FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Greater Connecticut Chapter To Advocate For Home & Community Based Services For People With Disabilities
NOTE TO MEDIA: Reporters are invited to attend and cover the fifth annual MS Lobby Day to be held at the Connecticut State Capitol Building on Wednesday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, please contact Karen E. Butler at 860.714.2300, ext. 230.
HARTFORD, Conn. Many Connecticut residents with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 are not covered by home care programs, and, as a result, often are prematurely institutionalized. These individuals need assistance with daily activities but have limited family support. As a result of age, many are not eligible for the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, which is available only to those 65 and older. Others are ineligible as a result of the Medicaid Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Waiver, which requires that individuals have the strength and ability to self-direct their care. In state fiscal year 2003, more than 7,400 residents under the age of 65 received care in a Connecticut nursing facility. Currently, 10 percent of nursing home residents in Connecticut are younger than age 65.
The Greater Connecticut Chapter and its members are encouraging state legislators to support a state funded pilot program to provide homecare to no more than 50 residents with disabilities ages 18 to 64. Such a pilot program is estimated to cost approximately $720,000 and funding would save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars as homecare is less costly than nursing home care. Those with chronic illnesses and disabilities caused by diseases such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS are likely to be helped by new legislation. Connecticut residents are encouraged to contact key legislators and urge them to support in the 2008-2009 budget the Pilot Program to Provide Home Care Services to People with Disabilities Ages 18 to 64 (House Bill 7323). Key legislators include:
To discuss with legislators the proposed pilot program and other critical issues affecting people with disabilities, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Connecticut and Western Connecticut Chapters will host the fifth annual MS Lobby Day at the Connecticut State Capitol Building on Wednesday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Old Appropriations room. Chapter members will meet with legislators to discuss issues affecting more than 6,000 Connecticut residents diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic, and oftentimes debilitating, disease affecting the central nervous system.
Other legislative priorities to be discussed include:
The Greater Connecticut Chapter is providing free transportation for those desiring to attend the 2007 MS Lobby Day activities. Buses are handicapped accessible and will depart from numerous locations from throughout Connecticut. Transportation is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pre-registration for bus transportation is required. For a complete listing of departure locations and times, please contact Susan Raimondo, community programs director, at (860) 714-2300, ext. 229.
To locate additional contact information for legislators, please go to http://www.vote-smart.org/ or visit http://www.ctfightsms.org/. For more information on MS Lobby Day, additional topics of discussion and the 2007 legislative agenda, please e-mail programs@ctfightsMS.org or log onto http://www.ctfightsms.org/.
Studies show that early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can reduce future disease activity and improve quality of life for many people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Talk to your health care professional and contact the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at www.nationalmssociety.org or 1.800.FIGHT-MS to learn about ways to help manage multiple sclerosis and about current research that may one day reveal a cure.
Karen E. Butler
Vice President of Communications
Greater Connecticut Chapter
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