Archive for March, 2012

Barbara Beckert selected for WI Women’s Health Foundation Award

On May 5 DRW Milwaukee Office Director, Barbara Beckert, will receive a Women’s Health Champion award from the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation recognizing her leadership in the area of disability rights and mental illness. This is quite a prestigious award.

Read more information about the award

Read Barbara’s bio and the bios of the other award winners

Disability Advocates Share Concerns about Achievement Gap in New Test Results

The recent release of student test results from the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) shows progress for some groups of students, but should cause great concern about the ongoing significant achievement gap for students with disabilities. While many subgroups of students benefited from Wisconsin’s commitment to improving reading and math proficiency, students with disabilities continue to lag far behind.

Read the full release and access links to test results here: Disability Agency Comments on release of 2011-2012 WKCE results

Changes Being Made Soon to Personal Care Services –COMMENTS NEEDED BY FRIDAY!

Changes Being Made Soon to Personal Care Services –COMMENTS NEEDED BY FRIDAY!

The Department of Health Services will
Reduce Travel Reimbursement to Personal Care Providers on April 1, 2012

Agencies providing Medicaid personal care services receive reimbursement for the time it takes direct service workers to travel to people’s homes. The Department of Health Services (DHS) plans to reduce the reimbursement for travel on April 1. With rising gas prices this funding becomes more critical. Agencies rely on this funding particularly in cases where individuals need small amounts of service time more than once a day or live far away. Agencies have said that reducing funding for travel may cause them to stop serving some people.

DHS plans to implement the following:

  • Pay urban providers half the current rate.
  • Cap urban providers at 2 hours of travel time per consumer per day.
  • Cap rural providers at 3 hours of travel time per consumer per day. The first two hours would be paid the full rate. The last hour would be paid half rate.
  • Rural providers who travel less than 3 hours per person per day would be reimbursed the full rate.

DHS may consider changing their plans based on comments they receive by March 30, 2012. DHS seeks input from individuals receiving personal care services about the impacts of the proposal travel reimbursement cuts.

Comments should be submitted to both the DHS Secretary at and
You can also fax comments to Elizabeth Scudder at: FAX (608) 266-1096.

Survival Coalition releases Parent Survey describing impact of state budget on school children with disabilities

Today, the Survival Coalition released its analysis of results from a statewide survey of parents of children with disabilities conducted by Disability Rights Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, and Wisconsin FACETS, all agencies with a statutory charge to protect and promote the educational rights of students with disabilities. The survey received 442 responses from parents of children with disabilities across the state over a two-month period.

The survey revealed that 46% of the respondents indicated their child’s educational programming was worse when compared to the last 1-2 years. “It is unacceptable,” says Survival Coalition co-chair and DRW Executive Director, Tom Masseau. “We should not have this number of families of children with disabilities saying their child’s education has deteriorated. Survival Coalition looks forward to working with the state to address these problematic results.”

Forty-percent of all families surveyed said they were concerned for their child’s future due to the changes in educational programming.
The Survival Coalition concludes that public school funding in the state is not adequate to address the health, safety, and academic progress of students with disabilities.

Read the press release here: Survival Coalition Parent Survey Press release.

Read the full survey report here: IMPACT – final.

Governor signs seclusion and restraint bill

Here’s a picture of Governor Walker signing SB 353 into law, the bill that will restrict the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint in Wisconsin schools.

Ninety Aging and Disability Organizations ask for Immediate Action to Lift Family Care Caps

Disability Rights Wisconsin and the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations are among 90 disability and aging organizations who sent a letter to the legislature today (March 12) asking for immediate bi-partisan action to lift the caps on Family Care and related long-term care programs. The state Assembly pushed back a vote on lifting the caps until March 13. The Senate must concur on this bill before the session ends this week. Advocates statewide are concerned that time is running out. Read the letter here: Aging and Disability Orgs Message to Legislature – Lift the Caps.

Assembly Scheduled to Vote on Seclusion Restraint Bill Tuesday, March 13

The Assembly is still scheduled to vote on the seclusion and restraint bill (AB 455/SB 353) tomorrow, March 13th. If you haven’t contacted your member of the Assembly to urge support for the bill NOW is the time. You can contact your member at: 1-800-362-9472 or Wisconsin State Legislature.

Milwaukee Voucher Program Family Outreach meeting

DRW and the ACLU are hosting a family outreach meeting on March 14th from 6-7:30 PM at the Center Street Library in Milwaukee–2727 Fond du Lac Ave. We would like to meet with families of Milwaukee children with disabilities who have experienced discimination in the Milwaukee voucher program either by being refused admission or being expelled. Pizza and refreshments will be provided. More information is available here: Voucher parent meeting.

Share Your Ideas with DHS on Long-Term Care Sustainability: Attend a Town Hall!

The Department of Health Services is holding Town Halls throughout the state over the next several weeks to hear from Wisconsin residents with disabilities and their families about how to make the state’s long-term care system sustainabile. The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations (Disability Rights Wisconsin is a member) is sharing this important information about how you can participate:

Share Your Ideas with DHS – LTC Sustainability Town Halls

Survival Coalition Asks the Assembly to Act on Four Key Bills Tuesday

The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations sent a message to the state Assembly today asking for their action on four bills that are key to people with disabilities in Wisconsin. The Assembly votes on these bills Tuesday, March 6. More than 200 disability advocates will be in the Capitol Tuesday on Disability Advocacy Day encouraging these vote actions. Click here to view the Survival Coalition message.