July 22, 2019
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


Wow, I like warm weather but jeez, this was a little much.

We begin another week, another attack by the Trump Administration against people who face discrimination.  One way to eliminate discrimination is to make it harder to fight.  The latest would eliminate many protections in health care and insurance coverage.

We have a few great stories.  One is about woman who has been tapped to be the first Deaf Superhero in an upcoming Marvel movie.

Also, Arlington is seeking a Director of Diversity, so if you know someone, this is the last week to apply.

Until next week, happy reading. 

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Community News:  Administration Proposes to Greatly Weaken Non-Discrimination Regulations in Health Care

According to Kaiser Family Foundation

"On June 14, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed what it describes as "substantial revisions" to its regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Notably, it is the first federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination in health care based on sex. The 60-day public comment period on the proposed changes closes on August 13, 2019. The proposal cannot change Section 1557's protections in the law enacted by Congress but would significantly narrow the scope of the existing HHS implementing regulations, if finalized, by:
Eliminating the general prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity, as well as specific health insurance coverage protections for transgender individuals;
  • Adopting blanket abortion and religious freedom exemptions for health care providers;
  • Eliminating the provision preventing health insurers from varying benefits in ways that discriminate against certain groups, such as people with HIV or LGBTQ people;
  • Weakening protections that provide access to interpretation and translation services for individuals with limited English proficiency;
  • Eliminating provisions affirming the right of private individuals to challenge alleged violations of ยง 1557 in court and to obtain money damages, as well as requirements for covered entities to provide non-discrimination notices and grievance procedures;
  • Narrowing the reach of the regulations by only covering specific activities that receive federal funding, but not other operations, of health insurers that are not "principally engaged in the business of providing health care," and no longer applying the regulations to all HHS-administered programs;
There are also provisions that could greatly impact people who are Deaf, by eliminating or changing regulations around people who speak languages other than English.

The proposal also has a hidden attack, 

"HHS does not propose specific changes to Section 1557's regulations prohibiting discrimination based on disability, but it does request public comment on whether some of these provisions should be changed. Specifically, HHS seeks comment on whether entities with less than 15 employees should be exempt from the requirement to provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication with people with disabilities; 52 whether all covered entities should be subject to the architectural standards applicable to public buildings, especially with regard to multi-story building elevator and TTY requirements; 53 and whether the provision requiring covered entities to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures to avoid disability-based discrimination should be revised to include an exemption for undue hardship, in addition to the existing exemption when doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or activity. 54 These changes would restrict the current provisions that prohibit disability-based discrimination and ensure equal access."

Comments must be submitted by August 13, 2019.  The DPC will be responding to this proposal and will seek others to join our letter.
Employment Opportunity:  Coordinator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Coordinator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Type:Full Time
Salary/Pay Rate:$61,572 - $79,904
Posted Date:07/01/2019
Deadline to Apply:07/26/2019
To apply: Please visit our website at www.arlingtonma.gov/hr.  
Application deadline is Friday, July 26, 2019.


Professional and administrative work coordinating the administrative and programmatic duties of the Human Rights Commission, Disability Commission and Rainbow Commission and serving as the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator. Supports partnerships with other town departments and organizations on issues of equity and inclusion. All other related work as required.


Works under the supervision of the Director of Health and Human Services. Performs varied and responsible duties requiring considerable initiative and judgement.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The essential functions or duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.
  • Works with the Chair of each commission to coordinate the work of the Disability Commission, Human Rights Commission and the Rainbow Commission
  • Works with the Human Rights Commission and the Disability Commission to investigate complaints, develop reports and presentations to commissions
  • Attends the Disability Commission, Human Rights Commission and Rainbow Commission meetings
  • Schedules rooms, posts meeting agendas, ensures minutes are taken and posted by designated committee members and ensures all legal mandates of the commissions are met
  • Receives calls and complaints, reports and provides summary to the commissions
  • Supports the town in the resolution of conflicts with cultural implications whenever possible and appropriate
  • Supports the town in the coordination of special events related to DEI
  • As requested attends meetings of the Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee and under the Direction of the Director of Human Resources/Equal Opportunity Officer supports Town efforts to diversify its workforce
  • Serves as the ADA Coordinator, in that role, serves as a resource for residents, businesses and town staff regarding ADA and related local, state and federal regulations.
  • Receives and processes ADA accommodation and grievance requests.
  • Advise and assist town officials in ensuring town compliance with state and federal laws and regulations affecting people with disabilities.
  • Assists the town in the implementation the ADA transition plan
  • Manages and administers budgets for each commission
Recommended Minimum Qualifications

Education and Experience

Bachelor's degree in related field and three to five years' relevant experience; Master's Degree or legal background preferred.

For a more complete job posting please go to:

Learning: Free Upcoming Webinars from the Attorney General's Office 

Dear Sir/Madam,

We at the Attorney General's Office Community Engagement Division would like to notify you on our upcoming Summer and Fall Webinars. The Community Engagement Division is continuing our effort to inform the public about Attorney General's Office resources and will provide train-the-trainer webinars through the rest of the year. These webinars are an excellent opportunity for service providers to learn about new tools on how to assist clients and community members.

The webinar training topics, include, but are not limited to, as follows (with more options to come):

1) Landlord-Tenant Rights;

2) Surprise Medical Billing Training;

3) Competitive Electric Supply Training;

4) Retail Rights and Identity Theft; and

5) Worker's Rights.

Our next webinar will be held on Tuesday, September 10th, 2019, on Landlord & Tenant Rights and Responsibilities. You can register online here: https://ltrwebinar.eventbrite.com

If you have any additional questions or comments you can email our office at: AGOCommunityEngagement@Mass.Gov

You can find registration to all our webinars online here: http://massago.eventbrite.com/

Upcoming Webinar Schedule

Wednesday, October 2th, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.
Surprise Medical Billing Presentation

Register Here: https://medbilling.eventbrite.com

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019, at 10:30 a.m.
Competitive Electric Supply Presentation

Register Here: https://compelecsupply.eventbrite.com

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019, at 10:30 a.m.
Retail Rights & Identity Theft Presentation

Register Here: https://retailandidtheft.eventbrite.com/

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019, at 10:30 a.m.
Workers' Rights Presentation

Register Here: https://workers-rights.eventbrite.com
Net News: Maryland Sues Notorious For Profit Group Home Company

Those of you who follow this publication regularly know that I am always suspicious of for profit organizations who move into the human services arena.  This is particularly true of those who operate on a mega-, or multiple state manner.  So here is the latest such scenario presented by ProPublica.    Read here.  

Thank you to Penny Shaw for this story.
Net News: Do Protections for People with Disabilities Apply Online?  Domino Asks High Court.

The Washington Post had this story last week.  Domino's is asking the Supreme Court to take up this case.  As more commercial activity moves on-line, this is going to be one of the more pivotal issues of our times.  We have all lived our lives watching the real world having to be made accessible, at great cost, to be inclusive.  How ironic will it be if the new world is also built without us?  Read more here.
Net News: Frida Kahlo Painted Using Assistive Technology (and So Can You)

We have pointed out before that the artist, Frida Kahlo, was a person with severe disabilities.  AT3CenterBlog.com had a great article on her assistive technology and how you can use AT to help you produce art.  You can read about it here
Net News:  Lauren Ridloff Will Play Marvel's First Deaf Superhero

According to BroadwayWorld.com. Lauren Ridloff will play Makkari in an upcoming Marvel movie "The Eternals.  Makkari is a deaf superhero and yes Ms. Ridloff is Deaf.  What a concept.  You can read the joyous news here.
Net News:  Michigan National Park First to Let Visitors Rent "Track Chair" to Experience Trails

According to MSN, a group "Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park" is making a powerful motorized "track chair"available for rent.  The  wheelchair is  modified with tank type tracks.  This is about the only way someone who uses a wheelchair can travel over very rough terrain.  You can read more here.
Calendar:  ADA Celebration Day inn Boston

When:  Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019,  12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Where:  Boston City Hall Plaza
One City Hall Sq,  Boston, MA 02201

A free event for children, families, and individuals of all abilities!

ADA Celebration Day is a yearly celebration of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is held in Boston around the last week of July near the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act signing. Each year, we honor a local organization that has made an impact on accessibility or inclusion in Boston. ADA Celebration Day is an event for people of all ages and all abilities to come together and celebrate a milestone in the disability community. 

The public is invited t
o join us for:
  • Food
  • Music
  • Resource fair
  • Friends, and
  • Fun
ASL and CART provided. For additional accommodation requests, call 617-635-3682 or e-mail disability@boston.gov.
Net News: Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Announces Dates for Accessible Performances on Common

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) is pleased to continue its Common Access Initiative as part of its 24th season of "Free Shakespeare on the Common." Cymbeline runs July 17 - August 4 on the Boston Common. CSC is committed to keeping theatre accessible - financially, geographically, and artistically - as well as inclusive for patrons of all abilities. CSC has offered at least one American Sign Language (ASL) performance nearly every season since its founding in 1996, and in recent years has had the opportunity to meaningfully expand its disability access programming and offerings. At every performance, there are reserved, accessible seating areas for patrons and their guests, in addition to complementary large-print programs and assisted listening devices.

Open Captioned performance: Friday, July 26 (Raindate: Sat, July 27)
Audio Described performance + Tactile Tour: Saturday, August 3 (3pm); (Raindate: Sun, Aug 4)

ASL Interpreted performances: Friday, Aug 2 + Saturday, August 3 (8pm); (Raindate: Sun, Aug 4)

Open-Captioning provided by c2 captioning service will be held on at Friday, July 26 at 8 pm.

Raindate will be Saturday, July 27 at 8pm. Equipment will be set-up of the house left side of the stage.

The Audio-Described performance with interpretation by Cori Couture and Andrea Doane will be held Saturday, August 3 at 3pm; Raindate will be Sunday, August 4 at 7pm. Headsets and Braille playbill will be made available for blind and low-vision patrons, and can be collected at the Information Tent to the left of the stage. In addition to the performance, there will be a free backstage, tactile tour for blind and low-vision patrons and their guests beginning at 1:45pm. No registration is necessary. Guests should meet at the Information Tent a few minutes before the tour is scheduled to begin. CSC staff will be on hand to help guide patrons on the tour.

The ASL-Interpreted performances will be held on Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3 at 8pm; Raindate will be Sunday, Aug 4 at 7pm. ASL Interpretation team will include Shana Gibbs as ASL Coach and Christopher Robinson will be returning as Lead Interpreter.

In addition to the programming listed above, there will be many services available at all performances to enhance the patron experience. ADA-compliant cable-guards have been purchased to make all pathways easier to navigate for patrons using wheelchairs and walkers, and there will be several seating areas designated throughout the Common for patrons using wheelchairs and their companions. Finally, large print programs and assisted listening devices will be available at all performances at the Information Tent.
In This Issue
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Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Suite 301
Malden, MA 02148
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