Several years ago, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed regulation change that defined what settings people with disabilities could use for their Home & Community-Based Service (HCBS) waivers. The proposed policy restricted housing and employment options, and many responded with the demand for less restrictive definitions of “home and community”. CMS released the federal Final Regulations in January 2014 and has charged every state to create revise their regulations to meet the new HCBS standards. [For more information see the CCC Policy Brief and FAQ]

In March 2014, CMS offered a Toolkit to help states during their transition process and included a document called, “Guidance on settings that have the effect of isolating individuals receiving HCBS from the broader community.” They shared examples of specific settings that they described “tend to isolate” including: farmsteads, gated / secured “communities” for people with disabilities, residential schools, and live-work-play communities.

The Final Regulations were “outcome-oriented” and based on individuals experience, but this Toolkit is misleading and not based on assessment of quality of life nor current research. State leaders must be informed that people with disabilities want increased options and decreased barriers to housing and employment choices! Please Take Action by following the steps below to share your story and tell state leaders that state regulations must not become more restrictive than federal regulations…

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