United States Congressman Dave Loebsack visited Pella’s Christian Opportunity Center on Wednesday for a guided tour of the facilities and a discussion of issues.
Congressman Loebsack previously visited COC in October of 2014.
COC Program Manager Christian Ray and Associate Manager Shalee Vandeboe provided a guided tour of COC’s Facility-Based Employment program. Congressman Loebsack discussed the work being done in COC’s plant with staff and people supported.
COC Associate Director John Eilers presented COC’s state and federal legislative priorities, including: sheltered employment, Managed Care, CMS rules for Medicaid Waiver homes, H.R.5902, and potential for a federal block grant of Medicaid to the states.
Sheltered employment is scheduled to end in May of 2018. The state decision was driven by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) positions on sheltered employment. Congressman Loebsack has not signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R.188, The Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act (TIME Act). The end of sheltered employment would deny many of the people COC serves the opportunity to earn a paycheck.
Managed Care began in April of 2016 and has been full of serious problems in getting timely payments from the three Managed Care Organizations. Eilers asked Congressman Loebsack to be an advocate for Iowa providers of disability services funded by Medicaid.
CMS rules for Medicaid Waiver homes state that said homes need to be integrated into the community. If state officials rule that COC homes need to be relocated, it will cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars without improving the quality of life of the people living in the homes.
A federal block grant of Medicaid to the states would threaten the quality of COC’s supports and services. The Title XIX Block Grant would mean cost shifting to the states and local government, and COC’s perspective is that the federal government funds people with disabilities better than state or local governments.
The afternoon session concluded with a question-and-answer session with Congressman Loebsack.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential and vocational support and services to more than 300 people with disabilities in Mahaska, Marion, Polk and Warren counties. For more information visit http://christianopportunity.org/.
A little more than one week after the Nov. 8 general election, United States Congressman David Young visited Indianola’s Christian Opportunity Center on Friday for a guided tour of the facilities and a discussion of issues.
Congressman Young is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa’s 3rd district.
COC Executive Director Rod Braun opened with a brief history of COC and updated Congressman Young on COC’s current services. Braun also presented COC’s federal legislative priorities, including H.R. 5902 (The Disability Community Act of 2016) and the potential for a federal block grant of Medicaid to the states.
The Disability Community Act of 2016 would provide a three-year targeted and temporary Medicaid funding increase to providers of disability services to comply with new Department of Labor rules in regards to overtime exempt employees effective Dec. 1, 2016. The temporary funding bill would provide states with the time to come up with additional funding to cover the costs of compliance with the new standards.
Braun asked Congressman Young to consider being a co-sponsor of H.R. 5902.
A federal block grant of Medicaid to the states would threaten the quality of COC’s supports and services. The Title XIX Block Grant would mean cost shifting to the states and local government. COC’s perspective is that strong federal government funding keeps services uniform from state to state, and that federal funding has been more dependable than state or local funding.
More than 20 COC staff, board members and parents of people supported attended the morning session, which ended with a time of question-and-answer and open forum.
The visit concluded with a guided tour from Regional Director Kim Koellner and Program Manager Bailey Eckerson, which enabled Congressman Young to interact with the people COC supports.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential, spiritual and vocational support and services to more than 300 people with disabilities in Mahaska, Marion, Polk and Warren counties. For more information visit http://christianopportunity.org/ or connect with Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook.