National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center

From Resident’s Voice Door Hangers – Pack of 50 (10 of each design): For Complete Post, click here…

Long-term care consumers from across the country submitted artwork for this year’s Resident’s Voice Challenge, a part of Residents’ Rights Month held every October. Several pieces of art were selected to display on door hangers. These door hangers remind anyone who enters a resident’s room that this is their home and assert residents’ rights. The pack includes 50 door hangers (10 of each design), printed in sharp, full-color on sturdy card stock with glossy UV coating on one side.

Featured artwork by: Carole Luker in Fulton, KY; Matthew Blackwood in Okemah, OK; Residents at Hackensack Meridian Nursing & Rehabilitation in Ocean Grove, NJ; J. Wick in Fort Thomas, KY; and Residents at Waterview Hills in Purdys, NY.

Available for pre-order. Will ship in two weeks.

Why Do We Wake Around 3am and Dwell On Our Fears and Shortcomings?

From Neuroscience News: For Complete Post, click here…

ummary: Researchers investigate why many of us wake in the middle of the night and dwell on our fears.

Source: The Conversation

When I wake at 3am or so, I’m prone to picking on myself. And I know I’m not the only one who does this. A friend of mine calls 3am thoughts “barbed-wire thinking”, because you can get caught in it.

The thoughts are often distressing and punitive. Strikingly, these concerns vaporise in the daylight, proving that the 3am thinking was completely irrational and unproductive.

So, what’s going on?

I’m a psychology researcher with expertise in mood, sleep, and the circadian system (the internal clock regulating sleep). Here’s what the research says about what may be behind this common experience.

What’s happening in your body at 3am?

In a normal night’s sleep, our neurobiology reaches a turning point around 3 or 4am.

Core body temperature starts to rise, sleep drive is reducing (because we’ve had a chunk of sleep), secretion of melatonin (the sleep hormone) has peaked, and levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) are increasing as the body prepares to launch us into the day.

Remarkably, all this activity happens independent of cues from the environment such as dawn light – nature decided long ago that sunrise and sunset are so important that they must be predicted (hence the circadian system).

We actually wake up many times each night, and light sleep is more common in the second half of the night. When sleep is going well for us, we are simply unaware of these awakenings. But add a bit of stress and there is a good chance that waking will become a fully self-aware state.

It’s Time the Behavioral Health Field Expand Their Definition of Lived Experience

From #CrisisTalk: For Complete Post, click here…

In anticipation of 988—the three-digit number for mental health, substance use, and suicidal crisis telecom companies must make live by July 16, 2022—communities throughout the United States are examining their crisis systems. “They want to ensure there are rapid and appropriate responses in place that match people’s needs,” says Amy Watson, Ph.D., professor of social work in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin. She’s also the president of CIT International. The Crisis Intervention Team model is a first-responder, police-based crisis intervention designed to reduce the role of law enforcement in behavioral health crisis response. 

However, as leaders tighten their lens on behavioral health and quality of life crises in their community, there’s a glaring concern they must also simultaneously address: workforce shortages. Dr. Watson says the solution isn’t simply to increase staff in existing positions but rather to develop a community behavioral health crisis responder role. “That means identifying the skills needed to best resolve crises,” she notes, “and make sure there’s an accessible career path for people with a diversity of lived experience.” 

In behavioral health, the term “lived experience” is often synonymous with people who have faced mental health or substance use challenges. “That’s a vital but narrow perspective,” says Dr. Watson. “There are many additional experiences—like being from a disadvantaged or marginalized population—that would be valuable to this role and can help provide a better, more culturally competent crisis response.” This includes the need for crisis responders who are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, have been incarcerated, experienced houselessness, identity as LGBTQ, are veterans, or have developmental disabilities.

Non-law enforcement responses to behavioral health and quality of life concerns—like the need for food and shelter—are critical for diverting people from the emergency department and jail. And because interactions are with civilian responders and not police, it can be far safer for people in crisis, especially among marginalized populations at risk of a police interaction turning deadly. Of people killed in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty since January 1, 2015, 24% were Black, 16% were Hispanic, and 23% were identified as having a mental illness. 

Service dogs navigate the challenges of covid: ‘The dog doesn’t understand social distancing’

By Jenna Portnoy: For Complete Post, click here…

The pandemic has complicated life for everyone, but social distancing, mask-wearing and other practices to reduce the spread of coronavirus present particular challenges for people with disabilities who rely on service animals.

Organizations that train dogs — often Labrador and golden retrievers, among other breeds — are just beginning to see what the first classes of pandemic puppies can do after 18 months of diminished socialization and exposure to public places.

Dog-handler teams have had to adapt to virtual training, different commands and new ways to keep their skills sharp in order to avoid uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations.

This is especially important, trainers and people with disabilities say, as more people return to their pre-pandemic routines of taking public transportation and attending in-person work and school.

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.  

Registration: Effective Communication with School During COVID-19

Fri, Oct 29, 2021 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Show in My Time Zone

Join Michigan Alliance for Families for “Effective Communication with School During COVID-19” with SEMS (Special Education Mediation Services).

Communication and collaboration in special education are uniquely challenging. The pandemic is another layer that has impacted communication. Join SEMS for this online workshop to discuss what we know about effective communication. We’ll look at how the pandemic has changed family and school relationships.

• Share effective communication tips to improve collaboration and partnerships
• Consider how the Covid 19 pandemic impacted communication and collaboration
• Reflect on what we learned from the pandemic that can inform our learning environments moving forward with this a once in a lifetime opportunity to embark upon a new path to improved student success.

If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please send your request to info@michiganallianceforfamilies.org two weeks prior to the event.

Grieving Who I Was Before My Mental Illness Diagnoses

By Simone Yemm: For Complete Post, click here…

ngd- Grief is a normal part of dramatic personal and life change, and is the first step in recovery…

Once upon a time, I was a whole egg. My runny, gooey insides were safely cocooned in a solid, outer shell. I felt whole.

Then I fell off my perch and the shell cracked. The soggy, fragile contents spilled out and there was nothing holding me together. I was a mess.

I shook and I wept and I panicked. Sorrow and sadness wrapped themselves around me like a cloak. I learned really bad ways of avoiding the emotional baggage I’d hidden away all my life. I didn’t know how to cope anymore.

The trouble with breaking something as brittle as a shell is it can never go back to the way it was. It can be patched and stitched and glued. It can be held together with Band-Aids or covered in clingfilm. But it can never be whole again.

I am eternally cracked

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.

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.

The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice Secures Commitment From Boy Scouts of America to Appoint a Survivor on National Executive Board

From The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice: For Complete Post, click here…

Survivor Representation on Executive Board to Add Greater Accountability and Ensure Current and Future Scouts Are Protected

Coalition Launches New Website, scoutingabusesurvivors.com, to Inform and Update Survivors on Historic, Multibillion-dollar Plan

The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice (“Coalition”) announced today that it has successfully negotiated a commitment from the Boy Scouts of America to appoint a Boy Scouts sexual abuse survivor to its National Executive Board as part of the Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.

“This measure is a critical step toward justice for survivors around the country,” said Coalition Co-Founder Ken Rothweiler of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. “It was of utmost importance to the Coalition that we secure accountability beyond monetary compensation. Having a survivor in the room when decisions are made means that their voices will be heard well beyond this bankruptcy.”

“We heard repeatedly from the thousands of survivors we represent that it’s not just about the money, it’s about accountability and making sure this never happens again,” said Coalition Co-Founder Anne Andrews of Andrews & Thornton. “The only way to do that is to make the Board less opaque, more transparent, and further accountable to the 83,000-person survivor community once this bankruptcy concludes.”

“This action to add a survivor to the very top level of its decision-making is going to reverberate far beyond the Boy Scouts,” said Adam Slater of Slater Slater Schulman LLP. “It should serve as a clarion call to other institutions facing historical abuse claims, from USA Gymnastics to universities to the Catholic Church.”

Additionally, the Coalition announced the launch of its new website, scoutingabusesurvivors.com, to share critical information and updates to the survivor community as they vote from now until December 14, 2021 to approve the Reorganization Plan, which includes the largest sexual abuse settlement fund in history – $1.887 billion and growing.