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New Medicaid Rule Advances Options for People with Disabilities

On May 9, 2014, more than 150 community members attended a town hall forum at The Meeting House in Columbia, Md., to learn about changes to a Medicaid rule called home and community-based services programs (HCBS) that will have a direct impact on the lives of people with disabilities. The new HCBS regulations provide full access to the benefits of community living and offer services in the most integrated settings.

Under the final rule, Medicaid programs will support home and community-based settings that serve as an alternative to institutional care and that take into account the quality of individuals’ experiences. Service providers must follow new guidelines that promote independent community living while maximizing personal choice, autonomy, and dignity.

A four-member panel including experts from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid answered audience questions about the features of the new rule and implications for service providers. The event was sponsored by the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities and its partners, Maryland Disability Law Center, and the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council.For more information, including tools and resources to help advocates implement the new home and community-based services regulation, please visit http://HCBSadvocacy.org.