Portman, Gillibrand Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Medicaid Coverage for Direct Support Professionals

January 21, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan Ensuring Access to Direct Support Professionals Act to provide Medicaid coverage for services from direct support professionals (DSPs) while a patient whom a DSP is supporting is in the hospital. DSPs are indispensable in supporting the daily needs of the elderly and people with disabilities, and have been shown to be effective in supporting the physical, mental, and emotional needs of their patients when their services are allowed to continue while a patient is hospitalized. Current law restricts Medicaid from paying for the DSP services while a patient is hospitalized. This bipartisan legislation will extend coverage to DSP services in hospital settings so that Medicaid beneficiaries can continue to receive the care that they need.   

“Elderly patients and those with disabilities rely heavily on their direct support professionals for care and independence,” said Portman. “Being in a hospital is distressing on its own, and for these patients, hospitals can be especially confusing and upsetting. By ensuring that Medicaid covers DSP services while a patient is in the hospital, we can ensure our nation’s most vulnerable have the level of comfort and familiarity they need to respond better to treatment.”

“Direct support professionals (DSPs) fill a vital role for older adults and people with disabilities, helping them live independent lives and fully participate in the community,” said Gillibrand. “When individuals enter the hospital without the support of their DSP, it can often lead to a slower and less ideal recovery. This bill will enable Medicaid to cover the cost of DSPs, and will ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the best care possible and their rights are respected.”

“The Ensuring Access to Direct Support Professionals Act has immense potential to improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are experiencing hospitalization, while simultaneously investing in the often-overlooked direct support workforce,” said ANCOR CEO Barbara Merrill. “Moreover, ANCOR is grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Senators Rob Portman & Kirsten Gillibrand in introducing this important legislation.”