November 23, 2018
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
The article below illustrates how dangerously uninformed so many well-intentioned individuals and agencies can be about the extent of the needs of our loved ones with severe and profound intellectual disabilities, and the level of care necessary to meet all of their intellectual, medical, and behavioral challenges.

DePaul Community Resources believes that the individuals being forced out of Virginia's Intermediate Care Facilities can be better cared for by families who become certified to take them into their homes and provide 24 hour care to the displaced residents. There is no mention in this article of the number of people who have died in such situations, the likelihood of abuse and neglect, or of the transfer trauma that our loved ones experience when moved from their long-term homes.

DePaul Community Resources and the Department of Justice must be held accountable for any deaths or incidents of abuse and neglect that result from their program. Virginia families should contact their legislators and individuals in the Justice Department to ensure the safety of those forced out of their homes in Virginia's Training Centers.
Virginia - DePaul Community Resources Looking for Sponsored Residential Providers
By Monica Casey, WHSV-TV, November 19, 2018
DePaul Community Resources announced the launch of a new campaign called "Embracing Everyday Life," aimed at recruiting Sponsored Home Providers.

The program matches individuals in need with certified homes.

In 2012, the state of Virginia was found guilty of violating federal law with its treatment of intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals in training centers.

The state entered into a ten year 2 billion dollar settlement agreement to close all but one of these centers, which means these individuals now need to find somewhere to live.

That's where DePaul Community Resources' Sponsored Housing Providers come in.
People open their homes to meet the needs of these individuals, making them part of the family unit.

"We provide the training to them to be able to meet those specific needs of the individual," explained regional recruiter Chris Tompkins. "It involves things such as 24 hour care, physical assistance, assistance with things such as personal hygiene, community integration, life activities, and various independent skill building."

Not only do Sponsored Housing Providers create a better quality of life for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, it's also less than half the cost of housing in institutions.

State News:
Michigan: Missing the Mark on Special Education
By Annie Szatkowski, Fox 17 News, Nov. 21, 2018
According to the U.S. Department of Education, Michigan is the only state in the country that needs intervention after failing to meet federal special education requirements.That score reflects high dropout and low graduation rates for students with disabilities. According to that report, 29 percent of kids with special needs in Michigan dropped out of high school in the 2015/2016 school year.

It’s a startling statistic and one experts in the field say needs to change, but figuring out how to change it is its own challenge.

Melissa Courtade tells FOX 17 News that the special education system in Michigan failed her 13-year-old son Brayden.

She said, “He has atypical autism, sensory processing disorder, motor apraxia, and some other varying… depression, anxiety and most of his delays are social and emotional.”

Courtade said Brayden was started on an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP back in preschool. “It actually went really well. I had great relationships with all his therapists, with his social worker.”

In third grade, things took a turn.

“There has to be trust between families and the school, there has to be trust between families and anyone who works with your child,” she said.

Courtade said that trust was eroded when the Kenowa Hills School District, where she and her family live, recommended Brayden move to Comstock Park Schools, where a specialist would be better able to address his needs.

She said, “We want what’s best for our son, they feel like they know what’s best for our son.”
Kenowa Hills’ Special Education Director, Dan Brandt, said the move was necessary.
“If I had to employ a teacher for every single type of disability for every single type of specialized program, the cost on every single district would be astronomical.”

Getting that specialized assistance is one of the biggest challenges facing the state’s special education program.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is the father of a special needs child and has been saying special education across the state needs to do better.

“We have to better equip the support staff and the teachers with the knowledge of how to deal with behavioral challenges in those schools," he said.
Calley said it starts with changing the culture in the classroom.

“We need to have a positive behavior and intervention supports in every single classroom, in every single school across our state.”

He tells FOX 17 that special needs students aren’t graduating because they aren’t getting the support they need to learn. “If a child has a lot of behavior management issues, chances are, they are not at a point where they’re receiving instruction in the first place,” he said.

One thing that would help provide that type of training and support is more funding.

Illinois - Medical Supplier Ditches Illinicare Following Rate Cut
By Stephanie Goldberg, Crain's Chicago Business, November 15, 2018
Nearly one year after Illinicare, a private insurer in the state’s overhauled Medicaid managed care program, slashed reimbursement rates to medical suppliers, a large provider is terminating its contract with the insurer.

Cuts of up to 50 percent, which took effect Jan. 1, hit suppliers that provide Medicaid beneficiaries with durable medical equipment like wheelchairs and ventilators.

Minneapolis-based ActivStyle, which specializes in incontinence products, decided to exit the plan’s network after “a year of operating at a loss with this particular contract,” CEO Gayle Devin said. The move means about 1,000 Illinicare patients will need to find another in-network provider for such products.

“It did not come easily for us to make this decision but, unfortunately, it was a business decision we had to make,” Devin said. “We finally said, we love these (patients)—we’ve been servicing some of them since we entered the Illinois market in 2002—but we won’t compromise and go to a
lower-quality product. . . .We know it’s going to lead to poor outcomes.”

Devin and other durable medical equipment suppliers have high hopes for HB 5930, a measure in the Illinois House they say would enable providers to continue offering high-quality products. The bipartisan bill aims to set minimum quality standards for providers of medical supplies and equipment, as well as ensure in-network suppliers are reimbursed no less than 90 percent of the reimbursement rate paid under the Illinois Medicaid fee-for-service program. It’s sponsored by Republican state Rep. David McSweeney of Cary and Democratic state Reps. Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora, Fred Crespo of Streamwood, Gregory Harris of Chicago, Robyn Gabel of Evanston and Juliana Stratton of Chicago.

Iowa - Skyline Celebrates 55 Years of Change
By Winona Whitaker, Clinton Herald, November 17, 2018
From its small beginning as a daycare for 10 mentally disabled children, Skyline Center has grown into a multi-functional organization that serves disabled people on many levels.

"We've adapted over the years to meet the needs," said Skyline Executive Director Jack Robinson.
Skyline celebrated its 55th year this week with events that recognized the people who have made it successful. Early this week Skyline collected 250 pounds of food for the Salvation Army and the Associate Benevolent Society, said Associate Executive Director Letha Dolph.

"Just to give back to the community," she said. "The community has been good to us for 55 years."

Tuesday night, Skyline celebrated the 120 individuals it serves with a dinner at Eagle Point Lodge. On Wednesday, gifts were distributed to the 160 people on the payroll, and Thursday night a dinner at Skyline Center, Inc. thanked customers and community supporters.

Skyline's Beginnings:

In 1963, the Association for Retarded Children incorporated to open a daycare center for 10 mentally disabled children, said Robinson, who has been with Skyline since 1987. Clinton County Association for Daycare of Retarded Children opened in 1964 where the Meadowview pool house now stands.

In 1965, the daycare moved in with Job Corps at the former Schick Army Hospital on North Fourth Street near Lyons Middle School. By 1967, ARC was providing special education to 25 children, working with the Area Education Association.

"As they were getting older, we changed to meet their needs," Robinson said.

The children continued aging; the daycare continued adapting.
"[In 1968] we got an $18,000 grant to start a workshop," Robinson said. The children were becoming young adults and preparing to become part of the workforce. The sheltered workshop teaches job skills and pays disabled individuals for jobs they perform at the site.

A place to work:

"Our purpose has always been to provide jobs," Robinson said, and knowing that Skyline's disabled individuals could sort and operate some machinery, it opened a recycling center and can redemption center.

Though the businesses were later sold to the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency, "They still hire our people," Robinson said.

Money from the sale enabled Skyline to open a second sheltered workshop, this one in DeWitt, named DeWitt Specialty Packaging.

"We decided we were outgrowing this building," said Robinson, and "energy costs were going through the roof," so maintaining two sheltered workshops was not practical. Skyline purchased a 40,000-square-foot building at Manufacturing Drive and South 21st Street. "We've since added 20,000 more," Robinson said.

Today, in addition to the sheltered workshop and the housing projects, Skyline provides community living, day habilitation and support of employment, including job coaching.

In 2004 it began its own home health agency, which serves the disabled and individuals who are not disabled, Dolph said.

Massachusetts - Guilty Plea for Embezzling from Chelmsford Nonprofit
By Alana Melanson, The Lowell Sun, November 16, 2018
A Lowell woman accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from a Chelmsford non-profit that serves people with disabilities will serve two years of probation after pleading guilty in court Wednesday.

Former LifeLinks employee Amy Young pleaded guilty to a single charge of larceny over $250 by a single scheme in Middlesex Superior Court. Judge Bruce Henry sentenced Young to two years of probation and ordered she not be employed in a fiduciary or financial capacity during the term of the probation.

Young was charged in September with embezzling nearly $136,000 from LifeLinks between November 2011 and 2016 after an investigation by the state Attorney General's Office that spanned more than a year.

"We criminally charged this individual for stealing tens of thousands of dollars intended to help
people with disabilities and their families. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced by a judge for her crimes," AG's Office spokesperson Alex Bradley said in a statement Thursday. "This defendant took advantage of her position for her own personal profit while compromising funds for people in need and the AG's Office will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases."

A nonprofit affiliated with The ARC of Greater Lowell, LifeLinks provides services and support to Greater Lowell adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. LifeLinks believes the thefts go back about seven fiscal years, and total $286,000.

Connecticut - Norwalk Judicial Marshal Arrested for Financially Victimizing a Disabled Woman while in Office
By Emma Rybacki, WTNH TV, Nov. 17, 2018
After beginning an investigation in 2014, the Western District Major Crime Services (WDMCS) and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) met and commenced an investigation into the appearance of the financial victimization or larceny of a developmentally disabled individual perpetrated by someone hired by the individual. 

The victim is described as a 55 year old female with the mental capacity of a 12 year old. 
The aid to the developmentally challenged individual was identified as then 37 year old Tammy Lynn Dilorio of Stratford, Connecticut. 

The investigation spanned the time frame of 2014 and 2015. During which those time, Dilorio was employed as a State of Connecticut Judicial Marshal and had been assigned to the Norwalk Court House. 

The investigation led to police discovering that the victim had lived independently but had fallen behind on rent payments totally approximately $4,780.00.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”    - Mother Teresa
Please support H.R. 6786

H.R. 6786 - A bill to protect the interests of each resident of intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities in class action lawsuits by federally funded entities involving such residents and in Department of Justice actions that could result in an agreement to move such a resident from that resident's facility.

This is VOR's bill, and we have introduced this legislation over the course of several sessions of congress. Our sponsor, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is in his last term in Congress, and the bill will expire at the end of this session. Please contact your member of the House to ask them to cosponsor this important bill.

We will begin another round of this campaign on Sunday night. In the meantime, if you have not yet taken action, please click below to be a part of this important effort.

Please Support H.R. 5658

Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06) introduced the Workplace Choice and Flexibility for Individuals with Disabilities Act (H.R. 5658). This bill will restore common sense to the definition of competitive integrated employment and provide increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities. People with disabilities across the country have been denied placements in high-paying jobs because of the regulations that implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). ACCSES supports expanding opportunities and keeping a full array of options available. We were honored to work with Congressman Grothman and his staff to help draft this legislation. Go to the  ACCSES Action Center  and tell your Members of Congress to cosponsor and pass this important bill to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities! 
VOR Supports H.R. 6611

This bill would define individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a medically underserved population, and appropriate more funds to their care. The bill will expand and improve health care and dental services for people with I/DD. Stay tuned for more information on this bill.

VOR Supports H.R. 3325

Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act or the ACE Kids Act

This bill amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to establish a state Medicaid option to provide for medical assistance with respect to coordinated care provided through a health home (i.e., a designated provider or team of health-care professionals) for children with medically complex conditions. A state shall make payments for such health-home services regardless of whether they are provided through a fee-for-service or managed-care system. For an initial period of eight fiscal-year quarters, the federal matching rate applicable to such payments shall be increased by 20 percentage points, not to exceed 90%.

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