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HHS department creates Administration for Community Living

By By Paul R. Pace, News Staff

A single agency will now oversee the federal efforts previously supported by three entities within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities are now combined in the new Administration for Community Living, or ACL.

The consolidation correlates with President Obama’s goal to promote care for people with disabilities and older adults in home- and community-based settings.

Kathy Greenlee

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted in a statement that all Americans, including those with disabilities and seniors, should be able to live at home with the support they need and participate in communities that value their contributions.

With the creation of the 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,” Sebelius stated.

“These support needs go well beyond health care and include the availability of appropriate housing, employment, education, meaningful relationships and social participation,” she said.

On May 22, administrators with the ACL held a Capitol Hill briefing to discuss the agency’s role. Among the speakers were Kathy Greenlee, who serves as both administrator of the ACL and assistant secretary for aging, and Henry Claypool, principle deputy administrator of the ACL and senior adviser to the secretary for disability policy.

Claypool said the department has already transitioned 70,000 people from institutional to community settings. He noted the ACL works as one on similar concerns for clients, such as finding affordable housing.

“States are really pushing change so it is time for us to come together to help our partners focus on the needs of the (combined organizations),” he said.

Greenlee pointed out that the ACL is a work in progress.

“We will continue to be advocates for nursing homes,” she said, later adding that health care will transform as the regulatory process of the Affordable Care Act moves forward.

“We can bring our knowledge and expertise to the table and have better health outcomes,” she said.

Some issues on the horizon include more demand for quality metrics in clinical settings, Claypool said. Greenlee added that more research is needed for evidence-based practice for quality of life outcomes.

Greenlee said the reorganization does not negate the unique circumstances and concerns of each population served by the ACL or the expertise service providers bring to working with people with different types of disabilities or older adults.

She said even though change can be difficult for many, “we are working with communities that love their field. We have kept letters of support. We’re responding to states and boldly stepping forward to support these very important populations and their dignity.”

From the July 2012 NASW News. For more stories, click here.

One comment

  1. Kathy Greenlee.

    CALLING YOU OUT FOR YOUR POSITION THAT EVERY SINGLE PERSON WITH A DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY WOULD BE SERVED BETTER IN THE COMMUNITY! YOU HAVE NO IDEA BECAUSE THERE IS A PERCENTAGE OF THIS COMMUNITY THAT CANNOT EVEN SPEAK THEMSELVES!!!!! LITERALLY.

    You are so uninformed about the issues of serving the part of the developmental disabilities community that cannot speak for themselves. The individuals that cannot write you and tell you how they feel. The closing of residential living facilities as a choice for some individuals that have tried in their community and cannot be served because of their medical needs is something that you are doing at this moment that is going to TAKE PEOPLE’S LIVES. You have decided to “lobby’ for a vast majority of individuals with disabilities that can make their own decisions and have a “HOME” that they can be served in and you have TOTALLY LEFT OUT THE MOST VULNERABLE OF INDIVIDUALS THAT CANNOT SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.
    This is so scary to think that this small population could be THROWN OUT of your lobbying here in the united states of america. you are NOT LOBBYING FOR INDIVIDUALS THAT CANNOT BE SERVED IN THEIR HOMES!

    SHAME ON YOU KATHY GREENLEE FOR HELPING TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT IS GOING TO CAUSE DEATHS TO INDIVIDUALS. SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE UP, THIS IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IN OUR COUNTRY. PEOPLE ARE DYING BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT BEING SERVED IN THE COMMUNITY AND THEY NEED LONG TERM PERMANENT CARE AND NO ONE IS WATCHING THEM!!!!!!!!!!!HOW DARE YOU THINK THAT YOU CAN ADVOCATE FOR THE “MAJORITY” AND NOT THE MINORITY.

    WHY DON’T YOU LOOK AND SEE WHAT DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED ON YOUR WATCH AFTER THE CLOSING OF A CARE FACILITY? LOOK CAREFULLY AT THE STATES YOU HAVE GONE INTO AND CLOSED THEIR FACILITIES TO CARE FOR THOSE FOLKS THAT ARE LITERALLY THE MOST NEEDY IN OUR SOCIETY. BUT YOU CLAIM TO BE SERVING JUSTICE FOR ALL??????

    YOU ARE TAKING LIVES IN YOUR HANDS. THIS IS DANGEROUS TERRITORY WHERE INDIVIDUALS CAN DIE HERE. I AM SICKENED THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. AND YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T CARE. YOU ARE LISTENING TO THE POPULATION OF OUR DISABLED AMERICANS THAT CAN ACTUALLY MAKE A DECISION FOR THEMSELVES………. SO WHAT ABOUT THE INDIVIDUALS WHO CANNOT TELL YOU HOW THEY FEEL, BECAUSE THEY CAN’T TALK! THEY CANNOT VOTE FOR A CHOICE OF WHERE TO LIVE. THEY NEED 24 HOUR CARE IN A SAFE MEDICAL ENVIROMENT. THEY NEED DOCTORS AND NURSES 24 HOURS A DAY.

    DO YOU NOT LOOK AT THE HEADLINES????? WHY DON’T YOU GOOGLE THIS ISSUE??????? BETTER YET, I HAVE LIVED AND BREATHED THIS ISSUE, AND YOU COULD CONTACT ME IF YOU ACTUALLY CARED!!!!!

    I AM SO UPSET AFTER WATCHING YOU TODAY IN THE CONGRESS STUMBLING AS CONGRESSMAN WOMACH QUESTIONED YOU AND YOU COULD NOT EVEN ANSWER HIM BECAUSE YOU HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!

    SHAME ON YOU. IF YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE SERVING MANKIND IN SOME CAPACITY, YOU ARE SURELY DELUSIONAL. ALL I CAN SAY IS GOD HELP YOU, BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT. YOU ALREADY HAVE LET SO MANY INDIVIDUAL SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS AND YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW IT. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME ON YOU FOR BEING SO NAIVE.

    THIS IS A SICKENING . GOD BE WITH US ALL.

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