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SCI CONNECTOR March 2005


MONEY FOLLOWS THE PERSON INTRODUCED IN US SENATE

The Money Follows the Person bill has been introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-OH) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR). The bill number is S.528.The title is: A bill to authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide grants to States to conduct demonstration projects that are designed to enable medicaid-eligible individuals to receive support for appropriate and necessary long-term services in the settings of their choice.

States are facing major budget shortfalls. Major Medicaid cuts are being proposed at the federal level and are in the cards for most, if not all, states. One of the major barriers to Freeing Our People and complying with the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision is funding. As states look to deal with their budget crises and restrict their spending, they are limited by funds that must be spent. Since nursing homes are entitlement, states must fund these services - and with scarce dollars states will look to community services to remain at the same funding level if not take all the cuts.

The President's New Freedom Initiatives proposals for this year included a Money Follows the Person demonstration project, to try and get states to try the idea of letting the money follow the person. Discussions of the President's FY 2005 Budget and New Freedom initiatives sometimes confuse the Medicaid reforms that involve grants to the states and the Money Following the Individual proposal. They are separate ideas. The Money Following the Individual is not a block grant, it is a means of making existing funds more flexible.

HIGHLIGHTS

The Money Follows the Person is an initiative that is part of the President Bush's proposal for a Money follows the Person Program. It is included in the President 2005 budget request as a major component of the President's New Freedom Initiative to integrate people with disabilities into the community.

Gives people the freedom to choose where they want to live. It would allow us to take advantage of opportunities that other Americans take for granted - to take a walk when we want to, to choose what we want to eat, when we want to go to bed, to have a job, visit family and friends and be part of our communities.

It is a win-win. People with disabilities get the choice to live in the community and states get the needed resources to rebalance their long term service systems to increase the availability of community based services.

The Administration's proposal provides 350 million dollars to states per year for five years for a total of 1.75 billion dollars. It provides 100% of the cost for the first year that a person moves from an institutional setting into the community. After that, the federal government pays its regular Medicaid rate.

This initiative will help states comply with the ADA and the Olmstead decision. The Supreme Court said in Olmstead that needless institutionalization was discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

MFP HAS MANY BENIFITS

2005 GOLF MARATHON PLANNING UNDERWAY

By Jan Seaman

The 2nd Annual SCI Network Golf Marathon benefit will be held September 12, 2005 and the Cartooon Golfer Sweats a Putplanning is underway. Here is a chance for you to have a hand in the future of the Network’s programs and services by getting “up to par” on this event. The event this year will be planned by a Steering Committee consisting of Jesse Parker and Steve Towle of SCI Network; Ann Cody, a former Paralympian; Noel Jablonski, LPGA Golf Professional; Cindy Daniel a SCI Network friend and volunteer and Jan Seaman a former adapted physical educator. It’s a dynamite group.

Four committees have been formed, one of which might fit your skills. The email addresses for the chair of each are shown below:

If you want to volunteer to be on one of these committees, please contact the chair using the email addresses above. If you have a chance to get out and about…here are a couple of things you could do to help:

SCI Network is the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. In existence over forty years, and incorporated as a 501[c][3] in DC, Maryland and Virginia since 1982, SCI Network’s mission is: To provide support and services to people with spinal cord injuries and other mobility impairing conditions, and to their families and friends.

NSCIA LAUNCHES HALL OF FAME AT NATIONAL SUMMIT

The National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA) announces the Summit on Spinal Cord Injury and the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame May 9-11, 2005 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and the Medtronic Foundation are co-sponsoring the event. The Kennedy Center Accessibility Program is co-sponsoring the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame which will be held the evening of May 9, 2005 at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

A highlight of the Summit will be the first SCI Hall of Fame Inductee Ceremony to recognize leaders and organizations for their significant achievements in promoting positive awareness of and dedication to the needs, contributions and achievements of individuals following injury. This notable, well-publicized event will follow a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

Nominations for the Hall of Fame must be received no later than February 23, 2004. See the NSCIA website for more information on the Summit and Hall of Fame, www.spinalcord.org. The SCI Summit and Hall of Fame have been designed as unique, high profile, media focus events. NSCIA is offering variety of sponsorship opportunities that provide high visibility throughout the events and in targeted follow up materials and venues. For more information on sponsorship, contact Eric Larson at 847-997-2109 or via email at elarson75@msn.com.


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