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.
CCDC invites you to attend and support our 2019 ADA Access Awards Luncheon, to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. (doors open at 11:30 a.m.) at the United Club in the Broncos Stadium at Mile High. At this event, we will recognize and honor community organizations and individuals who go above and beyond in their advocacy efforts for the disability community and who have done this work with equity in mind. All proceeds from this event benefit the programs of CCDC all year-round.
A board certified emergency physician who has practiced in the Denver metro area after completing his residency at Denver Health Medical Center where he served as chief resident, Dr. Mitchell joined the CCDC volunteer board of directors in 2018. Dr. Mitchell completed medical school at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and was appointed to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society in his third year. Dr. Mitchell has served as the medical director at Parker Adventist hospital for over a decade. Currently serving as the VP of Medical Affairs for DispatchHealth, he has devoted his time to developing clinical treatment guidelines, creating mechanisms to provide high level, acute, and post-acute care in the home in an evidence-based and compliant manner, and educating midlevel providers in home-based acute care medicine. In July of 2017, Dr. Mitchell delivered a TED talk at TEDx Mile High titled, “The ER Housecall for the 21st Century”. We are so appreciative of Dr. Mitchell’s time and acceptance of our invitation to be our keynote speaker in 2019.
Along with the keynote address, CCDC will honor four Coloradans who have made major contributions to advancing social justice for people with all types of disabilities. At this luncheon, CCDC will also pay tribute to Carrie Ann Lucas, a nationally renowned disability rights activist who passed away this past spring.
Sponsorships are available and start at $500 each. To learn more, email this year’s Annual ADA Access Awards Luncheon organizer Lucinda Rowe at email@example.com or call 720-994-0313. To RSVP click here.
Event Date: 09/25/2019 – 11:30am – 1:30pm
Event Location: Broncos Stadium at Mile High, United Club Level (inside the stadium), 1701 Bryant Street, Denver, CO 80204
Our special thanks to 2019 Champion Level Sponsors, AOI Home Care and Rocky Mountain Health Plans!
The CCDC Board of Directors is writing/updating our strategic plan. This is the first of several surveys we will have to get members input. If you get this survey via an email from CCDC then you are a member. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5J5PLQW
If you get this survey from another source then you are NOT listed as a member and should join as a member. It is free and you can choose what topics, if any, about which we will contact you. You can join at www.ccdconline.org
Your feedback is important. This survey is about our organizational values. Our current plan summary is attached. stratplansummary
The next survey will be about our VISION.
Thank you for your time.
CCDC wishes congratulations to our new Governor Jared Polis and looks forward to working with this new administration. Our expectations of a new governor are clear and doable. We look forward to advancing the rights of people with disabilities so that we can show our capabilities as full citizens. This means a dramatic increase in the number of people with disabilities who are employed. This means a dramatic improvement in the high school graduation of students with disabilities and making sure that students go to college or some sort of vocational program. This means a government that values people with disabilities by having high expectations and providing appropriate supports. This means a government that involves us at every level…on boards, commissions, as employees in state agencies, and on the transition team. Governor-Elect Polis stated last night that his administration will be inclusive. We expect to be part of this inclusion and to have disability representation in historic proportions and stand ready to help make that happen.
CCDC congratulates all of the representatives and senators that won their seats as well and we look forward to working with all of you on these same goals.
We will be solidifying legislative priorities for the next two years soon but among them will surely be:
1) Increasing protection for renters such as statewide source of income discrimination protection and habitability laws.
2) Extending the Mediciad Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities to people over the age of 65 and for more than 10 days in between jobs, even if we have to use state funds. With the federal government giving the states carte blanche we should be able to get approval.
3) Getting safety protections for people living in host homes.
4) Consumer direction for all HCBS services.
5) Improving our case management systems, especially transition from institutions.
We will be focusing on money for solid transportation that has a focus on transit and affordable housing that is inclusive of everyone including those with very low income. We will be working on increased accountability around behavioral health and overall health care in the Medicaid program.
On a federal level with the Democrats having a majority in the house, we will be holding Congresswoman DeGette accountable for her promises to us to fix the Electronic Visit Verification mess and exempt consumer direction and family caregivers. We will also expect help with improved access to quality complex rehab equipment (power wheelchairs) including accountability for repairs.
While Colorado definitely went blue, this does not mean that CCDC will stop working with our Republican allies. We have always been and always will be a bipartisan organization. Our issues cross both parties. Disability does not discriminate.
CCDC was very proud of the VERY STRONG voter turnout in the disability community. Approximately 90% of our members had already voted before Monday and we are sure the rest voted Monday or Tuesday. Voting is the first step of realizing NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US.
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.
CCDC members Jaime Lewis, Julie Reiskin, and Nicole Bishop have been featured in a Westword article published on October 2, 2018, highlighting the lack of accessibility with ride-sharing apps such as Lyft and Uber.
The challenge with ride-sharing apps and accessibility is that the apps are software companies, not taxi services, and drivers are not required to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Both Uber and Lyft claim to be exploring the option of letting users request wheelchair accessible vehicles.
“I don’t want to fight Uber or Lyft. But if they don’t take responsibility [for providing accessibility], we’re going to have to do it for them,” says Lewis. Neither Uber nor Lyft have wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in Denver at this time.
Thank you, Jaime, Julie and Nicole for advocating for our members!
City & County of Denver Source of Income Protection
In a win for housing consumers, Denver City Council voted on July 30, 2018 prohibit landlords from denying applicants based on their source of income. This decision most heavily impacts housing seekers with subsidized housing vouchers and/or disability income, though it certainly benefits all potential
renters. The Council’s stance on the issue was that if a prospective renter can afford the rent, their source of income shouldn’t inform the housing provider’s decision. Opponents of the measure feel that requiring landlords to accept non-conventional sources of income like federal vouchers will force landlords to absorb uncovered damage expenses and delayed rent payments. However, to high-rent property owners, the law is unlikely to affect their business as the renters in question would likely not qualify for their units. It’s also important to note that many other jurisdictions in the country have already enacted such protections. The new protection will take effect for the City and County of Denver on January 1, 2019.
To learn more about Denver’s Source of Income protection, click here.
If you have requested a reasonable accommodation and supplied your housing provider with the
appropriate documentation (typically a doctor’s note), and the accommodation was denied, there are a couple things you can do:
If your housing provider denied your accommodation based on discrimination, or you have reason to believe this is the case, here are some tips for what you should do next:
Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, there is no distinction between emotional support animals or service animals. Simply obtain a doctor’s note, or a note from another medical professional, that establishes a nexus between your disability and your need for the animal. Next, write a short letter stating that you wish to request a reasonable accommodation. Best practice is to mail the request via certified mail to your housing provider, along with a copy of the Joint Statement from HUD and the DOJ on Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act (link below). If your housing provider either ignores or denies your request, call DMFHC to discuss next steps.
call DMFHC at 720-279-4291.
RAE Contact Information and Area Map
|Region||Regional Accountable Entity||Contact Information|
|1||Rocky Mountain Health Plans||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|2||Northeast Health Partners||9925 Federal Drive, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
|3||Colorado Access||Amber Garcia
|4||Health Colorado, Inc.||9925 Federal Drive, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
|5||Colorado Access||Amber Garcia
Phone: (720) 744-5487
|6||CO Community Health Alliance||Phone: 303-256-1717 (Local) 855-627-4685 (Toll-Free)
|7||CO Community Health Alliance||Phone: 303-256-1717 (Local) 855-627-4685 (Toll-Free)
CCDC is proud of our good friends at the law firm of Kilner, Lane, and Newman for their victory. Good policy changes and some reparations for the victims. NO EXCUSE for the state taking this long to settle and not addressing these problems earlier. We hope next time clients in state custody say that something bad happened that the clients will be believed. We thank attorney Mari Newman for persevering to bring justice to the individuals with Developmental Disabilities and thank the two Arc Chapters serving clients for helping with this necessary litigation.
the office press release is below
Date: August 9, 2018
Re: Case against State for searches of people with mental disabilities ends with payment of $1,000,000 and policy changes
Plaintiffs and defendants today announced they have reached a satisfactory resolution to a 2016 lawsuit filed in federal district court, case No. 1:17-cv-00067-PAB-CBS. The lawsuit was based on the physical searches in March 2015 of Pueblo Regional Center residents with mental disabilities. The lawsuit alleged that the searches were non-consensual, violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, and unlawfully discriminated against them based on their disabilities. The defendants denied that they committed any wrongdoing and maintained that the examinations were conducted in the interest of resident safety and were in response to concerns of underreporting of abuse and neglect. To resolve the case, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has agreed to pay a settlement to the plaintiffs that totals $1 million, including attorney’s fees and costs.
CDHS has made numerous policy changes at the Pueblo Regional Center pursuant to changes in policies and procedures recommended by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These include: (1) a new Mistreatment Abuse Neglect and Exploitation (“MANE”) policy outlining how to report and address allegations of MANE; (2) removal of all blanket consent forms; (3) a new incident reporting policy; (4) development of a policy outlining resident rights; (5) Community Center Board (“CCB”) Human Rights Committee now reviews all rights suspensions, safety control/emergency control procedures, consents, and investigations; (6) all incidents are reported to the CCB and incidents of MANE are reported to law enforcement and Adult Protective Services (“APS”) as appropriate; (7) conducting daily multidisciplinary incident report review resulting in action plans for incidents and trends for the agency; (8) institution of monthly parent/guardian meetings; (9) educating parent/guardians on ways to file complaints; (10) implementing Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement (“QAPI”) committee; (11) providing leadership training for all new managers to be completed within the first year in their role; (12) direct care and nursing staff receive pay increases consistent with industry salary standards; (13) increase of staff, including 20 additional direct care staff positions; (14) reduction in staff working double shifts; and (15) institution of new lines of communication with staff, including monthly staff meetings and individual “stay” interviews.
Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP
The Odd Fellows Hall
1543 Champa Street, Suite 400
Denver, Colorado 80202
303-571-1000 (phone); 303-571-1001 (fax)