October 1, 2012•Alerts
PENNSYLVANIA FAMILIES – Call to Action – Support HR 879 – No Medicaid Copays Until After a Comprehensive Study
Forwarded by the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania –
by Amy Gould Caraballo
Friday, September 28, 2012
PLEASE READ! CALL-TO-ACTION INSTRUCTIONS BELOW:
Representative Gene DiGirolamo (R), Chairman of the House Human Services Committee, introduced a Resolution today, House Resolution 879 (HR 879), which strongly urges DPW to refrain from implementing the copay policy until after the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee completes a comprehensive study of the copayment proposal and issues a report to the General Assembly no later than November 1, 2013.
Specifically, HR 879 contends that, while Act 22 of 2011 granted DPW the authority to publish the copayments to address budget limitation, that authority did not extend to establishing procedures and protocols to collect copayments. Notwithstanding this point, DPW plans to fully implement their copayment plan and direct providers to begin collecting copayments for current Medical Assistance consumers on November 1, 2012. Furthermore, HR 879 cites additional reasons for postponing copay implementation,
-DPW’s ill-advised decisions regarding the methodology for collecting a fair share of the costs of care for the children;
-The federal government requires the department to calculate the ongoing amount of copayments for each family in real time, ensuring this burden is not placed on families;
-DPW Bulletin dated September 20, 2012 admits that they are in no position to comply with this requirement; and
-The House of Representatives does not believe the potential savings are worth the ensuing chaos if the proposal is implemented without regard for the many questions that have arisen about it.
In light of these concerns, HR 879 strongly urges that the House of Representatives direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of the proposal to determine its impact on the families affected that seeks to learn:
-If there are better implementation strategies to assure that families adequately support their children who have disabilities;
-Whether the copayments will be implemented across the Commonwealth in a uniform and equitable fashion that complies with state and federal Medical Assistance requirements;
-What the real health services, administrative, and operational costs to the Medical Assistance funded pediatric health care and child-adolescent behavioral health care delivery system will be for both the Fee-for-service and HealthChoices for service providers, as well as for counties and Managed Care Organizations; and
-What the potential and real costs of special education services may be for students for whom families demand that behavioral health and health care services be added to the student’s Individual Education Plan in lieu of Medical Assistance funded services.
NOTE: RESOLUTIONS ARE NON-BINDING, BUT WITH ENOUGH SIGNATURES AND A SUCCESSFUL VOTE IN THE HOUSE, WILL SEND A STRONG MESSAGE TO DPW SECRETARY ALEXANDER.
CALL-TO-ACTION INSTRUCTIONS: We need all of you to stop what you’re doing, pick up the phone now, and call your representative in the Pennsylvania House.
1. Tell your representative who you are and how DPW’s Medical Assistance copayment plan is harmful to your family and thousands of other families raising children with disabilities in Pennsylvania.
2. Then ask your representative to:
-Co-sponsor Representative DiGirolamo’s HR 879, which strongly urges DPW to delay implementation of its Medical Assistance copay plan until the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee completes its comprehensive study, then
-Ask your representative to contact House Majority Floor Leader Mike Turzai, urging him to allow a Floor Vote on HR 879 prior to the close of this Legislative Session.For more information on DPW’s copayment plan and what you can do to help stop it, visit www.PennAutism.org