Category Archives: Disabilitiies

“Emily’s 18th Birthday”

by Melissa Ortiz, Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities

“Eighteen years ago today, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in the case Olmstead v. L.C. The court ruled that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible.

“In other words, if someone is able to live in the community with appropriate services and supports, they should have the choice to do so.

“The ruling acknowledged the existence of resource limitations, but it also said states should take “reasonable steps” to provide community-based alternatives to institutions. That has increased the availability and quality of services in the community for people with disabilities.

“It also has changed government spending. In 1999, Medicaid spent nearly three times more on long-term services and supports provided in institutions like nursing homes than it did on services in the community. By 2013, a majority of that funding was going toward services and supports in the community.

“To illustrate what that has meant for people with disabilities, let’s imagine a baby born with cerebral palsy on the day of the ruling, June 22, 1999.”

Continue reading this article at the Administration for Community Living Website.

“Why an Inclusive Workplace Is Good For Business” –

hiring persons with disabilities

“For individuals with disabilities, job hunting can be particularly arduous. Never mind that few offices accommodate their needs — even though the Americans with Disabilities Act is meant to ensure that they do — landing a job is more difficult too.

“The Bureau (of Labor and Statistics) also found that when a disabled and nondisabled individual with the same level of education were both up for the same position, the candidate without a disability was far more likely to receive the offer. Part of the problem is that many employers have a misconception over what hiring someone with a disability entails, says Chetan Bakhru, the senior accessibility specialist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. He notes that some employers worry about the effect hiring someone with a disability will have on the office culture, or on their budgets. The issue, he says, is a lack of understanding.”

Click here to continue reading this article.

Link partners increase in each Service Area 13 County


During the past month, the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources’ Berks – Lancaster – Lebanon Service Area continued to expand its partners’ network in each county.

These are new partners in the Berks County Partners Network:

See the complete list of partners for each county:

If you are an agency, entity or organization that provides services for persons age 60 and over; persons with a disability; veterans; family members and caregivers, consider aligning with one or more of these counties as a partner with the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources, contact us for information. There are no fees or charges to be a Link partner.

Call or text 717.380.9714 or email to let us know you want to become a Link partner.


Ted Kennedy, Jr. Elected New Board Chair of American Association of People with Disabilities

“Disability rights lawyer will spearhead national effort to resist harmful changes in disability law and policy

Washington, D.C.: The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) announced today that Ted Kennedy, Jr., a disability rights lawyer and longstanding advocate for inclusion and justice for people with disabilities, has been elected Chair of the Board. AAPD is one of the nation’s leading cross-disability civil rights organization’s dedicated to social reform and equal rights for people with disabilities.

Ted will take charge of AAPD at a critical turning point for the disability rights movement. “There has never been more at stake for the disability community,” said Kennedy. “Many changes are happening in Washington and across the country that threaten the health, education, and economic security of disabled Americans. People with disabilities are being denied their fair chance to pursue the American dream and the time has come for the disability community to organize and resist the harmful policy and program changes that are beginning to take place. I can’t sit back and watch the destruction of 30 years of hard-won legislative and legal advances. The time for us to act is now.”

Since losing his leg to bone cancer at the age of 12, Ted’s advocacy for people with disabilities has taken many forms. In addition to serving on AAPD’s board for over 15 years, Ted has served as a board member of Special Olympics International and Connecticut’s Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. He served on President Ronald Reagan’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and worked with the bipartisan coalition of organizations fighting for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. He lectures nationally on disability, cancer, and healthcare policy.

Currently, Ted is a partner in the Health Care and Life Sciences Practice at the national law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green, where he advises healthcare companies on emerging issues in federal and state regulatory and reimbursement law. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Health Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association. He splits his time between his law practice and service as a state senator in the Connecticut General Assembly, where he Co-Chairs the bipartisan Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) Caucus.

“Disability organizations across the country are alarmed and upset by recent proposals to roll back funding for special education and home care and to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions,” said Christine Griffin, Director of Boston’s Disability Law Center and outgoing AAPD Board Chair. “Ted is in a unique position to speak out and galvanize the disability community in opposing these changes because of his background in disability law, respect among other disability activists, and the national profile to bring awareness and attention to the struggle. He also has relationships and credibility with political leaders on both sides of the political aisle.”

In accepting his new assignment, Kennedy said, “I want to continue to fight for a society in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully. As the national umbrella group that unites all disability organizations, AAPD is uniquely positioned to organize and coordinate a renewed nationwide effort to educate, encourage, and train new leaders and engage our corporate partners who share our goals.”

SOURCE: news release



“Disability Advocates Fear Impact Of Medicaid Cuts In GOP Health Plan” – NPR

by Elly YudisabilitiesEvan Nodvin, seen here in his Atlanta-area apartment, uses services that are covered by Medicaid. –  Elly Yu/WABE

“Several decades ago, Evan Nodvin’s life probably would have looked quite different.

“Nodvin has his own apartment just outside Atlanta, in Sandy Springs, Ga., which he shares with a roommate, and a job at a local community fitness center. He also has Down syndrome.

“‘I give out towels, and put weights away, and make sure people are safe,’ the 38-year-old says.

“To get to and from work, Nodvin relies on rides from people who are hired to help him. He also has a counselor to help him do daily chores like grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking.

“‘My favorite thing to cook on Wednesdays — I like to cook turkey patties once a week,’ he says. ‘And on Thursdays I make fish, and other days, I make other good stuff like spaghetti.’”

Click here to read this NPR report in its entirety.

“Not just for the poor: The crucial role of Medicaid in America’s health care system” – The Conversation

by Simon Haeder

medicaid“Nurse Jane Kern administers medicine to patient Lexi Gerkin in Brentwood, New Hampshire. Lexi is one of thousands of severely disabled or ill children covered by Medicaid, regardless of family income.” Charles Krupa/AP

“Despite many assertions to the contrary, Senate leaders are now saying they want to vote on the replacement bill for Obamacare before the month is out.

“Front and center is the planned transformation of America’s Medicaid program, which covers 20 percent of Americans and provides the backbone of America’s health care system.

“As a professor of public policy, I have written extensively about the American health care system and the Affordable Care Act.

“Living in West Virginia, perhaps the nation’s poorest state, I have also seen the benefits of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion since 2014.

“To understand how the ACHA’s proposed changes to Medicaid would affect people and our health care system, let’s look more closely at the program.”

Click here to read this Conversation article in its entirety.

Governor Wolf to Nominate Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to be Inaugural Secretary of Health and Human Services

tmillerTeresa Miller has been nominated by Governor Tom Wolf to be the inaugural Secretary of the prospective unified Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf Yesterday announced his intention to nominate current Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to serve as the inaugural Secretary of the prospective unified Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Miller has served as Insurance Commissioner since January 2015, where she has worked on a range of issues, including the administration’s top priorities – fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic and helping seniors.

“‘Teresa Miller has established herself quickly in Pennsylvania as a leader in her field, an advocate for consumers and the less fortunate, and an effective administrator whose department quickly found new success in a challenging national environment,’ Governor Wolf said. ‘Over the past two years, Commissioner Miller has fought to protect health care for seniors and kids, increased the department’s efforts for consumer protection and education, and made the department more transparent.’”

Continue reading the announcement here.


SEIU HCPA Applauds Nomination of Teresa Miller as Secretary of PA Dept of Health and Human Services

Insurance commissioner: Shooting for a competitive marketplace for consumers

“Extreme Heat Message and Precautions | Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit, Get Involved” – Administration for Community Living

go kit

Summer is almost here. While we prepare to enjoy the warm weather, it’s important to take precautions in case extreme heat strikes.

By evaluating your needs, you can plan for any heat related situation.

The following steps will prepare you to handle periods of extreme heat and the associated risks:

  • Consider how potential power outages during periods of extreme heat might affect you. Plan to be temporarily self-sufficient if the electricity goes out. It’s possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or a pharmacy.
  • Identify the resources you use on a daily basis and what you can do if they are limited or not available. Make provisions for medications that require refrigeration, and plan arrangements to get to a cooling center, if needed.
  • Think about what you need to maintain your health, safety, and independence. Build A Kit that includes any specialized items such as extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, and medication. Also include non-perishable food and water, items for service animals and pets, a cooler, and anything else you might need.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, especially those who spend much of their time alone, or are more likely to be affected by extreme heat.
  • Be watchful for signs of heat stroke and dehydration. These include shallow breathing, a lack of perspiration, dizziness, dry mouth, and headaches.

The HHS emPOWER Map 2.0 features the monthly total of Medicare beneficiaries with electricity-dependent equipment claims at the U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code level to identify the areas and populations that may be impacted and at risk for prolonged power outages.

For more information about extreme heat preparedness and tools, go to and

SOURCE: Administration for Community Living

“‘I was panicked’: Deaf patients struggle to get interpreters in medical emergencies” – STATNews

deafJohn Paul Jebian communicates with his son Pierre, in Miami, Fla. – Scott McIntyre for STAT

by Leila Miller

“The chest pain was bad enough. Then John Paul Jebian asked staff at Baptist Hospital of Miami for an American Sign Language interpreter. They instead brought a video screen with an internet link to a remote interpreter to help him understand what the doctors and nurses were saying.

“Jebian, who is deaf, said a nurse struggled to set up the equipment as he anxiously wondered whether he was suffering a heart attack.

“‘I was panicked,’ said Jebian, 46, recalling that July 2012 day. ‘I didn’t know if I had to have surgery. Everything was going past me. I didn’t know what was happening, when it was happening.’

“With the minutes ticking by and staff still unable to operate the video interpreting service, the hospital turned to another option.”

Click here to continue reading this article at

Volunteer Actors Needed for Keystone 6 Exercise!

Volunteer Actors Needed for Keystone 6 Exercise!

Tuesday, August 15, 10am-1pm | Lunch provided

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is sponsoring an exercise and we need volunteers! This exercise is called Keystone 6 and is focused on mass care and sheltering during a large-scale disaster. The scenario is based on a large nuclear explosion in New Jersey that drives people to evacuate into Pennsylvania. We are testing our capabilities for opening state managed shelters at both Penn State University’s Harrisburg campus (Middletown) and Shippensburg University.

To see how we might accomplish this, we need people to serve as actors and go through the registration process at the shelter locations, as an evacuee might. We hope to have people with disabilities or other access and functional needs participate so we can practice how we would meet these needs in a real situation.

We promise you do not have to sleep on a cot! Lunch will be provided and you will also be provided information to assist you in forming your own emergency preparedness plan. No reimbursement is available for travel or time.

We need your help so we can best plan for the needs of all Pennsylvanians!

Interested individuals please contact Christine Heyser at  or 717-461-0389 with the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Preferred location: PSU Harrisburg or Shippensburg
  3. Special dietary needs for lunch, if any
  4. Optional: If you are a person with a disability or other access or functional need, would you be willing to briefly describe the need(s)?