Wednesday, October 3, 2018

AHCA/NCAL Supports HEADs UP Act

Dana Halvorson

AHCA/NCAL has added its name in support of the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally disabled and Underserved Population Act (HEADs UP Act) of 2018 (H.R. 6611), which was introduced by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6) and Rep. Greg Harper (R-MS-3).  This bipartisan legislation would designate people with intellectual and developmental disability (ID/DD) as a Medically Underserved Population (MUP).  Many feel this designation is needed as people with ID/DD experience poorer health outcomes, shortened life expectancies, and lack access to even the most basic forms of care when compared to the non-disabled population. A designation as a MUP would help to close these gaps and achieve better health outcomes for the entire ID/DD population.

Despite the large and growing size of the population with ID/DD, there are few primary care providers and even fewer specialists who are trained to treat the ID/DD population. The MUP designation would open up over 25 government programs within the Health Resources & Services Administration and other federal agencies for the ID/DD population. These programs include, among other things, incentives for physicians to treat this population in the form of higher Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement rates for physician services delivered in Health Professional Shortage Areas, a designation closely related to MUP.  More information on the bill can be found here.

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