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Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living

National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research – $2,493,892
10/1/15 – 9/30/20


The Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) brings together disability advocates and researchers from 4 institutions (Washington State University, the University of Kansas, George Mason University, and the Independent Living Research Utilization program at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital) to systematically investigate and disseminate essential findings about how the Affordable Care Act’s implementation affects adults with disabilities. Our objective is to provide disability stakeholders with accurate, current and actionable information on how recent changes in health policy directly or indirectly impact the community living and participation of working-age adults with disabilities.

Specific CHRIL research activities include:

  1. Documenting the experiences of working-age adults with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining health insurance, and identifying the impact of insurance on their access, health and function through phone interviews, internet surveys, and analysis of the Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS).
  2. Assessing the health insurance information, training and technical assistance needs of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and other disability stakeholders through internet surveys, phone interviews of CIL directors, and town hall meetings at national independent living conferences.
  3. Analyzing post-reform insurance coverage trends among working-age adults with disabilities using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
  4. Identifying gaps in coverage and potential areas of undue cost burden for people with disabilities by analyzing health care expenditures, including premium costs, deductibles and co-pays using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
  5. Assessing the impact of the ACA on disability program enrollment and workforce participation by testing how the Medicaid expansion influences SSI activity using the American Community Survey (ACS).

Specific CHRIL knowledge translation activities include:

  1. Presenting research findings at 10-15 professional and scientific meetings, including the annual meetings of AcademyHealth, National Council on Independent Living, APRIL and the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers;
  2. Submitting at least 10 manuscripts for scientific and professional journals and preparing and updating at least 5 factsheets and 2 chartbooks for program administrators and disability advocates;
  3. Offering 2 health reform webinars per year; and creating at least 3 self-paced tutorials on various aspects of health care policy, organization and financing;
  4. Training 2-3 graduate research assistants per year and establishing a summer internship program for 2-3 undergraduates with disabilities per year at ILRU; and
  5. Developing and maintaining the CHRIL website, with access to all publications and presentations in accessible formats.

To ensure that the resulting research products are relevant to stakeholders, the Collaborative research members will partner with the American Association on Health and Disability, the National Council on Independent Living, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, and the Disability Research Interest Group of AcademyHealth.

Primary Investigator

Jae Kennedy
Jae Kennedy, PhD