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MiCASSA Charles Schleininger corsair The demographics of our nation are changing. The population is aging, & breakthroughs technology are increasing the life expectancy for all people - including people with disabilities. Most Americans who need long-term services & supports would rather remain in their own homes & communities than be forced to move into a nursing home or other institution.

MiCASSA redirects the focus of the Medicaid long-term program from institutions to home & community services & supports. It enables people to make real choices.

Studies show that people currently living in America's institutions & nursing homes do not have more significant disabilities than people who are living in their own homes with attendant services & supports. So why do they go into institutions when they would rather live in the community in their own homes? Because:

Family members & other informal caregivers "burn out" or "age out";

Government does not provide a real choice for home & community-based services;

Home care pays caregivers low wages & generally offer no benefits which results is a shortage of qualified providers;

People don't know that there are alternatives to nursing homes & other institutions.

The needs of people who use community attendant services & supports are understood best by people with disabilities. MiCASSA would give people with disabilities a policy-making role in designing America's community attendant services & supports program & deciding what services would be available, how they would be paid for, & who would be eligible. Many people with disabilities can & want to select, train, & supervise their own attendants. For them, MiCASSA would provide options such as vouchers with which to pay attendants (including family members) & training in directing & managing their care. For those who prefer not to manage their own services, it also provides for a consumer-directed agency model.

MiCASSA's goal is to provide flexible, consumer-responsive services, which means that the person receiving the services decides how, when & where they are provided. In short, MiCASSA would allow for consumer control.

To be continued:

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