Front Page Blog

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 14:07

May is National Mental Health Month: Participate in the National Community Dialogue

By Jayme Pendergraft

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. During May, communities come together to promote awareness and understanding of mental illness.

Mental illness affects most families. One in four Americans will have a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Half of all mental illnesses begin by age 14 and 75% begin by age 24. Mental illnesses include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, among many others. To increase access to care and create an open dialogue about mental illness, communities must address service system issues.

In 2013, President Barack Obama called for a “national conversation to increase understanding about mental health”...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 11:00

Homemade Cards, Flowers, Brunch - and a Physical?

By Anna Lenhart

This Sunday marks the celebration of Mother's Day and the beginning of National Women’s Health Week (NWHW). NWHW is an annual week long observance led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) that aims to empower women to make their health a priority and increase their understanding of what it means to be well. 

Mother’s Day is a chance to show our appreciation and celebrate mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and special women in our lives who have taken care of us over the years, through childhood and beyond. In the United States, the onus of care taking falls disproportionately on women, a growing number who are working fulltime, caring for their children, and supporting aging parents. Whether they are mothers, health care providers, primary caretakers, child care providers, formal or informal caregivers – the reality is the women...

Monday, April 28, 2014 - 15:11

Bi-Partisan Think Tank Tackles Long Term Care Financing & Delivery

By Stephanie Mensh, Senior Analyst

I appreciate the important Republican and Democratic thought leaders who are focusing on the need to provide long term services and supports (LTSS) for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions and older Americans. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) recently announced plans to draft policy and legislative solutions that will address public and private financing options, as well as how and where the services and supports are delivered. 

LTSS encompasses assistance with personal care, activities of daily living, housekeeping, health care routines that may be delivered in homes, assisted living developments, group homes, nursing homes, or other facilities. LTSS may be provided by family, friends, hired personal care assistants, other professional health care staff, and sometimes a mix of all of the above. 

With the...

Monday, March 10, 2014 - 12:53

Section 508: Try another swim lane?

By Chris Law, Ph.D., Senior Accessibility Analyst

Want to know how to make a website accessible? Google the answers. Want a mainstream phone with built-in speech output for using it without vision? Go to an electronics store. Want to know how to make an ATM accessible? Put your headphone jack in pretty much any ATM. Want to know how to change your organization so that accessibility becomes an integral part of everyone's job? Um...   As time goes by more and more of the technological challenges around accessibility are being solved, written about, and widely implemented. However, let's face it, the ideal of everyone in an agency viewing accessibility as a shared responsibility seems like a long way off.


The way I put it to developers is this: Would you consider software security only at the end of the project? How about software quality? No. These are things that the software development...

Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 17:03

Why I Work

By Ben Spangenberg

As a child with Spina Bifida growing up in Northern California I had some amazing opportunities. I went to the best public schools, had friends both with and without disabilities, and even participated in children’s theater. I also had many of the complications that people with Spina Bifida have—eleven surgeries, occupational and physical therapy appointments and countless sick days.

Through all of the opportunities and challenges of childhood, I always expected to graduate high school, go to college and get a good job that would keep me self-sufficient.  By high school, I learned about the atrociously high unemployment rate for people with disabilities, and realized this would not be so easy. After high school, I attended the University of California at Berkeley, where I discovered Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI provided some income for housing and food and Medicaid provided the health insurance...

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 11:37

Section 508: What can we infer from a lack of complaints?

By Chris Law, Ph.D., Senior Accessibility Analyst

Question: "How's 508 working out for your customers?"

Response: "We haven't had any complaints, so I think we're doing really well."

A lack of complaints is often cited in Section 508 circles as an indicator that we are all doing a great job for our customers. But are we? Research on consumer complaints suggests that people in general don't complain. They either go elsewhere, or just stop using that type of product or service.

Think about your latest bad restaurant experience. Did you complain to the management or just not go back? If you were to complain to the manager about your food, would you expect to receive a prompt, courteous response with a sincere attempt to resolve the problem? You bet! Section 508 departments put plans and procedures in place to quickly respond to complaints as they arise. Indeed I've...

Monday, January 20, 2014 - 23:00

Community Living:  Report to Congress on Long Term Services & Supports

By Stephanie Mensh

Over 12 million Americans receive long term services and supports (LTSS) to meet their daily needs in a variety of settings, provided by family and/or paid workers. In late September, the bi-partisan Commission on Long Term Care issued its Report to Congress.

The Commission’s Report issued a “call to action,” declaring that:

  • New approaches are needed to bring LTSS care integration, technology, and innovative workforce strategies together to reduce costs and improve outcomes.
  • Creative financing efforts are needed to affordably insure the risk of needing LTSS and encourage higher levels of savings.
  • A more accessible and sustainable Medicaid is needed to assure its continued role in guaranteeing the availability of LTSS.

The LTC Commission was formed by the “fiscal cliff” law in January 2013, and asked...