What it is: SB208 | Georgia 2021-2022 | Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; fully funded services to individuals on the New Options Waiver (NOW) or Comprehensive Supports Waiver (COMP) waiting list
Why it’s important: There are currently around 7000 people with a wide range of disabilities on Georgia’s waiting list for waiver services. Although not everyone needs services immediately, funding is never high enough to meet current needs. One of the reasons DBHDD gave for the proposed COMP cuts is to spend the savings on the waiting list. Advocates believe that all people with disabilities should have their needs met and not at the expense of others. SB208 provides direction to state leaders to plan for and provide services to everyone on the list and prohibits forcing people out of their homes to get the support they need.
What you can do: Build a relationship with your legislators and help them understand why their support of SB208 is critical. Help educate others who may not have knowledge or experience with disability issues. Speak up and use your influence to ensure the right to proper services is afforded every Georgian.
HCBS Access Act
What it is: The HCBS Access Act is a draft bill that would eliminate waiting lists. It requires Medicaid to provide HCBS, increases Medicaid funding for HCBS, and provides additional grant funding for states to build the capacity they need to serve all people who need HCBS.
Why it’s important: It will improve the quality of the direct care workforce and address the decades-long workforce crisis. The change will also allow people to move from state to state and not have to start all over with Medicaid. People will also be able to live the lives they want, in their own homes and communities.
What you can do: Encourage your legislators to support the HCBS Access Act.
American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Act
What it is: ARPA provides an increased temporary 10% federal match to states to use in their HCBS programs.
Here is the memo detailing what the ARPA funds may be used for:
Why it’s important: This provides Georgia with a half-billion dollars to use for HCBS. Georgia could address the waiting list, increase direct support wages, and many other improvements.
What you can do: Contact DCH, DBHDD, and your legislators and support the DD Network’s position
Better Care Better Jobs (BCBJ) Act
What it is: BCBJ Act is a historic investment in HCBS services. This Act will enable people with disabilities to remain in their homes, expand access to care, and will lead to better pay and benefits for direct support professionals.
Why it’s important: The BCBJ Act will make states eligible for a permanent 10% increase in the federal match. States will be required to strengthen and expand access to HCBS, strengthen and expand the HCBS workforce, show improvement over time and comply with strong maintenance of effort (prohibiting a reduction in eligibility). States will also be required to encourage innovative models that benefit the direct care workforce and care recipients, support quality and accountability and facilitate state planning. BCBJ Act will also make Money Follows the Person permanent.
What you can do: Contact your legislators and ask them to sign on for sponsorship.
GENERAL ADVOCACY TOOLS: