Lee Bowman would like to share one of his newest poems.
The stress of living with a disability
is not something new to me.
But a challenge is all it should be.
To overcome such diversity
is a goal worthy of all you see.
To become the person you wish to be
and go places you wish to see.
Disability is nothing new to me.
A challenge is all it is you see.
So will you help overcome disability
and become a better person with me?
Shari Coatney, President/CEO SKIL said there’s “no way” the centers can pay back $10.3 million and remain open.
TOPEKA — A government-funded program that served the physically disabled in four northeast Kansas counties has gone out of business due to financial troubles.
“Last Friday was our last day,” said Ken Gifford, chief executive of Advocates for Better Living for Everyone (ABLE), which previously was known as the Center for Independent Living of Northeast Kansas.
The Atchison-based center provided a variety of community support services to about 400 disabled people living in Atchison, Brown, Jackson, and Doniphan counties.
“We ran out of money, that’s basically what happened,” Gifford said. “The state changed the funding streams, the economy kept going down and we didn’t have a big reserve fund. It just wasn’t going to work anymore.”
The State of Kansas on Wednesday awarded contracts to three companies that will partner with state agencies to improve health outcomes and curb the growth of spending in Kansas Medicaid. These contracts will provide significant additional benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries not previously offered by Kansas Medicaid, including preventative dental benefits for adults, heart and lung transplants, and bariatric surgery.
After an extensive bidding and review process, Amerigroup Kansas, Inc., Sunflower State Health Plan, and United Healthcare of the Midwest, Inc. were awarded contracts. The partners will begin work today; KanCare will launch in January 2013.
“These new KanCare plans will provide our most vulnerable Kansans with superior service at a more sustainable price,” said Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer. “As a doctor, I know the additional services provided in these contracts will lead to needy Kansans leading happier, healthier lives.”
On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The promise of the Olmstead decision is that people with disabilities get to live their lives in the same manner as people without disabilities--working, living, playing and enjoying their lives within the community based on decisions that they make for themselves!
On this anniversary of Olmstead, I want to thank the women who became the faces of Olmstead in the 1990s: Elaine Wilson and Lois Curtis. These women had spent the majority of their lives in state hospitals and mental institutions until the Olmstead decision freed them, allowing them to live their lives more fully within the community.
Today, the US Dept. of Justice has a page dedicated to Olmstead, profiling some of the individuals whose lives have been made better through community-based living. Check it out for stories of amazing individuals! http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_about.htm#faces
STATEMENT OF ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL THOMAS E. PEREZ BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS ON OLMSTEAD ENFORCEMENT
Good morning Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Enzi and members of the Committee. Thank you for holding this hearing about implementation of the Supreme Court’s landmark Olmstead v. L.C decision. The Court’s ruling has often and properly been called the Brown v. Board of Education of the disability rights movement.
As the thirteenth anniversary of the Olmstead decision approaches, I am pleased to testify today about the Civil Rights Division’s Olmstead enforcement work and about the Department’s active role in ensuring that people with disabilities can realize their full potential. As you know, in Olmstead, the Supreme Court recognized for the first time that the civil rights of people with disabilities are violated when they are unnecessarily segregated from the rest of society. The Court’s decision acknowledged that segregating individuals with disabilities in institutional settings deprives them of the opportunity to participate in their communities, interact with individuals who do not have disabilities and make their own day-to-day choices; it also recognized that unnecessary institutionalization stigmatizes people with disabilities, reinforcing misunderstanding and negative stereotypes.
The Olmstead decision was heralded as the impetus to finally move individuals with disabilities out of the shadows, and to facilitate their full integration into the mainstream of American life. Over the several years following the decision, through advocacy and policy and programmatic changes at the State and Federal level, there was some progress toward this goal. But the hoped-for sea change in the lives of people with disabilities has not come to fruition. More than a decade after Olmstead, many individuals across the country who can live in the community and want to live in the community remain unnecessarily institutionalized.
For that reason, when I became Assistant Attorney General in 2009, I identified enforcement of the Olmstead decision as one of the Division’s top priorities. In the last three years, the Division has been involved in more than 40 matters in 25 states. We have also significantly expanded our collaborations with other federal agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development and Labor, recognizing that community integration can only be successful if people have access to necessary community services and housing. Through our Olmstead work, we help states comply, not only with their legal obligations under the ADA, but also with their fiscal obligations to taxpayers, by moving from expensive institutional care to more cost-effective community-based services that allow the state to leverage federal dollars most effectively. As importantly, Olmstead implementation serves states’ broader interest in serving people with disabilities in the way most conducive to independence and full participation in community life.