Legislation Would Allow Payment for DSPs During Hospital Stays

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have introduced the Ensuring Access to Direct Support Professionals Act to provide coverage through 1915(c) Home and Community Based Service waivers (HCBS) for services from direct support professionals (DSPs) while a patient whom a DSP is supporting is in the hospital. Current law restricts Medicaid from paying for the DSP services while a patient is hospitalized. This bipartisan legislation will extend coverage to DSP services in hospital settings so that Medicaid beneficiaries can continue to receive the care that they need.  

The bill would authorize states to reimburse, if they so choose, DSP’s time supporting individuals during short-term hospital stays under 1915 (c) waiver programs. The legislation does this by allowing for the provision of 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in acute care hospitals, as long as those services are not a substitute for services that the hospital is obligated to provide through its conditions of participation or under Federal or State law.

NASDDDS has consulted with many members on this legislation and the emerging consensus is that this legislation is greatly needed and will be of significant benefit to individuals with disabilities.  An identical house bill, the Isaiah Baker and Margie Harris-Austin Act, was introduced last month.

FMI: To read the bill or track it’s progress, go to https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3220?s=1&r=7