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Washington DC Update 6/4/21
Welcome to June in Washington where much is “a-buzz” and it is not just the cicadas!
Buzzzzzz about ARPA!
That buzz is not another bug. ARPA stands for the American Rescue Plan Act that was enacted on March 11, 2021. ARPA is a big act with a lot of moving parts. Some are already in place, while others are trickling down. Below are a few links to more information on ARPA as a whole and with regard to specific aspects that affect CYSHCN and families.
Opportunity for Partnership? You bet!
Medicaid's Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) bump is for Appendix B services only. This includes a broad list of home health care, personal care services, case management, school-based services, rehabilitative services, 1915c waiver services, self-directed services, Community First Choice 1915k, MLTSS and any of these services that are delivered via 1115 waiver.

NOTE: Medicaid directors will be submitting spending plan projections and narrative by June 12, 2021, so there is time now to give input and definitely time to partner to ensure that the spending expands services to CYSHCN and families. To review the CMS letter to State Medicaid Directors visit this page.
SPOTLIGHT on F2F partnering with Medicaid around FMAP
Just this week the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network, the New Jersey Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F) and Family Voices New Jersey affiliate, were invited to a Department of Human Services Stakeholder group on Medicaid and the American Rescue Act. Specifically, SPAN discussed how the additional funding could supplement, not supplant, Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and support increased independent living options for children and adults with disabilities in their state.
More Buzzzz, but not about ARPA… 
The Buzz in Washington around the second part of Biden’s stimulus package focuses on building infrastructure and families includes discussion of exactly what aspects of the plans will make it into legislation (and how). Not yet law, these plans are just proposals. Home and community-based waiver expansion efforts are included in the Jobs plan proposal and childcare and education efforts are included in the families plan.

Legislation buzz specific to CYSHCN
The Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act is bi-partisan legislation that eliminates administrative burdens that get in the way of accessing out-of-state care for children with special health care needs by creating a limited streamlined Federal Medicaid enrollment and screening process.
Emergency Buzzzzzz
Although old news, HHS Secretary Becerra did renew the public health emergency on April 15, 2021. It is expected that he will do so again in July and that the Public Health Emergency will be extended until the end of 2021. HHS Renews COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Through July 19, 2021; Additional Renewals Are Expected | Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - JDSupra

Many of the Appendix K flexibilities have made a huge impact on the health and quality of life of CYSHCN and their families. A big focus of the Administration and Secretary Becerra is to foster collaboration, eliminate silos and make systems work better for all. One very immediate way of achieving this is to work within the parameters of existing regulations and guidance. What lessons have we learned? How can we improve and create Guidance 2.0? What flexibilities can be standardized to improve health/life of CYSHCN? Time to start thinking about, discussing, and working with Medicaid and other public health officials to use the lessons of the pandemic and the existing tools to improve care for CYSHCN!
Family Voices Leadership Conference 2021
The Family Voices Leadership Conference is next week! We have 39 live sessions and 23 pre-recorded sessions highlighting families and professionals partnering to improve health care for all children, including CYSHCN. Explore sessions on health equity, supporting families during the pandemic, telehealth, family and youth engagement, organizational development, communication strategies, and policy. Learn more and register.
Manatt and a multidisciplinary panel of innovators discuss the evolving integrator models now cropping up in states and localities around the country—and likely to expand in the coming months with the influx of funds from the American Rescue Plan. Click here to register for free. The program will:

  • Present a range of creative approaches for organizing and supporting community-based organizations’ ability to partner effectively with the health system to address DOH
  • Provide a common definition of what “integrator” organizations are and the role they can play in advancing initiatives to address DOH
  • Share innovative initiatives to advance DOH interventions and drive scalable, sustainable change
  • Look ahead to what’s on the horizon for integrators as we transition to a post-pandemic world

If you can’t attend the live session on June 16, click here to register for free now and receive a link to view the program on demand.
Recording and Resources Available
On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) hosted a Building COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence partner webinar to provide information and resources to help partners address vaccine hesitancy in their communities. Guest speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joined and shared their insights.

Report of Interest
The National Council on Disability recently released a report: Enforceable Accessible Medical Equipment Standards: A Necessary Means to Address the Health Care Needs of People with Mobility Disabilities | NCD.gov. Although the report is focused on the continuing physical barriers to access to care that adults with disabilities face, there is much to be found in the report to which families of CYSHCN can relate as not all pediatric medical facilities are accessible in terms of equipment for children with disabilities. One method of overcoming the barriers are found at this NCIL link: Provider Accessibility Initiative (ncil.org)
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Thank you for subscribing to the Washington DC Update newsletter. Please feel free to contact the Family Voices Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Cara Coleman, with any questions. Past issues of the Update appear on the Family Voices website. If you wish to unsubscribe, you can do so via the "Unsubscribe" link below.

Family Voices is a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities that promotes partnership with families--including those of cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity--in order to improve healthcare services and policies for children.