DD Quarterly - Spring 2010

DD Quarterly - Spring 2010


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In this issue:

About the DD Quarterly

Copyright © 2010, Content may be reprinted upon request.


ODDC Welcomes All to Their Annual Conference May 26-27

ODDC invites people with disabilities, their families and advocates to attend its annual conference and celebrate significant, landmark legislation and public policy issues affecting the disability community. The conference, Our Choice: Living in the Community, revolves around the impact of the Olmstead Decision and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on community involvement for people with disabilities.

The two-day conference is scheduled for May 26-27, 2010 and will be at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus.

Conference Activities

The conference agenda includes an impressive group of nationally and state recognized speakers (see page 2), workshops, provider booths and a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the passage of the ADA. In addition, a second draft of Ohio's 2010 Olmstead Plan, "Balancing and Beyond: A Vision for Community Services and Supports for Individuals with Disabilities" is expected to be presented by Governor Ted Strickland.

The agenda and conference activities are structured to encourage people with disabilities to network and discuss personal questions or sample equipment and other technology at the provider tables. Carolyn Knight, executive director of ODDC, commenting on the conference activities said, "This year's conference highlights the rights of people with disabilities to live in the community and features initiatives that make living in the community a reality."

Free for People with Disabilities

To assure people with disabilities have an opportunity to attend and be involved in the conference, ODDC arranged for Ohioans with disabilities and their family members to attend the conference at no charge. Thanks to the collaboration and generosity of the conference sponsors, registration, one night hotel lodging, transportation and other accommodations will be free for people with disabilities. See the conference registration form on page 5 for details.

Invited Conference Presenters

A brief biography for each of the invited keynote and plenary speakers for the Our Choice conference is included below.

Stephen F. Gold is one of the foremost attorneys in the disability rights movement and specializes in the civil rights of people with disabilities. He successfully argued in the case, Helen L. that a state discriminates against a people by requiring them to receive services in a segregated nursing home, rather than providing services in the community.

Jim Dickson is vice president of Government Affairs for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Dickson leads AAPD's nonpartisan Disability Vote Project whose mission is to close the political participation gap for people with disabilities. The project focuses on voter registration and education, Get- Out-The-Vote drives, election reform and polling place access.

Ann O'Hara is co-founder and associate director of Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. (TAC) and director of TAC’s Housing Group. O’Hara is nationally known for her public policy work to expand affordable and permanent supportive housing opportunities for people with disabilities and for her expertise in housing programs for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

Michael Kirkman is the executive director of Ohio Legal Rights Service, an independent state agency charged by state and federal law with protecting the rights of and advocating for people with disabilities. He has represented people with disabilities in state and federal court on issues related to guardianship, protective services, involuntary commitment and consent to treatment.

Samuel Bagenstos is a deputy assistant attorney general in the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, a job he holds while on leave from an appointment as professor of law at the University of Michigan. Bagenstos specializes in civil rights law, particularly as it pertains to the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as constitutional law.

Governor Ted Strickland is scheduled to present the second draft of Ohio’s Olmstead Plan at the conference. He is the Governor of the state of Ohio. Before his election in 2006, he served six terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio’s 6th district.

See the Our Choice: Living in the Community Conference article for more information about the conference.

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Chairman's Message

As I write this column, people with disabilities and other stakeholders are in the midst of reviewing a draft of Ohio’s Olmstead Plan, “Balancing and Beyond: A Vision for Community Services and Supports for Individuals with Disabilities.” The Governor’s office hosted two open meetings to gather input to help shape subsequent drafts of the document. A second draft of the plan is scheduled to be introduced, by the governor, at ODDC’s Olmstead Conference in May where the landmark Olmstead decision of 1999 is the focal point.

This year’s conference is a collaborative effort of ODDC with cosponsors: CareSource, HomeChoice, Legal Rights Service, National Alliance on Mental Illness-Ohio, Ohio Olmstead Task Force (OOTF) and Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council.

Community inclusion and Olmstead are not new issues to Council. ODDC is instrumental in promoting community inclusion for people with disabilities and led the charge for developing the OOTF, a grass roots coalition of people with disabilities, family members and organizations advocating together for the right to live, work and participate in their communities. Persistent advocacy of two of our own Council members, Renee Wood and Shelley Papenfuse and former ODDC member, Mary Butler and Maria Matzik influenced the Governor to agree to develop this new Olmstead Plan.

I also want to express my appreciation to Amy McGee, executive assistant in the Governor’s office. McGee has been very helpful throughout the development of the new Olmstead Plan process, not only to Council, but to the entire disability community.

Serving as Council chair for the last 18 months, I am amazed and pleased at how ODDC remains deeply involved in the critical issues of the day: Olmstead being one of those issues. I look forward to our conference in May and encourage everyone interested in community inclusion to attend to celebrate our successes and to help shape the future.

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ODDC Has Moved!

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (ODDC) has moved its offices to 899 E. Broad Street, Suite 203, Columbus, OH 43205. ODDC's phone numbers remain the same.

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Our Choice: Living in the Community Conference

This is a conference for Ohioans with disabilities, their families and advocates that will be held May 26-27, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency, Columbus.

Conference Information

Everyone who wants to attend the “Our Choice” conference must register. Registrations will be accepted until capacity is reached — or until the deadline of May 17, whichever comes first. Use the Registration Form (PDF file).

Each applicant will receive confirmation of his or her registration by email or phone. If you have not received confirmation by May 17, please contact the AXIS Center at (614)263-8076 or axiscenter@aol.com.

Participants staying overnight at the Hyatt must check-in at the hotel’s registration desk. For those people with disabilities and family members seeking free registration, the conference is paying for your room and tax only. You will be required to pay any incidentals, such as room service, parking, or movies.

If you request reimbursement, you must complete and sign a reimbursement form for all expenses before leaving the conference. You will receive a check within ten days.

Please adopt a fragrance-free policy while attending the conference.

Conference Sponsors

  • CareSource
  • Home Choice
  • NAMI Ohio
  • Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council
  • Ohio Legal Rights Service
  • Ohio Olmstead Task Force
  • OhioSILC

Olmstead Decision

In June 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court decided one of its most important cases for people with disabilities, which became known as the Olmstead Decision. In brief, the Court ruled that:

  • A state violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it segregates a person with a disability in an institution, nursing home, developmental center or other large congregate setting — when the person could be served in the community.
  • States must take steps to provide services in integrated community settings for people in institutions — if the person wants to move and can be served in an integrated setting.

In 2010, people with disabilities, their families and advocates continue to work for full implementation of the Olmstead Decision in their states.

Registration and Questions

Direct all questions to the AXIS Center at (614)263-8076 or axiscenter@aol.com.

Download the Registration Form (PDF file)

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Nominate an Outstanding Advocate for ODDC's 2010 Advocacy Award

ODDC is seeking an outstanding advocate to receive its annual award honoring a person or organization that actively worked to improve the lives of people with disabilities. The honoree will be announced May 27, 2010 at ODDC’s Annual Conference, “Our Choice: Living in the Community.”

Eligibility

People with disabilities, family members, disability organizations/service providers and others are eligible for the award. Council’s selection committee may give preference to an individual who has a disability. Elected officials, current ODDC members, staff and grantees are not eligible. However, former members, staff and grantees can be considered.

Nomination procedure

Submit a narrative of not more than 250 words, including:

  • Nominee's name, address, daytime phone and email.
  • A summary of the advocacy activity and how long it has been going on.
  • The significant outcomes that have improved the lives of people with disabilities and their families as a result of the advocacy.
  • Name, phone and/or email of the person submitting the nomination.

Applicants may submit as many as five support items, such as letters of recommendation, news clippings or photos. Photocopies are acceptable. Materials become the property of ODDC and will not be returned.

Nominations may be typed and mailed, faxed, emailed or recorded on audiocassette and mailed. Nominations must be postmarked or received at ODDC’s office by Monday, May 3. Council will notify the honoree prior to the May 27 conference and will assist honoree with travel arrangements to attend the conference.

Send nominations to:

AXIS Center
249 E. Cooke Rd.
Columbus, OH 43214
axiscenter@aol.com
(614) 262-8124 fax

Questions? Contact:

Carla Sykes
(800) 766-7426 toll-free
(614) 466-5205
carla.sykes@dodd.ohio.gov

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Apply to Become an ODDC Member

ODDC is seeking applicants for membership terms beginning in October 2010. ODDC membership must comply with categories listed in the federal Developmental Disabilities Act. Openings this year will be for the following categories:

  • two individuals with a developmental disability, and
  • one parent or guardian of a child with a developmental disability.

All candidates for ODDC membership should have experience serving on committees, boards or organizations. Experience with persons with developmental disabilities is especially relevant. Applicants should have first-hand knowledge about developmental disabilities in Ohio.

It is very important that applicants have time to attend six meetings per year and serve on at least two committees. Each meeting of ODDC occurs over a two-day period.

Governor Strickland will appoint members for three-year terms beginning October 1, 2010 and ending September 30, 2013. Applications must be returned to ODDC by June 1, 2010.

Benefits of Being a Member

Serving as a member of ODDC provides the opportunity to work in a collaborative manner with state and federal policymakers, state and local providers and individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members. ODDC advocates to improve the system of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and it conducts grant activities for the same purpose.

About ODDC

ODDC is a planning and advocacy body committed to community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities.

It is the mission of ODDC to create change that improves independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life.

ODDC consists of at least 28 members who are: people with developmental disabilities, parents and guardians of people with developmental disabilities, representatives from concerned state agencies, and non-profit organizations and local agencies providing services to people with developmental disabilities.

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Cincinnati UCEDD's Rubinstein Library: Something for Everyone

by Tom Gannon, Outreach and Community Education Coordinator, University of Cincinnati UCEDD

Children with disabilities, their family members and professionals all seek information or resources from the Jack Rubinstein Library at the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). Patrons find answers to or explore new ideas from the library’s expansive collection of information about developmental disabilities and resources for children. The Rubinstein Library is uniquely capable of meeting the diverse needs of its many patrons through its three sub-libraries: a research library, a library for parents and a toy library.

The Research Library, a key component of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at UC Children’s Hospital, is a regional and national resource that supports the UCEDD in training, technical assistance, information dissemination and research activities. The disciplines of medicine, psychology, special education, speech and language, nutrition, and occupational and physical therapy are reflected in the collection. We acquire, organize, and provide access to collections in a broad range of formats and facilitate access to collections owned by other institutions.

The Parents’ Library is an outstanding library service that provides families of children with developmental and behavioral concerns with accurate information on topics ranging from parenting and educational issues to specific conditions. Particular areas of emphasis include: Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, cerebral palsy, Williams’ syndrome, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, learning disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, spina bifida, mental retardation, and speech/hearing impairment. Included in the Parents’ Library is a bibliotherapy collection that helps children with personal growth, family relationships, and coping skills for difficult events and situations in their lives.

The Toy Library is unique in the Cincinnati area. Families borrow from over 1000 toys, puzzles, and games specifically chosen to facilitate fine and gross motor skills, and social skills in children with disabilities. There is also a special selection of switch operated toys for children with limited motor ability that allows the child to play with and operate toys. The library provides access to assistive technology resources and augmentative communication devices such as computers, color printers, alternative keyboards, touch screens, big key keyboards and specialized software.

Community Resource

The Rubinstein Library, located at 3430 Burnet Avenue on the UC Children’s Hospital Campus, is a well-used community resource. Recent data show that library patrons borrowed 3200 library items and staff answered 8200 requests for information, provided over 4650 reprints, and served 15,000 people. The library includes a quiet room for patrons needing time for contemplation and relaxation and a separate room housing the assistive technology program.

The goal of the administration and staff at the Rubinstein Library is to become the most comprehensive pediatric consumer health library devoted to developmental and behavioral issues in the midwest.

For more information, contact the Rubinstein librarian, Barbara Johnson, at (513) 636-4626 or Barbara.johnson@cchmc.org.

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Healthcare Parity Project at Nisonger Center Improves Understanding of Needs of People with Disabilities

by Susan M. Havercamp, Nisonger Center

The healthcare needs of people with disabilities are frequently unmet. People with disabilities are often unable to find healthcare providers who will treat them and physicians report feeling unprepared to care for patients with disabilities, a group they perceive as having especially complex needs.

Minimal or no training at the student and resident level for medical and allied health students is one explanation for the lack of quality health care for people with disabilities. A recent survey of medical and dental schools found that more than half of the deans and students reported that medical and dental school graduates are not prepared to treat persons with disabilities and that clinical training regarding disabilities is not a high priority at their school.

Healthcare Parity Project

The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at the Nisonger Center developed the Healthcare Parity Project to address this problem. Through the project, healthcare providers are trained about the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. The goal is to increase the capacity of healthcare providers to provide quality healthcare to persons with disabilities.

The Healthcare Parity Project promotes the concept that increasing exposure to individuals with disabilities helps clinicians, including students, gain confidence and become more comfortable and willing to provide care to patients with disabilities.

The training is available online and is approved to provide continuing education credits. One of the trainings focuses on healthcare for persons with physical and sensory disabilities and a second training addresses healthcare for people with developmental disabilities.

Parity Project Follows Successful Model

Nisonger’s project is modeled after a healthcare training program at the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities at the University of South Florida. The Florida program provides disability training to all medical students. Their disability module was developed as a component of the Primary Care Clerkship rotation, which is required core curriculum for all third-year medical students.

Anecdotal and survey findings from the Florida project suggest that medical students found the module enlightening, increased their knowledge and understanding about disabilities, gained respect for persons with disabilities, and experienced diminished anxiety about caring for people with disabilities.

Future Directions

Nisonger Center plans to extend the training to other medical and allied health training programs at The Ohio State University.

For more information about the Healthcare Parity Project, contact Susan Havercamp at susan.havercamp@osumc.edu or (614) 247-6629.

ODDC Grantee Develops Students' Transportation Skills

by Kelly Stephenson, manager of mobility services, COTA

Lack of transportation or not knowing how to use mass transit is often identified as one of the most significant barriers to employment for people with disabilities. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) recognizing the importance of transportation for people with disabilities developed a ridership program targeting students with disabilities. With grant funding from ODDC and in conjunction with Easter Seals Project Action, COTA created Route to Freedom.

The Route to Freedom program works with high school students with disabilities who are transitioning into the workforce. The program provides opportunities for students to learn how to access the range of transportation options in their communities to improve post-school employment options and to increase involvement in recreation, leisure and other community activities.

Mentors

The program uses mentors from JP Morgan Chase to assist students with their transition to work. Students enrolled in the special education program at a Columbus City School are paired with mentors from Chase who meet with the students weekly. The meetings are at Chase headquarters where students learn, in classroom trainings, how to read bus schedules, features of the bus and safety issues related to riding the bus. Following the classroom training, the students use an out-of-service bus and practice paying fares, using the bike rack and pulling the stop request cord.

Students complete the training by taking a COTA bus from their high school to a job site at a local hospital. COTA offers, for some students, individualized one-on-one training to develop more advanced, independent bus rider travel skills.

Route to Freedom Goals

  • To provide educators with the resources, information, and knowledge to include transportation education in their offerings of special education supports and services
  • To demonstrate the linkage between public transportation education and alternate assessment standards
  • To provide age-appropriate resource materials and lessons for use with secondary school age students
  • To help students develop the skills and behaviors for safe and effective travel
  • To assist students in the development of decision-making, personal responsibility and self-determination skills
  • To demonstrate the feasibility of using public transportation for school/personal purposes

For more information about the Route to Freedom program contact Kelly Stephenson at COTA (614) 275-5841.

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Disability Policy Seminar Empowers Advocates

It takes only one trip to your congressperson’s office to realize how much they and their staff are on the move. After just one visit to Capitol Hill, it is easy to see just how many people shuffle through one office in a given day seeking help and support for their issue. In a place where legislative issues can move slower than molasses, the quickness by which a few minutes with a federal representative can flash by is astonishing.

More daunting for disability rights advocates are the number of separate issues that need attention. Housing, transportation, long-term care, health care, education, employment, civil rights and many other issues are important to advocates with disabilities and their family members. How do you cover so many important items and have a meaningful impact with your federal policymaker?

The answer to that question is to pick your battles, focus your efforts and follow through. For members of ODDC, graduates of Partners in Policymaking programs in Ohio, and students of the LEND Program from the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University, these approaches to advocacy have proven successful. It’s one reason ODDC will once again be participating in the upcoming Disability Policy Seminar in Washington D.C.

Disability Policy Seminar

Hosted by a multitude of national disability organizations, the Disability Policy Seminar is an annual conference that provides advocates with up-to-date policy analysis of issues pending in Congress. In addition to the many issue areas already mentioned, participants are provided valuable information about the federal budget, stimulus acts and procedural measures. By the end of the two day conference, advocates are prepared to meet with policymakers and educate them about what is needed and what is helpful to people with disabilities.

In 2009, several members of ODDC attended the seminar and met with members of their congressional delegation. In the picture below, members representing Council and the Partners in Policymaking program met with Congressman Steve Driehaus to discuss the Community Choice Act (HR 1670) and the ABLE Act (HR 1205). Following this meeting with advocates, Representative Driehaus signed on as a co-sponsor to the ABLE Act.

The ABLE Act would provide individuals with disabilities additional options to save money for their care. Similar to college savings plans, ABLE accounts would allow tax exempt savings for services and supports for people with disabilities.

The 2010 Disability Policy Seminar will be held April 12-14, 2010.

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Save Money with the Arc’s Empowered Group Purchasing Program

The Arc of Ohio, with funding from ODDC, partnered with The Foundation for the Challenged to create Empowered Group Purchasing, an organization which provides discounts on food, medical supplies, insurance products, gasoline, and other items for people with developmental disabilities, their families and other community supporters. Empowered Group Purchasing is designed to leverage the collective buying power of a group of people or businesses in order to obtain discounts from retailers and suppliers for goods and services.

Discount Club Without Walls

Gary Tonks, executive director of The Arc of Ohio said, “Empowered Group Purchasing functions like a discount club without walls. This venture is a bold but logical step for us to take at a time when economic conditions are so depressed. It elevates the visibility of disability in the community and demonstrates to retailers the purchasing power of people with disabilities and their family members. Most importantly, however, is that individuals and families receive discounts leading to a decrease in everyday living expenses.”

It is estimated that a family could save over $1,000 per year based on discounts ranging from 10-50% off retail pricing for items such as life insurance, medical supplies, durable medical equipment, cell phone service and many other items.

Membership

When you join a local Arc Chapter or The Arc of Ohio, your membership entitles you to access the benefits of discount purchasing. The Arc of Ohio membership is open to any individual or organization of people with developmental disabilities, parents, friends and/or service providers, corporations or government entities.

Individual, associate or business memberships are available. Individual membership fees, for people with disabilities and their family members, are $25.00. Those organizations seeking associate or business memberships are encouraged to contact The Arc for details.

Application for an individual membership is available online at The Arc of Ohio Web site or by calling your local Arc office or the Arc of Ohio office. Once an Arc member, you will receive an Empowered Group Purchasing packet of information with a membership card (it looks like a plastic credit card) and you can start enjoying the benefits of discount purchasing.

Tonks, while discussing the impact of the Empowered Group Purchasing program said, “young families tell me the discount on medical supplies, medical equipment and educational materials are substantial and will help them from a financial perspective and improve the lives of their children.”

For More Information About Empowered Group Purchasing Contact The Arc of Ohio

The Arc of Ohio
1335 Dublin Road, Suite 205-C
Columbus, Ohio 43215
www.thearcofohio.org
(614) 487-4720
(800) 875-2723

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Ohio's Disability Voting Bloc Needs You

People with disabilities don't vote, right? Wrong!

It is estimated that 14.7 million people with disabilities voted in the 2008 presidential election. This statistic reflects an upward national trend of people with disabilities engaging in the political process. Another statistic from Census data shows that Ohioans with disabilities represent nearly 18 percent of all Ohioans eligible to vote. This 18% represents one of the largest voting blocs in the state of Ohio.

Political Impact of the Disability Voting Bloc

People with disabilities have the potential to form an influential voting bloc that has considerable impact on determining who is elected and what statewide issues are approved in the 2010 elections and all future elections. However, for this voting bloc to be effective and powerful, Ohioans with disabilities must register to vote and increase political awareness of public policymakers about issues important to people with disabilities.

People with Disabilities are Voting

Record numbers of people with disabilities in Ohio and throughout the country are voting. A Rutgers University study found that the percentage of people with disabilities who vote is almost equal to the percent of voters without disabilities (57.3 percent of people with disabilities voted compared to 64.5 percent of people without disabilities).

For information about registering to vote in November’s general election, candidates and issues and important election dates and deadlines, contact your local Board of Elections. Additional voting resources are available on Ohio Legal Rights Service (LRS) website.

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Census Data Important for People with Disabilities

Ohioans with disabilities are encouraged to complete the 2010 Census to assure the disability community is accurately represented for funding of essential local and neighborhood programs and services. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than $400 billion in federal dollars a year will be distributed nationwide based on census figures. This money is spent on local community needs, such as roads and services, including services specifically for people with disabilities.

Accurate census data directly affect the quality of life for people with disabilities. Population figures collected are often used in local planning decisions for the allocation of public funding — including the distribution of many federal and state funding streams that support vital community services for people with disabilities, such as health care, transportation and other assistance programs. If people with disabilities are under-represented in the census, disability-related programs may be under-funded and inadequate.

Need Help Completing the 2010 Census Form?

The 2010 Census form is one of the shortest in history with only 10 questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. If you need assistance filling out the questionnaire, help is available through the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center at (866) 872-6868. If a Spanish-speaking operator is preferred, call (866) 928-2010. This service is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, call (866) 783-2010 (TDD).

The Census questionnaire is available in Braille and large print.

For more information about the Census, visit http://2010.census.gov.

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President Signs Healthcare Bill

The nation’s first universal healthcare bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama on March 23rd, will have a direct impact on the lives of people with disabilities. The following is a summary of the bill’s major provisions:

Changes to insurance

  • Insurance companies will not be allowed to drop individuals if they develop a medical condition. Nor can they deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Out-of-pocket spending will be capped at $5,000 per individual and $10,000 per family to prevent bankruptcy as a result of medical diagnosis.
  • Caps on lifetime coverage will be banned. This means that individuals with severe medical conditions need not worry about their benefits running out.

Assistance for uninsured

  • The federal government will provide low-income families subsidies to help offset the costs of coverage. Those who earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level ($88,200 for a family of four) will be eligible for such assistance. Subsidies will be available to families in need by 2014.

High Risk Pool

  • Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions will be placed in a temporary high-risk pool so as to receive coverage right away, before insurance reforms are fully implemented in the coming years. This high-risk pool will be established within the next six months and will end in 2014 when government-regulated insurance exchanges will be implemented.

CLASS Act

  • The Community Living Assistance Service and Support (CLASS) Act will provide long-term care insurance for working individuals. The voluntary program deducts a small amount of money (yet to be determined) from an individual’s paycheck and puts it into a fund to help cover the expenses of non-medical services and supports should the person ever have functional limitations. Cash benefits ($50-$100/day depending on level of disability) will be available after a five year vesting period.

Community First Choice Option (CFC)

  • The CFC will be established to give people with disabilities who require an institutional level of care the choice of receiving community-based services instead. CFC addresses state waiting lists for services and does not allow caps on the number of individuals served. The option will become available on October 1, 2011.

Long Term Care

  • Money Follows the Person (Ohio HomeChoice) will be extended through September 2016.
  • The State Balancing Incentive Program will be established to financially assist some states, with federal matching funds, to increase the proportion of community-based, non-institutional-based long term care services. Effective 2011 through 2015.

Changes to Medicaid

  • Medicaid will be expanded to cover lower-income individuals under the age of 65 by making eligible households with incomes up to 133% of federal poverty level ($29, 327 for a family of four).
  • Permits states to extend full Medicaid benefits to individuals receiving home and community-based services under a state plan and provides states the option, in their state plan, to offer home and community-based services for individuals with incomes up to 300% of the maximum SSI payment and have a high level of need. These options will be available October 2011.

Changes to Medicare

  • Recipients in the prescription drug program who fall into the coverage gap “donut hole” will receive a $250 rebate within the next year. By 2012, these individuals will receive a 50% discount on all brand name drugs and the gap will be closed by 2020.

The DD Quarterly will periodically update readers on the status of the implementation of the healthcare bill.

For additional information about the bill, read the full-length document of the bill (PDF file) or the government summary of what the bill does for people with disabilities.

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News from Ohio Legal Rights Service: LRS and Community Resource Alliance Advance Community Integration in Ohio

Community integration for individuals with disabilities in Ohio is the goal of an initiative spearheaded by LRS and Community Resource Alliance (CRA). LRS and CRA are working in partnership with people with disabilities who desire to live in the community but reside in nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals.

These individuals are forced to remain in institutional settings rather than living and working in the most integrated, community setting. Derrick Dufresne, senior partner of CRA said, "These individuals are neither old nor physically sick. They were admitted, in most cases, solely because of their psychiatric or cognitive disabilities and the lack of creativity and commitment to provide needed community supports."

The right to live and work in the community is protected by law, but too often services are not available in the community and individuals are forced to stay in institutional settings. LRS and CRA ardently believe, and research findings support, that individuals living in nursing homes or in other segregated settings, can be served in the community for equal to or less than the aggregate dollars currently supporting them, and have better outcomes.

LRS and CRA, to meet their clients' goal of community living, are reaching out to consumer and family advocacy groups, mental health boards, providers and others willing to consider creative options based on their clients' needs and desires. The positive engagement by many of these groups has further energized this collaboration. Michael Kirkman, executive director of LRS, said, “It is with high expectations and great hope that LRS and CRA move forward in this ongoing effort to promote community integration of individuals with disabilities in Ohio. Our task is both urgent and important.”

For more information, contact: Kerstin Sjoberg-Witt, legal director of LRS, at (614) 466-7264, ext. 114 or Derrick Dufresne, senior partner of CRA, at (314) 606-8400 or email: cra@aol.com.

Ohio Olmstead Plan Concerns

Ohio advocates are expressing concern about the draft Ohio Olmstead Plan. Advocates voiced their concerns about the lack of specificity in the plan through written comments at stakeholder meetings. Advocates recommended the report include:

  • Benchmarks and clear goals to show that money is moving from institutional care to community based care.
  • Ways to demonstrate how Ohio intends to reduce waiting lists for Medicaid waivers.
  • Housing options for individuals with mental illnesses who are forced to stay in nursing homes because of a lack of options.
  • Consumer involvement in any future development of the plan.
  • Strategies to implement policies similar to those already in place for elderly Ohioans such as the “Home First” initiative.

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Save the Date: Legislative Advocacy Day 2010

Legislative Advocacy Day 2010 will be held on September 14, 2010 at The Ohio Statehouse Atrium. This year's theme is "Change Starts with You."

People with disabilities, family members, professionals, and friends are invited to attend the 2010 Legislative Reception. This is a great opportunity to tell your story to legislators about the need for increased funding for home and community based services as well as reducing waiting lists for these services.

For details contact Carmen Shelton at: carmen_shelton@att.net or by phone at: (740) 505-8337.

This event is sponsored by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council and The Ohio State University Nisonger Center.

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DD Quarterly Collaboration

The DD Quarterly newsletter is an ongoing collaboration among the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, Ohio Legal Rights Service, the Nisonger Center and the University of Cincinnati, University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

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Contact Information

DD Quarterly is produced by the Ohio Legal Rights Service. To share your comments or suggestions about the newsletter, or to sign-up to receive email notification when the DD Quarterly is published, contact:

Ohio Legal Rights Service
Attn: Tom Hemmert
50 W. Broad Street, Suite 1400
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Voice: (614) 466-7264 or (800) 282-9181
TTY: (614) 728-2553 or (800) 858-3542
Fax: (614) 644-1888
Email: Newsletter@olrs.state.oh.us

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About ODDC

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is a group of 35 people, appointed by the governor, who plan and advocate for Ohioans with disabilities. ODDC receives federal funds and distributes those funds by awarding grants for projects and activities that create visions, influence public policy, pilot new approaches, empower individuals and families, and advocate system change. Contact information for ODDC is: 899 E. Broad Street, Suite 203, Columbus, OH 43205, Voice phone: (614) 466-5205 (800) 766-7426 (Toll free in Ohio); TTY: (614) 644-5530; Fax: (614) 466-0298; Web site: www.ddc.ohio.gov

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