Thursday March 15, 2018
DOJ Joins Lawsuit Against the MTA
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the MTA did not adequately prove that building elevators was “infeasible.” The DOJ asserted the the MTA feasibility study was “insufficient” and the MTA must now go back and finish the work of making the Middletown station on the "6" line accessible. We will keep you filled in, while we follow this ongoing story.
For more information on this story, go to:
The disability community’s reaction was swift and indignant! The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a statement on February 22 that said “These comments reinforce inaccurate and negative stereotypes and create barriers to having real conversations about how to improve the mental health services that lead to recovery and participation in American society by people experiencing mental health conditions.”
CNN also covered the president's remarks and posted some interesting facts. They quote a World Health Organization report that says “only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents get the needed treatment.” The report goes on to say that stigma is the primary reason. Representatives from the National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment say that when words like “crazy” and “sicko” get thrown around, this is the “height of disrespect and the height of ignorance” for our fellow citizens.
The NAMI press release focused on the president’s call for the use of psychiatric institutions and countered with logical insightful arguments for better community based mental health services and mental health services integrated into primary care. They also called on President Trump to open a dialogue and work “on steps for improving mental health services in America.”
Our source for this story is:
According to a DRNY press release, New York State has refused to give reports of abuse to DRNY and has been withholding this information for approximately 2 years. “The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs” is the state agency that is responsible for preventing and investigating abuse against people with disabilities. And, DRNY believes they have not done a good job.
In 2015, the Justice Center reported more than 1100 cases of severe abuse against people with a disabilty, including 28 where the victim died. Of these 1100 abuse cases, only 89 ended in an arrest or prosecution. "Bussfeed" reported on one of these incidents where a patient at Bellevue Hospital was severely beaten at least twice and these assaults were captured on video. At the time, the Justice Center claimed they did not have jurisdiction at Bellevue; a claim that was false. DRNY contends that the Justice Center has blocked investigations, failed to remove incompetent medical personnel and does not properly regulate facilities under their jurisdiction.
On February 28th, DRNY won a judgment in federal court that says that the Justice Center knowingly violated federal law by redacting information and withholding records from DRNY. Disability Rights New York (DRNY) is now calling on the state to do 3 things:
In 2015, Loews informed this supervisor with a disability that they would no longer provide his reasonable accommodation, he was demoted back to associate and his hourly salary was reduced by more than 4 dollars. The EEOC lawsuit said “that the company's refusal to accommodate the department manager, a qualified individual with a disability, and subsequent decision to demote him to a lower-paying position violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”
The EEOC press release stated "It is important for companies like Lowe's to carefully make decisions regarding reasonable accommodations to ensure its employees with disabilities can perform their work successfully," said Suzanne Anderson, supervisory trial attorney for the EEOC's Dallas District Office. "The early settlement of this litigation assures that this employee will continue serving as a productive member of the Lowe's team."
To read the online press release, visit:
To read the full article, visit the:
Friday February 16, 2018
(More Opinion than News)
On Thursday February 15th, The House passed this bill, called the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017” with 213 Republican and 12 Democratic votes. Important to New York City and Long Island residents is that 4 local House Representatives voted for this undermining of the ADA. Peter King, Lee Zeldin and Kathleen Rice of long Island, as well an Dan Donovan of Staten Island cast their votes against disability rights.
There are lawyers who file ADA suits and don’t require access remediation in their settlements and this is a problem. However, there is no evidence that shows this happens in large numbers. A few news shows, like 60 Minutes and Anderson Cooper have reported on ADA lawsuit sweeps that have hit small businesses, but where are the numbers that say this is a wide spread problem? To make drastic changes to one of the most important civil rights laws of the country because a few lawyers are misusing it, seems to be a strange solution.
Political gridlock and and partisan animosity are the rule in Washington DC. So in a town where nothing gets done, MSNBC News commentator Rachel Maddow asked the question; how does a stand alone bill that hurts people with disabilities get put on the floor and passed? The Senate will not address this bill this year, so it cannot become law. Why did House Republicans expend the energy?
Click the link below to watch Maddow’s coverage of the ADAPT action as this bill came to the floor.
Youtube clip of Rachel Maddow Show:
One reason given for the state cuts to health care programs is reduced funds coming from the federal government. State officials say the President’s Tax plan is taking money away from states like New York, forcing them to spread the limited dollars available over a wider range of programs. Governor Cuomo and other sate politicians are making the decision to reduce spending on MLTCs and people with higher needs in order to cover more people.
There are others that say that the Medicaid program in New York has been underfunded for years and the current, federal administration is simply continuing bad policy. These informed sources point to long term systemic problems with Medicaid that have gone unaddressed, and lead to the current crisis.
ICS has a stated primary goal of meeting the needs of its consumers. While it is the most expensive, per-capita MLTC in the state, it claims independent auditors can verify there are no over expenditures. New York State now has some hard decisions to make with regard to the people with disabilities they care for.
Not only is the class wildly popular, it is also changing the atmosphere in the school. Special ed. kids used to often sit alone in the lunchroom. Now partners from the Unified Phys. Ed. classes will have lunch together, creating an organic integration.
The article is an interesting eye opener that shows how a simple idea can change a school and potentially society as well.
The Disability Scoop article describes the exhibit as including “items that are traditionally associated with physical disabilities like a racing wheelchair and customized prosthetic leg covers” while also offering “examples of how design is improving the lives of people with sensory and cognitive issues. For example, an app called LOLA is designed to help youth with autism learn about and collaborate through technology while the Match Cooking Prep System helps individuals learn to prepare food.”
Wednesday January 17, 2018
Disabled In Action Supports
In 1999, the Supreme Court said that people with disabilities have the right to live in their communities and not be forced to live in nursing homes or institutions, against their will. This was called the Olmstead decision. This case was filed by two women with intellectual disabilities who found themselves bouncing in and out of mental hospitals.
Medical professionals agreed that these women were capable of living in community base settings if they had the appropriate home based services. Tommy Olmstead, was the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources, and he said the state was only willing to provide hospitalization.
The Olmstead decision established that people can live outside of institutions when their health care professionals determine community based situations are appropriate; individuals want to live at home and the costs of home based services is reasonable and appropriate.
Today, Disability Rights Activists across the country want to codify the Olmstead decision and make it law. The Disability Integration Act, also known as DIA (not to be confused with Disabled In Action) is a bill being proposed in Washington that would prohibit states or local governments from denying community-based services to people who want them.
This laws would prevent states, local governments, or insurance companies from imposing restrictions on eligibility or setting cost limits on community based services. It doesn’t allow individuals to be forced into disability-specific settings. And, in general, it says that community-based services must be provided. It would also insist that these services be offered to individuals prior to institutionalization.
The DIA bill is strongly supported by National ADAPT and requires home based services and housing be offered and available. The proposed bill also includes a time line for implementation and enforcement. ADAPT is asking it’s members to contact their elected representatives and voice their support; Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York is calling on its members to do the same.
For information on The Disability Integration Act, go to:
The Disability Integration Act website
Government Inaction Stopping ADA Settlements
According to a story on Lexology.com, there was “a wave of American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation against online retailers” in 2017. Visually impaired plaintiffs charged that they could not access websites and demanded that companies recode their sites to accommodate the screen reader software on mobile devices.
Three large companies settled late last year: Kmart, Grubhub and the flooring company Empire Today, but it seems that many other “suits remain pending against other companies nationwide, with uncertainty high after the Department of Justice halted plans to provide compliance guidance.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intentions to make rules for web access in 2010 and put out a notice of “Proposed Rulemaking” in 2015. But in August of last year (2017) the DOJ took web access for people with disabilities, off the list of items on its regulatory agenda.
Companies that want to make their websites and online shopping platforms accessible, have no guidelines for how to do it. Without clear government standards, companies can not be certain that improvements they make will prevent a lawsuit. Lawyers for the plaintiffs are quoted in the article as saying “Since guidance from the government on the scope of such compliance is lacking, companies continue to face the threat of litigation under the ADA.”
Our source for this story is:
ADA Litigation Continues With Recent Settlements
New Mobility’s 2017
New Mobility is a glossy, four color magazine published by The United Spinal Association. While its audience is mainly people with spinal cord injury, it features articles of interest to most folks with mobility disabilities. The January issue named two New Yorkers as their “People of the Year,” Yannick Benjamin and Alex Elegudin.
People of the Year
|The 4500 word article by Seth McBride details how these two men met, as roommates in the rehab ward and resumed their lives and careers in the wake of injury. And it’s not just a getting back to life story, the article presents an in depth time line of how Benjamin and Elegudin are seeking to help their fellow disabled travelers on the path to productive lives by founding two nonprofit organizations.|
For an interesting read, check out the Article:
the New Mobility 2017 People of the Year
NPR Series on Abuse of Disabled
Joseph Shapiro is a senior investigative correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) and the author of a definitive book on the disability rights movement called, “No Pity.” Shapiro’s reporting has included topics like poverty, the criminal justice system and health care, but he seems to always return to to the theme of disability.
In his latest series, he has produced three broadcast pieces on the wide spread abuse of people with intellectual disabilities. Shapiro has won appreciation from many in the disability community because of his ability to present us as as we see ourselves; As people first, and without the clichés, stereotypes or predefined categories.
This series is called "Abused and Betrayed" and can be found on
the NPR news site
|[HOME] [Disability Rights Resources] [Writing on the Wall]|