Wednesday, September 30, 2015

President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities meets in November in D.C.

The President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) acts in an advisory capacity to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics relating to programs, services and support for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The PCPID executive order stipulates that the Committee shall: (1) Provide such advice concerning intellectual disabilities as the President or the Secretary of Health and Human Services may request; and (2) provide advice to the President concerning the following for people with intellectual disabilities: (A) Expansion of educational opportunities; (B) promotion of homeownership; (C) assurance of workplace integration; (D) improvement of transportation options; (E) expansion of full access to community living; and (F) increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies.

The federal Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Issued a notice in the Federal Register on 9/30/15 regarding scheduled meetings of the PCPID in November 2015:

PCPID is meeting on the following dates:

Monday, November 9, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

These meetings will be open to the general public.

They will be held in the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel, Capitol Ballroom, located at 550 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20024. The hotel's phone number is: (202) 479-4000. Individuals who would like to participate via conference call may do so by dialing toll-free #: 888-469-0957, when prompted enter pass code: 8955387.

Agenda: The Committee Members will discuss preparation of the PCPID 2016 Report to the President, including its content and format, and related data collection and analysis required to complete the writing of the Report. They will also receive presentations from selected
experts in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

For further information, please contact Dr. MJ Karimi, Team Lead, President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, One Massachusetts Avenue NW., Room 4206, Washington, DC 20201. Telephone: 202-357-3588. Fax: 202-205-8037.


Dated: September 21, 2015.
Aaron Bishop, Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities (AoD)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

California : Funding DD Services is Cheaper than the Alternative

This is from a post from the San Francisco Bay Area Autism Society blog dated 8/25/15. It is an open letter to California legislators from the parent of a special needs child, Cecily Ruttenberg.

For the sake of argument, let’s say you don’t give a hoot about the developmentally disabled. It’s a tragedy, you admit, but ultimately it should be the family’s responsibility to provide for their loved one just like everyone else provides for their kids. Fine. No judgment here (well maybe).

Setting morals aside, let’s talk money. The Lanterman Act is already law and requires housing and various services for the developmentally disabled from cradle to grave. From your perspective, the state has been more than generous providing all that is does, and you see no reason to keep adding to the pot of free money.

After listening to Bodi’s story, dear legislator, you will understand why you want to increase DDS funding, even if you feel no moral obligation. Why? Because it’s cheaper than the alternative. ….

Read more about the family’s odyssey through the California regional center and mental health system, with Bodi ending up in a year-long pilot program at the Sonoma Developmental Center. The state is in the planning stages of closing this facility.

The post concludes: 

What you need to know, Mr/Ms. Legislator, is that your failure to act has already cost the state some $650,000 for one client in one year. Guaranteed he will be checking back into Motel UCSF if he is not offered an appropriate placement after his term at Sonoma Developmental is up. And he’s not the only one. Act now or pay a hundred times over in Medi-Cal costs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Michigan : Public forum on integrated care for Medicare/Medicaid eligbles

This is from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS):

The MDHHS will be hosting a public information forum on MI Health Link, the state’s integrated care program for individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. You are welcome to attend the forum in Escanaba on Tuesday, October 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. ET.  The forum will be held at the Joseph Heirman University Center on the campus of Bay College in Room 952. 

The presentation at the forum will focus on the member experience upon joining the new program for persons eligible for MI Health Link. We encourage those who may be eligible for MI Health Link, as well as their families, friends, advocates, allies, and anyone else who may be interested in learning more about this program, to join us.
MDHHS is providing a conference line for interested stakeholders to participate by phone. 
The conference line information is also posted on the MI Health Link website.

Call-in number: 888-363-4734
Access number: 4162210

There are 250 lines available on a first come first served basis.  We encourage organizations to listen in groups in order to maximize lines available for others.  If you get a message stating “Please try your call again later”, all lines are full.

Prior to the forum, the agenda and presentation will be available on the MI Health Link website.

For interpreting services or other accommodation requirements at the forum, please contact the Integrated Care Division at 517-241-4293 or at be e-mailing INTEGRATEDCARE@MICHIGAN.GOV.

Thank you,
The MI Health Link Team
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Monday, September 21, 2015

Washington State: Political climate change brings hope to families of DD

This is from the Early Fall Newsletter 2015 of the Friends of Fircrest. Fircrest is a Washington State Residential Habilitation Center (RHC) that provides support to about 200 people with developmental disabilities in a residential setting. This comes by way of the blog Because We Care - Beyond Inclusion

Apparently Washington State has politicians who can not only read, but understand what they read, at least when it comes to the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead Decision.


From Friends of Fircrest — Early Fall Newsletter 2015

Message from FoF President, Jim Hardman

Dear Friends of Fircrest,

A bit about climate change. The political climate. Like the earth’s climate, the changes are slow enough that big changes can occur before we are completely aware that things are different.

We who advocate for service and home choices that include Residential Habilitation Centers have been kicked around so much, abuse feels natural and is expected. That was then, this is now.

Now we have political support from the governor and most legislators. The Secretary of DSHS [Washington Dept. of Social and Health Services] is supportive. I have felt it in the atmosphere at Fircrest and Rainier. Professional staff are smiling, care staff are cheerful, and this is good for residents.

We’ve been conditioned to expect bad news and opposition from off campus DSHS administration. We need to reassess that conditioning. RHCs surely still have detractors in the bureaucracy. But they no longer rule the roost.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that the auditor refused to read the Olmstead case and simply adopted the Justice Dept. misinterpretation of it? Governor Inslee is a lawyer who can read a case and we are better off for it. DSHS Sec. Quigley can read a case as well, and we are better off.

It’s time to regard our political leadership as friends of people with severe disabilities who understand the importance of RHCs and the safety net they are. In this, we are all friends.

Kumbaya maybe, not nirvana. There are and there will continue to be problems. But the problem solving process is changed. It’s the climate.

All human endeavors encounter problems and there will be differences of opinions. But we friends acknowledge a common goal and best efforts in serving, protecting, and enhancing lives of those with profound disabilities.

That’ s the word today.

J.R. Hardman J.D., CPG
pres. Friends of Fircrest

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Oregon: Settlement of lawsuit will cut sheltered workshop placements


Oregon : Fairness Hearing scheduled on settlement agreement in Sheltered Workshop case

This is from Disability Scoop, September 9, 2015:

"Settlement Calls for Cuts to Sheltered Workshops" by Shaun Heasley

Over 1,000 people with developmental disabilities will be able to leave sheltered workshops for competitive employment under a proposed settlement in a first-of-its-kind class-action lawsuit.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday that the state of Oregon has agreed to cut the number of adults working in sheltered workshops by nearly 400 and reduce hours worked in such settings by almost a third in the next two years.

Meanwhile, the state will provide 1,115 adults with developmental disabilities who are currently employed in sheltered workshops as well as 4,900 individuals with disabilities ages 14 to 24 with supported employment services so that they can obtain competitive employment over the next seven years.

The settlement comes in a 2012 case brought against top Oregon officials by residents with developmental disabilities and their advocates who alleged that the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide supported employment services.
In 2013, the Justice Department intervened in the case, now known as Lane v. Brown, and helped to broker the settlement agreement reached this week.

Read more… 


There is more to this story... 
(from the VOR Weekly News Update, 9/18/15)

Most of the news articles describing the settlement of LANE, et al. v. BROWN, et al., [United States District Court Case No. 3:12-cv-00138-ST] refer to sheltered workshops or center-based work programs for people with disabilities only in pejorative terms. According to most of the media coverage, the existence of sheltered workshops force disabled people into menial, below minimum wage, jobs and isolate them from the rest of society.

For people who cannot work successfully in  integrated work settings, workshops provide jobs without the pressure of competing at the same level as those without disabilities. Individuals are paid based on how productive they are and usually receive other government benefits to supplement their incomes. These work centers often provide other services and socialization for people who would otherwise not have appropriate activities available to them. They also allow family caregivers to hold down jobs and otherwise live a more normal life outside of their care giving responsibilities.

For more on the unintended consequences of limiting access to these services, see The DD News Blog, including videos of interviews with people who work in sheltered workshops and their families.

The Disability Scoop article notes that a Justice Department fact sheet on the settlement says that the goal is not to shutter sheltered workshop placements, but to ensure that “those who want to work in integrated settings have a realistic opportunity to do so.”  The proposed settlement, however, has very clear guidelines setting arbitrary goals of reducing the number of people employed in sheltered workshops.

An article from, states that The United Cerebral Palsy Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington, along with eight individuals, sued the Governor of Oregon and top Department of Human Resources managers with the aim of putting an end to sheltered workshops.

In addition, there are no guarantees that people trained for supported employment in integrated settings will actually find or hold jobs, or that the state will allocate sufficient funding for these services.

The proposed settlement must be approved by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart:

"After notice to all class members, the Court will conduct a fairness hearing pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(f) to decide whether the Agreement is a fair, adequate and reasonable resolution of the claims of the plaintiff class..."

We assume that information about when the fairness hearing will be held will be announced later. This is likely to be the only opportunity that individuals and their families who need and value sheltered workshop services will have to express their opinions about the details of the proposed settlement and how they will be personally affected. Without the representation of people who need sheltered workshop services in the negotiating process in class action lawsuits, there is no assurance that their individual rights to appropriate services will be protected. Their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act as interpreted by the US Supreme Court Olmstead decision to “integration appropriate to the needs of the individual” and choice are also in jeopardy. [See “The Olmstead Decision has been Misinterpreted” from VOR.]


More links to information at Disability Rights Oregon
U.S. Department of Justice Fact Sheet 
The Settlement Agreement