Moulton, Fitzpatrick Introduce HEADS Up ActWASHINGTON — Today, Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally Disabled and Underserved Population (HEADs Up) Act of 2019.
The HEADs Up Act would direct the Health Services and Resources Administration to designate people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) as a Medically Underserved Population. The HSRA is the government agency that advocates for people who are cut off from quality health care by economics, geography or a medical vulnerability.
“America can do better for its citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Moulton said. “We are a great nation because everyone has something to contribute, because we take care of each other, and we help our friends and neighbors make the most out of the opportunities they are given. That means expanding health care to those among us who require the most complex care so Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families can write their own destinies.”
“Everyone deserves access to quality health care, especially those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been underserved for too long,” Fitzpatrick said. “This legislation will ensure those in the IDD community receive the care they deserve and incentivize physicians to provide critical services to them. I’m proud to join Congressman Moulton to introduce this measure to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities live healthy lives.”
The change in designation would give Americans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities access to new primary care and specialist services, incentivize new research, and authorize more favorable reimbursement rates for providers who treat Americans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
The “Medically Underserved” designation was created with the passage of the Health Centers Consolidation Act of 1996. Despite years of advocacy and ample evidence that people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities qualify for the designation, Congress still has not provided these Americans with it.
The designation as a special medically underserved population would open up more than 25 government programs within the Health Services and Resources Administration and other federal agencies for participation by the I/DD population.
These programs include:
- Federal funding for health centers and public health infrastructure such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
- Eligibility to apply for federal funding to develop and operate Community Health Centers
- Access to loan repayment and training programs in HRSA’s Workforce Development and Training Programs including the national Health Service Corps Scholarships
- Incentives for physicians to treat this population in the form of higher CMS reimbursement rates for physician services delivered in Health Professional Shortage Areas, a designation closely related to MUP
- Preference given to research at federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, that studies medically underserved population.
A wide range of champions for the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled endorsed Moulton’s and Fitzpatrick’s bill. They include:
American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD)
American Health Care Association
American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
American Physical Therapy Association
American Podiatric Medical Association
Autism Self Advocacy Network
Autism Society of America
Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association
FRAXA Research Foundation
Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council
Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress
Massachusetts General Hospital
National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA)
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Down Syndrome Society
Special Care Dentistry Association
Special Olympics International
The Achievable Foundation
The Arc of Massachusetts
The Arc of the United States
The MENTOR Network
The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)