NYAPRS Note: The Obama Administration has established a single HHS organization focused on community living will enhance and strengthen HHS efforts to support seniors and people with disabilities. See below for details.
Introducing the Administration for Community Living
“For too long, too many Americans have faced the impossible choice between moving to an institution or living at home without the long-term services and supports they need. The goal of the new Administration for Community Living will be to help people with disabilities and older Americans live productive, satisfying lives.” – Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
All Americans – including people with disabilities and seniors – should be able to live at home with the supports they need, participating in communities that value their contributions. To help meet these needs, HHS is creating a new organization, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) with the goal of increasing access to community supports and full participation, while focusing attention and resources on the unique needs of older Americans and people with disabilities.
The ACL will include the efforts and achievements of the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities in a single agency, with enhanced policy and program support for both cross-cutting initiatives and efforts focused on the unique needs of individual groups such as children with developmental disabilities, adults with physical disabilities, or seniors, including seniors with Alzheimer’s.
A Statement from Secretary Sebelius on the Administration for Community Living
All Americans – including people with disabilities and seniors – should be able to live at home with the supports they need, participating in communities that value their contributions – rather than in nursing homes or other institutions.
The Obama administration and my department have long been committed to promoting community living and finding new mechanisms to help ensure that the supports people with disabilities and seniors need to live in the community are accessible.
Today, with the creation of the new Administration for Community Living (ACL), we are reinforcing this commitment by bringing together key HHS organizations and offices dedicated to improving the lives of those with functional needs into one coordinated, focused and stronger entity.
The Administration for Community Living will bring together the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency that supports both cross-cutting initiatives and efforts focused on the unique needs of individual groups, such as children with developmental disabilities or seniors with dementia. This new agency will work on increasing access to community supports and achieving full community participation for people with disabilities and seniors.
The Administration on Community Living will seek to enhance and improve the broad range of supports that individuals may need to live with respect and dignity as full members of their communities. These support needs go well beyond health care and include the availability of appropriate housing, employment, education, meaningful relationships and social participation.
Building on President Obama’s Year of Community Living, the ACL will pursue improved opportunities for older Americans and people with disabilities to enjoy the fullest inclusion in the life of our nation.
For more information, please visit http://hhs.gov/acl
Questions and Answers on the Establishment of the Administration for Community Living.
1. Why is HHS creating the Administration for Community Living?
Establishing a single HHS organization focused on community living will enhance and strengthen HHS efforts to support seniors and people with disabilities. Including the Administration on Aging, the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Office on Disability in the new entity will establish a formal infrastructure to ensure consistency and coordination in community living policy across the Federal government. This is the next step following establishment of President Obama’s Community Living Initiative “to ensure the fullest inclusion of all people in the life of our nation.”
2. How will this reorganization strengthen the ability of HHS to respond to the needs of seniors and people with disabilities?
The reorganization will strengthen our efforts to support community living, regardless of age. Existing programs intended to serve both older Americans and persons with disabilities, such as the Lifespan Respite Care program and the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, will benefit from this integrated organization, while initiatives designed to meet the unique needs of seniors or people with disabilities will retain their distinct programs.
3. How will the ACL interact with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services?
The new agency will work with CMS to develop, refine and strengthen policies that promote independent living among all populations, especially those served by Medicaid. ACL will also work with CMS to promote home and community based services and supports.
4. How will the organization be structured?
The organization will be structured to provide general policy coordination while retaining unique programmatic operations specific to the needs of each population. The following major components of the ACL will be the:
- Office of the Administrator
- Administration on Aging (AoA)
- Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD)
- Center for Disability and Aging Policy (CDAP)
- Center for Management and Budget (CMB)
5. Will this reorganization require legislative changes?
No. The reorganization can proceed without new legislation because the Secretary has authority to organize the Department and to delegate functions across HHS.
6. Does the Secretary need appropriations language to create the new agency?
Appropriations language is not necessary; some adjustments to existing appropriations language could help ease the transition to this new structure.
7. Will the disability community continue to have direct access to the HHS Secretary?
Yes. The Office of the Administrator will include a Principal Deputy who also serves as the senior advisor to the Secretary on disability.
8. Who will lead ACL? Will the individual be a Senate-confirmed, presidential appointee?
Kathy Greenlee, the current Assistant Secretary for Aging, will also serve as the Administrator of the Administration for Community Living, and Henry Claypool, currently the Director of the Office on Disability will become principal deputy administrator of the ACL.. Mr. Claypool will continue in his role as the principal advisor to the Secretary on disability policy and serve as a member of her senior staff. Ms. Greenlee would continue to carry out her functions of her Senate-confirmed position as Assistant Secretary for Aging.
9. What about existing programs under the Older Americans Act, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights and other related programs?
This is an organizational change that will maintain the expertise and resources currently situated in the components coming together under the new organization. The day-to-day management of AoA and ADD programs will remain relatively unchanged, with the current program staff retaining their assignments.
10. Where can I learn more about the organization, functions, and delegations of authority for the Administration for Community Living?
The Department of Health and Human Services established the Administration for Community Living in order to achieve several important objectives:
- Reduce the fragmentation that currently exists in Federal programs addressing the community living service and support needs of both the aging and disability populations
- Enhance access to quality health care and long-term services and supports for all individual
- Promote consistency in community living policy across other areas of the Federal government
Complement the community infrastructure, as supported by both Medicaid and other Federal programs, in order to better respond to the full spectrum of needs of seniors and persons with disabilities