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Public Policy Update | May 23

Autism Society of North Carolina Public Policy updates:

  • I/DD Caucus meeting draws advocates to NCGA
  • Tailored Plan Reminders
  • Survey on the Innovations Waiver Supports Budget Process


I/DD Caucus meeting brings advocates to the NC General Assembly (NCGA).
On Tuesday May 14, members of the Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability legislative caucus met to hear testimony from people with I/DD and their family members at the General Assembly. About 100 advocates gathered to hear from legislators and listen as speakers shared their experiences of waiting, sometimes a decade or more, for Innovation Waiver slots. People shared how vital it was to have well-trained, well-paid Direct Support Professional (DSPs) and how difficult it has been to hire them at the current rates. Others shared their hopes for being able to find a place to live, a job, and a caring community and their hopes that the NCGA would continue to make investments in services for those with I/DD. Following the meeting, Legislators and participants spoke at a press conference highlighting these problems and legislative efforts like House Bill 1003, the I/DD Omnibus legislation that includes funding for DSP wages, Innovation Waiver slots, other services like housing and employment supports, as well as banning the use of prone restraints and requiring schools to notify parents when seclusion and restraint is used on a child.

Lawmakers have the opportunity in the short legislative session to consider these above issues as well as other policy priorities. The need for waiver slots is likely to be an ongoing issue for lawmakers as the Innovations waitlist dashboard shows there are currently more than 17,500 people with I/DD eligible for waiver services facing a 12-year long wait or more.

The Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) encourages you to reach out to your General Assembly members in support of increasing access to services and education for people on the autism spectrum, as well as thanking them for their support of DSP wage increases and other funding in the current budget.

You can find out who represents you in the NCGA here: https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators. You must select ā€œNC Houseā€ and then ā€œNC Senateā€ before entering your residential address in order to view the state legislators for your districts. Every member of the General Assembly has a page with their contact information.

The members of the NCGA Health and Human Services Appropriations Committees, House and Senate, Ā are responsible for making decisions about funding for programs like Innovations, Medicaid services, and other state-funded supports.

The members of the NCGA Appropriations Education Committees, House and Senate, are responsible for making decisions about funding special education and related school services.

ASNC has tips on advocating and an Advocacy Toolkit on our Make Your Voice Heard page that may be helpful in writing or calling your legislators. If you need help identifying who represents you, who you should contact about a specific public policy issue, or more information on interacting with your elected officials, please email Jennifer Mahan, Director of Public Policy at the Autism Society of North Carolina

Tailored Plan implementation continues.
NC Medicaid will begin auto assignment of Medicaid Tailored Plan beneficiaries to primary care providers, if they have not already selected a primary care doctor. Tailored Plan participants who have not already been assigned to a Care Manager, will be auto enrolled in one beginning May 23. Tailored Plans go into effect on July 1, 2024.

A reminder that most Medicaid beneficiaries who are diagnosed with autism or another intellectual and/or developmental disability will be enrolled in a Tailored Plan. If you think you have been incorrectly enrolled, have the wrong primary care provider assignment, or are having other problems with Medicaid, you can contact the Medicaid Ombudsman at 1-877-201-3750 and/or contact your Local Management Entity (LME/MCO) for assistance.

ASNC has created a Medicaid Transformation page that includes information about the Tailored Plans, timelines and other resources about this transition.

Innovations Waiver support budget survey ends June 8.
Since 2016, each person receiving Innovations Waiver services participates in a Supports Intensity ScaleĀ® (SISĀ®) assessment, receives notice of their budget, and can use the budget when planning for services. DHHS wants to evaluate this model to decide whether any changes are needed to better support people using services. The Human Services Research Institute is doing this evaluation. They would like to hear about your experience with the Innovations Waiver supports budget. They are conducting a survey through June 8, 2024, to gather feedback. People who complete this survey will be entered into a drawing for a $150 gift card. You can find this survey here. Please share this survey with other people interested in providing feedback.

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