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On Target  eNews                                            November 2015 

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Our Fall 2015 Newsletter and 2016 Target publication now available online

In the Fall 2015 edition of On Target:

  • Client Stories
  • Legislative Wrap-Up
  • Conference Keynote Speaker Announced
  • Education Team Updates
  • Issue Spotlight: Accommodations for Students in Higher Education

Fall 2015 newsletter in alternate format: Word version

The 2016 Targets publication outlines the focus areas of our work for 2016, who will benefit from the work, and why our work in these areas is critical for people with disabilities living in North Carolina.

VOTE clip art 2

Many municipal elections held on Tuesday, November 3

Don't forget to vote!

Out-of-precinct voting is still allowed on Election Day.

Third Annual Disability Advocacy Conference -- April 20, 2016 at The Friday Center, Chapel Hill

Our conference sponsors help us provide scholarships to people with disabilities on limited or fixed incomes.

Interested in being a conference sponsor? Contact Elaine Whitford at or 919-856-2195.

Conference registration , breakout session information, and scholarship applications will be available on our website in December.

Self-advocacy resources

If you think your rights or those of a loved one have been violated because of a disability, be sure to check out our website. We may have a fact sheet on the issue that concerns you.

Look under self-advocacy resources for fact sheets covering education, employment, Medicaid, and many other areas. They will inform you of your rights and help you navigate the process of advocating for yourself.

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Report released on the State's progress toward creating a system that supports the independence of people with mental illness

Now in its third year, the State of North Carolina's settlement with the US Department of Justice which addresses housing and services for adults with serious and persistent mental illness has been slow to make meaningful change for the people it is meant to benefit. But a status report released last week by the independent reviewer for the settlement, Martha Knisley, says there is some cause for optimism. Noting strong leadership and funding commitments honored by the State, Knisley says progress is "slow but steady" toward compliance with most of the obligations set out in the settlement. Over 100 measures are discussed in the 61-page document.

The report indicates that people leaving state psychiatric hospitals are still very unlikely to get community integrated supportive housing, and the situation is not much better for people living in adult care homes. Knisley calls for additional capacity and other changes to supported employment services offered pursuant to the settlement as well as better and more consistent access to community-based mental health services necessary for the success of the settlement.

Disability Rights NC staff have observed, and Knisley confirmed, that some concerns raised in the report have already begun to be addressed since state agency staff first saw a draft in July. We will continue to follow the implementation of the settlement to ensure that North Carolina lives up to its obligations to residents with mental illness.

Read Knisley's report.

NC DHHS accepting complaints of disability discrimination

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has agreed to accept and respond to complaints of discrimination by DHHS against people with disabilities. DHHS implemented the complaint process to settle a case brought by Disability Rights NC on behalf of an individual with a disability who was discriminated against by a Medicaid provider.


The case arose after the individual complained to DHHS that a Medicaid provider refused to hire a sign language interpreter for her appointment. DHHS investigated and found that the Medicaid provider had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. To resolve the DHHS complaint, the provider agreed to make another appointment with an interpreter present. The provider later cancelled the appointment and told DHHS that the appointment was cancelled because he was no longer accepting new patients. Disability Rights NC investigated and confirmed that the practice was accepting new patients. Disability Rights NC reported the provider’s false statements to DHHS, but DHHS failed to take any action. Disability Rights NC filed a legal action against DHHS over its failed grievance procedures.


The newly implemented grievance procedure is available to anyone who has a complaint of disability discrimination against any program, service, or activity of DHHS and its divisions. Common complaints that can be addressed by the grievance procedure include: failure of Medicaid providers to hire sign language interpreters, physically inaccessible offices, and refusal to provide services because of an individual’s particular disability. If you are not sure if you experienced discrimination, or if you have not received a timely response to your DHHS grievance, contact Disability Rights NC for assistance.

The grievance procedure can be found online on the DHHS website. If you would like to learn more about the rights of people with disabilities, consult the self-advocacy resources located on the home page of our website. If you have a complaint of discrimination against a State agency other than DHHS, contact Nancy Lipscomb with the NC Office on the ADA at 919-716-3800 for assistance.

On Target eNews comes to you once a month with updates on our clients, our organization, and our work. We also publish a full newsletter three times a year.

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