NCD Letter to CMS regarding NCD research into institutionalization of people with disabilities during and after disasters

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November 28, 2018

Seema Verma
Administrator
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21244

Dear Administrator Verma:

The National Council on Disability (NCD) entered into Cooperative Agreement # 18-03 on July 16, 2018 with the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (Partnership) - a national coalition of individuals and organizations whose mission is equal access and full inclusion for the whole community before, during and after disasters - to research and complete a report evaluating institutionalization of people with disabilities before, during, and after disasters. When complete, it will be provided to the President, Congress, and federal agencies potentially impacted by NCD’s recommendations.

I am writing as follow-up to the request by Partnership, for CMS to provide data regarding disaster related admissions to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities during and after the 2017 and 2018 disasters, beginning on August 25, 2017 and continuing through present time. Such data is needed in order to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the cooperative agreement.

NCD is an independent federal agency, and is statutorily authorized to “review and evaluate on a continuing basis--policies, programs, practices, and procedures concerning individuals with disabilities conducted or assisted by Federal departments and agencies…in order to assess the effectiveness of such policies, programs, practices, procedures, statutes, and regulations in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.” 29 U.S.C. § 781(a)(5). NCD is also required to “assess the extent to which such policies, programs, practices, and procedures facilitate or impede the promotion of the policies” that “guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities… and empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.” Id. § 781(a)(6) (referencing 29 U.S.C. § 780(a)(2)).

The cooperative agreement between NCD and Partnership states, in relevant part, that:

“This cooperative agreement is necessary to the discharge of NCD’s duty to “review and evaluate on a continuing basis new and emerging disability policy issues affecting individuals with disabilities at the federal, state, and local levels, and in the private sector, including… Access to personal assistance… Access to health care, and policies that operate as disincentives for individuals to seek and retain employment.” 29 U.S.C. § 781(a)(10). Under this cooperative agreement, the Parties will produce a research product on the institutionalization of people with disabilities before, during, and after disasters. As required by the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, “substantial involvement is expected between the executive agency and the… Recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement.” 31 U.S.C. § 6305(2).

Pursuant to the above, Partnership will need the requested questions and data provided to develop NCD’s report in a timely manner to ensure Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data is recorded in the report. I appreciate your prompt consideration and cooperation in assisting NCD with the questions and data collection previously requested. You may provide the data directly to Amy Nicholas, Attorney Advisor, National Council on Disability. Ms. Nicholas can also be reached at (202) 272-2008.

Sincerely,

Neil Romano
Chairman

 

cc: Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies