Announcing Independence Empowerment Center’s Annual Meeting and Recognition of Volunteers and Others
Come learn about what has been happening at IEC this past year. Meet other members of IEC and offer your thanks and congratulations for things accomplished.
Place: Foster’s Grill Time: 4pm – 6pm
9417 West Street Date: September 28, 2016
Manassas, VA 20110 Light snacks will be provided
(To hold you over until you get home to dinner)
This past weekend we were involved with the Independence Empowerment Center’s ADA Fair. This event celebrates the signing of the American’s with Disabilities Act by President George Herbert Walker Bush on July 26th, 1990. This law was the first inclusive civil rights law that addressed the needs of the disabled population of the United States. The law was created to eliminate the obstructions that existed for those with disabilities in the areas of employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The sweeping legislation tore down the barriers that limited those with disabilities from being active and involved citizens in their communities.
Being a part of the ADA Fair is something that we always look forward to. Dr Mary Lopez, the director of the I.E.C. (Independence Empowerment Center) has become a friend of Yellow Cab and our family. She is a wonderful, fun, and spunky lady who always makes us laugh, but has also been essential in fighting for the rights of those in the county with disabilities. It was through our interactions with the IEC, its partners, and Dr Lopez, that we decided to purchase our first accessible vans.
When you seek to be a part of something, like we do this community, and you see there is a huge unmet need, you do whatever it takes to address it in the best way you can. Our accessible vans cost more to purchase, more to insure, more to train drivers to use properly, but we pushed all of that out of our minds, went with our hearts, and did what we knew was needed and right. It was one of the best things that we have ever done. The vans have been an amazing asset to the people that need them. People now have the ability to get where they need to go without being charged the astronomical rates that previous non-emergency medical transport companies would charge. The people who drive the vans have formed friendships with the people they are driving. In some cases they have been all but formally adopted into their passenger’s families. We are servicing people who truly need this transportation to be a part of their community. We cannot express in words how grateful we are to be able to provide the much needed service. We also cannot say thank you enough to the IEC and Dr. Lopez for showing us how important and necessary these services are to this community.
While hot, very hot, I mean BLAZING hot, the event was as wonderful as ever. Dr Lopez and her team at the Independence Empowerment Center always get together just the right mix of people, companies, and organizations that really care about the disabled population of Prince William County. The vendors this year were no exception. We were able to meet with our customers and discuss things we are doing to help, and things we can do to better help. There were many people there that have become old friends of our company and we were able to make new friends as well. We love the smiling faces and caring hearts we always encounter at this event. The auction is also one of our favorites and while we didn’t spend as much this year, we think we were the big winners yet again!
Thank you Independence Empowerment Center and Dr. Lopez for the invitation to participate in your event again this year. We look forward to coming to many more and if you keep inviting Phat Yummies you may have to fight us not to come!
Me Before You is yet another example of a disabled character -
written by a non-disabled author and played by a non-disabled actor - who opts
for suicide, rather than to live with a physical impairment. The list is
almost endless, from Whose Life Is It, Anyway to Gattaca to Million Dollar
Well, We Beg to Differ!!!
Webinar, Thursday, May 12, 12noon
Registration required: Webinar on CD 40 Limit (https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8030345120234988546
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. The webinar will cover the history of this issue and advocacy strategies.
Survey to Gather Information on CD 40 Hour Cap
The Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living has a survey to gather information about the
potential impact of the 40-hour cap. Results of the survey will be used to formulate advocacy strategies.
Participate in the survey at Survey CD 40 (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CD40)
Medicaid Consumer-Directed (CD) Assistants to Be Limited to 40 Hours a Week
In 2013, federal Department of Labor regulations were amended to require overtime pay to certain
types of employees previously exempted from some provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. DOL on Homecare. One of the changes required overtime for certain employees. This change impacts Virginia
Medicaid-funded consumer-directed (CD) personal care, respite and companion assistants.
In response to the federal regulations, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) began paying overtime to Medicaid CD assistants on January 1, 2016. The General Assembly then eliminated all overtime for Medicaid CD assistants effective July 1.
The General Assembly did not limit the number of hours that an individual can use each week for services. People with disabilities can continue to use the number of hours they have authorized. For many people this might mean they have to hire additional CD assistants.
At this time, Medicaid live-in CD assistants are not be impacted by this change. Also at this time, a Medicaid CD assistant can work for more than one individual and work more than 40 hours between the individuals they work for. For example, the CD assistant can work 40 hours for individual A and 40 hours for individual B. If in the future it is determined that DMAS is a joint employer with the employer of record, live-in assistants and CD assistants working for more than one individual could also be limited to 40 hours a week of CD employment. This change may –
Make it even harder to recruit assistants in rural areas with low populations and long travel distances and in northern Virginia where the cost of living is so high
Put people at risk due to their unique support needs making it hard to find multiple assistants for these unique needs
Cause harm when there are weather or other emergencies in which one assistant has to stay longer because the second assistant cannot travel to the person’s home
Increase struggles related to unexpected illnesses like the flu when an adult with significant disabilities living on their own may temporarily need more extensive support to deal with symptoms.
The potential for crisis is very real for people with disabilities who need supports to avoid placement in a nursing facility or other institution. For many people, agency-directed personal care services are not an option either because agencies do not have appropriate staff or the individual already tried agency-directed services and the agency was not able to meet the individual’s needs.
What Can We Do Now?
The Virginia General Assembly has completed their legislative session for this year. However, you can meet with your state Senators and Delegates in their home district offices. Continue to educate legislators about how limiting assistants to 40 hours a week will impact you. Contact information for legislators can be found at Who Is My Legislator ( http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov )
The Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living (VACIL) has a survey to gather information about the potential impact of the 40-hour cap. Results of the survey will be used to formulate advocacy strategies. Participate in the survey at Survey CD 40 ( https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CD40 )
Participate in the May 12 webinar. Webinar on CD 40 Limit ( https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8030345120234988546 )
Advocate for an exceptions process to minimize the negative impact of the 40 hour cap. Information about a possible exceptions process can be found at Exception Process. ( http://www.bazelon.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=qFkSrIu15xw%3d&tabid=64 )
We will discuss this during the May 12 webinar.
Background on Consumer-Directed Overtime
1998 – Virginia Medicaid began paying for CD personal care services. Services are authorized based on the needs of people with disabilities and assistants work the hours needed without consideration of overtime wages. 2013 – Federal Department of Labor (DOL) regulations amended to require overtime pay for “companionship services” which include personal care, respite and companion services.
2014 & 2015 – Regulations challenged and ultimately upheld in court.
December 17, 2015 – Governor McAuliffe introduces the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016. The introduced budget would continue limited Medicaid CD overtime; assistants could work up to 56 hours a week for the same individual (16 hours a week of overtime).
January 1, 2016 –Commonwealth of Virginia began paying overtime for Medicaid CD assistants working more than 40 hours a week for the same individual.
March 11, 2016 –General Assembly votes to prohibit overtime wages for Medicaid CD assistants.
April 10, 2016 – Governor submits a budget amendment to allow Medicaid CD assistants to work up to 56 hours in a work week and pay 16 hours of overtime.
April 20, 2016 – General Assembly votes to reject the Governor’s amendment. The budget amendment adopted on March 11 is effective July 1. General Assembly Budget Amendment ( http://budget.lis.virginia.gov/amendment/2016/1/HB30/Introduced/CR/306/21c/ )
Please share this message with others.
National Weather Service Weather call - Jan, 21 at 1200 for tomorrow:
* Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a State of Emergency