Funding for home- and community-based services would increase under legislation introduced Monday by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
The COVID HCBS Relief Act, if passed, would allow older adults and people with disabilities to receive services and supports in their homes, reducing the need for them to move into congregate settings, Casey said. The bill calls for a 10% Federal Medical Assistance Percentages increase to support frontline workers with increased pay, paid sick and family medical leave, and personal protective equipment.
The bill also would provide support for family caregivers, pay for the recruiting and training of additional direct care workers, and the purchase of technology to facilitate services. Funds also could help provide services for the more than 800,000 people on state HCBS waiting lists, Casey said.
The COVID HCBS Relief Act is co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.