On Target eNews comes to you the first Tuesday of each month with updates on our clients, our organization, and our work. We also publish a full newsletter three times a year.
Don't forget to vote!
March 15, 2016 is North Carolina's primary election. Read information on the new voter ID requirements.
2016 Disability Advocacy Conference coming soon!
Check out our webpage to see the full agenda, register, book a hotel room, or learn about available scholarships.
April 20, 2016
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
The Friday Center
Chapel Hill, NC
$125 - Registration for Non-Attorneys
$160 - Registration for Attorneys Seeking CLE Credit
Registration includes continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and materials
New this year
* Presentation of a mock IEP meeting and special education Q&A with Disability Rights NC attorneys
* Up to 4.75 hours of CLE credit (including 1 hour of ethics) for attorneys licensed in NC
* 5 Breakout Session time slots offering 15 different topics
* Longer breaks between sessions
* Expanded networking luncheon sponsored by Henson & Fuerst
"From Guardianship to Supported Decision-Making" by The Honorable Kristin Booth Glen, Dean Emerita at CUNY School of Law
Awards winners announced
Disability Rights NC will present three awards at our April 20, 2016 Awards Reception. The Adele Foschia Award for Lifetime Cross-Disability Advocacy will go to Christine Trottier, a dedicated advocate who spent her entire career fighting for the dignity and the rights of children and adults with disabilities. This is the first year we will present the Adele Foschia award.
We will present two 2016 Champions for Equality and Justice Awards. One will go to Sandra "Sam" Hedrick, a compassionate and forward-thinking provider of supports and services for people with disabilities in North Carolina.
Another will go to Bethany Smith, a young advocate determined to use her own struggles in the fight to end the stigma of living with a mental illness.
The Awards Reception will follow our annual conference and will be held at Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill. Purchase tickets for $35.
Autism-related services covered for children on Medicaid
A recent News & Observer article
inadvertently promoted a common misunderstanding around Medicaid coverage of autism-related services.
The February 12, 2016 article offered great news for families
of children with autism who have private insurance. It describes a new state
law that will require private insurance companies to cover autism treatments
such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children under 18 in new policies
issued after July 1, 2016.
The problem is that the article stated that if a child is on
Medicaid rather than private insurance, then the child is not covered for this
type of treatment. This is not true. In fact, the federal Medicaid program
requires states to cover medically necessary autism-related services for
children under 21, including ABA. This coverage is required under the Early
Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Medicaid benefit.
Disability Rights NC has seen cases in which children have been
denied these services despite their medical necessity. Even among the professionals
responsible for approving or denying coverage there has been a great deal of
Disability Rights NC is working with the state Medicaid
office and the managed care organizations to improve the system so that
every child who qualifies for these services has access to them. This fact sheet further explains the EPSDT benefit.
Services denied to
woman with Alzheimer’s disease
In the world of Medicaid-covered services, a simple misunderstanding can have a profound effect on a family.
Martha’s mother has Alzheimer’s disease. At nearly 90 years
old, she needs help with daily living tasks, and she was receiving 80 hours in
personal care services each month. When she returned home from a rehabilitative
facility after a fall, she had even more trouble, with no capacity to bathe or
dress herself, and extremely limited ability to move around and eat by herself.
So Martha requested an increase in her mother’s personal
care services. Unfortunately, after an assessor came to their home to evaluate
her mother’s needs, her request for additional services was not only denied,
but her existing personal care service hours were eliminated.
Disability Rights NC agreed to help Martha with her mother’s
situation, and after mediation, the 80 hours per month in personal care
services was restored and an additional 50 hours per month was granted for a
total of 130 hours per month.
Where was the disconnect? When the assessor had asked Martha
if she worked, she replied, “Who has time to work?” She was caring for her
mother full time, which, in the eyes of the assessor, meant her mother’s needs
were not going unmet. But Martha wanted and needed to work.
In this case, the misunderstanding was cleared up, and
Martha’s mother ultimately received the services she desperately needed.
A call to end solitary confinement for juveniles
Disability Rights NC
renewed its call for Commissioner of Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice
David W. Guice to ban solitary confinement for youth in state prisons last
month after President Obama announced that he was banning restrictive housing
for juveniles in federal prisons.
Said Vicki Smith,
Executive Director of Disability Rights NC: “These are young people who need
help, and solitary confinement does the opposite, causing long-lasting psychological
harm. Paranoia, hallucinations, difficulties with impulse control, depression,
aggression, even suicidal ideation…the science shows isolation contributes to
mental illness. It’s simply not right to subject struggling youth to this
Disability Rights NC has
found in its periodic checks of the state’s juvenile prison population that the
percentage of 16- to 17-year-old youth in restrictive housing has ranged from
21 percent to 38 percent over the past year. In addition to calling for the end
to segregated confinement, Disability Rights NC calls for better conditions for
youth who are placed in restrictive housing, including more physical exercise
and mental health assessments.
In a Washington Post opinion editorial,
President Obama commented, “Some studies indicate that [solitary confinement]
can worsen existing mental illnesses and even trigger new ones. Prisoners in
solitary are more likely to commit suicide, especially juveniles and people
with mental illnesses.”
A News & Observer article includes Commissioner Guice's response to the call from Disability Rights NC.
Job Opportunity: Policy Analyst
Disability Rights NC is seeking a policy analyst who will be responsible for researching and analyzing disability policy issues. Our public policy activities cover a broad range of issues, including but not limited to health care, education, employment, housing, transportation, voting, and criminal justice. Full job description.
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