Monday, December 19, 2016

News from ACCSES on Disability Policy and Closing Sheltered Workshops

ACCSES is an organization representing providers of disability employment services. Here are excerpts from their newsletter, The Weekly Windup:

November 18, 2016

In September, the presidential candidates responded to questions posed by the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Council on Independent Living, and the REV UP Campaign, as to the candidates’ positions on issues important to many in the disability community. Although ACCSES has previously circulated the questionnaire responses, we want to provide President-Elect Trump’s responses separately as they might be of greater interest now following the election. To read his answers to the questionnaire, click here.

December 8, 2016


Maine has continually been held up by disability advocates fighting to limit a full array of employment opportunities and housing options for people with the most significant disabilities. Just this week, another scathing article was published on the growing waiting lists in Maine and the lack of funding. All while people with disabilities are denied jobs and housing options are shrinking. Click here to read the article published in the Portland Press Herald.

[See also, "Negative effects of Maine's Conversion from Sheltered Workshops to Integrated Employment", 6/23/15]


Many disability advocates have pushed policy makers to close center-based employment programs and to get rid of the special minimum wage. In Massachusetts, the state, with urging from advocates, closed its sheltered workshops "with the promise of expanding more inclusive employment and meaningful day opportunities for people with I/DD." Instead, Massachusetts cut funding, and with it the prospect of hoped-for jobs. (ACCSES notes that people with disabilities who are working may not wish to be placed in "meaningful day programs," any more than any other worker wants to be laid off.) In a guest column for a Massachusetts newspaper, Gary Blumenthal acknowledges that while Massachusetts' unemployment rate may be 3.3 percent overall, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is over 70 percent. This result comports with the risk a recent report from the Congressional Joint Economic Committee warned about if Section 14(c) were to be eliminated. Keeping workers attached to the workforce can make a substantive difference in future success. Eliminating jobs without jobs to replace them only harms the people who want to work. ACCSES continues to advocate that people with disabilities have a right to choose where they want to work; our State and Federal governments must keep a full array of options available through common sense policies that protect the right to work.

Public comment needed on Medicaid waiver programs

This is an action alert notice from the Coalition for Community Choice (CCC):


JANUARY 9, 2016 @ 5:00 PM EST

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal entity in charge of funding and regulating all support services for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. CMS is requesting public comment specifically on waiver programs across the country “to accelerate the provision of home and community-based services (HCBS) to Medicaid beneficiaries taking into account issues affecting beneficiary choice and control, program integrity, rate setting, quality infrastructure, and the home care workforce.” 

As individuals navigating and using this complex system, your voices are critical. This is an important opportunity to share information with those who control how the Medicaid system functions. CMS requests concise answers to the following questions: 

  • What are the additional reforms that CMS can take to accelerate the progress of access to HCBS and achieve an appropriate balance of HCBS and institutional services in the Medicaid long-term services and supports (LTSS) system to meet the needs and preferences of beneficiaries?
  • What actions can CMS take, independently or in partnership with states and stakeholders, to ensure quality of HCBS including beneficiary health and safety?
  • What program integrity safeguards should states have in place to ensure beneficiary safety and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in HCBS?
  • What are specific steps CMS could take to strengthen the HCBS home care workforce, including establishing requirements, standards or procedures to ensure rates paid to home care providers are sufficient to attract enough providers to meet service needs of beneficiaries and that wages supported by those rates are sufficient to attract enough qualified home care workers?
To see further questions posed by CMS within the broader questions above, review this section of the document.

: Send your comments electronically (click here) or mail them to this address:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS-2404-NC
P.O. Box 8013
Baltimore, MD 21244-8013

IMPORTANT NOTE: You do not have to answer every question above. Do not spend more than a paragraph describing yourself or your loved one with a disability. Instead, focus on system barriers you have encountered and changes that can improve access to services. Please be aware that all submissions will be publicly available to read. CMS will not answer questions raised during this public comment period but may reach out for clarification of your comment in the future. Directions on how to submit one’s public comment as well as additional information on this request for information can be found here.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 2016: Post Election Update from the Coalition for Community Choice

The latest news from the Coalition for Community Choice: 
  • HCBS Compliance conference call, December 12th or 14th, 2016
  • Disability Housing: What's Happening? What's Challenging? What's Needed?
  • Illinois: Suffering in Secret
  • Self Advocate Supports Intentional Communities on Youtube
  • Plus more on HCBS policy, CMS, Employment, etc.