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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Statement on Inspector General Report

On August 14, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled “The Administration for Community Living Failed to Conduct Any of the Required Onsite Compliance Reviews of Independent Living Programs” (PDF). In the report, OIG found that the Administration for Community Living (ACL) has not conducted any of the onsite compliance reviews of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) or Independent Living Services – which are required by law – since they began oversight of the Independent Living (IL) Program in July 2014.

Since the IL Program transferred to ACL in 2014, we have been urging ACL to conduct these onsite compliance visits (and to provide written reports to CILs based on these visits). In fact, we also asked the Rehabilitation Services Administration to conduct onsite reviews when the IL Program was housed there. We have been asking for these reviews because it is our belief that in addition to being required under the law, these reviews are a critical part of ensuring the ongoing quality of the IL program.

The main goal of the IL program is to maximize the independence and the empowerment of people with disabilities over their own lives. The IL program is carried out primarily through the services of Centers for Independent Living (CILs), which provide these services to people with disabilities around the country. CILs are community-based, cross-disability, non-profit organizations that are designed and operated by people with disabilities. CILs operate according to a strict philosophy of consumer control, wherein they are directly governed and staffed by people with disabilities. The CIL network is doing incredible work around the country. Just a small amount of that work can be seen in our annual report.

While these reviews are indeed critical to the IL Program, the program is already operating on an inadequate budget and therefore ACL must not use existing program funding to conduct the reviews. The OIG report indicated that ACL did not allocate sufficient funds to support onsite compliance reviews. In ACL’s response, they indicated that funding has been a barrier to conducting these reviews. It is the responsibility of the HHS Secretary to ensure the Independent Living Administration has adequate funding to meet their requirements under the law – and to request increased appropriations if needed. Therefore, program dollars must not be taken to meet these requirements.

Again, NCIL is committed to ensuring that the IL network is as strong as possible. That includes not only meeting our requirements under the law (of which these reviews are an important piece), but also going beyond that to focus on continually improving our network through efforts like our Outcomes Measures Task Force and providing ongoing training and technical assistance opportunities. We reiterate our request and support for onsite compliance reviews with written reports, and we are ready and willing to work with ACL to move forward together.

Comments

  1. Priscilla Johnson says

    I believe seniors with disabilities who income is not enough to live on should not have to work hard labor. We are able to learn new skills and become independent. I am a volunteer with the Red Cross/Ft. Jackson. The company is Goodwill/SCSEP. We must seek employment on our own. Which is stressful.We often ask if volunteer training will help us get a postion where employers will pay for our labor and not get free labor.

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