Update: February 24, 2020 From the Center for Public Representation
Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s discriminatory public charge rule goes into effect. The rule puts in place a new test for people who are applying for visas or green cards. It looks at people’s health, including whether they have a disability, and whether they have used or might one day use public benefits, including Medicaid-funded home and community-based services on which many people with disabilities rely because they are not covered by private insurance. This rule will have a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities and will discourage people already in the US from using critical public benefits to which they are legally entitled. Continue reading “The Public Charge Rule Is Now in Effect Nationwide— What Does that Mean and What Can You Do?”
By Ed Sealover Reporter, Denver Business Journal,
DENVER — Josh Winkler became paralyzed below the waist at age 17, but that didn’t stop him from getting a mechanical engineering degree in college and working for a NASCAR team until the Great Recession hit. He then launched his own company, Cripple Concepts, which makes a variety of aides for the wheelchair-bound, including joystick knobs for movement that don’t fall off and USB chargers that allow electric-wheelchair users to charge their phones without losing use of their mobility device. Continue reading “Colorado bill would allow disabled company owners to keep working”
By Julie Reiskin, Executive Director, CCDC
Program: The Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities (Buy-In) has been a path out of poverty for people with disabilities since 2014. By allowing people who have a disability and a job to buy into Medicaid and, if needed, long-term services and supports, individuals can earn up to 450% of the Federal Poverty Level while only counting 50% of their earned income. Best of all, there is no asset test. ALL OTHER paths into Medicaid carry a $2000 asset limit and strict earnings limits. Continue reading “Action Needed! SB 20-033: Allow Medicaid Buy-in Program After Age 65”
By Timothy Postlewaite
Healthcare is crucial to prosperity in America, as it assists in the facilitation, participation, and productivity in a multitude of aspects from the standpoint of those whom the rest of society would categorize as “underdogs,” individuals who require more assistance to find their version of “normalcy.” Medicaid is a prime example of a program that attempts to assist with this, as it assists the impoverished and the disabled by allowing them to have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. From an early age, I have experienced the pros and cons of Medicaid. The program allocated funds toward my first electric wheelchair, which allowed me to enter Kindergarten with the ability to participate with a diverse group of kids. Moreover, not only did this experience begin the process of acclimating me to social expectations, but it also assisted me in terms of forming my identity, providing me with a steadfast foundation of freedom and independence, two characteristics that have remained with me to this day. Continue reading “Healthcare and Prosperity in America”
Tennessee has submitted an application to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asking to convert the bulk of funding for its TennCare Medicaid program to a modified block grant, along with numerous other changes that threaten both TennCare and the Medicaid program nationally. Continue reading “Tennessee Set to Become the First State to Adopt Block Grants (TennCare Waiver Amendment 42)”
The Hospital Transformation Program (HTP) aims to improve outcomes and reduce costs by attaching quality and value metrics to the Hospital Provider Fee. For information about the program, its committees, upcoming processes, and sign up for alerts and information, follow this link: Colorado Hospital Transformation Program.
The public comment period closed on December 15, 2019. However, if you would like to read the published summary requesting comments, you can access the Notice of Public Comment Process: Transformation Program: Delivery System Incentive Payment Demonstration pdf for more information.
By: Stacy Warden/Author of Noah’s Miracle
The legal process isn’t easy for an already struggling family who is overwhelmed with the care of a child or family member. It’s intimidating from the start. When a family is issued a denial they are provided with a notice of the denial and advised of their rights. However, there’s a tiny little clause that says should you lose your appeal that you very well may have to pay the State back in services and legal fees. Which, for most families is an automatic discouragement from pursuing their appellate rights before an Administrative Law Judge. Continue reading “Medicaid’s Appellate Process Gone Wrong”
by Bryce Rafferty, CDASS Participant
While I wasn’t born in the state of Colorado nor did I grow up here, I am beyond thankful for this state, it’s people, and the public healthcare that makes life in Colorado that much better for persons with disabilities. Most people know Colorado for its mountains, but most don’t know that Colorado State Medicaid is one of the best in the union. Speaking with another quadriplegic like myself from Iowa, I heard about how Medicaid in his home state falls far short of the coverage and quality of care that I enjoy on a daily basis. However, being on federal health insurance anywhere has its fair share of challenges, and it is the responsibility of the people to hold the government accountable and maintain the positives when they are threatened by changes or pitfalls in policy. Continue reading “The Vital Importance of Advocacy in Colorado”
Five years ago, our son Isaac was diagnosed with SMA Type 1. He was four months old, and I remember talking to my family about the implications of the diagnosis. We went from coming to terms with the knowledge that Isaac would likely spend his life in a wheelchair to realizing that his prognosis was much worse than “he’ll never walk.” He would not sit. He would not eat. He would not swallow, speak, turn his head, move his hands. He would not breathe on his own. He would not likely live to see his first birthday. There was no cure. There was no treatment. All the while, he would be the sweetest, happiest, brightest little boy. We were devastated, and, even today, that word does not capture what we really felt. We prayed he would live long enough for his older sister to remember him. We prayed that when his time came, we would all be there with him.
But Isaac did live to his first birthday, and then to his second. He loved reading books and playing with switch activated toys, coloring with his sister and swimming with his daddy. He started vocalizing to communicate, and talking and playing with his eye gaze activated communication device. Fast forward to his third birthday, a few months after the FDA approval of the first treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). We knew it would not be a cure, but we hoped it would keep him from losing what strength he still had. Isaac received his first doses of the drug and promptly started turning and nodding his head. He gained strength in his extremities. He started working with his physical and occupational therapists to sit upright with support and to operate a joystick. As he outgrew his medical stroller, we started talking about a power chair. All of his physicians and therapists agreed that he could manage it, that it would benefit him, and his friends at school started getting excited to race him on the playground!
When he was three and a half years old, Isaac completed his first power chair trial at NuMotion. He was amazing! We knew the insurance process would be long. Since we had such good experiences with his Medicaid in the past, we were not overly concerned. We celebrated Isaac’s fourth birthday. NuMotion provided Medicaid with additional information. Medicaid was slow to respond. Finally, more than a year after his initial trial, Medicaid officially denied Isaac’s power chair. The only problem was that they never told us. We waited and waited for a reply from Medicaid, and finally we reached out to CCDC for help. CCDC Non-Attorney certified advocate and graduate student intern, Nicole Bishop, was assigned to our case, and from the very start, I knew we were in good hands. She was completing her internship and had additional support from what seemed like the entire CCDC staff. I remember that it was around Christmas time when we started the appeal process, and Nicole had some serious digging to do. She discovered that the chair had been denied, and then she filed for improper notice of denial. We celebrated Isaac’s fifth birthday, then we set a date for the court hearing. We began gathering evidence that Isaac could drive the chair, and that he would be able to drive it in all of the needed environments. NuMotion bent over backward to get Isaac a demo chair for us to take home for a weekend. We took so many videos of him driving!
When we had about a week left to gather documents and evidence and compile a witness list, Nicole called the court to verify the best format for submitting the videos. Late that Monday afternoon, she learned that, since we were sending videos, the court would really like all of the materials by Wednesday. Nicole and I allowed ourselves a moment of panic, but then we put our heads down and pushed on. I spent the night editing videos and sending pleading emails to Isaac’s medical team for them to rush their letters of support by the next day instead of the next week. Every single one of them responded with the letter, some of them arriving in my inbox after midnight. The next morning, as I sent Nicole yet another email (seriously, you should see the chains we had going), I noticed that her last email to me had been sent at 4:30 a.m. She had stayed up all night, literally, to prepare Isaac’s case. I was overcome with gratitude at the lengths people would go to in order to help Isaac. And we did it, we submitted everything in time! Then we waited.
Just as Nicole was starting to prepare all of the witnesses for the court hearing, we heard the best news. I opened my email, and there, in the subject line, “We won!” I opened the email, read it twice, and screamed! I ran to Isaac and told him that he was getting his power chair. He shrieked with joy, his sister shrieked with joy. My husband came in to ask what was going on, and he sighed with such relief. I cried when I heard that two other children had their chairs approved along with Isaac. We would not have to go to court because the evidence we had gathered was enough to convince Medicaid that Isaac could and should drive a power chair. Nicole, and her mentors at CCDC, were exactly who we needed to help Isaac get his chair, and for the first time in his life, a measure of independence.
This past week, we went to pick up Isaac’s power chair. It is his favorite color, bright orange. He is practicing every day so that he can safely drive it independently. We can’t wait to see where it takes him!
This was a busy session as is typical whenever there is a new administration and many new legislators. Despite some unfortunate partisanship that caused delays, the reading out loud of 2000 page bills, hearings that occurred during a blizzard, and overnight sessions some great work did get done that will benefit the people of Colorado including people with disabilities.
Before talking about the bills, I want to call out the amazing CCDC team that worked at the Capitol this year.
CCDC wants to thank our many partners, in particular the Arc of Colorado, Arc of Aurora, Arc of Adams, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, 9-5 Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, Colorado Senior Lobby, Disability Law Colorado, Colorado Common Cause, PASCO, and Accent on Independence Homecare amongst others. We also want to thank Colorado Capitol Watch for a great product that made tracking the bills easier.
Because this was a year with many new legislators and many groups rushing to push through bills that had struggled in years past, many of which were bills we were going to support, CCDC made a deliberate decision to NOT run our own proactive bills this year but to focus on our coalition work, and building relationships with the many new Senators and Representatives. We laid groundwork for policies we want to promote over the next few years while focusing on the many coalition bills and responding to bills that affected our community. We followed 139 bills. This report shares the highlights-not every bill that we worked on during the session.
This is being dubbed the year of the renter. There were many bills that helped renters, along with some that will fund affordable housing.
THERE WERE A NUMBER OF BILLS RELATED TO THE COST OF PRIVATE INSURANCE AND HOSPITALS. PLEASE CHECK OUT THE COLORADO CONSUMER INITIATIVE OR THE COLORADO CENTER ON LAW AND POLICY FOR REPORTS ON THOSE BILLS.
Overall it was a good year. There were some disappointments, but there always are—now we have to make sure the bills we like get implemented and make sure people know about these new laws and programs.