What's New

DRW Board elects new officers and eight new members

The newly elected DRW Board officers for 2011 are:

  • President: Jeff Timm, Franksville
  • Vice President: James Powell, Sun Prairie
  • Secretary: Ben Barrett, Trego

New members elected to the Board for a 2 year term beginning January 1, 2011 are:

  • Rachel Arfa, Milwaukee
  • Gary Arms, Oshkosh
  • John Donnelly, Madison
  • Catherine Kunze, West Allis
  • Saphronia Purnell, Green Bay
  • Christopher Sigl, Hartford
  • Alice Skenandore, Green Bay
  • Mary Unkel, Grafton

Click here for a complete list of the 17 DRW Board members.

Restraints in schools in the news

DRW Attorney Jeff Spitzer-Resnick comments in the Appleton Post-Crescent about the lack of Wisconsin laws on seclusion and restraint, in a case which DRW has referred to a contracted attorney.

View the full article by clicking on the following link:

http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20101216/APC0101/12160512/Parents-want-district-to-address-restraint-issues.

DRW comments on teachers’ union

DRW Managing Attorney Jeff Spitzer-Resnick was quoted in this front page Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about the power of Wisconsin’s teachers’ unions. View the full article by clicking on the following link:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/111734009.html

DRW Managing Attorney Molly Bandt – Letter to the Editor re: BadgerCare

Posted: Saturday, December 4, 2010 11:16 am

Molly Bandt: BadgerCare effective, not fraught with fraud

Thank you for the article highlighting the positive impact Wisconsin’s BadgerCare and Core programs have had on the lives of people who previously lacked access to affordable health insurance.

State Rep. Robin Vos’ assertion that the increased number of Wisconsin residents relying on BadgerCare and Core somehow shifts the cost of health care to people paying for insurance in the private market is simply not true. These programs provide basic preventive services, which reduces health care costs in the long run. These programs also reduce the frequency of uncompensated care provided to the uninsured through costly emergency room visits, which gets passed on to other health care consumers.

Vos also raises concerns about fraud, particularly in the Department of Health Services’ new online application system. This concern is unfounded.

There has never been a report or study demonstrating significant rates of fraud in Wisconsin Medicaid programs or the potential for increased fraud with the use of online applications. Each online application must be verified by a county economic support worker or staff of the state’s Enrollment Services Center.

With smart budget decisions and additional support through the federal health care reform law, Wisconsin will continue to be a national leader in making affordable health care accessible.

To read the letter on the Wisconsin State Journal website, click here.

Job Posting: Program Manager – Family Care & IRIS Ombudsman Program

Lead a team of attorney and non-attorney advocates providing individual and systems advocacy for persons with disabilities age 18-59 in three long term care programs. Dynamic working environment and opportunity to work with creative, dedicated staff committed to social justice. Required experience: program management, individual and systems advocacy, and working with government and other agencies. For the job announcement click here or call 608-267-0214. Salary: $45,000 – 65,000, DOE. Excellent benefits. Resume and cover letter accepted until December 31 or until position is filled. Send by email to info@drwi.org, mail to Disability Rights Wisconsin, 131 West Wilson St. Suite 700, Madison, WI 53703, or fax to 608-267-0368. Members of racial/ethnic minority groups and persons with disabilities strongly encouraged to apply. EEO/AA employer.

Joan Karan Receives Equal Justice Fund Distinguished Service Award

Joan KaranJoan Karan has been the Assistant Director at Disability Rights Wisconsin since 1983. She oversees DRW’s finances, benefits program, personnel matters, landlord relations and development. She is also known to DRW’s 65 staff as the “Go To” person for a wide variety of work-related and personal issues. Her personal commitment to excellence in all aspects of DRW administration is widely acknowledged within the agency as a major reason that DRW is a great place to work, where many employees come and stay for 15 – 20 years or more. Joan is passionate not only about disability rights, but also about diversity and cultural competency. She has been instrumental in making DRW a more racially diverse workplace and strengthening DRW’s response to minority clients.

Joan was also the creator of DRW’s Violence against Women with Disabilities program, which began in 2002 and has received national recognition. She has overseen the program since its inception and has been actively engaged in its operations, resulting in many local sexual assault and domestic violence programs improving their service capacity and accessibility for women with disabilities.

Joan is also a community leader. She has served on the Board of Community Shares of Wisconsin for several years, including serving as Board President in 2008 and 2009. CSW is the oldest social action fund in the country, with 39 years of experience connecting donors with 64 grassroots, nonprofit organizations working on progressive causes.

Joan is a graduate of UW Madison. Prior to coming to DRW she was the Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, and later The Arc – Dane County.

Journal-Sentinel Op-Eds on Mental Health Complex

The following opinion piece appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Thursday, November 4, 2010:

Needless Delay: click here.

The following opinion pieces appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Sunday, August 29, 2010:

It’s Everyone’s Problem to Solve: click here.

To Inspire a Culture of Excellence: click here.

Steps Being Taken to Improve Services: click here.

Journal-Sentinel Updates On Milwaukee Mental Health Complex

Beginning on Sunday, August 23, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has published a “Watchdog Report” about the ongoing investigation into the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. Click the links below to see the series of articles.

November 4–Milwaukee County Board urges release of mental facility report: click here.

Walker, supervisors in accord on building new Mental Health Complex: click here.

Shakeup at Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex widens: click here.

Mental Health Complex security faulty, sheriff’s report concludes: click here.

Chianelli demoted as head of Mental Health Complex: click here.

Out of Chaos, a Baby is Born: click here.

Patient with Violent Past went Unsupervised: click here.

Budget and staff cuts, leadership questions nag outmoded facility: click here.

Lack of accountability continues, despite deaths, threats to funding: click here.

Assault suspect at mental facility competent for trial, judge says: click here.

Mental health unit gets help. County hires 2 firms: click here.

Walker seeks extra $5.5 million for mental health. New budget calls for more staff, training: click here.

County won’t release study on mental facility, auditor says information may aid probe into troubled complex: click here.

Complex ill-equipped to handle violent patients. Mental health nurses says patient with HIV spits blood at them: click here.

To see links to earlier media coverage on this topic, click here.

DRW 2009 Annual Report

The report showcases some of the many advocacy areas we focused on last year, including the Family Care and IRIS Ombudsman Program, our advocacy in the northwest part of the state from our Rice Lake office, our role with the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force, and the DRW Board’s Listening Sessions.

Click here to download the report.

Family Care & IRIS Ombudsman Program – Annual Report 2009-2010

Content Annual Report of DRW’s Family Care & IRIS Ombudsman Program from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. The report outlines the activities and casework of the program.

Click here to download the Family Care & IRIS Ombudsman Program – Annual Report 2009-2010