Note: Yesterday we ran a narrative non-fiction look at what COVID has done to adults with disabilities and their families written by Barbara Fischkin about her son Daniel. I highly recommend you read it.
Our loved ones have been cast aside throughout COVID and now, with the racial tensions following the death of George Floyd, their lives seem to have fallen further down the care curve.
The irony to me is that while the nation rightly decries police brutality, people with severe developmental delays including autism are frequently subject to brutal restraints, submissions, seclusion and other tactics that if used by the police against people of any color, would be deemed barbaric. Our kids have been bruised, bones broken, locked in rooms, held on the ground until they aspirate their own vomit, allowed to wander away to meet their fate in a pond or other body of water, choked to death. Where is the protest?
Amid questions about delays, the Trump administration is sending billions of dollars in aid to disability providers and others funded by Medicaid who have been hard hit by the pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said this week that some $15 billion will go toward providers serving individuals covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, including home- and community-based services providers.
The money is part of the $175 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund that federal lawmakers created in a pair of coronavirus relief bills earlier this year to help health care providers.
While HHS has already distributed billions of dollars from the fund, little has gone toward providers funded primarily by Medicaid.
That has drawn the ire of disability advocates and lawmakers alike. Just last week, a bipartisan group of congressional leaders wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to inquire about the holdup.
Agencies supporting people with developmental disabilities — which rely on Medicaid funding — have struggled greatly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the American Network of Community Options and Resources, or ANCOR, a national trade group representing disability service providers. Unable to continue offering day programs and other services, providers have seen revenues decline while their costs for staffing, personal protective equipment and other needs have grown.