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Save Our SHIP – Senate Appropriations Committee May Cut All Funding for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee introduced a budget for federal fiscal year (FY) 2017 cutting all funding ($52.1 million) for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

The State of Wisconsin currently receives about $1 million annually through the federal SHIP grant. This funding is used to support the:

• Toll-free statewide Medigap Helpline and Medigap Part D and Prescription Drug Helpline operated by the Board on Aging and Long Term Care (BOALTC);

• Toll-free statewide Medicare Part D Helpline operated by Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) for people with disabilities and their families or guardians;

• Elder Healthcare Advocate (an attorney specializing in eligibility and transitions for BadgerCare Plus, the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicare) at the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR); and

• Elder Benefit Specialist services in 72 counties and 11 tribes.

In 2015, staff working in these programs and services responded to over 95,000 contacts with Medicare beneficiaries and conducted over 2,600 public outreach events during that same period.  Click here to read the rest of Save Our SHIP – Senate Appropriations Committee May Cut All Funding for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) »

Making Hard Time Harder: Report Outlines Need for Accommodations for Prisoners with Disabilities

More than 600,000 inmates with disabilities in prisons across the country spend more time in prison, under harsher conditions, than inmates without disabilities, according to research. On June 22, Amplifying Voices of Prisoners with Disabilities (AVID), a project of Disability Rights Washington, released Making Hard Time Harder: Programmatic Accommodations for Inmates with Disabilities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The report outlines a nationwide lack of accommodations for inmates with disabilities.

“People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment,” stated Mark Stroh, Executive Director of Disability Rights Washington. “In drafting this report, we have found that inmates with disabilities are often neglected and excluded from programs, rehabilitation, and basic medical care, subjecting them to additional forms of punishment solely due to their disability.”
Click here to read the rest of Making Hard Time Harder: Report Outlines Need for Accommodations for Prisoners with Disabilities »

DRW Public Policy Director Lisa Pugh reappointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

President Barack Obama has announced his intent to reappoint Disability Rights Wisconsin’s Public Policy Director, Lisa Pugh, to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID): President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts.The PCPID Was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.

Last year Lisa worked with the committee to publish the PCPID report to the President:

Leveling the Playing Field: Improving Technology Access and Design for People with Intellectual Disabilities

PCPID 2015 Report to the President.

The PCPID will soon issue a report on reducing segregation of people with disabilities across the lifespan.

You can learn more about the PCPID here: http://www.acl.gov/Programs/AIDD/Programs/PCPID/index.aspx

DRW congratulates Lisa!

 

Parity in 2016: Your Health Insurance Rights to Mental Health and Substance Use Services – Presentation by DRW Staff Attorney Shunette Campbell Hunter

Willy Street Coop (West)
Monday June 27, 2016 6 pm. – 7pm.

6825 University Ave.
Middleton, WI 53562

(608) 284-7800

Parity in 2016: Your Health Insurance Rights to Mental Health and Substance Use Services
Presenter: Shunette Hunter – Disability Rights Wisconsin Staff Attorney

1. Description. The purpose of the training is to educate consumers, families and advocates about their rights under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). A major goal of the training is to equip consumers to advocate for their rights under this law. This will be a presenter-led power point presentation accompanied by an interactive dialogue and a consumer-friendly guide.

2.The power point presentation will include:

• A brief synopsis of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and comparison with state law.

• An overview of the scope of coverage using scenarios and hypotheticals.

• Common violations that result in a denial of benefits.

– How to ask your provider for something based on the Parity law.

• What to do when benefits are denied.

- Self-advocacy strategies and resources including forms and examples.

• Questions and answers.

Disability Rights Wisconsin mourns the passing of Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades

The disability community has lost an ally who was committed to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities, mental illness, and dementia. Secretary Rhoades had a strong record of engagement with the disability community and was a vigorous proponent of self-determination and community-based services for people with disabilities.

Disability Rights Wisconsin has always valued our partnership with the Secretary.

“I recall getting several direct calls from Secretary Rhoades over the years asking for our help in making sure people with the most complex needs could live in the community,” said Kit Kerschensteiner, Managing Attorney.

Throughout her career Rhoades was personally engaged with people with disabilities across the state and was a leader in advocating for funding for services for children with significant disabilities. She was one of the original proponents for self-direction and was a champion for increasing support for community-based mental health.

“Kitty was a strong and clear leader who worked to improve the system of care and supports for those with disabilities and older adults in Wisconsin. She was always respectful and open to differing perspectives,” stated Daniel Idzikowski, DRW’s Executive Director.

We join the health care community and the Department in expressing our sadness and condolences to the Secretary’s family and friends.

DRW APPLAUDS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SETTLEMENT WITH THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE

Disability Rights Wisconsin is pleased that the United States Department of Justice as part of its Project Civic Access has reached a comprehensive settlement agreement with the City of Milwaukee to ensure the City’s compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the terms of the agreement the City will appoint an ADA coordinator, review architectural accessibility of City buildings, and ensure effective communication with Milwaukee citizens. In addition, the City will review emergency management procedures and shelters, and ensure polling place accessibility as well as accessibility for victims of domestic abuse.
Click here to read the rest of DRW APPLAUDS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SETTLEMENT WITH THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE »

Disability Rights Wisconsin Welcomes News that Plans for Family Care/IRIS Reforms are Withdrawn

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2106

Contact: Lisa Pugh, Public Policy Director

Disability Rights Wisconsin Welcomes News that Plans for Family Care/IRIS Reforms are Withdrawn

Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) welcomes the news communicated by Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades to the Joint Finance Committee yesterday that the Department is withdrawing its concept plan for Family Care/IRIS 2.0.

Read the DHS letter here: www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/0610dhs.pdf.

DRW has been working to turn back the significant reforms to the programs that serve more than 55,000 people with disabilities and older adults since the proposal to overhaul the long-term care system was announced in Governor Walker’s budget in early 2015.

“We are pleased that the voices of people with disabilities and older adults were heard,” says Lisa Pugh, Public Policy Director. “Wisconsin’s system of long-term services and supports are nationally recognized. People rely on these programs for their quality of life and ability to live and participate in their communities. It is essential that Family Care and IRIS continue to be designed and operate in a way that works for people and provides both what they want and need.”   Click here to read the rest of Disability Rights Wisconsin Welcomes News that Plans for Family Care/IRIS Reforms are Withdrawn »

WISCONSIN INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES REPORT VOTING DIFFICULTIES IN RECENT ELECTION

In response to a Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition survey of 423 Wisconsin residents with disabilities, their families and caregivers: nearly 7% reported challenges at the polls or believed they were unable to vote in the most recent election.

Survey respondents reported that they did not even attempt to vote because they believed they didn’t have a valid photo ID or would have to cast a provisional ballot due to photo ID or registration issues. Others reported having trouble getting transportation to their polling place or issues at their polling place because of photo ID requirements or interpretation of the law’s requirements by poll workers.

The automated survey was conducted May 23 through May 24 and included individuals with disabilities, family members, and other caregivers. Click here to read the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition’s press release about the survey.

Take a Minute for Medicare

This is the last of a three part series on Medicare Preventive Services. This final article will focus on the most common preventive service that most Medicare beneficiaries receive, Part B covered vaccines.

Preventive vaccines (flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B vaccines) are typically covered by Medicare at little or no cost to you. There are specific rules you must follow in order for Medicare to cover your vaccine as a preventive service:  Click here to read the rest of Take a Minute for Medicare »

DRW joins 193 organizations calling upon the FDA to finalize the ban on Electrical Stimulation Devices

DRW signed on to a letter asking for a ban on electrical stimulation devices that was sent to federal agencies on Wednesday, June 1. Click here to read the letter.