Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Archive for June, 2009

Sequenom faces SEC probe

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

From Reuters:

Sequenom Inc. has announced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated an investigation related to the company’s prenatal test for Down Syndrome. The company said it will cooperate fully with the probe.

The launch of the test was postponed indefinitely in April, when the company revealed that employees had mishandled test data.

Disability voter turnout reported up

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

A study by researchers at Rutgers University has found that voter turnout among people with disabilities rose significantly in the 2008 presidential election, according to a press release from the American Association of People with Disabilities.

The study, by Profs. Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse of the university’s School of Management and Labor Relations, found 14.7 million Americans with disabilities voting in the 2008 election. This compared with 10.9 million in the 2000 presidential election.

According to Kruse and Schur, the turnout of people with disabilities was only 7 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities in the November 2008 election. Among the voting eligible population (citizens age 18 or older), 57.3 percent of people with disabilities voted, compared to 64.5 percent of people without disabilities.

“While the voting numbers among people with disabilities in 2008 indicates that they continue to face barriers in registration and voting, the fact that 14.7 million people with disabilities voted shows that they play an important role in the political process,” said Schur.

EEOC turns up heat on disability cases

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

From the National Law Journal (free registration):

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is stepping up its enforcement efforts on disability discrimination claims, and Kmart is the latest major employer to be hit with a federal lawsuit. In a suit filed in Virginia last week, the EEOC alleged that the retail giant fired a greeter because he needed to use a cane on the job.

According to EEOC figures, disability bias complaints are rising steeply, with 19,453 recorded in 2008 – a 10% increase from the year before and the highest number in 14 years.

“It is unfortunate that many employers still deny people who are ready and able the opportunity to work simply because of a disability. The EEOC will continue to fight for the rights of people victimized by such prejudices,” said Herbert Brown, director of the EEOC’s Norfolk, Va., office.

Hennefer to be honored at All-Star Game

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Brad Hennefer, Courier-Post photoFrom the [Cherry Hill, NJ] Courier-Post:

Golfer Brad Hennefer, who has Down syndrome, has been selected in a nationwide internet vote to represent the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis this summer.

Hennefer, 20, was nominated in the “All-Stars Among Us” campaign for his work with the Golf for Life Foundation. The campaign, sponsored by Major League Baseball and People Magazine, recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities. Winners will be honored at a pregame ceremony on July 14.

With the help of his family and the Philadelphia Section PGA, the 2008 Cherry Hill East High School graduate started the foundation in 2006. The organization provides coaching and opportunities for youngsters with Down syndrome.

Hennefer played varsity sports in high school, lettering in both golf and basketball.

Earlier posts here.

(Courier-Post photo)

Editorial: Compensation needed for eugenics victims

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

An editorial in the Asheville [NC] Citizen-Times says it’s time for North Carolina to compensate victims of a historic state-sponsored eugenics programs. The program sterilized some 7,600 people with disabilities and others who were deemed “unfit” to reproduce.

A push to compensate eugenics victims began earlier this decade, and a bill in the N.C. House calls for giving them $20,000 each. The bill total is $18.6 million, and it’s considered dead on arrival this session, given the state’s financial woes.

… The state can’t excuse away compensation for those it deemed unfit to have a chance to reproduce.

Before all the victims pass away, such compensation needs to be put on a fast track.

Earlier posts here.

Cyclists with diabetes set speed record, inspire hope

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Atlanta cyclists Joe Eldridge (left) and Phil Southerland, New York Times photo

‘Eight cyclists show what vigilance about health can accomplish’

By Tara Parker-Pope in the New York Times:

A team of eight cyclists with Type 1 diabetes completed the 3021-mile Race Across America in record time last week. Team members said the skills they had gained in managing their diabetes provided them with a competitive edge, helping them manage their health and performance meticulously throughout the grueling ride.

The accomplishments of the cyclists, who have a corporate sponsor and ride as Team Type 1, have become a source of inspiration for the estimated three million Americans with Type 1 diabetes, and especially for worried parents confronting a diagnosis of the disease in their children.

But the victory also offers lessons for the rest of us, underlining the benefits of daily vigilance when it comes to health.

… The cyclists’ average speed was 23.41 miles per hour — 0.17 better than the winner last year, a Norwegian cycling team made up of professionals.

See also:

Cyclists with Type 1 diabetes race across America – New York Times

(NYT photo: Team Type 1 co-founders Joe Eldridge, left, and Phil Southerland)

Feds launch civil rights probe of KY Medicaid program

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The Lexington [KY] Herald-Leader reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a civil rights investigation into Kentucky’s Medicaid program after a family complained about a reduction in home care services for a man with multiple disabilities.

Creasa Reed, who is herself disabled, filed the complaint after Medicaid cut her son’s budget for in-home care by 40 hours each week. The cuts left Reed and her husband responsible for providing 88 hours of care each week to their 31-year-old son, James, who is described as autistic, bipolar and mentally handicapped.

The Reeds say their son is in danger of being sent to an institution if home care services are not restored.

According to a June 12 letter that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights sent the Reeds, the office will be investigating whether state Medicaid officials acted appropriately when they cut James Reed’s services without considering that Creasa Reed has a disability and might not be able to provide 88 hours of care.

See also: Report from WKYT-TV

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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