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First Published Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Health Reform Panel

National Advisory Board Issues ‘Declaration for Independence’ : A
Call-to-Action in Healthcare for Seniors and People with Disabilities

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.,* *May 5, 2009 /PRNewswire/ — America’s healthcare and
long-term services need to undergo a radical, modern transformation to
better meet the needs of today’s seniors and people with disabilities,
according to a report released today by a 15-member private, national
advisory board. The report, which will be supported by a nationwide “Day of
Dialogue” on Thursday, May 21, calls for changes in public policies that
both recognize and foster individual preferences for independent living
through better integrated community-based services.

The report, entitled “Declaration for Independence: A Call to Transform
Health and Long-Term Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities, ”
seeks to compel consumers, legislative officials, community-based
organizations and healthcare providers to engage in efforts to modernize the
healthcare infrastructure.

The Day of Dialogue – a virtual town hall meeting – will be held on
Thursday, May 21, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The public is invited to participate in
the dialogue. Full details and registration are available at *
www.declarationfori ndependence. org*<http://www.declarat ionforindependen ce.org/>or
*www.mydfi.org* <http://www.mydfi. org/>.

“Within the discussions to reform our Nation’s healthcare, we hope to serve
as a catalyst for an open dialogue on how to address the long-term services
and support needs of seniors and people with disabilities. More than talk,
we want to offer solutions that work for everyone involved,” said Lex
Frieden, Convener of the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health
Care Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities that released the
report. Mr. Frieden was an instrumental contributor to the landmark
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“In addition to the report issued today, we also are holding a Day of
Dialogue, including our virtual town hall meeting, to broaden our call to
action,” Frieden said.

“The problem we face today is a critical limitation of options for care,”
Frieden added. “The social and economic consequences of providing only
institutional options for care are antiquated at best. Given the growing
number of aging Baby Boomers, the dramatic advances we have in technology
and the increasing choices for independent living and care, now is the best
time to ensure that our public policies catch up to the 21st century.”

As the report cites, by 2030, the number of people age 65 and older will
double. Today, the U.S. census bureau identifies 41.3 million Americans as
having a disability, many of whom are individuals who eventually will need
long-term services and support. Further, 87 percent of people with
disabilities who are age 50 and older prefer to live in their own homes. For
the cost of providing assistance in a nursing facility for one individual,
nearly three seniors or people with disabilities can receive services in the
communities where they live.

The NAB’s report makes recommendations for changes based on the following
six principles:

1. Enhance Self-Care through Improved Coordination
2. Encourage Community Integration and Involvement
3. Expand Accessibility of Services and Supports
4. Uphold Personal Preference
5. Empower People to Participate in the Economic Mainstream
6. Invest in Improved Technology.

To learn more, including downloading the full report or registering for the
Day of Dialogue, visit
*www.declarationfor independence. org*<http://www.declarat ionforindependen ce.org/>or
*www.mydfi.org* <http://www.mydfi. org/>.

*About the National Advisory Board*

The National Advisory Board on Improving Health Care Services for Seniors
and People with Disabilities was created by AMERIGROUP Corporation in 2007.
Drawing from a wide range of distinguished community advocates and
healthcare experts, the 15-member National Advisory Board has provided
advice and guidance on delivering the highest quality services and ensuring
the best health and community living outcomes for seniors and those with

*About AMERIGROUP Corporation*

AMERIGROUP Corporation, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, improves
healthcare access and quality for the financially vulnerable, seniors and
people with disabilities by developing innovative managed health services
for the public sector. Through its subsidiaries, AMERIGROUP Corporation
serves approximately 1.7 million people in Florida, Georgia, Maryland,
Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and
Virginia. For more information, visit
*www.amerigroupcorp .com*<http://www.amerigro upcorp.com/>

News Media: Peter Lobred
Vice President, Communications
AMERIGROUP Corporation
(757) 321-3592


Some of you may find this of interest. As a reminder, ASAN has an action alert
out on this issue – long term services and supports as part of health care
reform. You can participate in advocating for this by going to
http://www.change. org/autisticadvo cacy/actions/ view/pass_ the_community_ choice_act_ with_comprehensi ve_health_ care_reform

We will message you with more information on how to participate in the
upcoming Day of Dialogue and how to advocate for real health care reform if
you go to the link provided and join the over three hundred advocates who
have already worked to help include the disability community’s concerns in
the upcoming health care reform package.


Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org

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