HHS creates 2 new centers for older adults, disabled

Two new centers within the Administration for Community Living (ACL) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will aim to further address the needs of older adults and the disabled, according to a notice written by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell and published in today's Federal Register.

The new Center for Consumer Access and Self-Determination will “serve as the locus for programs that assist older Americans and people with disabilities to access both healthcare services and long-term care services and supports [LTSS], as well as initiatives to expand the use of self-directed and person-center[ed] service models.” Headed by a deputy administrator, the center will include offices covering healthcare information and counseling, managed care consumer information and assistance, and integrated programs.

The new Center for Policy and Evaluation will “provide a strategic focal point for the development and implementation of policies to improve access to [LTSS] and enhance opportunities for both populations to live in their communities.” It will be headed by a director and will include offices covering policy analysis and development as well as performance and evaluation.

Creation of the two centers is part of a larger reorganization of the ACL and its various offices, also announced in the notice. The reorganization, Burwell writes, is designed to help the ACL:

  • reduce fragmentation among federal programs addressing the community living service and support needs of those who are aging or disabled;
  • enhance access to healthcare and LTSS;
  • promote consistency in community living policy across other areas of the federal government; and
  • complement the community infrastructure supported by both Medicaid and other federal programs to better respond to all needs of older adults and those who have disabilities.

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