June 21, 2019
VOR Weekly News Update 
VOR is a national organization that advocates for high quality care and human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
VOR promises to empower you to make and protect quality of life choices for individuals with developmental disabilities

VOR Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the
Supreme Court's Decision in Olmstead
June 22 is the 20th Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision, a milestone in disability rights and in the protection of our most vulnerable citizens.

While some advocates believe Olmstead is about inclusion,
VOR believes Olmstead is about CHOICE.

VOR's 2019
The materials that we shared with Congress, and the state reports presented at the conference are available for download on our website

For pictures from the conference and our visits to Capitol Hill,
please visit our Facebook page: /vor
National News:
US Department of Justice and the Administration for Community Living release statements on
Olmstead's 20th Anniversary

Breaking News:

Money Follows the Person Passes House, Heads To Senate

H.R. 3259, the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019 (Debbie Dingell - D-MI, Brett Guthrie - R-KY) has passed in the House and is headed for the Senate.

On June 13, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
On June 18, Congresswoman Dingell moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate, Late that evening, the motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended, was agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 371 - 46. The motion to reconsider was laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
On June 19, the bill was received in the Senate.

VOR has long opposed the language in this bill, as it fails to protect family choice and has been used to move individuals out of congregate care against the will of their families and guardians. While proponents of the bill claim it gives individuals choice, we believe that it only provides one choice - sign the waiver and move into an HCBS approved group home. VOR believes that having only one choice is not TRUE CHOICE.

U.S. Schools Under-report How Often Students are Restrained or Secluded, Watchdog Says
By Jenny Abamu, Minnesota Public Radio, June 18, 2019
When students are believed to be a danger to themselves or others, they're sometimes restrained in school or isolated in a separate room. These practices, known as restraint and seclusion, are supposed to be a last resort, and they disproportionately affect boys and students with disabilities or special needs.

In the past, government officials have said public schools rarely use these behavior management methods — but now, those same officials aren't so sure. A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog, questions the quality of the data the U.S.
Department of Education collects on this issue.
"Our findings raise serious concerns about underreporting and misreporting of the use of seclusion and restraint," says Jackie Nowicki, a director at the GAO and author of the report. "It is therefore not possible to know the extent of the use of seclusion and restraint nationwide."

The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights requires that school districts report how often students are restrained or secluded.

State News:
California - Costco Shooting: Man Killed by Off-Duty Officer had an Intellectual Disability, Cousin Says
By Laura Newberry, LA Times, June 17, 2019
The 32-year-old man shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in a Costco store on Friday night in Corona was nonverbal and had an intellectual disability, according to a family member.

Kenneth French of Riverside lived with his parents and had the mental capacity of a teenager, said his cousin, Rick Shureih, in a phone interview with the Los Angeles Times on Sunday night.

“He was a gentle giant,” Shureih said. “He’s never been violent in the past. He’s always been very cooperative and kept to himself.”

According to Corona police, an off-duty officer with the Los Angeles Police Department was shopping at Costco with his family when he was attacked while holding his young child. Police said the assault was unprovoked and led the officer to fire his weapon, striking French and two of his family members.
The officer’s child was not injured.

Corona police offered no further details about the circumstances leading up to the shooting.

Shureih identified his relatives as Russell and Paola French, Kenneth French’s parents — both of whom were being treated in an intensive care unit Sunday night. Paola French was still in a coma, Shureih said, while Russell French’s condition has improved some since the shooting.

The officer, who has not been identified, suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital and then discharged, said Officer Greg Kraft of the LAPD. The officer is assigned to the department’s Southwest Division.

West Virginia - Investigation: 8 ResCare Clients with Special Needs Not Given 3,700 Medication Doses
By Jake Zuckerman, Charleston Gazette-Mail, June 17, 2019
In just over a three month period, ResCare employees in Kanawha County failed to administer 1,094 doses of blood pressure medication to a single person.

A client supervised by the same agency never received 873 doses of medicine, including 106 feedings and aerosol treatments for COPD. The client’s weight dropped from 73 pounds to 60 pounds.

A third client missed out on 51 doses of anti-anxiety medications and 29 doses of mood stabilizers. The client’s psychiatrist subsequently noted increased behavioral issues and urinary incontinence.

These are some of the findings of the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification’s investigation into ResCare’s South Charleston
agency supervising people with intellectual disabilities. ResCare staffs medical professionals and care providers who are supposed to provide care to oversee clients living independently or in group homes.

All told, the audit identifies 3,700 dosages of medication not given to eight different clients.
A review of 80 separate complaints lodged against ResCare since 2014 — which spawned state investigations that substantiated 44 of them — show the company has a demonstrable pattern of lapses in client care and inadequate staffing leading to harm in clients or clients harming others.

In six instances, these investigations came after clients’ deaths. Two came after allegations of sexual abuse against clients.

Arizona - Hacienda HealthCare to Lose Medicaid Contract after Report of Maggots Found on Patient
By Stephanie Innes, Arizona Republic, June 20, 2019
Less than a week after a report that maggots were discovered near the surgical incision of a patient, the federal government says it will terminate Hacienda HealthCare's Medicaid contract.

Hacienda HealthCare officials say they are working with government oversight officials to determine the best path forward.

The embattled facility has had two-high profile cases of patient safety problems — a 29-year-old incapacitated female who was raped and gave birth and, more recently, an infestation of maggots that was discovered on a 28-year-old male patient.

About 35 patients currently reside at the 60-bed Hacienda HealthCare intermediate care facility. No new patients have been admitted since January.
In a notice to the public dated June 18, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says that the Medicaid contract for Hacienda HealthCare's intermediate-care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities, also known as Hacienda de los Angeles, would be canceled effective July 3. The notice says that Hacienda failed to meet Medicaid's basic health and safety requirements.

"Involuntary termination of a provider agreement is generally a last resort after all other attempts to remedy the deficiencies at a facility have been exhausted," the notice says. "We are closely monitoring the relocation of Medicaid patients to other facilities."

Pennsylvania - Woods Services, Disability Advocates Settle Federal Suits
By Jo Ciavaglia, Bucks County Courier-Times, June 19, 2019
Woods Services and Disability Rights New York sued each other for defamation following a critical report that alleged abuse and neglect at the Langhorne campus for individuals with severe disabilities. In a statement the organizations agreed the situation could have been handled better.

A Bucks County residential campus serving adults and children with brain injuries, severe intellectual and developmental disabilities and a New York disability rights organization, who sued each other in federal court over a report alleging abuse and neglect at the community, have settled their lawsuits.

In a joint statement released Wednesday announcing the settlements, Woods Services Inc. in Langhorne, and Disability Rights New York, of Albany, agreed they each could have responded in a more “cooperative and collaborative” way involving the 2016 investigation by DRNY that resulted in the report, which Woods described as “unfounded accusations, misleading characterizations and outright falsehoods,” in its defamation suit against the disability advocacy organization.

The 26-page report released in 2017 alleged that Woods “facilities and programs have serious and
troubling deficiencies,” and that New Yorkers placed there were “at risk of serious injury, death, psychological harm, and trauma.”

DRNY initiated an investigation into Woods in June 2016 after receiving multiple complaints alleging abuse and neglect. The subsequent report detailed allegations including excessive use of physical restraints resulting in injuries to residents and restraint methods that New York state does not allow. It also contained allegations of staff abuse or mistreatment of residents and allegations of poor sanitary conditions, poor internal investigation practices, improper reporting of incidents, employment abuses and staff retaliation.

New York residents account for roughly 100 of the 589 adults and children from 19 states and Puerto Rico living at Woods, whose residential campus straddles Middletown and Langhorne, Woods spokeswoman Cheryl Kauffman said. The agency provides residential, educational, rehabilitative, vocational and day treatment programs for medically complex and behaviorally challenged individuals who are unable to be placed in appropriate programs within their home states.

Washington, D. C. - A Bill to Increase Pay for Workers who Assist People with Disabilities was Met with Support at a Public Hearing
By Leah Potter, Street Sense Media, June 18, 2019
A bill that would increase wages for professionals who work with people with disabilities was met with overwhelming support at a public hearing last week.

The bill – the Direct Support Professional Payment Rate Act of 2019 – was introduced in March by councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Vincent Gray, David Grosso and Elissa Silverman. The bill calls for an annual payment, which would compensate them more than their current income, to direct support professionals – people who provide assistance to people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

The legislation would also require the directors of the Department of Health Care Finance and the Department on Disability Services to “consider certain factors” when deciding the amount of payment, according to a legislative summary on the D.C. council’s website.
The June 13 public hearing drew in about 50 people who testified as public witnesses in support of the bill.

Esme Grewal, the vice president of government relations for the American Network of Community Options and Resources, said in the hearing that she is in support of the bill because it could help address the “enormous turnover rate” and provide more-stable care for people with disabilities.

Nationally, the average turnover rate for direct support professionals is about 45 percent, according to a report submitted to President Trump on the direct support workforce crisis in the United States.

“D.C. can lead on it, you can be the leader to solve this and this bill is the right way to go,” Grewal said.

Medicaid Managed Care:
Ohio Wants Your Feedback on How Medicaid Plans Could Change
By Kaitlin Schroeder, Dayton Daily News, June 19, 2019

The DeWine administration is moving forward with its plan to rebid all of the contracts it has with private Medicaid plans.

This means CareSource, which the state has paid a total $31 billion since fiscal year 2012, will have to once again win its contract with Ohio Department of Medicaid. CareSource manages more than half of the private Medicaid plans in Ohio. The nonprofit insurer is a major area employer, with more than 3,000 local employees, and is headquartered in downtown Dayton.

In Ohio, most Medicaid dollars are not directly paid out to doctors and hospitals. Instead, 90 percent of the nearly 3 million Ohioans on Medicaid are enrolled in private insurance plans and the state pays those insurance plans a flat rate per person per month.

The majority of the money that the state pays to the insurance companies is then paid out to providers. For 2017, the latest year available, CareSource reported spending about 92 percent of its revenue on care.

The state is now seeking feedback on what changes it should make to the agreements it has with private insurance companies and the state will then re-select which insurance companies it works with. The five insurance companies that manage Ohio Medicaid plans are now CareSource, Molina, Paramount, UnitedHealthcare and Buckeye.

VOR Bill Watch:
Click on blue link to view information about the bill


H.R. 1058 & S. 427 - The Autism CARES Act - To reauthorize certain provisions of the Public Health Service Act relating to autism, and for other purposes

H.R. 2417 - The HEADs UP Act - To amend the Public Health Service Act to expand and improve health care services by health centers and the National Health Service Corps for individuals with a developmental disability as a Medically Underserved Population (MUP).


H.R. 555 & S. 117 - The Disability Integration Act - This bill has written into it the goal of eliminating "institutional care". In addition to the inherent bias against ICF's and people with severe and profound I/DD, the bill is prohibitively costly and there are not enough Direct Support Professionals to meet the provisions of this act.

H.R. 873 & S. 260 - The Transformation To Competitive Employment Act - This bill has declared the goal of eliminating Sheltered Workshops and 14(c) Wage Certificates, under the mantle of everyone with a disability is capable of competitive integrated employment.

H.R. 582 & S. 150 - The Raise the Wage Act - This bill is aimed at raising the minimum wage, but it also has provisions to eliminate 14 (c) wage certificates over the next six years and to immediately stop the issuing of any new certificates. VOR believes the issue of employment options for individuals with intellectual disabilities should not be buried in a bill for raising the federal minimum wage. Bot issues deserve clean, stand-alone bills.
What's Happening In Your Community?

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