especially with significant reductions in state funding.

· Elimination of the Department of the Blind and Vision Impaired, the Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. This recommendation was advanced without consultation with the consumers who will have their services impacted. Additionally, the DRS budget would be reduced by 5%.

These are only a few of the myriad of cuts in health and human services proposed by the McDonnell Administration.In the next two days, the members of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees will consider all of the recommendations regarding the biennium budget and issue their final recommendations on Sunday, February 21.


If YOU, or someone you care about, receives Medicaid waiver consumer-directed personal assistance, respite, or companion services, tell legislators how important these services are to YOU! Remind them that it cost far less to provide Medicaid home and community-based waiver services. In fact, data that Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) provides to the federal government demonstrates that it costs Virginia three times more to keep people in nursing homes and other institutions rather than providing services in one’s own home.

Ask them to reject Governor McDonnell’s proposed cuts because they would force people with disabilities back into nursing homes and other institutions, costing the state more in Medicaid expenditures and in lost human potential! Tell them to restore funding to Medicaid waivers, DRS PAS, and adult in-home and companion services. Tell them it’s a good economic investment for the people served and for the personal assistants who consumers hire and employ. Tell them to restore cuts in attendant salaries also! Senate Finance and House Appropriations members are making their decisions in the next two days!


Senator Charles Colgan, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, 804-698-7529

Senator Edward Houck, Chair of the Senate Finance Health and Human Resources Subcommittee, 804-698-7517

Senator Janet Howell (D-Fx), Member Senate Finance Committee 804-698-7532

Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (D-ARL/Fx), Member Senate Finance Committee 804-698-7531

Senator Richard Saslaw (D-Fx), Member Senate Finance Committee and Senate Majority Leader 804-698-7535

Delegate Lacey Putney, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, 804-698-1019

Delegate Harvey Morgan, Chair of the House Appropriations Health and Human Resources Subcommittee, 804-698-1098

Delegate Robert Brink (D-ARL), Member House Appropriations Committee 804-698-1048

Delegate Joe T. May (R-LOU), Member House Appropriations Committee 804-698-1033

PLEASE ALSO CONTACT GOVERNOR MCDONNELL – Ask the governor to withdraw his recommendations to eliminate consumer-directed services in the Medicaid waivers. Remind him that Medicaid waiver services are more cost-effective than institutional placements and a good investment for Virginia. Let him know how important it is for consumers to be able to hire and supervise their own caregivers because it results in better quality assurance than using a home health agency. If you use DRS PAS services, let Governor McDonnell know how important those services are for you, and if DRS PAS services help you to stay employed and continue to pay taxes, tell him that!


Governor Robert McDonnell


Members of the House Appropriations Health and Human Resources Subcommittee

Delegate Harvey Morgan (Chair) -- (804) 698-1098
Delegate Riley E. Ingram--(804) 698-1062
Delegate R. Steven Landes-- (804) 698-1025
Delegate S. Chris Jones -- (804) 698-1076
Delegate John O'Bannon-- (804) 698-1073
Delegate Robert Brink--(804) 698-1048
Delegate Onzlee Ware-- (804) 698-1011
Delegate Rosalyn Dance-- (804) 698-1063

Members of the Senate Finance Health and Human Resources Subcommittee

Senator Edd Houck (Chairman)-- (804) 698-7517
Senator Mary Margaret Whipple--(804) 698-7531
Senator Janet Howell-- (804) 698-7532
Senator William Wampler-- (804) 698-7540
Senator Henry Marsh-- (804) 698-7516
Senator Yvonne Miller-- (804) 698-7505
Senator Emmet Hanger -- (804) 698-7524

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Virginia: Ask Governor McDonnell to Support Community for All

This urgent action alert is from the ARC of Virginia:

Ask Governor McDonnell to support Community for All


Click on the link here to send an email to the Governor:

Critical budget decisions are being made this week. These decisions will determine the future of community-based services for Virginians with developmental disabilities and their families.

Will the waiting list for community services be reduced or will it continue to grow?

Will the community-based system stay intact or will it be dismantled by budget cuts?

Will Virginia commit to "Community for All" or will we rebuild institutions?

Hundreds of people with developmental disabilities, family members and concerned citizens are anticipated to attend the "mArcH for Rights" in Richmond on Monday morning, calling for for Virginia to eliminate the proposed cuts to community services and stop rebuilding institutions. Please join their voices.

Help us ensure the message of Community for All is heard loud and clear! Our goal is to get 1,000 emails to Governor McDonnell by 12pm on Monday. The 5 minutes you give to take action will impact the lives of thousands. Clicking on the link it will take you to the alert posted on the ARC of Virginia's website. Just scroll down and enter your name, email and address-then click "send message". Talking points are provided for your email to Governor McDonnell, but please take a minute to personalize your message (i.e. "I'm a family member on the waiver waiting list" ," I'm someone who is affected by cuts to community-based services", "I'm a friend/neighbor/collegue", etc.).

This alert is very time sensitive. Please respond as soon as possible and forward this email to everyone you know asking them to join you in the email campaign on behalf of "A Life Like Yours".

If just 10 of your friends and family members respond-it will have a big impact.-Please help The Arc stand up for "A Life Like Yours"-email Governor McDonnell TODAY!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Restraint and Seclusion Bill Markup TOMORROW February 4 2010

Legislation Going to Committee: The Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (H.R. 4247) is going to be marked up by the House Education and Labor Committee this Thursday, Feb. 4th. More phone calls to representatives are needed immediately to keep the legislation strong.

To view the markup session live, tomorrow Feb. 4, 2010 at 11 am, go to

To contact your legislator and members of the House Education and Labor Committee, go to to look up email addresses and/or phone numbers of legislators.

Call your Congressional representative to co-sponsor H.R. 4247.

To find out the names of your Representative, visit and type in your zip code. The names of your Representatives will be located on the left side of the page under President & Congress.Call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your representative. You can provide them with your zip code if you do not know his or her name.

Identify yourself as a constituent and the organization that you represent (if any).

If you have a restraint and seclusion story, please give them some of the details so they understand why these bills are so important.

Message: “I am calling to urge (your Representative) to cosponsor HR 4247, legislation preventing harmful use of restraint and seclusion in schools. HR 4247 is being marked up this Thursday, and your support can help make sure it passes and remains strong. Currently, seventeen states have no protections whatsoever against the use of harmful restraint and seclusion in schools. HR 4247 would create a basic floor of protection and fund teacher training to protect children and keep our schools safe.”

Thank you for your efforts and please keep up the good work! Nothing About Us, Without Us!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Virginia Autism Insurance Bills, Feb. 2, 2010

The VA autism insurance bill/s died in committee yesterday.

The post about the VA autism insurance bills, HB 34 and HB 303 can now be viewed, in their entirety, at: