Front Page Blog

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 12:21

By Devon Mayer

The National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities holds an annual National Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Conference.  The conference is for staff of Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as partners, providers and advocates providing services to people with long term services and supports (LTSS) needs in the community. 

At this year’s HCBS Conference, I had the opportunity to represent the Maryland Medicaid agency (my previous employer) on a panel presentation on how to obtain Federal funds for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs).  ADRCs are partnerships between local agencies that are also referred to as No Wrong Door agencies.  In Maryland, the ADRCs are formal partnerships between the local Area Agency on Aging and the Center for Independent Living, as well as other...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - 12:19

By Shelia Newman, MS, President

Snapshots of Shelia Newman and Cindy Ryan on CSPAN

On Tuesday, August 8th, Vice President Cindy Ryan and I were panelists on “Campaign 2016 and People with Disabilities: Enabling Access and Opportunities for All,” a summit held at the Rayburn House Office Building. This special event, hosted by RespectAbility and covered by CSPAN, brought together campaign consultants, Hill staff and disability leaders. Cindy and I spoke on “Reaching All Voters by Making Electronic Communications Accessible.” You can watch our presentation on CSPAN.

One point in my address to the group was that we are seeing more interest in...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 10:10

By Jane Rath, Vice President

Another anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is here and I find myself once again taking stock of the progress we are making to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  We are moving forward – even if slower than many of us would like.  I recently read an article that patently rejected the value and need for the ADA, highlighting exactly how far behind some people are in their thinking.  While the article angered me, it also reminded me that there is still much work to be done.

I am proud to work at New Editions Consulting, a company recognized for its inclusive hiring practices.  This year, New Editions was among a short list of companies to receive the National Organization on Disability (NOD) 2016 Disability Employer Seal of Approval.  This award “applauds organizations who are leading the way in building an inclusive workforce, with exemplary employment practices for people with...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 14:04

By Robert Bartolotta, Ph.D.

The President of the United States proclaimed May 2016 “National Mental Health Awareness Month.” This proclamation recognizes the prevalence of mental health needs within our society, the need to reduce the stigma of having a mental illness (particularly among those pursuing treatment and support), and the expanding opportunities for treatment gained through the Affordable Care Act, as well as other Federal health initiatives. These opportunities have provided expansions in community health services, parity of service requirements for health insurance providers and clauses limiting discrimination against insurance seekers with pre-existing conditions, including mental illness.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), citing findings from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 25 percent of American adults, 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18, and 13 percent of youth ages 8 to 13...

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 11:52

By Cherie Takemoto, MPA, Project Manager

The Department of Justice (DOJ) inaugurated April 24-30 as National Reentry Week. This week is part of the effort to encourage and highlight the work that the Department of Justice has taken to make our criminal justice system fairer, more efficient, and more effective at reducing recidivism and helping formerly incarcerated individuals contribute to their communities.  An important part of that task is preparing those who have paid their debt to society for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, and addressing obstacles to successful reentry that too many returning citizens encounter.

According to the Department of Justice, nearly a quarter of Americans have been involved in the criminal justice system, primarily through nonviolent and minor offenses. Every year, an estimated 11.4 million individuals cycle through jails and...

Monday, April 4, 2016 - 13:13

By Ceseley Haynes, MPH

Today marks the beginning of National Public Health Week (NPHW), an annual observance sponsored by the American Public Health Association (APHA) to celebrate the contributions of public health, highlight issues critical to improving the health of our nation, and mobilize communities with a shared call to action.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, research on disease and injury prevention, and the detection and control of infectious diseases. Health promotion, preventative care, and public health awareness efforts have helped contribute to an improved overall health status of individuals in America, and around the world. These efforts have helped the United States achieve public health milestones and increase the life expectancy rate of the American population as a...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 - 13:42

March 22nd marks the annual American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert day, an event that serves as “a wake-up call asking Americans to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.” The importance of early diagnosis and proper management is crucial to positive outcomes among the diabetic population, as the progression of the disease can lead to serious disability if not treated properly.

It is estimated that one in every four people with diabetes is unaware that they have the disease. When left untreated, complications can include eye and nerve damage, kidney disease, and serious long term effects on the body. One of the most common problems associated with improper care is severe damage to the feet. As a result of steady untreated high blood sugar, poor blood flow causes nerve loss. These issues create noticeable changes, which turn seemingly ordinary cuts and cracks in the skin into painful and sometimes untreatable...

Monday, March 7, 2016 - 11:56

By Stephanie Mensh 

Community bakeries and cafes are popular places to gather with friends and neighbors, celebrate a team victory or cheer up when you are feeling a little low. Running these cafes can be difficult but rewarding work, especially when staff members see and hear the positive feedback from their customers.  There are two establishments in the Washington, DC suburbs that offer more than something for your sweet tooth or a quick caffeine fix. They are dedicated to training and employing people with disabilities.

In Fairfax, Virginia, Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates provides an array of coffee drinks, tea and an assortment of freshly baked pastries and chocolates made in their own kitchen. Its founders were inspired by the successful model of Chilmark Chocolates of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, which has been turning out tourist-attracting chocolates for over 25 years, while training and employing individuals with challenges. The café’s...

Friday, January 22, 2016 - 10:34

By Anthony Oberg, MPA

Winter weather evokes mixed emotions in adults. Children love this time of year when school can be cancelled on a Wednesday and snowmen dot the landscape, while adults wrestle between the guiltless joy of having an excuse to stay indoors with a book, hot chocolate and Netflix—and the inevitable loathing of de-icing, shoveling and the worsening of already terrible traffic. Among the black and white of the average person’s view exists a hidden realm of winter trials reserved for people with disabilities.

Remember the Oregon Trail? It was a computer game designed around the journey of 19th century pioneer families. Schools used it to keep students busy on days where recess was held indoors. It has been revamped over the years, but the premise remains constant; pick a profession, purchase a wagon and supplies and begin the perilous journey to find a new life in Oregon. Navigating the winter months elicits a similar sense of danger for persons with...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 11:16

By Jane Rath, Vice President

Community integration for seniors and individuals with disabilities hasn’t always been the standard, but it is on the rise – thanks in part to programs like the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration Program.  As a nation we are now at a tipping point with Medicaid dollars for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) approximating the dollars being spent on institutionally based services.

This shift has been influenced by the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision that requires states to provide services for people with disabilities in the most integrated setting, along with the rising consumer demand for community based solutions and aging in place options.  CMS has responded to this demand through their new settings rule policy and guidance and by offering technical assistance and support to states to develop HCBS solutions. 

MFP is one example of a federal-state...