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Governor Kaine Announces  Federal Grant Award for Virginians with Disabilities

RICHMOND - Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced two key appointments to positions serving Virginians with disabilities. The Governor also announced that Virginia has been awarded up to $3 million through a five-year federal grant to help build the infrastructure for a long-term support system that will allow seniors and Virginians with disabilities to live in the setting of their choice. The grant award was announced by the Governor following a meeting in Richmond with U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Virginia is one of eight states awarded the “Real Choice Systems Change Grant for Community Living,” with a goal of transforming the Commonwealth’s long-term support system from one that leans toward institutional care to one that provides easy access to services and supports in the community.

The project dramatically enhances the role that individuals have in determining the amount, scope, and providers of their services. Improvements in technology and the use of Web-based portals will be pivotal to the success of this project. The grant will be administered through the Office of the Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

“This grant will help move Virginia closer to its vision of “One Community” for all citizens - a community that welcomes seniors and individuals with disabilities and supports them as active, valued and productive neighbors and citizens,” Governor Kaine said. “This enables disabled and elderly individuals to live in the most integrated community setting suited to their needs, to have meaningful choices about their living arrangements, and to exercise more control over the services they receive.”

HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded approximately $240 Million in “Systems Change Grants for Community Living” during five funding cycles.

“These grants will help states take full advantage of the opportunities to reform their Medicaid long-term care systems offered by the recently passed Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 and remove barriers to equality for the 54 million Americans living with disabilities,” Secretary Leavitt said. “They will help persons with disabilities exercise meaningful choices about how and where to live their lives.”

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