Tuesday, September 22, 2009

People with Disabilities on H1N1 Priority List

WASHINGTON, DC-- Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the H1N1 vaccine would likely be available for priority groups by October 5th and certainly no later than October 15th.

Priority vaccine recipients include:
  • People age 25-64 with underlying medical conditions such as cognitive disabilities, cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders, respiratory conditions, diabetes, and more.

  • Paid and unpaid health care workers and direct support professionals and parents caring for individuals with underlying medical conditions.

Visit http://www.flu.gov/ for more information.

FY 2010 Appropriations Update- Housing, Transport

WAHINGTON, DC-- On 17 September, the Senate passed H.R. 3288 , the FY 2010 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill. In housing, the bill provides a $15 million increase for Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities. Section 811 provides affordable and accessible housing units for persons with disabilities who have extremely low incomes. In transportation, the New Freedom program expanding transportation options for people with disabilities was level-funded. However, Section 5310, serving people with disabilities and the elderly with their transportation needs, increased by $7.2 million.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Abuse Cited as Cause for Murder-Suicide

OAKLAND— Diana Harden, age 64, fatally shot her daughter Yvette, age 43, and then herself Sunday night at Oakland Springs Health Center in Oakland, California. Yvette resided at the skilled nursing facility for 6 years, after being serious injured in a car accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury and quadriplegia 15 years earlier. Prior to residing at Oakland Springs Health Center, Yvette had lived briefly at home and then in a series of nursing facilities.

According to a letter Diana Harden sent to the Oakland ABC news channel ABC 7 prior to the shootings, her daughter had begged her to end her life due to unremitting abuse she suffered at the facility. The local news channel checked state records and found 54 complaints against the nursing home last year, 29 of them substantiated. Pat McGinnis of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said, "If nothing else, let's heed this mother's cry and say 'let's do something not just about the people that are in nursing homes, but let's do something about keeping people out of nursing homes in the first place.” Police continue to investigate.

Mother’s Letter Explains Murder-Suicide
Murder Suicide at Oakland Nursing Home
Mother kills disabled daughter, self in apparent murder-suicide at Oakland nursing home

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Recommended Blog!

DI recommends "The Deal With Disability" at http://thedealwithdisability.wordpress.com/!
The blog is written by Eva, a woman with a signficant disability. She says, "I have Cerebral Palsy, which for me means I can’t walk, speak, or use muscles in traditional ways. I use a power wheelchair to get around and spell out what I want to say on a letterboard. This blog will be videos of people treating me bizarrely. My video camera is mounted to my wheelchair (very discreetly) and I basically just press record whenever I go out and then edit the good stuff for you! I will then write my comments on the event, which is usually what was playing in my inner monologue while these insensitive people were talking."

Eva's blog is a VERY powerful commentary on life with a significant disability and power of words and images in exploring her experience. DI will be adding "The Deal with Disability" to the "Links" section at the bottom of the page. Cheers, Eva!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Former Texas Rehab Provider Convicted, Sentenced

(HOUSTON) - James Earl Dunn Jr., 39, former owner and operator of Rehab Specialist Inc. (RSI), has been sentenced to 33 months confinement in federal prison by United States District Judge Lee Rosenthal for submitting more than $300,000 in fraudulent claims against the government, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. The sentence was handed down late yesterday evening.

Dunn received contracts from the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), formerly known as the Texas Rehabilitation Commission, from funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, to provide vocational rehabilitation training to individuals with mental and physical disabilities.
Indicted in May 2007, Dunn pleaded guilty Aug. 12, 2008, to one count of submitting fraudulent claims against the government acknowledging in his plea agreement that during the years 2001 to 2003 he had fraudulently obtained federal vocational rehabilitation funds through DARS by claiming that he was providing employment training and coaching to clients with disabilities when, in fact, the clients were not receiving such training.

"Dunn knowingly and willfully abused his position of trust to steal funds that were supposed to be used to provide needed education and vocational rehabilitation to disabled adults. That is unacceptable,” said Mary Mitchelson, acting Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education. “I’m proud of the work of Office of Inspector General Special Agents, the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and the U.S. Attorney's Office for holding this man accountable for his fraudulent actions.”
Dunn, who has been on bond, has been permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance by the court of an order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

The investigation was conducted by special agents with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General and the DARS Investigations Unit. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Quincy L. Ollison.