RPG Highlights from Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Hearing

This week, Ridge Policy Group, a top government affairs firm, monitored a hearing regarding Home and Community Based Services on behalf of our clients. RPG has been an advocate on behalf of the 61 million Americans with disabilities and their right to be productive, live independently, and earn a living. One primary way that we can do this is by providing additional funding for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS).

HCBS funding could be used for direct support staff in education, including job coaches, so that individuals with disabilities have the supports they need to do so effectively. Funding for HCBS will ensure that people with disabilities’ continue to receive long term care. As a top lobbying firm in Washington DC, we recognize the need of HCBS being used for employment services.

Opening Statement: Chairman Bob Casey

Senator Casey:

Question 1: Addressed to Mr. Kingsmore

How important is it that we invest in HCBS from an employment side?

Answer 1:

Without these services he would not be who he is today. Funding and aid for these programs can be the difference between life and death.

Question 2: Addressed to Ms. Alene Shaheed

How would raising wages for workers impact the availability of homecare workers that provide the type of care you receive?

Answer 1:

Having increased wages would give people who need care a greater quality of life. If you increase the wages, it will help draw more people to the industry. Her case manager has, at times, called 12 agencies and been rejected because people don’t want to do the work for the low wage.

Question 3: Addressed to Ms. Tomlinson

How would an investment in Home and Community Based Services help fill some of the gaps in care and help people return to work?


Across the country right now every family is building and creating a system of care delivery all alone. This investment would give us what we need to improve the infrastructure of our home care system. Wages and training have a huge gap that needs to be addressed.

Senator Gillibrand:

Question 1: Addressed to Ms. Tomlinson

How do the diverse needs of older adults and people with disabilities inform the need of improvement? Are there people who’s needs are going undocumented?

Answer 1:

Across states and within states we have so much parody that if you need home and community-based cervices it often comes down to, do you live in the right state, in the right neighborhood, and have the right needs.

Question 2: Addressed to Ms. Tomlinson

How would the implementation of paid family medical leave help with HCBS?

Answer 2:

At some point we will all be a care giver or a recipient of care. And this means that paid leave must be the norm not the exception.

Senator Braun:

Question 1: Addressed to Ms. Lisa Harutyunyan

In 202 the federal government spent $1.5 trillion on health care services. At this point the GAO flagged a likelihood of fraud. Has increased spending helped the outcome or have the wavers over complicated things?

Answer 1:

Increased spending doesn’t always mean better results. Without proper guidelines for spending money can end up being misused. The wavers are too robust and create lots of complexity for states.

Senator Rosen:

Question 1: Addressed to Ms. Weidner

As a homecare worker who is with SEIU can you tell me how you feel about having those worker protections and union representation on a day-to-day basis?

Answer 1:

At times homecare can be isolating because you work by yourself. In joining the union, she found a support system and a group of people that can help her get through hard times. Congress needs to pass this package because the workers need more help with things like wages, training, and access to health care.

Senator Warnock:

Question 1: Addressed to Ms. Tomlinson

How can congress get 8,000 Georgians off waiting lists?

Answer 1:

The truth is there are more people then are on that list that need help. The best thing we can do is fund the project so there is financial certainty. This means increasing the federal match rate.

Senator Warren:

Question 1: Addressed to Ms. Weidner

How has your wage impacted your financial security?


It has resulted in me living paycheck to paycheck and acquiring debt.

Question 2: Addressed to Ms. Alene Shaheed

How has the shortage of employment impacted you?


It has impacted her greatly. She can no longer leave the confines of her home.

RPG is happy to see this important issue be discussed. We hope that those who are in need receive services necessary to live a quality life. We look forward to continuing our government affairs consulting work to ensure that these provisions stay on the top of the priority list in the health care discussion.

Written by

Ridge Policy Group


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