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Disability Rights Wisconsin Issues Statement on Recent CMS Letter on Family Care

Disability Rights Wisconsin has learned that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) received a July 20 letter from the Center for Medicaid and Medicaid Services (CMS) stating that the Family Care waiver has been renewed, but that the caps on long-term care programs in place from July 1, 2011 through April 3, 2012 were a violation of Wisconsin’s federal waiver agreement. The letter indicates that individuals affected by the cap can appeal the state for any “health care costs incurred while on the waiting list.”
 
 

Survival Coalition Issues Statement on CMS letter to DHS on Family Care Waiver

To read the Survival Coalition of Disability Organizations’ statement about the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ letter to Wisconsin on Family Care, click here:  Survival Coalition statement on 07-20 Family Care letter to DHS.

CMS rules that Wisconsin must Reimburse Individuals Affected by Family Care Cap

On July 22 the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wrote to Wisconsin DHS saying that Wisconsin’s recent cap on Family Care and IRIS programs was a violation of the state’s agreement with the federal government. People who were “improperly placed on a waiting list” can seek reimbursement from the state. The ruling is significant and is the result of back and forth communication between the state and CMS since December 2011.
 
The letter states:
 
“The CMS understands that between July 1, 2011 and April 3, 2012 the State instituted an enrollment cap on long term care programs, including Family Care. During this time CMS is aware that eligible individuals in entitlement counties were on waiting lists, both during the period of the enrollment cap and after the State indicated that the enrollment cap had been lifted. The State’s denial of services to these individuals violates the terms of the State’s approved §1915(c) waivers associated with this concurrent §1915(b) waiver. Therefore, if such individuals appeal to the State from service or eligibility denials, the State should reimburse the individuals improperly placed on a waiting list for any health care costs incurred while on the waiting list.”
 
 

DRW Attorney Ryan Farrell Selected as Up and Coming Lawyer

DRW Attorney Ryan Farrell, who works on the Benefits Team out of our Milwaukee office, has been chosen by the Wisconsin Law Journal as an Up and Coming Lawyer for 2012.  These new attorneys were chosen for representing determination in legal work, community betterment and improvement in their own law firm, as well as making a significant impact on the legal profession.  Congratulations, Ryan!!!

The Affordable Care Act and People with Disabilities

Read this informational paper from the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations to understand what the Affordable Care Act means for people with disabilities, how it can promote employment of people with disabilities and next steps for implementation in the state. Click here to read the informational paper.

Survival Coalition comments on Supreme Court’s decision – Impacts on People with Disabilities

Wisconsin residents with disabilities had a lot riding on today’s Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, and the state’s largest disability coalition is announcing strong support for today’s decision ensuring key protections. Click here to read the Survival Coalition’s press release.

OSEP issues favorable transition LRE letter

DRW and the Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) wrote a letter to the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) seeking better guidance about the least restrictive environment (LRE) impact on community based transition services. OSEP responded with a favorable letter on June 22, 2012. Click here for the letter.

DRW and BPDD believe:

The letter provides more guidance to states on how to apply Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements under Part B of IDEA to transition work placements. There has been confusion among states, school districts, IEP teams (including parents and youth) about how transition services can facilitate integrated employment. USDOE clearly states that transitions services are a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that are designed as part of a results-oriented process. This process is meant to help the child move to post-school activities, which include integrated employment (including supported employment).

Transition services (including work placements) should be based on a child’s strengths and interests.

USDOE clearly state that a work placement, if it is included as part of a youth’s transition services, must be included in the child’s IEP and then is subject to the provisions of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

USDOE clearly states that when work placements are part of transition services, they must meet the LRE test, which includes the IEPs team’s determination that the youth is only receiving services in a segregated setting (segregated work placement) if the use of supplementary aids and services could not support the youth in a less restrictive setting. We believe those supplementary aids and services should include things like job coaches and assistive technology.

USDOE clearly states that, just as the LRE test applies in the classroom, supplementary aids and services based on peer reviewed research – must be provided to the youth to help him or her make progress in the work placement setting. An IEP team must consider those aids and services the can help the student participate with non-disabled peers.

USDOE clearly states that SEAs (DPI) has the responsibility to monitor whether LRE is being met for youth in work placements. Therefore a district would be expected to show a variety of work placements based on the strengths and interests of the youth in their district.

DRW Managing Attorney Jeff Spitzer-Resnick is quoted in an Education Week blog post on this topic: Click here to read the blog post.

Job Posting: Ombudsman (Advocate) for Long Term Care Services in Madison Office

DRW is hiring an ombudsman to provide assistance and advocacy to enrollees in Wisconsin’s publicly funded long term care programs for adults aged 18-59. An ombudsman investigates complaints and works toward informal or formal resolution. For detailed Position Announcement, salary range, and application requirements, click here or call 608-267-0214. DEADLINE: Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 4:00 p.m. Members of racial/ethnic minority groups or persons with disabilities strongly encouraged to apply. EEO/AA employer.

The Survival Coalition Makes Recommendations for Improvements in Vocational Rehabilitiation Services

Disability Rights Wisconsin and other members of the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations recently submitted comments on the 2013 Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) state plan. Read the comments here: Survival Coalition comments on 2013 FFY DVR State Plan.

Read the draft DVR State Plan here: DVR plan.

WISCONSIN DROPS IN NATIONAL RATINGS OF QUALITY OF LIFE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

A new report which tracks the progress of community living standards for people with disabilities shows Wisconsin has dropped in rank from 20th to 27th in the nation over the past year. The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations comments on this report and charges policymakers with making specific changes. Read more here: Survival Coalition Comments On UCP Inclusion Rankings.