New Webinar On Emergency Management and Preparedness

The ADA National Network is hosting a new webinar at 2:30 pm EDT on April 9, 2015 titled: “Looking at Power Issues from 2 Perspectives: A Utility and the American Red Cross,” as part of an ongoing series, Emergency Management and Preparedness: Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. Michael Edwards of the American Red Cross joins Paul Hernandez and Enrique Hernandez of the City of Los Angeles to discuss the issue of power loss during an emergency, and how it can be a complex threat for individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. Register now.

House and Senate Pass Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolutions: Proposals Include Major Cuts to Programs Including Medicaid

As expected, the House and Senate passed their Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolutions last week. The measures passed with votes nearly along party lines of 228-199 and 52-46, respectively. Both contain drastic cuts to the entitlement and discretionary programs that people with disabilities rely on. They would cut funding by block granting the Medicaid program (called “flexible state allotments”), privatizing the Medicare program, and freezing discretionary funding over the next decade.

Additionally, the House budget resolution includes several harmful provisions on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It reiterates a House rule that creates roadblocks to preventing a 20 percent across-the-board SSDI benefit after 2016, and proposes cutting SSDI for people who also receive Unemployment Insurance after trying to work, but losing their job. The Senate budget resolution does not include these provisions.

Passage of the two resolutions paves the way for the House and Senate to begin negotiating a joint budget resolution.   See The Arc’s statement on the passage of the budget resolutions.

See a more detailed summary of what is in the budget resolutions in last week’s edition at:

House Passes Bi-Partisan Medicare Fix

By an overwhelming margin, the House passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act, which would change the way Medicare reimburses physicians and would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years.   The bipartisan bill passed 392-37.  The Senate is planning to take up the measure when it returns in two weeks.  If Congress does not act, Medicare providers face a 21% cut in their reimbursement for medical care provided to eligible Medicare beneficiaries.   The bill also would make permanent a program to help low income Medicare beneficiaries pay for premiums and would permanently expand a Medicaid provision that helps families on Medicaid maintain their coverage for one year as they transition from temporary assistance to work.  The bill also would extend the therapy cap exceptions process and the Family –to-Family Health Information Centers for two years.  The Arc supports making these provisions permanent as well as a longer extension of CHIP.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Meeting Held

Last week, the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, which was mandated by Section 609 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, held its second meeting. To access the Committee Charter, meeting agenda, testimony, meeting minutes, and other updates, visit the Department of Labor website.

Department of Labor – Homecare Rule

Recently, Secretary Thomas Perez, Department of Labor, sent a letter to Governors advising them to be prepared to implement the Fair Labor Standards Act to domestic service (referred to as the Homecare Rule), and therefore be mindful of budgetary considerations. The rule, initially intended to be implemented on January 1, 2015, was put on hold due to a pair of rulings from the US District Court vacating provisions. The Department of Labor has filed an appeal, and in response, the Court of Appeals has ordered that it proceed on an expedited schedule. The case will be fully submitted in early May, and the Court of Appeals can issue a decision at any point thereafter. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/.

Disability Policy Seminar Webinar 3/31/15

If you are a first-timer to the Disability Policy Seminar, you should register for the Association on University Centers on Disabilities’ (AUCD) webinar, “Know Before You Go: Preparing for the Disability Policy Seminar 2015.” Presented by AUCD’s Director of Public Policy, Kim Musheno, this hosting organization’s webinar offers an orientation to the current policy issues one can expect to learn about at the Disability Policy Seminar. The webinar covers the basics of how to make an appointment to meet with Congressional representatives, how to deliver a unified message about federally funded programs that benefit people with disabilities, and tips on preparing for and making hill visits. The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, at 2:00 EDT.

Grant Available for Preventing Restraint and Seclusion

TASH has a partnership with the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint to provide a training program and learning community.   This opportunity is available for school or agency leadership teams interested in working with a cross-disciplinary group of up to five organizations in a pilot hybrid of virtual learning and on-site technical assistance over an 18-month period. Please submit completed applications to btrader@tash.org no later than April 8. See the application at http://www.thearc.org/document.doc?id=5101.

Resource Offered on State-by-State ABLE Act Legislation

In December 2014, the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law. Since that time, states have started to develop their own legislation to implement the federal law. As a result, in over half of the states, ABLE Act legislation has emerged in the past several months. To assist individuals with I/DD, their families, and advocates in tracking their states’ progress, The Arc has produced a comprehensive listing of state-by-state legislation. This can be used as an advocacy tool and offers valuable information, such as names and contact information of sponsors, current status of the bill(s), and a link to bill language.   The Arc plans to update this document on a weekly basis in an effort to provide the most current information. If you would like to view this document, please do so from The Arc’s website.