February 13, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


We have lots of news for you this week.   Uber has a new service animal policy, MOD announces an art show and some people are becoming disabled by choice. Wait...what?  Yup, we have all that and more.

The story of a DAAHR member was used by Senator Warren on the floor of the Senate.  Unfortunately, Dr. Tom Price was approved anyway.  Now our real work begins. 
As always  happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Community News: Uber Updates Service Animal Policy    

On February 1, 2017, Uber updated their policies on service animals.  The new policy states:

State and Federal law prohibits driver-partners using the Uber app from denying service to riders with service animals because of their service animals or otherwise discriminating against riders because of their service animals. 

Driver Partners Legal Obligation
  • Driver partners have a legal obligation to provide service to riders with service animals
  • Driver partners cannot lawfully deny service to a rider with a service animal because of allergies, religious objections or a general fear of dogs. 
  • Each driver partner has been made aware of their obligation to transport riders with service animals through the technology services agreement they signed with Uber.
  • If driver partners refuse a rider with a service animal, because of their service animal, that driver is in violation of the law and in breech of their agreement with Uber. 
Consequences for Service Animal Denials?
  • If Uber determines that a driver denied service to a rider because of a service animal the driver will be permanently banned from the Uber Driver App. 
  • Uber will make the determination of whether service was denied because of a service animal in a review of the incident 
  • If Uber receives multiple complaints about a driver partner denying service to a rider because of a service animal, that partner will be permanently banned from driving with Uber, regardless of the justification the driver-partner offers.
How to Report a Service Animal Complaint 

To file a complaint from the Uber rider app, navigate to "I want to file a service animal issue" complaint screen which is available through both the trip details screen and the account menu button.

To file a complaint through the Uber website navigate to the " I want to file a service animal issue"  link through the "help" link on the Uber website.
DAAHR Update:  Senator Warren uses DAAHR Member Story on Senate Floor     

As you know, DAAHR has been gathering your stories to help us tell chronicle the Affordable Care Act.  We are using these stories to fight repeal of the ACA and to protect our right to live in the community.  

During debate, on confirmation for Representative Dt. Tom Price as the next Secretary of  the United States Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), Senator Warren related the story of BCIL and DAAHR member Jill Castrol.  

To view the video follow this link.  Then pick the third video entitled "Tonight we will vote on..."  Advance to about the 4 minute 30 second mark.

We need your story.  Please think about how to add your voice to our fight!
Health Care Update: Dr. Tom Price Confirmed as Secretary of EOHHS

Despite the objections of Senator Elizabeth Warren and all other Democratic Senators, Dr. Tom Price was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Secretary of EOHHS.

Dr. Price has been one of the leading voices against ObamaCare or the ACA.  In the past he has called for cutting $1 Trillion from Medicaid, eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions and turning Medicare into a voucher program.

He is expected to lead President Trump's efforts to redesign healthcare.  Now, our work begins in earnest.
Community News:  MOD Announces Call for Art 

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) is pleased to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our 2017 Call for Art and juried art exhibition. We are calling on talented Massachusetts residents of all abilities to submit an original work which captures the theme of Breaking Barriers. The barriers persons with disabilities sometimes encounter are not only physical, but also societal. Selected entries will be displayed at a public exhibition in late 2017 (date to be determined) and in an online gallery.

A central purpose in holding this exhibition is to showcase the talent of our Commonwealth residents and to present works to the public that will raise awareness of and challenge the barriers and stigma that persons with disabilities encounter. The exhibition will deliver the important message that ability comes in all forms.

Artists who enter the Call for Art will have an opportunity to gain statewide exposure and recognition in addition to experiencing the process of entering their work for consideration for display in a juried art show.


Pops Peterson, Artist in Residence of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination; Marian Brown, Founding Executive Director of Arts Connect International; David D Arcangelo, Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability; Ken Strickland, Provost of the Massachusetts College of Art & Design; Chares J. Washburn, Vice President & COO of VSA Massachusetts.   Read juror biographies  

The Call for Art is open to all Massachusetts residents ages 18 and over. Out-of-state students of Massachusetts colleges and universities are eligible. Submissions must be original two-dimensional works of visual art depicting the theme of Breaking Barriers. Submissions will be accepted starting February 1, 2017 through August 1, 2017. Each entry will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) and jury. Selected entries will be displayed at an exhibition and published in our photo gallery or homepage, social media channels, and Massachusetts Office on Disability publications.

Entries will be accepted through an online submission form. You will be required to upload a photo of your original work. If your work is selected to be part of the exhibition, you will be required to send the original piece to the Massachusetts Office on Disability at a later date to be determined. Original works must be two-dimensional and not exceed 36 in any direction.
Click here to submit your artwork!

For more information 

To request reasonable accommodation(s), please contact MOD s ADA Coordinator at 617-727-7440 x27324 or by email at evan.bjorklund@massmail.state.ma.us
We look forward to receiving your entries!
Net News:  Price of Treatment for Muscular Dystrophy Drug Increases 70-Fold to $89,000

Marathon Pharmaceuticals won approval to market the drug  deflazacort, to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  As a result, he company increased the price 70 fold to $89,000 per year.

Net News:  People Are Becoming Disabled By Choice, Calling Themselves "TransAbled"

Okay!  I am not even sure how to respond to this or if I can wrap my head around it.  Under my promise to keep you updated on the latest disability related news, this is from Guff.com.  I welcome your feedback.   See here.
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