Congress Must Care for Care Workers

BY KARLA J STRAND: For Complete Post, click here…

The U.S. Congress is at a critical juncture in the negotiations on the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. The original proposal was for $3.5 trillion in new spending—paid for by tax increases on corporations and those making more than $400,000 annually—aimed at improving infrastructure. Of this, $450 billion was earmarked for an increase in Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS). 

These services, such as meal delivery, respite, and other care services, are essential to improving the lives of people with disabilities, those who are aging, and their care providers. But after mostly leaving the fray to moderate and progressive Democrats to battle out a compromise, President Joe Biden unveiled an updated outline for the bill on October 19. Bowing to centrist concerns, Biden’s version of the plan is now down to between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion, and the cuts have caregivers (and receivers) concerned. 

Since February, progressive Democratic legislators have been pushing Biden to make good on his campaign promise to increase Medicaid funding for HCBS. In March, Senators Maggie Hassan, Democrat of New Hampshire; Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio; and Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania; and Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, introduced the Home and Community-Based Services Access Act.

Within weeks, Representatives Dingell; Ayanna Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts; Conor Lamb, Democrat of Pennsylvania; and Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, sent Biden a letter signed by 107 of their colleagues calling for the $450 billion investment in these service to be added to the Build Back Better infrastructure package.

Following the Senate vote, more than forty-five national disability organizations sent a plea to House and Senate leadership further explaining the imperative of full funding. Unfortunately, last month the House committees with purview over Medicare—Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce—endorsed increasing Medicaid HCBS funding by only $190 billion instead of the $400 billion advocated by caregivers and progressive legislators. 


That proposed $210 billion cut is not inconsequential: It could be the difference between whether more people are able to receive life-saving medical treatment or not.  

Free Training Opportunity: Empowerment Education Training Initiative

From DDI: For Complete Post, click here…

Wednesday October 27th, 2021 9:00 a.m. − 12:00 p.m.

Webinar Training Topic Conflict Resolution
9:00 a.m. − 10:30 a.m.
Presented by Elizabeth Janks, LMSW & Nia Anderson, LLMSW
This training is designed to help you understand what causes conflict and learn ways you can respond to conflict in a constructive manner. Individuals attending this training will have the opportunity to:
• Learn about attitude and self-image
• Learn how to achieve control through self-talk
• Understand conflict and criticism
• Learn how to control emotions
• Learn how to resolve conflict

Ten Successful & Assertive Steps for Working with Professionals
10:30 a.m. − 12:00 p.m.
Presented by Kristen Columbus, LLMSW
This training is designed to give you practical ideas on how to increase your own level of assertiveness when working with professionals in service to people with disabilities. Individuals attending this training will have the opportunity to: • Assess our current level of assertiveness
• Identify characteristics of aggressive, passive and assertive behavior
• Understand the concept of personal assertive rights
• Identify the 5 Ps of successful change
• Practice to construct and use person anchors
• Assess our problem areas of assertiveness and develop an action plan

Registration Information Wednesday October 27th, 2021 9:00 a.m. − 12:00 p.m.
Target Audience: Direct Support Professionals, Professionals working with Individuals with I/DD, Peer Mentors, Individuals receiving services, and Advocates.
Requirements This training webinar is FREE, however, to participate you must REGISTER.
Questions? If you have any questions, please contact: Elizabeth Janks, LMSW Email: e.janks@wayne.edu Nia Anderson, LLMSW Email: cp8512@wayne.edu
Each training module carries 2 Hours of Social Work CEUs and 2 Hours of QIDP.
To attend this webinar all participants must register.
The deadline to register is Monday, October 25, 2021.
To register please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUudO2srjMqHtdR8P3mD3wTZMmi8463u1o4

Lansing Schools triage solutions to special ed ‘emergency’

BY KYLE KAMINSKI: For Complete Post, click here…

Record backlog pushes district out of state compliance — and into overdrive.

After only about three months on the job, Superintendent Ben Shuldiner said he has identified three “emergency issues” facing students and staff at the Lansing School District this year. The obvious first is the COVID-19 pandemic. The second is a major shortage of bus drivers, he said.

And the third is a backlog of hundreds of written evaluations for the district’s nearly 2,000 special education students — a problem that has brewed for several years and came to a head after the state put the district into corrective action mode in 2020, district and state officials said.

“I’ll try to be brutally honest. The Lansing School District has not served its special education population well, to put it bluntly. For years, there were specific things that were not done — and this was stuff that was just not acceptable,” Shuldiner told the Lansing City Council last month.

The Michigan Department of Education requires public school districts to complete initial evaluations within 30 days for all special education students in need of an individualized education program — or IEP. Those written plans help to tailor instruction for students with learning disabilities, emotional disorders, cognitive challenges and many other impairments.

When Shuldiner arrived in July, at least 158 of those evaluations had not been completed on time for what amounted to 9% of the district’s total population of special education students — pushing the district into what the Department of Education defines as “corrective action” mode.

Spanning all grade levels, those late evaluations could have led to a wide range of state consequences if left unchecked. Under state law, the district could lose authority to operate special education programs altogether if the issues persisted. It could also lead to state and federal funds being withheld or warrant direct intervention from state officials.

Registration for Building Parent Leadership Skills In Early Childhood

From MAF: For Complete Post, click here…

This free, four-part series of online workshops will help parents understand the important role of they have in positions of leadership.

As a parent, there are many opportunities to add your voice, knowledge and experience to local, county and state boards that support families of children with disabilities.

• Leadership opportunities on local, county and state boards
• Learn your leadership style
• Discuss the importance of early childhood Inclusion
• Your mission: taking your involvement to the next level

Who should attend? Parents of children birth to 5 who receive/received Early On® services, current LICC representatives, and parents who are interested in serving on local, county and state boards. Participants are encouraged to attend all 4 sessions.

If you require accommodations or materials in an alternative format, please let us know two weeks before the event.

Time

Oct 26, 2021 07:00 PM
Nov 2, 2021 07:00 PM
Nov 9, 2021 07:00 PM
Nov 16, 2021 07:00 PM

Time shows in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

News on No-Fault: DIFS Bulletin addressing reimbursement limitations to certain products, services and accommodations

From CPAN: For Complete Post, click here…

On October 11, 2021, the Director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (“DIFS”) issued Bulletin 2021-38-INS addressing the applicability of the reimbursement limitations set forth in MCL 500.3157 to certain products, services and accommodations that constitute “[a]llowable expenses” under MCL 500.3107(1)(a).  Specifically, in the Bulletin, DIFS opined that “[p]roducts, services, and accommodations that are not provided by physicians, hospitals, clinics, or other like persons . . .” are not subject to the reimbursement limitations set forth in MCL 500.3157.   In the Bulletin, DIFS also expressed its view that MCL 500.3157 “governs the amount payable to any persons providing attendant care” services to auto accident survivors.

The Bulletin provided examples of several types of products, services, and accommodations that are, in DIFS’ view, exempt from the “fee caps” in MCL 500.3157, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Services related to guardianship or conservatorship;
  • Vehicle modifications;
  • Home modifications;
  • Computer equipment and supplies;
  • Generators;
  • Non-emergency medical transportation;
  • Non-prescription drugs;
  • Over-the-counter medical supplies; and
  • Certain case management services

Notably, the list of exempted products, services, and accommodations set forth in the Bulletin is not exhaustive, as DIFS itself acknowledged.  Instead, according to DIFS, the proper inquiry for determining whether a particular product, service or accommodation is subject to the reimbursement limitations set forth in MCL 500.3157 is whether it was “provided by physicians, hospitals, clinics, or other like persons.”

Moreover, in the Bulletin, DIFS explicitly directed no-fault insurers who have applied the reimbursement limitations in MCL 500.3157 to products, services, and accommodations that are exempt (including those listed above) to “re-process” the claim immediately, applying only the “reasonable[ness]” requirement set forth in MCL 500.3107(1)(a).  Further, DIFS instructed providers whose bills have been processed improperly to contact the no-fault insurer at issue to request reconsideration.

In short, DIFS’ Bulletin 2021-38-INS may be used by providers other than “physicians, hospitals, clinics, or other like persons” to assert that the “fee caps” set forth in MCL 500.3157 should not be applied to limit reimbursement by no-fault insurers for the products, services, or accommodations that those providers  render to auto accident survivors.

Tasting Freedom

by Wawmeesh Hamilton: For Complete Post, click here…

ngd- Wow!

In her three years at the Edmonton Indian Residential School, Helen Johnson figures she opened hundreds of cans of Spork.

Working in the school’s cafeteria, it was her job to dole out small portions of the foul-smelling meat for her fellow students to eat — paltry meals that left Johnson with hunger pangs and painful migraines.

“It was like a place which was worse than the jail, I think. At least they had meals every day, three meals a day,” she said. “We’d eat pork, pork, pork every day. Tons of pork.”

They’d have other meals, too. Lumpy oatmeal in the morning. A single egg at lunch. But all the offerings were meagre, and every meal was supplemented by Spork.

Staff meals, on the other hand, consisted of chicken, pork chops, steak and other choice cuts of beef. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Bread and butter. Jam. Dessert.

One May evening in 1961, her anger about that disparity reached a breaking point.

She had had enough.

So when a staff member left the cafeteria early, leaving Johnson and her friend, Maria Douglas, unsupervised, they took advantage.

Hauling the boxes of Spork into the school’s hallway, they started throwing the cans against the wall. Curious students stopped to watch their breakfast, lunch and supper fly through the air.

In the ensuing hours, what followed was a full-scale riot that saw approximately 100 students overpower an outnumbered staff, taking over the school until police put down their resistance.

The riot may be the only one in Canadian residential school history.

“Me, I felt like I had power,” Johnson said of that night. “I felt, ‘I have to have the power that was taken from me,’ and I felt good about it.”

NDEAM at NCIL

From NCIL: For Complete Post, click here…

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which is an opportunity for the US to recognize the vital role disabled people play in the workforce, kicked off earlier this month with the signing of a proclamation by President Joe Biden.  This year’s theme, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” rings especially true as the Independent Living (IL) network continues to engage in conversations regarding inclusion gaps in our own spaces.  We at the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) appreciate that the White House has an awareness of the challenges multiply-marginalized disabled people experience as members of the workforce:

“Despite the progress our Nation has made in recent decades, people with disabilities are still too often marginalized and denied access to the American dream.  Americans with disabilities — particularly women and people of color — have faced long-standing gaps in employment, advancement, and income.  The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these inequities, as people with disabilities have faced heightened risks — particularly the disproportionate share of people with disabilities employed in the hardest-hit industries.  Our Nation will never fully recover and rebuild unless every single community — including disabled Americans — is fully included.”

Academia’s ableist culture laid bare

By Kendall Powell: For Complete Post, click here…

Four group leaders with disabilities share their thoughts on how to make laboratories and fieldwork more accessible and inclusive.

Between 15% and 25% of the world’s population lives with one or more forms of disability. Despite some progress on disability rights, for many disabled scientists academic-research spaces and career pathways remain out of reach, both literally and figuratively.

Many nations legally require institutions to make ‘reasonable accommodations’ to ensure accessibility, but disabled researchers think that a corresponding shift in the attitudes of many co-workers is needed.

They say that ableism — beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with disabilities (whether physical conditions, mental-health issues, chronic illnesses or cognitive differences) — has excluded them from classrooms, laboratories, fieldwork and conferences. Not only are disabled researchers under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, but both visible and invisible disabilities are often missing from discussions of diversity and inclusion, they say.

“If we designed physical spaces and classes in a way that suits the common denominator of humans — such as always having a ramp, always teaching in ways that are inclusive of neurodiversity — then we make the system work for everyone,” says Kelsey Byers, an evolutionary chemical ecologist at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK.

At the same time, many disabled scientists point out that the COVID-19 pandemic has eased access, thanks to virtual conferences, remote working, and telehealth appointments — and they fervently hope these options will remain available after the pandemic.

Michigan Covid Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)

From MSHDA: For Complete Post, click here…

Select Apply Now to authenticate & begin your application.

Apply Now

The COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program is designed to keep Michigan residents who fell behind on their rent and/or utilities during COVID-19 in their homes.

This program provides Covid Emergency Relief Assistance (CERA) for housing (rent), utility, and internet assistance to qualifying individuals or families. Please review the eligibility and documentation requirements before beginning this application.

To complete the application, you will have to authenticate by proving ownership of the email address you enter. This CERA App will send you a 6-digit code you will need to complete your application.

View Required Documents 

Check out Chromebook’s new accessibility features

By Cynthia Shelly: For Complete Post, click here…

Chromebooks now have enhanced, natural-sounding voice options for Select-to-speak, which lets you hear selected text on your screen spoken out loud.

With accessibility features on Chromebooks, we want everyone to have a good experience on their computer – so people can get things done, families can play together, students and teachers can learn together, and employees can work productively and efficiently, wherever they are. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so we wanted to share a few recent and new Chromebook features that help people access information in a way that works for them.

New enhanced voices for Select-to-speak

People spend a lot of time reading on their laptop, doing things like reading news articles or reviewing school textbooks. Reading on a screen can be less than ideal for many, including people with dyslexia (an estimated 10-20% of the population), low vision, those learning a new language or people who have a hard time focusing on busy text.

With a few clicks, Select-to-speak on Chromebooks allows you to hear selected text on your screen spoken out loud. Earlier this year we added new features like controls to speed up, slow down or pause the reading voice, and to easily jump to different parts of text. Plus, you can choose to highlight the words being spoken while shading background text to help focus your attention.

Making Chromebooks more accessible

Over the past year, we’ve also made it easier to use, discover and customize Chromebook’s built-in accessibility features. This includes updates to the screen magnifier, like keyboard panning and shortcuts. We have also developed new in-product tutorials for ChromeVox, and we’ve introduced point scanning to make the selection process for switch users more efficient.