Governor's Office of Disability Affairs
July 2022
2022 Legislative Session: Disability Related Legislation
The 2022 Regular Legislative Session ended Monday, June 6. The Governor's Advisory Council on Disability Affairs made recommendations on over 40 legislative instruments, which can be found on the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs' tracking document for disability related legislation. Over 100 legislative instruments were tracked throughout the legislative session.
Register for the Annual
GODA Conference
In celebration of 32nd Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs (GODA) will host its annual conference on the week of July 25-28, 2022!

Questions, concerns, or requests for accommodations: OR (225) 219-7553.

988 - The Lifeline
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While some areas may be currently able to connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022. 

When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.

The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.
Act 450 I/DD Dental Coverage 
ACT 450 of the 2021 Louisiana Regular Legislative Session allows for individuals ages 21 and older with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) to be eligible for comprehensive Medicaid coverage for dental care, beginning July 1, 2022. The initiative was granted funding through HB1 in the 2022 Session. Over 12,000 people are expected to gain access to the new dental coverage.

The Act provides for the coverage of comprehensive dental care for adults 21 years of age and older with developmental or intellectual disabilities who are enrolled in the New Opportunities Waiver, Residential Options Waiver or the Supports Waiver.
  • Diagnostic services

  • Preventive services

  • Restorative services

  • Endodontics

  • Periodontics

  • Prosthodontics

  • Oral and Maxillofacial surgery

  • Orthodontics

  • Emergency care

The expansion is part of the Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) Fiscal Year 2022 Business Plan, Together: Building a Stronger LDH and a Healthier Louisiana. Many states have found that investing in preventive dental care for Medicaid enrollees saves public dollars on a net cost basis by preventing emergency department visits and expensive, complicated treatments and hospitalizations arising from neglect of oral health.

Benefits will be provided through DentaQuest and MCNA. Members may reach DentaQuest at 1-800- 685-0143 or MCNA at 1-855-702-6262. 
Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs Logo
Governor’s Office of
Affairs Newsletter
The White House Washington
From the White House Office of Public Engagement (Disabled Stakeholder Calls):

We're just days away from the start of Disability Pride Month -- a month-long celebration of all-things disability, access, and inclusion. Throughout the month, we look forward to joining together to discuss how the Administration is delivering on the Americans with Disabilities Act's promise of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. 

Weekly stakeholder calls for Disabled Americans, which will be every Thursday in July at 1pm . These calls will serve as an opportunity for you to hear directly from Administration officials on initiatives and announcements that directly impact Americans with disabilities. Our calls are closed press, open registration, and free to share widely with your networks! ASL and CART will be provided. 

As called for in the Presidential Memorandum on Addressing the Long-Term Effects of COVID-19, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), on behalf of the Secretary, is in the process of developing two reports.

The White House Office of Public Engagement invites you to join us for a briefing on Friday, July 15th at 3pm.
The purpose of this briefing is to share an update on the status of these reports with nongovernmental experts, organizations, and interested parties, including individuals affected directly by the long-term effects of COVID-19. Featured speakers include Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health and Rear Admiral Michael F. Iademarco, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Medicine (OASH), and other members of the Long COVID workgroups and team. Questions submitted in advance will be given priority; live questions will be accepted if time allows. This call is closed press, open registration, and free to share widely with your networks! ASL and CART will be provided. 
World Institute on Disability Disaster Health Equity Survey
The World Institute on Disability (WID) is excited to invite you (and others from your organization) to participate in a survey on health and vaccine equity among people with disabilities during times of disasters!

  • Do you have experience providing emergency or public health services to people with disabilities?
  • Do you have experience planning with your community stakeholders that represent people with disabilities?
  • Do you have promising practices or lessons learned to share about planning for people with disabilities?

WID needs your help in documenting the experiences of volunteers and professionals delivering public health and healthcare emergency and disaster services. We are seeking individuals in Idaho, Louisiana, and Ohio in the fields of public health, healthcare, mental health, pharmacy, disaster and emergency medicine to complete a 5-10 minute survey about providing public health and medical services to people with disabilities during times of disaster or emergency. Take the survey at the link below!

Are you interested in participating in a discussion panel or workgroups regarding challenges and successes in serving people with disabilities during a public health emergency or disaster? Click the link to share your contact information. 
Please forward this email to coworkers, colleagues, network contacts, or anyone else who may wish to take it!  
We sincerely thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact us about this survey and future WID efforts focusing on disability and health equity:

Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness
Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
When every second counts, be prepared! Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. But, here in Louisiana, flash floods, tornadoes and other severe weather events can happen year-round. If you don’t already have a game plan for yourself and your family, it’s time to make one!

Prepare for severe weather

  • Emergency kits should be packed and ready to take anywhere. Emergency kits should include basic supplies, like water, food, flashlights, clothing and personal items.

  • Have a personal evacuation plan. Make a list of several places you could go if you are told to evacuate. If you have a family, you’ll need to make sure there is a place for everyone to go, even if you can’t stay together. Family members with disabilities, babies and older adults may need a special plan. Include a plan for pets.

  • Check for weather alerts. Be sure you know when bad weather is coming.

Prepare for medical needs

  • Keep your Member ID and Medicaid cards with you at all times.

  • Have at least a seven-day supply of any medications you may be taking and backup medical items such as hearing aids, glasses, syringes or contact lenses.

  • Keep copies of your medical records in a safe, secure place. This should include medication lists, health insurance information, and contact information for your healthcare providers.

  • Be sure to write down information about any specific allergies or dietary restrictions, and instructions for any medical equipment you may need to bring with you. If you have to evacuate, take this information with you.

  • If you rely on a medical device that requires electricity, contact emergency authorities and your power company, and make certain that you have a way to power your device during a power outage. Make sure that a neighbor or loved one is aware of your situation and knows what to do in the event of a power outage.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about what to do in an emergency situation. Make sure your care instructions are written down, and take these with you if you need to evacuate.

More resources:

Disability intersects every demographic group—there are people with disabilities of all ages, races, genders or national origin. And, disabilities can impact a person in a variety of ways—both visible and invisible. For people with disabilities and their families, it is important to consider individual circumstances and needs to effectively prepare for emergencies and disasters. Go to to Get Informed, Make a Plan, and Learn about Resources as well as

Visit, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness website or download the Get A Game Plan app on your Android or iPhone. You'll find safety tips to help you create your own emergency plan.

Follow the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) on Twitter or connect on Facebook to get emergency updates. 

If you are a Louisiana Healthcare Connections member and you need help before, during or after a disaster, call us at 1-866-595-8133 (Hearing Loss: 711). And be sure to stay connected with Louisiana Healthcare Connections on Facebook.
Medicaid Pink Letter Campaign
Pink Letter Tool Kit
Pink letters were mailed to every Medicaid household in early May. If you didn't get your pink letter, Louisiana Medicaid has the incorrect mailing address for you. You need to update your contact information as soon as possible. You can update your information in the way that is easiest for you: 

• Log on to:
• Email:
• Call your health plan at:
  1. Aetna Better Health: 1-855-242-0802
  2. Amerihealth Caritas: 1-888-756-0004
  3. Healthy Blue: 1-844-521-6941
  4. Louisiana Healthcare Connections: 1-866-595-8133
  5. UnitedHealthcare: 1-866-675-1607
• Call Medicaid Customer service at 1-888-342-6207, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

If you got your pink letter, great news! Medicaid has your correct mailing address.

Medicaid sends letters to members when it is time to renew or they need more information. If you get a letter in the mail, follow the instructions in the letter and respond immediately. Members who elected to receive communications electronically should watch their email for a notification to check their online account. If Louisiana Medicaid does not have your current information, you could miss important letters about your health insurance coverage and risk losing your health coverage even if you are eligible.
Ask Your Senators to Support the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act!
The Arc Logo

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides critical support for millions of people with disabilities and their families to be able to afford necessities like food and rent. But SSI has many unfair and outdated rules that make it hard for people to save money and get out of poverty.
For example, people who get SSI can only have $2,000 in assets or $3,000 if they are married—this includes money in bank accounts, property, and savings. These asset limits have not been updated since 1989, forcing many people with disabilities into poverty.
We need changes to SSI now that would significantly improve the lives of people with disabilities who receive SSI!
The SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act raises the asset limit to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for couples. The legislation also adjusts that number for inflation every year. This will allow SSI beneficiaries to better address needed emergencies when they arise.

Senator Bill Cassidy is included as one of the seven current bill co-sponsors.
This quarter's edition of ET features two legendary disability rights trailblazers, Paula Goldberg and Julie Beckett. Both of these ladies were true champions of children with disabilities. Read about their tireless contributions to the disability community in a tribute from our Executive Director, Mary Jacob.
We have some great articles to assist in preparing you for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. "5 Things SPED Parents Need from Their Child’s Educators" is a touching and articulate story from our very own Sharon Blackmon that is a must-read.
Louisiana AEM 4th Annual Conference Registration Open
AEM Logo
Provide professional development anchored in evidence based learning strategies, focusing on enabling student access to grade level content by implementing Universal Design for Learning, Accessible Educational Materials, and utilizing the accessibility features of technology.

Assistive Technology and Communication
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Blind and Low Vision
Maker Space

How do I help my teen with a disability prepare for the transition to adult life?

For updates, add your email to our list. Text LAGODA to 22828 to get started.