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An Important Step for Seniors and Individuals With Disabilities: AFSCME Declares Support for Community First Choice Option in Health Reform


The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has announced that they fully support the Community First Option!

ADAPT has worked long and hard to bring AFSCME from not supporting such issues like the Community Choice Act, to taking a big step forward in supporting the Community First Choice Option!

We will get more information out soon, but here is the release AFSCME sent out.

Randy Alexander
ADAPT

*****

From AFSCME:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Important Step for Seniors and Individuals With Disabilities
AFSCME Declares Support for Community First Choice Option in Health Reform

Washington, D.C. - The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) threw its full support behind a federal provision to increase personal assistance services to seniors and people with disabilities. These services include personal care and homemaking, and are provided in community settings by direct support workers.

"This is an important step toward ensuring the dignity and independence of seniors and individuals with disabilities," said AFSCME International President Gerald W. McEntee.

"In our support for the Community First Choice Option, we will work for consumer choice, service quality and workforce stability."

AFSCME's International Executive Board voted unanimously today to support the Community First Choice (CFC) Option, a provision in Senate health care reform legislation to increase resources to encourage the adoption and improvement of state community-based attendant services and supports programs.

"Having a personal care attendant has meant that I can keep living in my neighborhood, that I can keep living my life. He is the best," said Sarah Pitts, a personal care consumer in Lake Elsinore, California. "Without him, I don't know what I would do. More people need this kind of assistance."

Personal assistance programs are not available in many states, and many states that offer such programs often significantly limit services. The field is characterized by low wages, few benefits and high turnover among direct support workers.

"My home health care provider works so hard for me and cares so much," said Marylin Hicks of Springfield, Missouri, a personal services consumer in Missouri's Consumer Directed Services program. "She, and all providers, should be paid fairly, because they are so important to our lives."

AFSCME represents more than 200,000 direct support workers nationwide. AFSCME is working on the federal and state levels to ensure that these programs are adequately funded, accessible to all Medicaid-eligible individuals who need them and available in more states.


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