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Moulton, Fitzpatrick Introduce HEADS Up Act To Aid Developmentally Disabled

May 06, 2019 05:57AM

Seth Moulton

(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the Office of Congressman Seth Moulton.)

WASHINGTON — Today, Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally Disabled and Underserved Population (HEADs Up) Act of 2019

The HEADs Up Act would direct the Health Services and Resources Administration to designate people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) as a Medically Underserved Population. The HSRA is the government agency that advocates for people who are cut off from quality health care by economics, geography or a medical vulnerability.

 

“America can do better for its citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Moulton said. “We are a great nation because everyone has something to contribute, because we take care of each other, and we help our friends and neighbors make the most out of the opportunities they are given. That means expanding health care to those among us who require the most complex care so Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families can write their own destinies.”

 

“Everyone deserves access to quality health care, especially those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been underserved for too long,” Fitzpatrick said. “This legislation will ensure those in the IDD community receive the care they deserve and incentivize physicians to provide critical services to them. I’m proud to join Congressman Moulton to introduce this measure to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities live healthy lives.”

 

The change in designation would give Americans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities access to new primary care and specialist services, incentivize new research, and authorize more favorable reimbursement rates for providers who treat Americans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

 

The “Medically Underserved” designation was created with the passage of the Health Centers Consolidation Act of 1996. Despite years of advocacy and ample evidence that people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities qualify for the designation, Congress still has not provided these Americans with it.

 

The designation as a special medically underserved population would open up more than 25 government programs within the Health Services and Resources Administration and other federal agencies for participation by the I/DD population.

 

These programs include:

  • Federal funding for health centers and public health infrastructure such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)

 

  • Eligibility to apply for federal funding to develop and operate Community Health Centers

 

  • Access to loan repayment and training programs in HRSA’s Workforce Development and Training Programs including the national Health Service Corps Scholarships

 

  • Incentives for physicians to treat this population in the form of higher CMS reimbursement rates for physician services delivered in Health Professional Shortage Areas, a designation closely related to MUP

 

  • Preference given to research at federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, that studies medically underserved population.

 

A wide range of champions for the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled endorsed Moulton’s and Fitzpatrick’s bill. They include:

American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD)

American Health Care Association

American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)

American Physical Therapy Association

American Podiatric Medical Association

Autism Self Advocacy Network

Autism Society of America

Autism Speaks

Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association

Franciscan Children's

FRAXA Research Foundation

Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council

Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress

Massachusetts General Hospital

National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA)

National Down Syndrome Congress

National Down Syndrome Society

Partners Healthcare

SourceAmerica

Special Care Dentistry Association

Special Olympics International

The Achievable Foundation

The Arc of Massachusetts

The Arc of the United States

The MENTOR Network

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)

Woods Services

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