A Florida Not-For-Profit

501(c) (3) Corporation

FREE POSTAGE
FOR THE BLIND
AND PHYSICALLY
HANDICAPPED
 
19333 West Country Club Drive #1522

Aventura, Florida 33180

                                                                                                           

 

 

 

 

     JUNE, 2007                                                            JUNE, 2007

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS!                                                   

 

 

 READ ABOUT OUR MOST RECENT

ADVOCACY ACCOMPLISHMENTS!!!

WITH YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT
WE CONTINUE TO GROW NATIONALLY
(NATIONAL GROWTH = NATIONAL VICTORIES!!!)

 

 

JUNE, 2007

 

THIS NEWSLETTER IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON-LINE AT:

www.adaaccessnow.org
(Bobby-Approved)

 

****Please Note****

YOU MAY NOW FILL OUT OUR MEMBERSHIP FORM

DIRECTLY ONLINE AT WWW.ADAACCESSNOW.ORG

THE MEMBERSHIP FORM IS ALSO ATTACHED AT

THE BEGINNING OF THIS NEWSLETTER

 

email: info@adaaccessnow.org


“ACCESS NOW, INC. ®

(a Florida not-for-profit, 501(c) 3 Corporation)

19333 West Country Club Drive #1522

Aventura, Florida 33180

Tel. 305-705-0059  Fax 305-792-2665

info@adaaccessnow.org         www.adaaccessnow.org

Membership Form

****IF POSSIBLE, WE PREFER THAT YOU REGISTER ONLINE****

****JUST GO TO OUR WEBSITE SHOWN ABOVE AND CLICK ON    **** “MEMBERSHIP” LINK ****

 

Date___________________________________________________________

 

Name (PLEASE PRINT)____________________________________________

 

Address________________________________________________________

 

City________________________State_______________ZipCode__________

 

Telephone_________________________Fax___________________________

 

e-mail____________________________________________

          ***(STRONGLY ENCOURAGED – VERY HELPFUL!!!!!!)***

 

Non-Disabled_____________Disabled________________

If Disabled, give brief description:

(MOBILITY – WHEELCHAIR-USER, PART/FULLTIME; VISION; HEARING)

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Do you use a service dog?________Name____________________________

 

If Disabled, INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE about being a PLAINTIFF?

YES______NO_______

 

Donation___________           (APPRECIATED BUT NOT REQUIRED)

 

Please send me:_#__________Newsletters       

 

Please tell us how or from whom you heard about “Access Now”® (if from the internet, please tell us the site):

_______________________________________________________________

 

SIGNATURE_______________________________________________

PLEASE SIGN!!!!!!!!!!



 

 

 

 

 

June, 2007

 

 

Dear Reader:

 

 

Once again, we hope that you will enjoy reading our latest newsletter and that you would like to join us in our mission, our goal and our achievements.  (THERE IS NO FEE REQUIRED.)  also, please let us remind you that our membership is open to both the able-bodied as well as to the disabled.

If you would like to become one among our growing list of members, please either fill out, SIGN and return the attached form to us or, preferably, you may fill out the form online by logging on to our website at www.adaaccessnow.org and going to the “Membership” link.  (The latter method makes it much easier and quicker for us to enter you into our database and is therefore particularly helpful.) 

IF YOU ARE ALREADY A MEMBER, PLEASE SHARE THE ENCLOSED MEMBERSHIP FORM WITH SOMEONE WHOM YOU KNOW!!!  THANK YOU!

We are very proud of the strides we have made and we hope that we can count on you as one of our members and, in an abundance of optimism, we thank you in advance!

Most sincerely,

Access Now, Inc.®

Phyllis F. Resnick, President

 


NEWSLETTER UPDATE – JUNE, 2007

FROM PHYLLIS F. RESNICK, PRESIDENT

HELLO, AGAIN, EVERYBODY!!!!!

Well, another 6 months have passed since our last newsletter and much continues to  happen in the world of “Access Now”®.  We have had several Class Action Fairness Hearings, a trial and many Settlements.  It has been an active, interesting, challenging, sometimes aggravating, but mostly gratifying time! Some things are happening in the overall A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act) world as well; more about all of the above later in this newsletter. 

We would like to point out to those of you who are receiving this newsletter for the first time  that, sadly, many entities continue to fail to comply with the A.D.A., despite the fact that the law was enacted in 1990.  As we have said before, we continue to press on with cases against a variety of entities.  On a continuing basis, virtually daily, we receive complaints from disabled persons who are routinely being denied their rights under this civil rights law.  There is no such thing as a “large” or “small” case, only a large or small entity and we take pride in the fact that we do not limit our efforts to either category.  The resolution of high profile cases of legal “first impression”, as well as of those involving neighborhood businesses have a great impact on the daily lives of the disabled among us (although we want to make clear that it is not our aim to put anyone out of business.) 

WE WOULD LIKE TO BEGIN WITH THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE FROM A MEMBER THAT WE BELIEVE SHOWS THAT THE “ACCESS NOW”® WAY OF APPROACHING LITIGATION IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE:

 

 

From: Edward Zwilling

Sent: Saturday, October 28, 2006 12:35 PM

To: Gregory Schwartz

Subject: Re: Ed in the newspaper

 

They quote me — I spoke with the reporter on Thursday after the Bessemer meeting.  Which reminds me, Jim Terry gave us and Access Now a very nice compliment at our last meeting.  He commented to opposing counsel and the city engineer about how other plaintiff firms would be concerned with staying adversarial for purposes of generating fees but about how we are more concerned about collaborating to minimize expense to reach a resolution more quickly and thus better promote the cause of access.  Opposing counsel took me aside and thanked me after the meeting.

 

(Note from the editors of this Newsletter:  Jim Terry is one of the leading ADA architectural consultants in the nation.)

 

AND NOW, THE UPDATE:

 

Membership – We now have 972 members representing 47 states and Puerto Rico.  We are also proud to claim members in Canada, Hong Kong, Australia.  Our Board of Directors stands at 40, our Executive Committee at 8, our Attorneys represent 4 law firms and our Consultants number 6.  We want to acknowledge here our debt to our Board of Directors and our Executive Committee for their support, their encouragement and their many kinds of contributions to our goals.  Most particularly, we want to express our appreciation for the efforts of our First Vice-President, Marla Dumas.  Above all, our deepest appreciation to the attorneys and consultants who handle all our cases.  Contrary to public opinion, they DO put accessibility achievements ahead of fees.  We who work here every day at Access Now®   can most definitely attest to that!

We would be quite remiss if we failed to mention the enormous contributions of our computer consultants, Gregory Arkin and Alain Ginzberg, without whom we would not be able to function!  I want to thank my assistant, Thomas Miller, for his efforts in making certain that the administrative aspects of the organization run smoothly and for undertaking the task of composing and typing the bulk of this newsletter.

Finally, you may have heard that we have received our Florida and our U.S. trademark registrations for Access Now®.  Attorney Frank Herrera has provided invaluable pro bono assistance in achieving this milestone.  Once again, we wish to express our gratitude to Mr. Herrera.  The result of his efforts is the successful culmination of our multi-year effort to protect the Access Now® name.

 

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF OUR LITIGATION:

Since our December Newsletter, Access Now® has made progress in settling cases in several states.  We have filed a total of 964 cases since our inception.  Presently, there are 136 cases with outstanding Settlement Agreements, requiring alterations or modifications which in several cases should be completed by July 1, 2007, or later.  (Cases involving hospitals and other large or complex facilities have post-settlement compliance completion dates much further in the future.)

During the past six months, Access Now® has entered into 31 additional settlements to make properties A.D.A.-compliant.  They include:

 


Hospitals                                   28

Government                                1

Sport Venues                             1

Stores                                         1


 

Access Now® continues to assert itself nationally in scope.  The 10 states in which cases have been settled range from the South and the mid-Atlantic to the Great Plains and Pacific shore.  Our headquarters state of Florida accounted for 29% of settlements over the past six months.

 


 

We will keep expanding our geographical presence as best we can as we continue to receive requests for information and assistance from around the country and internationally.  Please notify us if you become aware of situations where access continues to be denied.  We remain solidly in the forefront of the fight for accessibility.

 

The following is a brief listing of the cases that have been settled since our last newsletter:

 

Government

Florida Department of Transportation, St. Augustine, Florida

Hospitals

 

Northlake Surgical Center

Atlanta

GA

Lawnwood Medical Center 

Fort Pierce

FL

Florida Surgery Center

Altamonte Springs

FL

North County Surgicenter 

Palm Beach Gardens

FL

Central Florida Surgicenter 

Lakeland

FL

Same Day Surgicenter 

Orlando

FL

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center

Las Vegas

NV

Hendersonville Medical Center

Hendersonville

TN

Horizon Medical Center

Dickson

TN

Englewood Community Hospital

Englewood

FL

Fawcett Memorial Hospital 

Port Charlotte

FL

Gramercy Outpatient Surgery Center

Houston

TX

Green Oaks Hospital

Dallas

TX

North Florida Regional Medical Center

Gainesville

FL

Oakhill Hospital

Brooksville

FL

Delray Medical Center

Delray Medical Center

FL

Garden Grove Hospital & Medical Center

Garden Grove

CA

Hilton Head Medical Center

Hilton Head

SC

Los Alamitos Medical Center

Los Alamitos

CA

San Dimas Community Hospital

San Dimas

CA

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center

San Luis Obispo

CA

South Fulton Medical Center

East Point

GA

USC University Hospital

Los Angeles

CA

Florida Medical Center

Ft. Lauderdale

FL

Park Plaza Hospital

Houston

TX

Sierra Medical Center

EL Paso

TX

St. Francis Hospital

Memphis

TN

St. Louis University Hospital

St. Louis

MO

 

Additionally, a settlement hearing was held on June 13th in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas regarding the following Crestwood Healthcare, L.P. hospital cases: 

 

Medical Center Enterprise

Enterprise

AL

San Angelo Comm. Medical Center

San Angelo

TX

Denton Comm. Hospital

Denton

TX

Brownwood Regional Medical Center

Brownwood

TX

Flowers Hospital

Dothan

AL

DeTar Hospital Navarro

Victoria

TX

Gadsden Regional Medical Center

Gadsden

AL

Crestwood Medical Center

Huntsville

AL

DeTar Hospital North

Victoria

TX

Abilene Regional Medical Center

Abilene

TX

Jacksonville Medical Center

Jacksonville

AL

 

The judge took these cases under advisement, and we expect a favorable decision in the near future.

 

Sports Arenas

Lazy E Arena, Guthrie, Oklahoma

Stores

Dollar General Stores (5) in the cities of Enid, Gore & Stillwater, Oklahoma

NOTABLE CASES – There are some cases that are especially important because of their value as precedents or because they remove significant numbers or types of barriers.  Several of those types of cases are listed below.  Please remember that most defendants in non-class action cases insist on confidentiality as a condition of signing settlement agreements.  Therefore, we cannot discuss those cases by name, although they number quite a few.  However, several of them are included in the cases listed above. 

1.                  Hospitals – The numbers of individual hospital cases that have been settled or are moving rapidly toward settlement continues to increase every week.  The 19 Tenet Healthcare Corporation (Tenet) facilities listed in the prior section (which encompasses over 5300 beds) had Fairness Hearings held on April 25th and May 18th.   A Fairness Hearing was held on June 13, 2007, regarding nine more medical facilities in Texas and Alabama.  We are awaiting the Court’s decisions on entering judgment.

We continue to be actively involved in cases involving medical institutions because of our strong belief that they constitute one of the most important ways to enhance the quality of life of the disabled community. 

We want to give much deserved praise to the firm of de la O, Marko, Magolnick and Leyton, and particularly to their associate, Charles D. Ferguson, for their stellar work in pursuing all the hospitals listed above and many others still in the pipeline!

________________________________________________________________

2.                 City of Miami, FloridaWith respect to this case, the defendant, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) continues to meet its obligations in fulfilling its settlement commitments.  In the year ending June 30, 2006, FDOT completed work implementing ADA improvements on 18 state highway projects within Miami-Dade County.  In these projects FDOT created or replaced 610 ramps, 386 driveways (totaling 118,377 sq. ft.) and 308,781 sq. ft of sidewalks.  The total cost of the 18 projects was $3,505,775.  This represents a substantial increase from the previous report for the year ending October 31, 2005.  Kudos to the FDOT!

3.                 City of Sonora, California – The city is working hard to live up to its promise to make all of its facilities, programs and services ADA-compliant.  Our attorneys recently received a full self-evaluation and transition plan from Sonora’s attorney.  Our attorneys and our local expert are thoroughly evaluating the plan.  Their initial view is that the plan appears comprehensive, and the City is in the process of modifying its properties consistent with the plan’s parameters.  This is another step in Sonora’s realizing its desire to become a community that guarantees the opportunity for participation by its disabled community in the city’s activities and affairs.

4.                 Emory UniversityIn this case, “Access Now”® and member Kami Barker sued Emory University and its architects and engineers for denial of access in university housing projects.  We settled with Emory for ADA and other accessibility violations.  After a trial in August, 2006 before an Atlanta jury, a verdict for liability and damages was returned against the builders, Trammel Crow Residential, but not against the architects, Niles Bolton Associates.  The outcome was less favorable than we had expected, and we filed post-judgment motions that have yet to be decided.  If they are unsuccessful we are contemplating an appeal.  We will keep you informed as to any further developments in this groundbreaking case (the first jury trial under the Fair Housing Act.)  Many kudos here to Matthew Dietz of the law firm of Matthew W. Dietz, P.L., for his diligent pursuit of this particularly difficult and complicated case!

5.                 Busch Gardens The Anheuser-Busch Company continues to move forward in its trail-blazing manner in bringing its facilities into compliance with the A.D.A.  In one of our recent newsletters we told you about the magnificent work they have done at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.  On May 24th we were delighted to be treated to a video presentation of what they have accomplished at their huge and famous Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.  They have not only met the standards, they have exceeded them in several instances, using imagination and “thinking outside the box”.

Once they were launched into the accessibility sphere, they moved ahead with self-motivated initiative, under the supervision of one of the nation’s most outstanding A.D.A. architect/consultants, and they have succeeded in making Busch Gardens a model of accessibility.  The Busch company’s enthusiastic embrace of A.D.A. compliance issues has been exemplary and gratifying.  We hope our members will avail themselves of and enjoy all that is offered at their theme parks.  (in this case kudos are due to Gregory Schwartz, our attorney in this matter, of the law firm of Schwartz, Zweben & Slingbaum, LLP and Larry M. Schneider, AIA, the consultant mentioned above, for their fine and diligent work!)

 

Access Now, Inc.® also filed suit in Washington State as reported in the following article.

Lawsuit by Access Now, Inc.® claims Vancouver violating disability laws

By David Bowermaster

Seattle Times staff reporter

The city of Vancouver, Wash., has been sued in federal court for a long list of alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other statutes.  Access Now, a national civil-rights group based in Florida, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Michelle Beardshear, a 26-year-old Vancouver resident and a paraplegic who must use a wheelchair to get around the city.

The suit contends that many Vancouver streets, sidewalks and structures are insufficiently accessible to people with disabilities. Consequently, the suit claims the city has violated Washington state laws against discrimination, as well as the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was enacted in 1990.

Ted Gathe, Vancouver city attorney, said Thursday he could not comment because he was not aware of the lawsuit.  "Apparently the city has not been served, or if it has, the suit hasn't made its way to my office," Gathe said.

Catherine Chaney, a Seattle-based attorney who is serving as local counsel for Access Now, filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.  Neither Chaney nor Stephan Nitz, a Florida-based attorney for Access Now, could be reached for comment.

The lawsuit cites federal rules that require "newly constructed streets, roads and highways" to contain curb ramps or slopes, as well as ADA guidelines on everything from signs at parking spaces to grab bars in restroom stalls.  "The city of Vancouver has discriminated ... by denying plaintiffs the use and benefit of the sidewalks, streets, intersections, public parks, facilities and parking within the city," the suit claims.

Public facilities specifically mentioned in the lawsuit as violating the ADA include Vancouver's City Hall, Police Department, two public libraries and four city parks.

David Bowermaster: 206-464-2724 or dbowermaster@seattletimes.com

 

CLASS ACTIONS – Class actions affect a large number of disabled persons, usually because a large number of facilities are involved.  We still have class actions pending against Victoria’s Secrets, T.J. Maxx, the cruise line industry and cases against five hospital chains which encompass many, many individual hospitals.  These cases move slowly, but there is progress to report in two of them:

Arby’s:  “Access Now”® brought suit against Arby’s, based on the A.D.A. non-compliance of approximately 773 of its restaurants in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories.  Arby’s has agreed to remove architectural barriers in its restaurants, which will allow the disabled better access to this restaurant chain. 

 

We recently completed our first post-settlement inspections of the Arby’s in Orlando and Indianapolis.  Our attorneys and experts will be receiving the first set of remediation plans shortly, and they will be conducting more post-remediation inspections shortly thereafter.   We will continue our fight for greater public accessibility in restaurants and other retail establishments across the United States.  Here, all due praise goes to Josh Entin and Bob Switkes, of the firm of Rosen, Switkes and Entin, PL.

 

Dollar & Thrifty Rent-a-Car:  On December 7, 2006, a Miami federal court judge approved a heavily negotiated class settlement agreement and consent decree with Dollar and Thrifty rental car companies (now consolidated in a 2006 merger).  The settlement agreement contemplates the most comprehensive accessibility program ever implemented in the rental car industry with what is believed to be the third largest rental car company in the United States.  The agreement contemplates remediation of all Dollar/Thrifty owned or operated facilities, accessible transportation from airports to vehicles, accessible vehicles for disabled drivers and anticipated policies and procedures to operate in tandem with the physical barrier removal program.  The settlement is being implemented and is expected to be completed within 5 years.  This case was a cooperative effort between Access Now® and Fred Shotz, who is an individual named plaintiff in the case and founder of a sister organization, All Disabled Americans.  Fred's tireless efforts were instrumental to the outcome, and he is owed a debt of gratitude by all travelers with disabilities.

HCA Hospitals:  The case against the Ambulatory Surgery Center Group, Ltd. involves 10 of the hospitals listed above.  The Fairness Hearing was held on September 19th, and we are awaiting the judge’s decision.

 

Tenet Hospitals:  There was a consolidated Fairness Hearing held on April 25th encompassing 19 Tenet facilities nationwide.  Again, we are awaiting the judge’s decision on whether to approve the proposed settlement.

Triad Hospitals:  The case against the Ambulatory Surgery Center Group, Ltd. involves the 10 hospitals listed above.  The Fairness Hearing was held on September 19th, and we are awaiting the judge’s decision.

 

These hospital settlements will make a great difference to members of our community.  THE 29 FACILITIES HAVE A TOTAL OF 5300 BEDS IN EIGHT STATES.  The settlements show that the ADA can work when there are dedicated advocates and attorneys using it for our benefit.

________________________________________________________________

 

LITIGATION BY OTHERS: We want to keep you informed about important recent litigation around the country, of which you might not be aware, as well as update information from December’s newsletter affecting the rights of the disabled.  We think it is important for our members to keep abreast of successes realized by and within the disabled community, whether accomplished by “Access Now”® or by other organizations.  We are all in this fight together!  


 

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GOVERNMENTAL NEWS:
 

Disabled Council Member a Rarity

BY Michael Kay

Daily Cal Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

 

It’s Tuesday night and the Berkeley City Council is about to begin the evening’s business—but as usual, Councilmember Dona Spring is at home in front of her TV.  Spring is attending by teleconference, as she has done almost exclusively since late 2005, when the obstacles to attending meetings became too onerous for Spring, who has used a wheelchair for the past two decades.  The council member has fought rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, since she was a 19-year-old junior at UC Berkeley. Difficulties like sorting through last-minute additions to the council docket—her disease has limited the use of her hands—finding a wheelchair-accessible taxi for late-night rides home and pain from hours of sitting upright led the 54-year-old to start staying home after serving on the council for more than 10 years.  “I used to not drink during meetings”—which can stretch to six hours—because of the difficulty with going to the bathroom, Spring said. “All things made it increasingly easier to do it from my home.”

 

But even teleconferencing has had its glitches. While Spring’s voice normally booms from the council chamber’s speakers, at a February meeting this year, problems with the sound system forced her to follow the proceedings while on the phone with the city clerk.  “It was very frustrating,” she said. “I couldn’t speak directly to the council.”

Spring’s participation in council meetings via teleconference is unique, say local city officials and representatives of organizations for the disabled.  City clerks in Albany, Concord, Hayward, Richmond and Walnut Creek said while teleconferencing is available in their cities—as required by law—it has only been used when officials were traveling.  “I don’t know of any other cities offhand that might be doing that,” said Hayward City Clerk Angelina Reyes. “Another first for Berkeley.”

Clerks could recall only a handful of other current or former council members with known disabilities, a reality that seems to hold true across the political landscape.  In the California legislature, for example, there is currently one member with a hearing impairment.  There has not been a legislator who used a wheelchair since 1998, according to the California State Assembly’s Office of the Chief Clerk.

Yet official data is nearly nonexistent, with many government agencies and disability groups saying they are not aware of any data on politicians with disabilities.  Neal Albritton, deputy director of the State Independent Living Council, guesses the proportion of elected officials with disabilities is equal to the nationwide rate of 20 percent, but that most are hidden.  “A lot of people just don’t bring it up, and a lot of people won’t talk about it or disclose it,” Albritton said.  Most observers attribute the reluctance to the conventional political view of disability as a sign of weakness.  “The problem with politics is that everyone is a macho man or woman,” said Shawn Casey O’Brien, a political activist and radio talk show host who has cerebral palsy.

Spring herself was not inclined to run for public office until she watched her one-time boss and fellow wheelchair user Michael Winter run for a council seat in the mid-1980s.  “I never dreamed that someone in a wheelchair could run for council, could run for public office,” she said.  Running for the first time in 1994, Spring went door to door in her wheelchair and ended up earning a narrow victory over the incumbent. Since then she has held her seat with often enviable ease, winning 72 percent of the vote last year.  “Being physically there at a meeting isn’t as important (to constituents) as being able to get on the phone and talk to me,” she said.

There is no known cure for the rheumatoid arthritis that afflicts Spring, and for those in whom the disease shows up in the first two decades of life, like Spring, there is “increased risk” of other complications, said John Imboden, a professor at UCSF and chief of rheumatology at San Francisco General Hospital.  But the joint and tissue inflammation and pain it causes can be reduced effectively through extra rest, proper diet and new medications, he said.

Spring has a rigorous treatment schedule, but time and her work on the council have still taken a toll. She has had more than 15 surgeries to help fight the effects of the disease and estimates she has a fourth of the energy she had when she was first elected. For now, she is unsure whether she will run for another term in 2008.  “I’m really surprised that I’ve been able to do it with this level of disability,” she said. “I’ve just kept making adaptations.”

Michael Kay covers city government. Contact him at mkay@dailycal.org.

 

 (c) 2005 the Daily Californian    Berkeley, California    dailycalifornian@dailycal.org

 

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From: owner-stevegoldada@SteveGoldADA.com

Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 11:15 AM

To: stevegoldada@stevegoldada.com

Subject:           Medicaid Funds to Keep Persons Out of Institutions –

Information Bulletin #187    (1/07)

Section 6086 of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 has not received much attention.  It offers States a new opportunity to provide a full (or partial) range of community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities.  Beginning now, January, 2007, States can use this new statutory provision without applying for a Medicaid waiver.

Here are some important aspects of Section 6086:

1.  It applies to seniors and people with disabilities with incomes up to 150% of the poverty level: $14,700 for a single person and $19,800 for a couple.  These income levels are higher than many States now provide for either MA community-based waiver services or MA state plan services, and could help many seniors with regard to Social Security.

2.  Because no waiver application is required, there is no excuse that the process is too complicated.

3.  These services can be targeted to persons BEFORE they go into a nursing home. This is important because, nationally, 11.8% of the persons IN nursing homes went into them directly from their own homes and had NOT been receiving any home health services before entering the institution; that's nearly 155,000 people in nursing homes as of 9/30/06!  Why should anyone be admitted to an institution without at least being offered and provided community-based services?

4.  There is no requirement under Section 6086 that persons even meet nursing home level of care criteria.

5.  There is no "cost neutrality" requirement that MA waivers have.

6.  States can limit the number of persons who will receive these services, so States will be able to monitor and control the financial aspects of offering and providing the services.

7.  States can concentrate the Section 6086 services in areas of the State that historically have high concentration of nursing home enrollments.

8.  These services can be consumer directed.

Has your State started to offer Section 6086 community-based services?

Will your State offer them?  If not, how can your State continue to complain about MA expenditures, when it will not implement a program that will save MA costs by preventing many of the 11.8% of the persons entering nursing homes?  [Your State’s specific percentage of persons admitted to nursing homes without receiving any home health services can be found at http://www1.cms.hhs.gov/apps/mds/ res3.asp?var=AB2&date=16]

Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues:  Back issues of other Information Bulletins are available online at http://www.stevegoldada.com with a searchable Archive at this site divided into different subjects. 

___________________________________________________________________

THOUGHT PROVOKING QUESTION AND ANSWERS

 

We received this from one of our members, from something which he had read:

 

“Why on earth would God choose a spokesperson, Moses, who stuttered and could hardly talk?”  The following possible explanations were offered for the divine choice.  Take the time to examine each alternative as you pause during your busy daily routine:

 

  1. The fact that God’s chosen spokesperson is a stutterer is a reminder to us that no one is perfect.
  2. That Moses stuttered was proof to everyone that Moses was a human being, not a God.
  3. People have to listen more closely to someone who has a speech impediment.
  4. If people accepted the Torah, it would be because of its contents and because of their faith; no one could later say that they accepted the Torah because they were swept away by Moses’ oratory or his charisma.
  5. Perhaps God chose Moses, not in spite of but because of his handicap, in order to teach us that all human beings are capable of rising above their handicaps and living productive lives despite them.
  6. Finally, is it possible that the lesson God intended in choosing Moses was that people with disabilities should not be ignored or considered less human than others?

 

Which possibility do you think is correct?  Or is there more than one justifiable answer to this query?

 


 

This is another thought-provoking article:

 

Design for Everyone, Disabled or Not

By LISA CHAMBERLAIN

The New York Times

Published: January 7, 2007

 

ST. LOUIS – Sharon M. Brown cried tears of joy the first time she took a shower without assistance in her new apartment.  She had not been able to do anything more by herself than take sponge baths since she was hit by a drunken driver six years ago, further complicating the multiple sclerosis that had been diagnosed years earlier.  For someone who had once hiked 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, she never thought taking a shower would be such a milestone.

 

Ms. Brown’s apartment building — which has bathrooms that are accessible to people in wheelchairs, including roll-in showers — is a milestone itself. The building, 6 North, opened in March 2005, and it was the first large-scale residential building in the country where all the units were built using what are called universal design principles.  While building codes set a minimum standard regarding accessibility, universal design is a relatively new concept that seeks to go beyond those codes to make the built environment usable by all people without the need for adaptation. This might include kitchen islands with adjustable-height countertops, front-loading washers and dryers, roll-in showers, and no-step entrances, eliminating the need for ramps.  But the important point, according to universal design advocates, is that it looks and feels like a normal apartment building. Rather than relying on designs that can segregate people according to their disability (impaired vision versus low mobility, for example), the intent of universal design is to create products and environments usable by as many people as possible, including people with no disabilities at all.  Universal design is increasingly available, but few if any other large-scale buildings have used the concept throughout an entire building.

 

Colleen Starkloff and her husband, Max, who was paralyzed in a diving accident as a young man, wanted to build a national model of universal design.  Through Paraquad, a nonprofit organization they formed in 1970, they had been searching for a developer who would undertake a universal design project.  It was 2003 when Richard D. Baron, the chairman and chief executive of McCormack Baron Salazar, a nationally known builder of mixed-income urban developments, contacted them with what he thought might be a potential site for the project.  “He called me and said:  ‘I think I have a good site.  How many units do you want to be universal design?’  I said:  ‘Richard, I want all of them to be universal design.  That’s the point:  universal.’  And he kind of hesitated and said, ‘O.K., we’ll make it work.’ ”  Mr. Baron hired Andrew Trivers, founding architect of Trivers Associates, to create a mixed-use environment for non-disabled people as well as people with a wide range of disabilities.  The building, in a St. Louis neighborhood called the Central West End, is 95 percent leased, with only 20 units occupied by people with disabilities, which is fine by Ms. Starkloff. “The whole point is integration,” she said.

 

For Jacqueline Benoit, integration meant more than living next door to people without disabilities, but being able to live with and take care of her son Johnathan again. Ms. Benoit was on her way to work four years ago when a driver struck her car. After six months of intensive care, she was able to breath on her own again. But the accident left her partially paralyzed, and she was sent to nursing homes for three years while her son stayed with relatives.

 

Ms. Benoit and Johnathan, now 7, moved into a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in 2005, which includes subtle design features like door handles instead of knobs for easier grasping, a dishwasher and oven that are set into the wall and raised about 18 inches off the ground (a usable height for people standing and sitting), and a stove with control knobs in front of the unit rather than toward the back.  The design features make life more manageable for Ms. Benoit, but the building also offers something for Johnathan.  “He loves the weight room,” Ms. Benoit said.  “We go together and I work on my arm.  I’m happy to be alive and be able to take care of my son.”

 

Before designing 6 North, Mr. Trivers had never used universal design principles, but now he is a convert.  “This is the future,” he said. “People are living longer and because of health care technology, they aren’t dying from accidents and disabilities the way they used to.  So the question is, how do you design so it doesn’t look like it is for or is only usable by someone with a specialized need?”

 

Richard C. Duncan, the senior project manager for the Center for Universal Design, said:  “Most people think U.D. is a term that is synonym with accessible design.  But it has this other element that is different:  a social equity component.  That is an invisible part of the product.  “So, for example, a ramp is very difficult to integrate into the design of a building,” he continued.  “We advocate for entrances that are step free, that everyone can use, whether you have a problem with stairs or you’re just carrying packages.”

 

Mr. Duncan toured 6 North when it opened with other disability advocates and developers, and said the building was serving as a model.  “And that is progress because what we don’t want are one-off projects, but full integration,” he said.  Most “handicapped accessible” buildings, he also pointed out, have two different apartment designs: “normal” units and accessible units for people with disabilities.  “And neither are in fact very user friendly,” he said.  “The point of universal design is integration of design principles into all aspects of the built environment so as not to be obvious for one or another.”

 

For instance, at 6 North, what looks like interior decoration is actually intentionally contrasting colors to allow people with limited vision to navigate the space.  In the hallways, carpeting in front of apartment entrances is darker to signal the door’s location.  Next to each entryway is a small shelf, which looks like a nice design detail but is also a handy spot for people to put down mail or packages while they open the door. This is, of course, equally convenient for a parent carrying a baby or people with partial paralysis.

 

Jacquelyn Kish is one such person with partial paralysis, the result of a brain aneurysm and stroke she suffered 18 months ago.  She moved into 6 North recently in order to resume rescuing injured or abandoned animals, which she was forced to give up when she was in a nursing home and lost her house as a result.

 

“I was told I shouldn’t leave the nursing home until I could walk,” Ms. Kish said while petting one of her rescued cats.  “But I was determined to live on my own again.  I can do that here.”

 

As for Ms. Brown, living independently is more important than having hiked on the Appalachian Trail.  “Being able to take care of yourself — you don’t appreciate that until you’re told you can no longer do it,” she said.

 

 

 

“NEWS YOU CAN USE”

 

These items were brought to our attention by our members:

 

1.      Animals prescribed by doctors for elderly may trump bans by resident associations

·         When a companion animal is prescribed by a doctor as a medical necessity, the ADA says that resident association bylaws may have to take a backseat.  The companion animal is likely to be seen as a “reasonable accommodation” for an elderly resident inasmuch as it will allow him or her to have a better quality of life than would be the case without the accommodation.  More than 20 years ago HUD recognized the value of companion animals for its elderly public housing tenants and changed its regulations to allow them.

2.      Aventura mayor synchronizes lights and adds timers for crossing walks.

·         Susan Gottlieb, the mayor of Aventura, Florida, has instituted a system of  synchronized crossing lights to make it easier for pedestrians to safely cross the street.  This innovation has been especially helpful for those whose disabilities make it more difficult to navigate crossing lights. 

3.      SmartNAV

·         This is from one of our members who suffers from severe MS:    The SmartNAV by NaturalPoint (a company founded in 1997 to develop computer control devices for people with disabilities) is a hands free ergonomic mouse for people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Repetitive Strain Injury and other special needs.  Users can Increase productivity by simply moving their heads to control their computers with this ergonomic mouse alternative.  Find out more at http://www.naturalpoint.com/smartnav.

 

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

 

We hope that the foregoing has helped you to achieve a fuller understanding of our work.  Although much has been done, much more needs to be done.  The population of the U.S. has just recently grown to 300,000,000 people and, given the ever-growing percentage of those with disabilities, the need for greater and further-reaching compliance with the A.D.A. continues to make itself all the more obvious and necessary.  It is our fervent hope to continue to take part in this effort.  With your help and encouragement we shall persevere in making ever-greater strides in that direction. 

 

“ACCESS NOW”® OPERATES ENTIRELY ON PRIVATE CONTRIBUTIONS.  WE HOPE THAT YOU SHARE OUR ENTHUSIASM FOR OUR WORK AND THAT YOU MIGHT BE MOVED TO MAKE A DONATION TO HELP US CONTINUE.  IT WOULD BE DEEPLY APPRECIATED!

 

Thank you all and please:

 

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BEST WISHES FOR CONTINUED PROGRESS IN ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES!

 

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Access Now, Inc.®

Phyllis F. Resnick, President