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Archive for the ‘independent living’ Category

Home services disappearing as states slash Medicaid

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

From the Wall Street Journal:

Around the country, shrinking state budgets and rising health-care costs are forcing drastic cuts in home services to people with disabilities. Because federal mandates restrict what states may cut inside Medicaid, states are often cutting basic services that help people with disabilities remain in their own homes.

This is happening even though home services are cheaper and more cost effective than institutional care. Experts say it’s politically easier to cut back individual services to people at home than to close a 24-hour facility. But many worry that the cuts could push more people into costly institutions or large group homes because that is where services are guaranteed.

“My biggest fear is having to go to an institution,” says Jimmy “Chip” Eubanks of Clinton, S.C., who has cerebral palsy and lives at home.

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are particularly at risk for service reduction, experts say, because the per-person cost of their services is about 10 times higher than that of the average Medicaid recipient.

The cuts for the developmentally disabled are almost certain to bite deeper in the future. Part of the federal stimulus money this year was designed to prop up Medicaid. The federal infusion disappears for the fiscal year starting in July 2011.

Some of the biggest cuts are coming in South Carolina, where Medicaid already consumes about 20 percent of the state’s budget and is one of its fastest growing costs. In Aiken County alone, more than 5,000 people languish on waiting lists for various services. “We want to give families hope to keep their family unit together, but in reality there is very little we can put in place to assist them,” says the head of the county’s disabilities board.

91 ADAPT protesters arrested at White House

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

From AP/USA Today, ABC News, Politico.comWashington Post:

Authorities say they have arrested 91 people who gathered at the White House, many in wheelchairs, to protest what they termed the administration’s failure to provide sufficient support for the Community Choice Act. The legislation would allow people with long-term disabilities to use federal funding to pay for attendant care in their own homes rather than just in nursing facilities.

An estimated 400 people came from across the country for the event, sponsored by the national disability advocacy group ADAPT, and some reportedly chained themselves to the White House fence. An estimated 200 ADAPT protesters also gathered outside the American Hospital Association’s annual meeting in Washington, waving protest signs that read “Stop the nursing homes!”

A White House spokesperson said the president supports CCA, but said it “hasn’t been decided” whether the measure will be included in the health care reform effort.

“This is about choosing to live in our homes in our communities instead of nursing homes,” says Milagros Franco, from the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled.

Related posts here.

Disability protesters arrested in Atlanta

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

ADAPT protesters in Atlanta, photo from the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionFrom the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A handful of protesters were arrested in the courtyard of the Sam Nunn Federal Center in Atlanta Tuesday during a demonstration calling for better long-term care options for people with disabilities.

Representatives of the Office of Homeland Security refused to disclose how many had been arrested and whether they were being temporarily held.

The protest was part of a five-day campaign by members of ADAPT, a national coalition of disability advocates, to seek state compliance with the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead decision. The ruling has been interpreted as directing states to provide community-based supports for people with disabilities rather than continue unwarranted segregation in institutions.

See also: ADAPT Action Report

Disability advocates rally at Georgia capitol

Monday, October 12th, 2009

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Some 200 disability advocates rallied at the Georgia state capitol Monday, dispersing only after securing a meeting with Gov. Sonny Perdue’s chief of staff. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

The protesters are seeking state compliance with the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead decision, which directed states to provide community-based supports for people with disabilities rather than continue unwarranted segregation in institutions. They are members of ADAPT, a national disability rights organization.

“It’s a shame that 10 years after Olmstead, more people are going into nursing homes than before, “said Bernard Baker, an organizer with ADAPT’s Atlanta chapter. “Living in the community isn’t a privilege, it’s a civil right, and we are being denied our civil rights.”

Earlier post here.

Online British documentary follows young adults with disabilities

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

The Specials cast, (left to right) Lewis, Hilly, Lucy, Megan, and Sam, Broadcast Now photoFrom the [UK] Guardian:

A British “docusoap” is following the humor and drama of five young adults living together in Brighton. Sounds like a typical teen reality show, but it has a catch: all five housemates have genetically-based learning disabilities.

The online series, “The Specials,” features Lucy, Lewis, Sam, Megan and Hilly, ages 19-23, who have known each other since childhood and are living as independently as possible with support. Four have Down syndrome; one has Williams syndrome.

Learning disabilities charity Mencap believes the docusoap will help people to understand what it is like to be a young person with a learning disability. Lorainne Bellamy, a Mencap spokeswoman who has a learning disability, says: “People with a learning disability have hopes and dreams for the future just like anyone else. We hope that people watch the series and get to know these five individuals, sharing their ups and downs.”

(Broadcast Now photo)

CA advocates sue to block massive cuts in home care services

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

From the Los Angeles Times’ LA Now blog:

Advocates filed suit in federal court in San Francisco today to block more than $53 million in impending California budget cuts that would eliminate or drastically reduce the in-home services received by more than 130,000 disabled and elderly people. Among services to be cut are help with cooking, food shopping, cleaning and assistance to medical appointments.

The lawsuit is the latest coordinated effort designed to delay tens of millions of dollars in expected budget cuts to health and human services.

Joining in the suit are Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, National Senior Citizens Law Center and the National Health Law Program. A similar lawsuit last summer held off pay cuts for about 400,000 in-home support service workers.

Schwarzenegger halts evictions of disabled residents

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Lily Hixon with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, photo by Ken Hixon in the Pasadena Star-NewsFrom the Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Star News, KABC:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today that a group of disabled renters who had received eviction notices would not be losing their homes. “Your eviction notice is being terminated,” he said.

Residents of the Regency Court Apartments in Monrovia had been told that everyone under age 62 should not have been allowed to move in and would have to leave.

Schwarzenegger said he was inspired to act after reading about the dispute in the Los Angeles Times, remembering the activism of his mother-in-law, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Some disability activists complained that Schwarzenegger’s announcement didn’t change the state’s plan to dramatically cut services for 140,000 senior citizens and people with disabilities.

“If the Governor is truly listening to the voice of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he’ll stop attacking seniors and people with disabilities and do whatever is necessary to reverse the drastic and dangerous cuts he’s made to the State’s home care program,” said Hugh Hallenberg, long time disability advocate. “If he doesn’t, it’s obvious that this was nothing more than a press stunt.”

(Photo of Lily Hixon with Arnold Schwarzenegger by Ken Hixon, from the Pasadena Star-News)

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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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