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Month: October 2018

Disability Community Expectations of Our Next Governor

CCDC asked both campaigns if they wanted to send a message directly to our members. We got the attached repsonse from Walker Stapleton. “With 57.3% of Coloradoans with Disabilities Out of Work, Polis Discusses Job Prospects

We thank both campaigns for considering disability issues and urge our members to research positions of both campaigns and vote for the candidate you think will best.

Governance:

  • Commitment to have representatives from the disability community throughout the transition team.
  • Commitment to quarterly meetings with disability community leaders.
  • Commit to a process to have ear of Governor when agency staff are obstructive.  This requires understanding that we do understand the laws that govern our programs.
  • Civil Rights Division will become disability friendly and be trained on disability rights law.
  • Boards and Commissions will actively work with our community.  This includes
      • allow us to choose our representatives where we have statutory right to a seat (absent a legitimate reason to decline),
      • prioritize people with lived experience,
      • quarterly meetings to discuss what positions are coming due so we can find appropriate candidates

Employment Opportunities:

  • Make Colorado a model employer of people with disabilities
    • Specific outreach
    • Establish a preference for qualified individuals
    • Establish disability affinity group among state employees and allow them to ally with advocates.
    • Review of job descriptions and accommodation needs and how that happens
  • Extend SSDI Trial Work Period concept to state programs (Section 8, Medicaid, etc)
  • Extend Medicaid buy-in programs beyond age 65 and allow for breaks in employment.  Currently people with disabilities that require daily care have to stop working and impoverish themselves if they live to age 65 in order to continue receiving supports such as daily home care to get out of bed, shower, etc. This gives no incentive or ability to save for retirement and will leave most people in a position of losing their homes.
  • Continue to fix The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) which receives significant federal funds to help people with disabilities obtain meaningful careers and jobs.
  • Assure equal funding for transit in all transportation funding.

Access to Community Based Services and Supports

  • Active functioning Olmstead plan that touches all of state government
  • Community First Choice will be priority in Colorado
  • Increase participant direction options and allow for all Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) services in all waivers and explore for certain state plan benefits.
  • Equalize wages with agency based care
  • No direct care staff ever is paid less than $15 an hour at bare minimum.  Redefine what is skilled and unskilled and reform rates accordingly.
  • Commitment to improve the health facilities unit of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to act as true consumer advocate.

Asset and Earning increases

  • Increase Medicaid LTSS asset limit from $2,000 (set in 1982) to at least $10,000
  • Allow people who acquire disabilities at young age to save unlimited amount for children’s college and to leave a home up to a certain value to them, even if they live past age 55.  (Difference between helping young people with disabilities escape poverty and making Medicaid an inheritance protection program)
  • Allow Medicaid buy-in clients to continue working as long as they want (currently they have to stop at age 65 despite retirement not occurring until age 67) and to keep assets accumulated while working when they retire. (see below for fixing the age 65 cut off)
  • Use all federally allowable options to liberalize food stamps.
  • Continue reforms to make Aid to the Needy Disabled less draconian.

Housing:

  • Require new housing be at least visitable
  • State based vouchers
  • Stronger fair housing protections and enforcement (see Civil Rights Division)
  • Keep homestead exemption for low-income seniors and consider expanding to people on fixed income affected by gentrification.

Join the week of action opposing the public charge rule! [Corrected Date]

Center for Public Representation, Logo
Center for Public Representation, Logo

The public charge rule will discriminate against immigrants with disabilities and their families trying to enter the U.S. (get a visa) or get a green card (become a permanent resident).  In collaboration with the disability community,  Protecting Immigrant Families will focus this week on Health, Aging, and Disability in the broader campaign to unite public opposition and stop this rule.  We have a lot of resources to help you learn more about the rule, spread the word, and (most importantly) submit comments:

  • We have created 2 new resources to help you learn more about the public charge rule and what it means for people with disabilities:  a grassroots explainer and a more detailed info sheet.
  • We have worked with the Arc of the United States to create a link to help you comment on the rule.  Remember to individualize the comments about why you care about the rule and how you or someone you know will be impacted.
  • Protecting Immigrant Families has created this Social Media Toolkit to help you spread the word and encourage friends and family to comment on the rule.
  • Join us and other disability advocates on twitter on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 2pm EST to #ProtectFamilies and help get the word out.

It is critical that the disability community speaks out against this devastating rule before the public comment period closes on December 10th. 

Why People With Disabilities Are Protesting Like Hell “My disability is not that something’s wrong with me, it’s that the world has not adapted to me,” Pittsburgh disability advocate Alisa Grishman said.

Telling it like it is about living with the disability. Stop thinking there is something wrong with us, and start thinking you are us. So do something about it! Great story in the Huffington Post.

A free (for now) shuttle service is launching between Cherry Creek, Cap Hill and Civic Center – Denverite, the Denver site

New Shuttle service in Denver. According to reporting in Denverite “Chariot is like a bus but also like a Lyft but also it’s a van. It works like this: Riders reserve a seat on the 14-passenger car through an app (like Lyft), but it will only pick-up and drop-off at predetermined stops (like a bus).” (Emphasis added.)  This sounds like another interesting Denver transportation option. See also New ride-share Chariot company launches in Denver, free for first six months.

However, there are several questions raised by CCDC? Will it be accessible to people with disabilities. Photo shows CCDC Transportation Advocate Jamie Lewis boarding one of the vehicles. Are all of the vehicles accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs? Why or why not? If not, does the Chariot Service provide “equivalent facilitation” for individuals who use wheelchairs? How would a person who uses a wheelchair know ahead of time how to go about reserving an accessible vehicle? Does the app inform individuals who use wheelchairs how to go about reserving an accessible vehicle? Interesting questions for a City that is supposed to be “one of the most accessible in the country.” How about we consider accessibility for all when creating new transportation services, buildings, housing, etc.?

Under the ADA,

No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of specified public transportation services provided by a private entity that is primarily engaged in the business of transporting people and whose operations affect commerce.

42 U.S.C. § 12184 (a). And, discrimination includes

the purchase or lease by such entity of a new vehicle (other than an automobile, a van with a seating capacity of less than 8 passengers, including the driver, . . .  which is to be used to provide specified public transportation . . . that is not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs; except that the new vehicle need not be readily accessible to and usable by such individuals if the new vehicle is to be used solely in a demand responsive system and if the entity can demonstrate that such system, when viewed in its entirety, provides a level of service to such individuals equivalent to the level of service provided to the general public[.]

42 U.S.C. § 12184(b)(3)(emphasis added).

CCDC always looks forward to new, convenient available methods of transportation in Denver that include people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, especially those that are equally accessible with respect to methods of reserving that transportation. Transportation options are really limited for people who use wheelchairs. Uber and Lyft and private taxis are not accessible. Getting an accessible cab is often next to impossible.

Welcome, Chariot! We look forward to the new, temporarily free service available on an equal basis to everyone.

 

CCDC in the News: Denver dad of 8-year-old he calls ‘a danger to the community’ getting help from health care company Father: ‘Beacon is changing its tune.’

Channel 7 News cover story about CCDC helping once again: Julie Reiskin, CCDC Executive Director, quoted. 

How do we solve a problem like Case Management?

Despite a plethora of resources dedicated to case management, there is no true single case management system for those with high needs. There are fragments in some systems for some issues but they do not address holistic needs. There are case management systems that are really gatekeepers for government programs. Gatekeeping has its place but it is different than case management. Despite the many areas where case management is covered (even just in the Medicaid system) there has never been a process whereby the stakeholders and government get together to at least have dialogue, if not answer the following questions:

1) Who needs what level of care management across systems? What percent are likely permanent needs?

2) What are the specific tasks needed and how much time will this take on average?

3) What are the qualifications to do these tasks?

4) What are the quality measures to assess the performance of these tasks?

5) What is the cost to perform these tasks including maximum caseload size.

6) What are the total resources now dedicated to all case management?

7) What case management are we doing now that is not useful, not necessary, or could be done at a lower level?

8) How do we create a plan to take our current system and transform to a system that provides intensive case management where appropriate and reduces services where there is no benefit?

Case management is needed in the following situations:
*People with a serious but temporary medical condition or new illness, such as cancer for help accessing and coordinating medical and other resources.

*People with long-term disabilities who are unable to do their own case management and who have no family able to assist. This must be comprehensive and include non-medical issues even the mundane daily life activities that can overwhelm some people. Even dealing with a utility company or a landlord can require assistance for people with some disabilities.
Some individuals could learn to do more of their own management with teaching (or have a family member able to take over with some training) and others will need this high level over a lifetime.
This is not a huge number of people, but the lack of case management causes them to spend a lot of time in crisis and use emergency resources from multiple organizations. Case management of this type is labor intensive and requires a very low caseload and high level of training.

Pueblo Chieftain reporter honored

Coalition cites reporting on Medicaid debate

 

The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition gave The Pueblo Chieftain and reporter Peter Roper its 2018 ADA Access Media award during the organization’s annual award luncheon in Denver on Oct. 3.

The coalition is an advocacy group whose mission is to protect the rights of the disabled and expand their opportunities.

Roper was recognized for the newspaper’s coverage of the contentious debate in 2017 over plans to change the federal Medicaid program into a block grant to the states.

That’s a change that disabled people fear will lead to a loss in the health-care services that let them lead independent lives outside of institutions. While the disabled make up a small portion of Medicaid recipients, they use about 25 percent of its total dollars on health services and equipment.

Kristen Castor, the coalition’s advocate in Southern Colorado, nominated Roper and The Chieftain for the organization’s media award. She credited the newspaper with accurately explaining the concerns of the disabled to the public during a time when disabled advocates were being arrested in lawmakers’ offices and conducting other kinds of protest.

The other 2018 award winners were attorney Allison Neswood, Denver City Auditor Tim O’Brien, and attorney Joe Beaver.

Original Article: https://www.chieftain.com/news/pueblo-chieftain-reporter-honored/article_8cc8d6d8-d0ea-11e8-ac1f-ffd9d73e92b0.html

Proposed Fare Increase For RTD’s Access-A-Ride Worries Those Who Use It

Proposed Fare Increase For RTD’s Access-A-Ride Worries Those Who Use It 

Colorado Public Radio

 

For people like Louis Apodaca, RTD’s Access-A-Ride program has been a lifeline. Apodaca started to use it after her wheelchair got stuck at a bus stop, and the fire department had to rescue her.

“The bus stops, a lot of times, are on gravel or on grass or mud,” Apodaca, a resident of Denver’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Continue reading “Proposed Fare Increase For RTD’s Access-A-Ride Worries Those Who Use It”

Kristen Castro Speaks to Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet and local lawmakers

Piture of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Given that 41 percent of Pueblo County residents get Medicaid health insurance, local hospital officials and health care advocates wanted Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet and local lawmakers to know Friday there is much at stake as Republican senators write a new federal health care policy behind closed doors.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is presiding over the group of Republicans writing the bill and said he hopes to get it passed by the GOP-controlled Senate by July 4 — without amendments.

Bennet, a Democrat, said the closed-door secrecy was frustrating some Republican senators too.

Picture of CCDC Advocate from Pueblo Colorado Kristen Castor

“They’re so ashamed of what they’re doing they won’t even let all their Republican colleagues see that they are doing,” he claimed.

It was nearly all Democratic lawmakers that met with the Pueblo health care providers Friday, except for state Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa. Also in the group were Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, and state Reps. Daneya Esgar and Dan Valdez.

 

Original article

 

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