January 17, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


I hope you had a restful and contemplative Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Now more than ever we need to refocus on his messages of unity and eliminating poverty.

I begin the Update with an editorial, this week focused on the Justice Department.  We also unveil a new section this week dedicated to the rapidly shifting health care landscape.  It will be a regular section for at least the next six months, probably longer.

Also we want to let you know that DAAHR will be holding a community forum on the ACA, Medicaid and what it all means on February 1st from 1-3 PM at the Non Profit Center, 89 South Street in Boston.  We hope you can attend.

Lastly, there is a listing of performances presented by Broadway In Boston.  This organization  has an ongoing commitment to building new audiences and making theater accessible for all patrons.

As always  happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Editorial: Disability Rights Will Not Be in Session at DOJ

The last eight years have featured a Department of Justice which has been extremely active in enforcement and litigation around the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Olmstead Decision.  Barring a visit from the Ghost of Cripples Past, led by Tiny Tim himself, I can almost guarantee that a Justice Department led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not be leading the charge to enforce our rights.  

Past behavior tends to be an accurate barometer i n contemplating the future performance of a public official.  So let's consider the evidence.  As a U.S. Senator, Jeff Sessions voted against the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.   He also voted against the Mathew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act which added sexual orientation, disability and gender identity to the federal hate crime law.

Senator Sessions supported a Supreme Court decision which blocked citizens from suing States for damages in ADA cases.  He spoke out against another Supreme Court decision which protected inmates with an intellectual disabilities from being executed.     

An equally disturbing part of Senator Session's record is his opposition to special education (I hate the term too). In a speech he stated, "There is no telling how many instructional hours are lost by teachers in dealing with behavior problems. In times of an increasingly competitive global society it is no wonder American students fall short. Certain children are allowed to remain in the classroom robbing the other children of hours that can never be replaced."

These past words and deeds of the Attorney General nominee point to a hostility to civil and disability rights. I don't think we will be able to count on effective enforcement of our rights for the next four years. Unless, where is that Tiny Tim costume...........?
John Winske
Employment Opportunity: Program Director, REquipment Program 

Program Director Job Announcement
The Program Director provides overall management of the REquipment Program, a durable medical equipment (DME) and assistive technology (AT) reuse program serving people with disabilities and seniors across Massachusetts. The Program Director has direct responsibility for operations, marketing/outreach, training to ensure high program quality and satisfied users. The Program Director is a member of the senior management team and oversees direct and in-direct partner staff to ensure they achieve program quality and service goals. The Program Director reports to and solicits input from the Executive Director on programmatic elements. Position is based in the Worcester area. Statewide travel is required. Position is subject to funding.

A full job description is available here.

Resume and cover letter should be sent to Karen Langley at klangley@dmereuse.org.
Health Care Update: New Section   

For the foreseeable future this going to be a regular section of the Weekly Update.  The news will be concentrated on two major shifts occurring.  First, on the Federal level, efforts to repeal or repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare.  These efforts also include efforts to substantially change Medicaid and possibly Medicare. On the state level, we will cover the movement to Accountable Care Organizations (ACO's).

This week the biggest news was that both the House and Senate, in Washington, cleared the way to repeal the ACA through a process known as "budget reconciliation."   This means the repeal votes would only need a simple majority vote to pass.  Replacing the ACA would still need 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

Please keep an eye on this section in future weeks. 
Net News: ACA Briefing Call (Late Notice)

When:  Tuesday, January 17, 3:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. ET

Webinar: How ACA Repeal and Medicaid Reform Will Impact People with Disabilities And What You Can Do!

Join national and state-level disability advocates for a webinar focused on one of the most pressing issues facing people with disabilities: Congressional effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and convert federal Medicaid funding into block grants.

Advocates based in Washington, DC will provide a report on what they are observing on Capitol Hill, and discuss what will happen next. 

Advocates based in various states will discuss their work to educate lawmakers and grassroots people about the importance of these healthcare programs for people with disabilities. 

The ADA Legacy Project's DisBeat will provide advice on collecting personal healthcare stories from people with disabilities and how to build a guerilla marketing campaign to call attention to our issues. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

* National speakers: Lindsay Baran, National Council on Independent Living (others TBD)

* State-level speakers: Florida, Massachusetts, Texas (invited)

* Media: The ADA Legacy Project's DisBeat

You will not want to miss this! Those across the states interested in healthcare for people with disabilities will want to join in. We can and will galvanize disability electoral power as we head into a new Administration by being informed and empowered. Join your brothers and sisters from across the nation.

This webinar is free of charge and made possible with support from the National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA), The ADA Legacy Project, Access Living, the NDLA Organizers Forum, and the Great Lakes ADA Center.

How to Join the Webinar

* Telephone option or audio: call toll-free 1-866-854-6779; passcode: *3956839*

Asking questions during the webinar: questions during the live webinar can be submitted by email to webinars@adaconferences.org

If you experience technical problems accessing the webinar, please call 877-232-1990 (V/TTY) for assistance.

Questions regarding the content of the webinar should be directed to Amber Smock at Access Living, at asmock@accessliving.org.
One Care Update:  New Way to Schedule Transportation with CCA  

Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) has been having a serious issue answering phone lines and returning calls for members seeking rides.

As a result of these issues, CCA has developed an email address to schedule transportation which is:

Members must include their names, date of birth, pick up address, destination, desired pick up time and desired return pick up time.
Net News:  Accessible Theater in Boston

Broadway In Boston has an ongoing commitment to building new audiences and making theater accessible for all patrons. During each season, Broadway In Boston offers Audio Described, Open Captioned, and American Sign Language performances for productions at the Boston Opera House.

Get tickets in person: Boston Opera House Box Office, 539 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
Box Office Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm
Get tickets by phone: (617) 880-2419


Open Captioned Performance
Open Captions by c2
Saturday, January 21st, 2pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click Here for Open Caption Tickets

American Sign Language Performance
ASL Coach Sabrina Dennison
Saturday, January 28th, 2pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click  Here  for ASL Tickets

Audio Described Performance
Description by Laura Willis
Sunday, January 22nd at 1pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click Here for Audio Described Tickets 


Open Captioned Performance
Open Captions by c2
Saturday, February 4th, 2pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click  Here  for Open Caption Tickets 

American Sign Language Performance
Saturday, February 11th at 2pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click  Here  for ASL Tickets 

Audio Described Performance
Description by Laura Willis
Sunday, February 5th at 1pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click Here for Audio Described Tickets


Open Captioned Performance
Open Captions by c2
Saturday, March 11th, 2pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click Here
 for Open Caption Tickets

American Sign Language Performance
Saturday, March 18th at 2pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click Here for ASL Tickets

Audio Described Performance
Description by Laura Willis
Sunday, March 12th at 1pm
Tickets starting at $44
Click Here
 for Audio Described Tickets 
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