NY Incapacity Rights Advocates Search Federal {Dollars} for Dwelling Care / Public Information Service

ALBANY, NY – Disability attorneys in New York are pushing for federal budget resolution under the Better Care Better Jobs Act to provide $ 400 billion in Medicaid funding for home and community services in the United States.

Heidi Siegfried, director of health policy at the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York (CIDNY), said the majority of people in the US would prefer long-term care at home. However, she pointed out in New York and across the country that the area had long been dramatically underfunded, arguing that incorporating the Better Care Better Jobs Act would lead to better wages and health benefits and address labor shortages.

“To invest $ 400 billion in Medicaid dedicated to home and community services, it would be a start to helping people with disabilities get the care they need and staying away from care facilities, which is has now shown to be a death trap during the pandemic, “said Siegfried.

The US rescue plan gives New York $ 2.1 billion in increased federal funding for Medicaid, but it only lasts a year.

Siegfried noted that CIDNY would like better supervision and more transparency of the home and community care systems and would like to be involved in the creation of the care systems itself.

She added that some long-term care companies often do not approve the number of hours of care required for people using the services to live safely in their own homes. CIDNY employees who help individuals transition to home care report that more people are being hospitalized as a result.

“We want people in the community to be able to lead an independent and meaningful life,” explained Siegfried. “And that requires adequate home care.”

The budget decision does not require a bipartisan agreement and can pass the US Senate with a majority of 50 votes, with the vice president breaking the vote.

Disclosure: The Center for Independence of the Disabled New York contributes to our disability reporting fund. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

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TAMPA, Florida – Move United’s USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to allow athletes with disabilities to compete against the best adaptable soccer players in the country.

Ryan Lindstrom, a Navy veteran and paraplegic athlete, attended engineering school when he was partially paralyzed in a car accident. His recovery sparked a love for almost every type of wheelchair athletics, including wheelchair rugby.

He’s competed at the highest level, just short of making it to the U.S. Olympic rugby team, so Lindstrom said he couldn’t miss a chance to try his hand at the new wheelchair football league.

“It’s one of those new sports that are just coming out for us, so it’s exciting to be on the ground floor and go out there and try something different,” explained Lindstrom. “And then, you know, the auditions, I felt like they went pretty well, we had a good time, we had a pretty decent turnout.”

The expansion is funded in part by the National Football League and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. An additional trial session will take place in Tampa on July 31st. Then all nine teams will compete against each other this fall in the league’s opening season.

Lindstrom encouraged everyone, especially wheelchair users, to be more active, to compete and see what the body is capable of. He has played rugby, basketball, softball, handwheeling and archery, and now soccer, among other things.

“It’s a new sport for everyone so we’re all still learning the rules and still learning how everything works,” noted Lindstrom. “For example, I looked through the rulebook myself, just sat here in the house and all because you have to find out which rules change, which rules for football remain the same.”

The USA Wheelchair Football League was founded in 2019 with four teams; Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Phoenix. The expansion added Tampa, Birmingham, Buffalo, Cleveland, and New Orleans.

According to Move United, the grant that made the expansion possible will also help promote the sport through coach education and study clinics.

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DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa government has 180 boards of directors and commissions, many of which are made up of appointed members, but proponents fear that most people with disabilities will not be included.

An emerging effort is aimed at attracting more of these voices to public debates.

The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council recently approved its latest five-year plan, outlining the organization’s key goals. A new focus is the increased participation in local and state bodies and commissions.

Brooke Lovelace, executive director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, said the issue wasn’t followed up much. Although there are some disability-specific bodies, she argued that the community should press for participation in decision-making in all areas.

“Boards and commissions that people with disabilities should apply for and serve on and something that is of interest to them,” Lovelace outlined. “Whether that’s business development, the art council.”

Lovelace argued that a lack of influence can undo progress for the disabled community, like the Iowa recently passed electoral law. Among other things, it lays down restrictions on ballot boxes.

The council is in discussion with the governor’s office, which appoints members to increase inclusion. There is also an online talent bank launched by the Human Rights Department in 2019 to encourage underserved Iower to consider vacancies.

Monica Stone, deputy director of the department, said the talent bank started shortly before the pandemic so they haven’t got a clear sense of how effective it is. However, she added that they are trying to raise awareness. One challenge is convincing people with disabilities that they don’t need to have a long background in a particular field to be considered.

“I think sometimes people think you have to be special to put your name on the hat,” remarked Stone. “And the truth is, the people who serve on appointed boards and commissions are special because they spend their time in public service, but they are everyday Iowans.”

Similar efforts have been made in states like Pennsylvania, which launched the “Inclusive Leadership in Action” project.

The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council believes this is still an overlooked topic, and said Hawkeye State could play a leadership role in collecting corporate data while driving recruitment.

Disclosure: Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council contributes to our disability, health problem, and mental health reporting fund. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

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DENVER – State health officials continue to help people with disabilities who are physically unable to leave their homes to receive COVID-19 vaccines, but work is still needed to reach some of the state’s most vulnerable residents that are not already in Medicaid and other databases.

Bonnie Silva – director of the Community Living Office at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing – said that so far, local vaccine providers have been tapped to provide home care for nearly 95% of the state’s identified population.

“Our goal was: ‘How do we use local solutions where they are available?’ And so we literally go from county to county, region to region in Colorado so we understand what local solutions they have and how we can support them as a state entity, “said Silva.

Silva’s team interviewed city and county health officials and identified fire departments, ambulances, and other providers who could bring vaccines straight home.

Vaccines are given to home-shackled residents and anyone nearby who wants one.

To reach people of color and traditionally hard-to-reach communities, Silva said regional agencies worked with trusted voices, including church leaders and nonprofits like the ARC of Colorado and the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition.

Silva said the biggest blind spot continues to be people who are home chained or homeless and unable to travel but not connected to services. She encouraged all Coloradans to help her team reach those who want vaccines by calling their toll-free line 1-877-COVAXCO or 877-268-2926.

“Maybe you call on behalf of a neighbor or friend,” said Silva. “Just make sure that anyone Coloradan who wants the vaccine can get one and hear that we have the infrastructure to make sure they can actually get it.”

The Colorado Department of Health has launched a call for proposals to find a single provider to do the job of providing longer-term health care services to the state’s home-bound residents. The contract is expected to be awarded in mid-July.

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