2012 June – July Newsletter


Message from the Executive Director

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you’re busy planning other things.” That saying certainly applies to my family. One week we’re working the law enforcement trainings through the Mental Health Trust grant, and the next week you get the news that stops you in your tracks. My husband was diagnosed with cancer. This is his second time to this rodeo.

Our treatment options were limited when conventional radiation was ruled out by the Oncologist at St. Peter’s Hospital. We were fortunate to be referred, and accepted into the Proton Radiation Therapy program at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda California. This proton therapy unit is one of only five in the United States and the only one in the western US. Ken receives a treatment Monday-thru-Fridays for a total of 45 treatements. Anyway you count it, that’s nine weeks.

Technology is truly amazing and wonderful as I am telecommuting to work. Through the lap-top I can access files and folders, handle emails, etc. With the cell phone (and after some tech challenges have been worked out work) I can keep up on my daily calls, text, conference calls and keeping touch with Council members.

We are staying at a Residence Inn in San Bernardino about 10 minutes from the Medical Center, the address is: 1040 E. Harriman Place, San Bernardino, CA 92408. I am reachable by cell phone at 406-439-5077. If we are in an appointment, I will have the phone on silent, but please leave a message and I’ll return the call.

From both Ken and I, our sincere thanks for the calls and emails you have sent. Words cannot express how much they mean to us. We are counting the days until we come home to Montana.

Deborah Swingley
CEO, Executive Director

2012 June - July Newsletter

HHS Announces Technology-Enabled Services for Aging and Disability Resource Centers

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $25 million in funding over the next three years to support technology-enabled Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) in almost every state. The funding for the Aging and Disability Resource Center Program was made available to the community through the ACA, and in partnership with the Veteran’s Health Administration. The VHA will provide funding for parallel ADRCs at VA Medical Centers. 3

HHS intends for the money to be used to strengthen existing ADRCs that help people learn about the long-term service and support programs that are available. Eight of the most promising state programs will be selected to create one-on-one service counseling programs to streamline intake and give the most custom-tailored and comprehensive discussion of care options available.

UCP RELEASES ANNUAL STATE RANKINGS OF DISABILITY SERVICES

UCP has provided its annual rankings comparing intellectual and developmental disability services and quality of life for people with disabilities in each state http://www.ucp.org/Thecaseforinclusion_fullnarrative_final.pdf. This year shows that:

  • 36 states are serving 80% or more people with disabilities in (PWD) community settings, with 22 states providing home-like care to 80% or more PWD;
  • 11 states and Washington D.C. have no institutions to seclude people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and 12 states have one;
  • 29 states are using National Core Indicators to assess the quality of care they offer to PWD.

UCP through the report, provides state score cards for individuals, families and advocates to use to inform policy makers of their state strengths and needs.

2012 June - July Newsletter

Federal Government Accountability Office Finds Agencies Not Reaching Disability Hiring Goals

Nearly two years after President Obama signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to hire 100,000 workers with disabilities by July 2015, the federal government is not on track to reach its goal according to a supplied by the Government Accountability Office http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-568. The report found that in 2010 and 2011, only 20,000 workers with disabilities were hired. Possible reasons for the failure include:

  • Many agencies have insufficient plans to employ people with disabilities, with almost half of all agencies lacking a goal of the number of people with disabilities that they intend to hire.
  • Many agencies do not have a senior employee responsible for carrying out the executive order.
  • The numbers represent self-reports from people with disabilities, so there is a concern that there may be under-reporting of disabilities.

In addition to better plans for hiring people with disabilities, the Government Accountability Office suggested that agencies need training to recruit and accommodate people with disabilities.

2012 June - July Newsletter

Mental Health and Law Enforcement Trainings Completed

It was a very busy spring in Council offices with the week long mental health/dual diagnosis trainings in April followed by the week long tour on law enforcement trainings. Dr. Robert Fletcher of NADD (formerly the National Association on Dual Diagnosis) provided training to approximately 471 total attendees in the following locations; Missoula, Great Falls, Helena and Bozeman. Marc Goldman who is a consultant through NADD trained approximately 47 law enforcement officers in Bozeman, Billings, Glasgow and Havre. Both trainings were very well received. We are now gearing up for the September repeat on both trainings which will run the week of September 10.

2012 June - July Newsletter

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Level Funding for DD Programs

Councils and other DD programs received good news when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FFY 2013 Labor, Health & Human Services, Education appropriations bill, following passage by the Senate Labor, HHS Subcommittee. Funding for the DD programs hold steady at even funding which is a big success give this current fiscal climate.

This bill provides $158.8 billion in discretionary spending for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, as well as related agencies. This is about $2 billion more than the fiscal 2012 level and the President’s request. For Councils, the bill includes $74.774 million, the same as FFY12 and the President’s request.

Now it is on the House Labor HHS subcommittee Chaired by Rep. Denny Rehberg. It is anticipated that the bill will be brought before the subcommittee in the final week(s) of this month. Final consideration of the Labor/HHS spending bill is not expected to happen until the lame duck session of Congress following the elections this fall.

2012 June - July Newsletter