WASHINGTON, DC — Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) and Representative Paul D. Tonko (NY-20) today introduced H.R. 7267, the Disability Community Act, legislation that would bolster workers who support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a rule to increase the minimum salary threshold for certain workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Representatives’ legislation would propose a Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) increase for states over three years to help providers who rely on Medicaid funding to comply with the DOL proposed rule and strengthen care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

“For decades, intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) services have been left vulnerable due to a lack of investment in services and an ongoing workforce shortage,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. “That is why I am proud to co-lead the bipartisan Disability Community Act which will assist providers in providing quality of care to the disability community.”

“We owe so much to our community-based providers who provide quality, compassionate care to individuals with disabilities,” Congressman Tonko said. “Despite their essential work, these providers have been forced to shoulder rising costs without earned, critically needed federal support. Our bipartisan legislation seeks to bolster these workers and cover costs and wages so that Medicaid-funded providers are able to deliver the best possible care. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and help sustain and strengthen home and community-based services.”

Barbara Merrill, chief executive officer for the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), stated, “ANCOR owes a debt of gratitude to Representative Tonko and Representative Fitzpatrick for their bipartisan collaboration on the Disability Community Act. This legislation recognizes that Medicaid-funded services are endangered by a dire workforce shortage and lack of federal investment and could be further hamstrung by regulatory changes with substantial fiscal impacts. ANCOR and our network of nearly 2,500 community providers are committed to supporting the passage of this crucial legislation, and we call on all members of the House of Representatives to join in support of the Disability Community Act."

The Disability Community Act amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to temporarily establish a higher federal matching rate with respect to Medicaid expenditures for certain services furnished to individuals with developmental disabilities if such expenditures are attributable to compliance with specified regulations.