September 11, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update

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We begin with some good news this week.  The Boston Globe yesterday had a story of big improvements at Bridgewater State Hospital.  There has been a major "culture change".  Seclusion and restraint have dropped by 99% and 98% respectively.  Governor Baker and his administration deserve praise for moving on this issue.  The Patrick Administration and the Legislature ignored this issue for far too long.  You can read the story here.

We have an editorial this week on an attempt to weaken the ADA in Congress that is gaining steam.  We must not allow this to happen.

We have a lot of other useful information and events for you.

I also want to remind you that the Eventbrite website for our Annual Reception and Awards Ceremony is now live.  You can buy your tickets or make a donation here.  
 
As always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Editorial: House 620?  Aw, Hell No!

My apologies if you're offended by the title of this editorial.  It is the appropriate response to the news that the House Judiciary Committee has reported out favorably House 620, The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.  The name of the bill is highly deceptive and the contents highly destructive.  

In short, the bill would require someone who faced discrimination or illegal lack of accessibility to notify the poor business or building owner that they have discriminated against you.  Then you would have to notify them in writing with a remedy.  The person who committed the offending act would have 60 days to research the issue and get back to you.  Then they would presumably fix the problem.

Excuse me?  Really? Twenty seven years ago I sat on the White House lawn and watched the ADA being signed into law.  For the first time at the age of twenty eight, I felt like a full citizen of the United States.  Now because some people are boneheaded and don't know how to obey the law, you want to educate them?  Oh Hell No!

We are long past the education stage.  We are not going backwards.  We do not have time to waste.  The bill may come to the House Floor this week.  Currently, no member of the Massachusetts delegation is among the 51 sponsors.  But we must be vigilant.  Please call your Congressperson and ask them to oppose H620.  Please ask your contacts in other states to work against this odious legislation.  



I know you're tired and feel as though we are constantly fighting nitwits who want to shove us backwards.  We owe it to those who fought before us and to those who will follow us to fight this.  Do not to let this bill to become law.  

Together we must say, "House 620? Aw, Hell No!"

John Winske
Advocacy Opportunity:  Non-Medical Switching

The Disability Law Center is among many organizations locally and nationwide that oppose an unfair insurance practice called non-medical switching, or NMS. NMS occurs when insurance companies make changes to coverage that ultimately force patients to switch their medication.

Many individuals with disabilities are forced to change the medication that their doctor prescribed and that works well for them when an insurance company or plan decides that it is now too costly to cover. The insurer will end the coverage for that medication and force the individual, without their doctor's input, to switch to another medication putting their health at risk.

These coverage changes take place during the plan year, long after open enrollment. NMS locks consumers into a plan that may no longer meet their needs.

* If you've been a victim of non-medical switching, share your experience by clicking on the link below and taking this survey developed by Global Healthy Living: https://www.research.net/r/STF7DTL

* Please share this survey with others as well.

DLC, along with other patient and provider groups in Massachusetts, formed the Patient Access & Safety Coalition. As such, we advocated for state legislators to address this issue and they created the Medication Switching Commission to examine this issue and report the findings back to the legislature.

This survey data will be used to better inform the Commission and legislators about the impact of NMS. Please take the survey and help us obtain the information and data we need to end this unfair and potentially dangerous practice.

Thank You.

Chris Griffin
Disability Law Center
Net News:  Dentists to Poor People: Drop Dead  
Alex Beam's column in the B oston Globe, recently, is of interest to people with disabilities.  The story is preceding a hearing this Tuesday at the Statehouse on a bill proposed by Harriet Chandler.  The bill, S1169, would allow dental therapists to treat patients under the "general supervision" of a dentist.  The bill is opposed by the Massachusetts Dental Society.

Net News: Final Rule on Quiet Cars Goes Into Effect

Good news!

Many of you have been following the Blind community's efforts to implement rules that would add sound to new hybrid and electric cars. You may have participated as subjects in studies to determine optimal sounds for the Department of Transportation to use when setting standards.

Over the last month, there has been some conflicting information about whether the final rules would go into effect as planned under the new administration. Happily, everything seems to be on track (see notice below from Tony Stephens, ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs.)

As the number of blind Americans increases and the popularity of quiet cars grows, this was an important initiative to improve pedestrian safety, not just for the Blind community (which led the effort,) but for all pedestrians. The U.S. now joins Japan and the European Union, which already have similar laws in place.

Good work!

Greetings ACB Affiliate Leaders,

We wanted to forward along news that the final rule encompassing quiet cars went into effect this week. The rule was initially slated to go into effect earlier in the year, but was delayed due to the regulatory review process between the transition to the new administration. Concerns had arisen during the early part of summer that the rule might be further postponed, but its extended deadline of September 5th came and went without any such delay.

To learn more about the final rule, visit the below link for the November 14th, 2016 news release on the rules enactment:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-sets-quiet-car-safety-standard-protect-pedestrians

Warmest Regards,

Tony

Anthony Stephens
Director of Advocacy & Governmental Affairs
American Council of the Blind
1703 N. Beauregard Street, STE 420
Alexandria, VA 22311
Calendar: ASL Night at the MFA

When:   Wednesday, September 13, 4 PM - 10 PM

Coinciding with Deaf Awareness Month, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston invites the Deaf community and friends to celebrate the art and language of Deaf culture. The evening's program includes American Sign Language tours and spotlight talks, performances, art-making activities, and more.

Presented in partnership with DEAF, Inc. and Boston Children's Hospital's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.

Free admission begins at 4 pm; all ASL Night events are free.

Made possible by the Bank of America Access Program. With additional support from the Maida S. Abrams Fund for Increasing Access and Educational Opportunities for People with Disabilities, and MFS Investment Management.
Calendar:  Community Autism Resources Walk/5K Run and Family Fun Day

When:  Saturday, September 23, 2017, 9:30 A.M. - 1:30 P.M.

Where:  Francis Farm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts 

Community Autism Resources, an Autism Support Center serving 82 cities and town from the Greater Fall River area, to the South shore, Cape & Islands, will hold the 14th annual Hearts and Hands Walk/5K Run for Autism and Family Fun Day at Francis Farm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts on Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 9:30 AM until 1:30 PM. The Hearts and Hands Walk/5K run is the signature fundraiser for Community Autism Resources. All of the money raised through this event stays in the local communities and helps provide free services, supports and resources to children, teens, adults and their families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Family Fun Day is a thank you to all for their support and efforts in taking action and raising much needed funds and awareness for this event!

There will be: Carnival style games, Bubble Creation station, Arts and Crafts, Face Painting, Two Bounce Houses, Amazing Raffle Items, Our Autism Store and so much more. You can still create your own fundraising team by going to www.community-autism-resources.com

Community Autism Resources provides free programs and services for children, teens and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. These include trips to the movies where the theaters are Sensory friendly; Ice-skating; Hayrides; trips to police and fire stations; "Twilight Tours" at Buttonwood Park Zoo; Grandparent brunches featuring various speakers discussing issues related to Autism Spectrum Disorder. CAR will be expanding its services to adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder this Fall by sponsoring the Gottschall Access Program, 3 year certificate Program at Bristol Community College. Community Autism Resources recently opened a new office in Brockton Massachusetts.

For more information on the Hearts and Hands Walk/5K Run, Contact Crystal Medeiros at 508-379-0371 X. 22 Oror1-800-588-9239 X. 22 or e-mail CMedeiros@Community-Autism-resources.com or you can go to our Website at: http://www.community-autism-resources.com
Calendar:  ACB Conference Call on Roundabouts  

When:  Saturday, September 30, 2017, 2:00 - 4:00 P.M.

The American Council of the Blind Transportation Committee and the American Council of the Blind Environmental Access Committee are co-sponsoring a conference call on roundabouts on Saturday September 30 2017 from 2-4PM EST

Roundabouts are one of the newest types of intersections and they pose some major obstacles for the blind. Do you know what they are? Are they in your community yet? Do you want to learn more about them? Do you want to discuss current designs and pedestrian access? There will be a panel discussion including experts on what roundabouts are and what designs are best for those of us who are blind. (During the panel discussion lines will be muted so everyone can hear.)

After the panel has completed their presentations lines will be opened up for questions. Please join us and bring any questions you may have.

The phone numbers to participate are as follows:
605-475-4120, Pin Number: 818-9279

If you are a T Mobile Customer please use the number below:
605-475-2880, Pin Number: 818-9279

Our distinguished panel members include,

Janet M Barlow
Accessible Design for The Blind

Lucas Frank
The Seeing Eye

Bastian Schroeder, PE, Phd
Principle Engineer
Kittelson and Associates Inc.
Transportation Engineering/ Planning

Mike Goehring
Guiding Eyes
Field Representative

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their participation.

This notice is also posted on our website at: http://acb.org/roundabout-call-9-30-17
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