Friday, July 31, 2015

Free Checkups for Special Olympians

LOS ANGELES – They arrived in Los Angeles by the thousands to run, jump and swim and to play such team sports as soccer and softball.
This week, however, Special Olympics athletes from around the world also are taking part in what could be called the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat events.Tucked into a corner of the University of Southern California’s sprawling campus is a makeshift medical clinic that seemingly sprouted overnight. There, hundreds of doctors, dentists and other health care providers are working to ensure thousands of athletes go home with clean bills of health — or the closest thing to them that can be produced in a week. A few athletes will even leave with the ability to hear for the first time.

CDC: 1-in-5 Adults Have a Disability

One in five American adults have at least one kind of disability, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday.The study, drawn from 2013 data, says 53 million Americans have a disability.
“We know disability types and related challenges can vary,” said Elizabeth Courtney-Long, a health scientist with CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “In order to understand and address their needs, we need to understand their diverse circumstances. This report provides a snapshot into that.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Study Focusing on Autism Treatment

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine will lead a four-year, $28 million national study that could help improve the way children with autism spectrum disorders are treated.
The Yale team will collect data in Connecticut from preschoolers and school-aged children affected by autism spectrum disorders. The data then will be evaluated along with data taken from four other locations: Duke University, Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Washington.
The study is being led by James McPartland, associate professor at the Yale Child Study Center.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Feds Question Virginia Reforms

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Justice Department says Virginia is not being serious enough about efforts to comply with court-ordered reforms to its program for people with disabilities.
A letter to the federal judge overseeing a 2012 federal settlement, sent by the Justice Department last month, points as evidence to the way the state has used proceeds from the sale of state-run institutions that treated people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Obama: ADA 'Fight Is Not Over'

In marking a quarter century since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act became law, President Barack Obama said much more work is yet to be done
Obama spoke Monday before a packed house in the East Room of the White House about the impact of the ADA at an event just days ahead of the law’s 25th anniversary, which will occur Sunday.

Health & Human Services Post Filled

ALBANY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed Paul Francis as his deputy secretary for health and human services.
Francis, an attorney, was Cuomo's director of agency redesign early in his first term.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Proofreading Blamed for Misused Funds

Federal auditors told Maryland officials earlier this week that more than $34 million for the care of developmentally-disabled citizens during 2010-2013 had been spent improperly, and the money needs to be refunded.
This latest disclosure indicates the state continues to harbor chronic and widespread deficiencies involving the care for people with disabilities despite “fixes” implemented over 10 years or longer. While recent criticisms mainly address administrative deficiencies, numerous programmatic stresses involving quality, scope, and sufficiency of care and fairness of caregivers’ compensation appear to exist as well.

Burke Named to Albany Med Center Post

One of the Cuomo Administration’s top health care and Medicaid experts, Courtney Burke, is heading to Albany Medical Center where she will work as senior vice president and chief strategy officer.
A deputy secretary for health, Burke helped the state get a federal waiver to help fund changes in how health care is delivered under Medicaid and she helped set up the Obamacare’s health exchange for New York.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ohio Mom Suing YMCA for Excluding Its Poster Child From Summer Camp

It's a battle for integration, but race is not the issue.
Steven Heffron
An Ohio mother is suing a YMCA she says won't accept her son into its general summer program, only offering the boy with Down syndrome a spot in its camp for kids with disabilities.In addition to refusing to make reasonable accommodations for 6-year-old Steven Heffron, the Great Miami Valley YMCA uses him "as a poster child for its programs with the tag lines 'Providing Opportunities for Everyone,'" the federal lawsuit, which includes photos of YMCA promotional material featuring Steven, says.

Letter: DSPs Deserve Higher Wages

Sharing a Letter to the Editor of Albany Times Union. Wish more families and individuals we support would contact their legislators at the state and federal levels about this issue. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's wage board is selectively considering a minimum wage increase to fast-food workers. The cost of this proposed mandate would be paid for by the private sector, not from the state's budget. New York currently funds direct care professionals who work for agencies that serve developmentally disabled individuals and are paid close to minimum wage. Their job is significantly more challenging and contributing to society

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

As NYS Phases Out Workshops, Agencies Seeking Alternatives for Individuals

Sheltered workshops, once considered a progressive alternative to institutionalizing the developmentally disabled, could soon be artifacts of a different era and philosophy. 
Gerard McEneaney, 56, at his
sheltered workshop.
New York State ended new admissions to sheltered workshops as of July 1, 2013, and will stop funding for them in 2020 -- the result of the state's April 2013 agreement with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Kansans Complain to Federal Panel

The state’s privatized Medicaid program is drastically cutting care to the most vulnerable residents in the state, disabled Kansans told the National Council on Disability, a federal agency that advises the president and Congress, during hours of testimony Tuesday.
Karen Bruffet of the
Kansas Dept. of Disability
and Aging Services.
Disability rights advocates joined medical care providers, federal and state officials in the Old Supreme Courtroom in the Statehouse beginning at 9:15 a.m. and lasting well into the afternoon. The council took no action Tuesday.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Inspiring Journey to World Games

New Plymouth, Idaho — She could have been just another statistic.
She could have just accepted she was one of 500,000 people in the United States with cerebral palsy.But then again, that has never been who Olivia Cline is. Cline never let her condition stop her from doing what she wants in life.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Couple Not Giving Up

After the Supreme Court ruled last week that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage, the phrase “love wins” quickly hit the airwaves and social media as a testament to the fact that over everything else — even in the face of the nation’s highest court — love can prevail at the end of the day.
But for the family of one local couple who has been mired in a lawsuit with their former disability providers, the ruling came as a reminder that in the end, love has not won for them in the eyes of the law. At least not yet.About five weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed an appeal that had been filed on behalf of Paul and Hava Forziano.
The original lawsuit, 
which garnered national attention at the time, claimed that because neither of their nonprofit caretakers gave the married couple the facilities to live together, both organizations — Independent Group Home Living and Maryhaven — as well as the commissioner of the New York State Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities discriminated against them under several statutes, including the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. The case was dismissed last March by U.S. Eastern District Court of New York Judge Leonard Wexler.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

De Blasio Declares July Disability Pride Month in Honor of ADA Anniversary

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Mayor de Blasio is declaring July as “Disability Pride Month” and hosting a parade to commemorate the landmark legislation.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin will serve
as grand marshal of NYC's parade.