I received the Newsletter for the National Council on Disability via email this morning:
Message from the Chairman:
I am truly honored to have been appointed by President Obama as Chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD). I am delighted to be joined by seven new Members whose nominations were also confirmed by the U.S. Senate this Spring and our continuing Members appointed by President Bush. To learn more about our Members, please visit: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/members/members.htm.
This is the first newsletter of my chairmanship and as such I am actively seeking your input and advice to make NCD more transparent, participatory, and collaborative in implementing the public policy mandate found in NCD’s authorizing statute.
My primary objective is to build a solid foundation for NCD to carry its work into the future and that means being able to coordinate and collaborate effectively across the Federal Government, with state and local governments, and with a variety of stakeholders within the disability community. We are at a critical juncture. There is no longer any mystery about the broad policy objectives for people with disabilities. The uncertainties regard concrete and actionable steps toward implementing our policy objectives. Absent effective leadership and coordination, we will continue to fall short both in improving the lives of people with disabilities and in stabilizing our nation’s fiscal health.
To be an effective agent, NCD must actively engage with the community it was created to serve. Accordingly, NCD will be aggressive, creative, and steadfast in identifying ways to be transparent about its activities and to solicit input from all interested stakeholders. NCD’s engagement will also need to be timely and relevant. NCD will strive to help set the agenda where it can, but our greatest impact will frequently be on issues and topics for which there are windows of opportunity. We need to ensure that NCD is aware of these windows and how best to tailor and present its recommendations so that they make a real difference in advancing disability policy objectives.
I welcome and value your feedback on the Council’s activities, including what you want in future newsletters and communications with the public. The Council is embarking on a new era and we want to reach out to you in this open invitation for suggestions on everything we’re doing. You are our stakeholders and we depend on you to let us know how we can better serve the community. I encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas, and general comments. You can email NCD at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is much work to be done and your feedback is key.
In the News
On June 15th, Chairman Young had the privilege of testifying before the Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness and Response on “Caring for Special Needs during Disasters: What’s being done for Vulnerable Populations.” His testimony can be found at: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/news/2010/HS_Subcomm_Young_Testimony_FINAL.htm. The purpose of this hearing was to receive testimony on the actions taken by FEMA, non-profits, and localities to address the needs of vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, the poor, children, and persons with limited English proficiency, during disasters.
National Summit on Disability Policy 2010
Since Chairman Young’s confirmation he has been immersed in preparation for NCD’s National Summit on Disability Policy, which will take place at the Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel, 999 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC, July 25–28, 2010.
The Summit’s cross-cutting theme of Living, Learning & Earning is designed to launch a national dialogue on disability policies and programs in the 21st century. As the invited guests gather in Washington, DC to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, we want to begin substantive discussions about the future of disability policies and programs and promote extensive collaboration at all levels of government and among all stakeholders. The Summit now includes an additional half-day, post-Summit discussion session on July 28, where NCD will reflect on the Summit’s proceedings and entertain additional stakeholder input.
White House Launches Celebration Of 20th Anniversary Of Americans With Disabilities Act
On June 8th Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, kicked off the White House’s celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, delivering remarks to over 2,000 people from around the world at the VSA International Festival at the Kennedy Center. Read Ms. Jarrett’s full remarks at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/06/08/white-house-launches-celebration-20th-anniversary-americans-with-disabilities-act
FCC ADA Anniversary Celebration
As part of its continuing effort to develop and implement consumer-focused policies, including disabilities access, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin its year-long celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the ADA on Monday, July 19, 2010. The event will be held in the afternoon, in the Commission Meeting Room. The event will include the following:
•Launch of the Commission’s Accessibility and Innovation Forum
•Announcement of FCC initiatives concerning disability access
•Technology Expo of emerging communications equipment and services
•Debut of a video documenting first-person testimonials on disability access
•Performances by Gallaudet University students
Additional information about the event will be released at a later date. The celebration is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. To pre-register or request accommodations, please send an E-mail to: Pam.Gregory@fcc.gov, or call (202) 418-2498 voice; (202) 418-1169 TTY.
NCD Vice Chair Fernando Torres-Gil Addresses Aging
On May 27, NCD Vice Chair Fernando Torres-Gil, Ph.D., provided the keynote address at the 2010 Area 1 Agency on Aging’s “Celebration of Seniors” luncheon and awards ceremony in Eureka, California.
Read the entire advance story from the May 25 Eureka Times-Standard at http://www.times-standard.com/lifestyle/ci_15156690.
NCD Board Member Gary Blumenthal Discusses Center Closure
On May 20, NCD Board Member Gary Blumenthal’s guest column on closing a local developmental center appeared in the Waltham, Massachusetts, Daily News Tribune.
Read the entire column about the closure of Fernald Developmental Center at http://www.dailynewstribune.com/opinions/columnists/x258107902/Fernald-closure-saves-money.
On May 30, the Boston Globe published a letter to the editor by Mr. Blumenthal that discusses the benefits of community-based settings.
The letter can be found at http://www.boston.com/yourtown/sudbury/articles/2010/05/30/disabled_can_find_opportunities_in_the_community/.
Federal Medical Assistance Percentages
On June 7, NCD Chairman Jonathan Young sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging swift action in providing a six-month extension of the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages contained in the Senate-passed American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 44213) but omitted from the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Anniversary of Olmstead v. L.C.
June 22 marked the 11th anniversary of the landmark 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., in which the Court held that the unjustified institutional isolation of people with disabilities is a form of unlawful discrimination under the ADA.
Since that time, progress has been made. Many individuals have successfully transitioned to community settings, but waiting lists for community services have grown considerably and many individuals who would like to receive community services are not able to obtain them.
NCD believes that continued implementation of Olmstead is of paramount importance to the nation as demographics shift toward older Americans, and is one of the top priorities of the disability community.
Our partners at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made a recent announcement that we believe will be of interest to you:
CMS State Medicaid Directors Letter # 10-008 issued May 20, 2010, entitled “Re: Community Living Initiative,” which reminded states of their obligations to implement the Olmstead decision, reported on recent progress made as a part of the Community Living Initiative and highlighted resources and guidance to help states in their compliance efforts.
You can download a PDF of the CMS State Medicaid Directors Letter from http://www.cms.gov/smdl/downloads/SMD10008.pdf.
The Affordable Care Act
A blog, entitled “What the Affordable Care Act Means for Americans with Disabilities” by Henry Claypool, Director of Office on Disability, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was posted on May 21, 2010, at http://www.healthreform.gov.
To read the entire blog, please go to http://www.healthreform.gov/forums/blog/disabilities.html.
ODEP Announces National Disability Employment Awareness Month Theme
On May 13, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy unveiled the official theme for October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month: “Talent Has No Boundaries: Workforce Diversity INCLUDES Workers With Disabilities.” The theme serves to inform the public that workers with disabilities represent a diverse and vibrant talent pool for hire.
To read the full announcement, please go to http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/ODEP20100630.htm.
FCC and FEMA Announce Workshop on 21st Century Emergency Alerting: Leveraging Multiple Technologies to Bring Alerts and Warnings to the Public
On June 10, the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Continuity Programs held a workshop on 21st Century Emergency Alerting: Leveraging Multiple Technologies to Bring Alerts and Warnings to the Public.
This meeting was important to people with disabilities because emergency warnings still do not adequately reach people with disabilities during disasters. Most disaster warnings broadcast via conventional media avenues only, which may not be accessible to people with hearing or vision disabilities.
For more information, please see the full announcement at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-298198A1.txt.
About the National Council on Disability Newsletter
The Newsletter, which is also available on the Council’s website at www.ncd.gov, brings you the latest issues and news for people with disabilities. To subscribe to the NCD listserv, go to http://listserv.access.gpo.gov, click on online mailing list archives, select NCD-NEWS-L, then join or leave the list, and finally, complete the short subscription form.