by Ken Dibble

You know, the hardest thing we try to do here at STIC is convince people with disabilities to believe in something -- their worth, their abilities, their future, themselves. It's hard because so many have for so long been trained to depend on others, to expect to be taken care of, and not to hope for too much.

It's hard, too, to see the brave new world that's being built for us when you have to duck and cover to avoid all the sparks and shavings and shrapnel that come at you when you're on the cutting edge.

But together we have been building a truly awesome new way to live over the years: As a fully-rounded person and real citizen. Thanks to major advances like the Reasonable Accommodations Act, the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance program, improved vocational services, and the stuff that's coming soon -- Self Determination, the Medicaid Buy-In, and, perhaps, finally, even a federal disability policy that puts integration first -- you can have a real home, a real job, a real social life, and make a real contribution to your community.

It's not going to be smooth or quick -- it's still the cutting edge -- but it's there if you want it.

And to get it, you do have to want it. More than that, you have to plan for it, work for it, take charge and see it through. In other words, you have to do just what everybody else has ever had to do in order to build a life.

The time is now. Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? Figure that out and go for it. It's spring. New lives are cropping up all around. You can have one too.

Find the Facts!
Win $25.00!

Last November, What percentage of New Yorkers with disabilities voted for Bush?

The answer to this question is somewhere in this newsletter. All correct answers (as found in this newsletter), postmarked on or before April 15 , will be entered in a blind drawing. If your answer is drawn, you'll win $25! STIC staff, board members, and their immediate families or households are not eligible to win.

Send your answers to:

24 Prospect Avenue
Binghamton, NY 13901

Congrats to Our Previous Winner!
Terrence McDonnell of Binghamton

Give us your

Don't go without your AccessAbility
March 2001


AccessAbility is published seasonally (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) by Southern Tier Independence Center. Letters, information, descriptions of disability experiences and ads are always welcome. Deadlines are February 15, May 15, August 15 and November 15.
Our address is:
Southern Tier Independence Center
24 Prospect Avenue
Binghamton, NY 13901

Subscriptions are $10 per year (4 issues). Subscriptions are voluntary, but are greatly needed to help cover newsletter production costs. Use the form on the back to subscribe.

AccessAbility prints unclassified ads free for disabled consumers, unless they promote a for-profit business. For-profit businesses can advertise in AccessAbility, in Unclassifieds or a display ad, at our regular rates. Ask the editor for information.

Any non-copyrighted information originating in this newsletter may be reprinted without permission. If you want to reprint an article or opinion piece, please credit AccessAbility and the author.

All articles appearing in this newsletter are written by Ken Dibble except as noted.

** ALERT!!! **

RSA issued its final rule: sheltered workshops are no longer an acceptable employment outcome for VR agencies! But the Bush Administration is reviewing all of Clinton's last actions. Workshops have started a mail campaign to get this rule reversed. Your letters in support of the rule are needed NOW. Write:

Roderick R. Paige, Secretary
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202


Innovative Directions in Educating All Students

A forum where parents, educators, and other professionals can come together and begin a dialogue on the issues and barriers to the inclusion of students with disabilities in the mainstream classroom.
April 3
3:30 - 8:00 PM
24 Prospect Ave.


  • Parents
  • Classroom teachers
  • Special education teachers
  • School administrators
  • CSE chairpersons
  • OTs, PTs, SLPs, and other professionals working with students in school settings

Anyone interested in the education of students with disabilities

Registration Fee - $10.00
Includes Dinner and Materials

724-2111 (voice/TTY)


Baggage: The Baggage presentation demonstrates the importance of good communication between professionals, parents and individuals with disabilities. It brings to light in a positive and powerful manner communication obstacles, many of which stem from our emotional reactions.

Augmentative Communication and Literacy: Communication devices in the schools.


Strategies to Support Inclusive Education: The rationale for inclusive education will be reviewed, and a strategy presented for teams to plan instruction that meets a student's IEP in the context of regular education activities.

Assistive Technology - Tools for Inclusion: What's new and available and how to get it.


STIC welcomes four new staff members to our merry band:

Andy Sedor is our Loan Closet Assistant; he's the guy to see about borrowing a piece of equipment. Andy has been a volunteer here at STIC for several years, and we're pleased to be able to make his work a paying proposition for him.

Suzanne Gunter is our new part-time Peer Counselor. Say hi to her when you're on the third floor.

Ray Pierce has joined our Transition Services Program as Community Support Specialist for the Johnson City schools.

Barbara Kane is our new Development Assistant. She'll be helping with our golf tournament and other fundraising events, as well as doing some desktop publishing, grant writing, and publicity and marketing.

Welcome one and all!

Send a Toy to Tech Camp

by Clyde Robot

Hi! My name's Clyde. What? You think all robots are named Robby or Rodney or something starting with R? Well, I dare to be different! Anyway, I'd like to talk to you about an experience that has changed my life. I started out like any other toy: born on an assembly line, then stuffed into one of those annoying Styrofoam containers that you can never get to fit right once you take it off. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable it is when you people take us toys out of those things and then just jam them back on and cram us into the box? It's like having a permanent wedgie! But, I digress. After the box came the long ride to the store and then the even longer wait on the store shelf. That's the worst part! It's toy prison!

I was so thrilled when someone plucked me off that crowded shelf and took me to the checkout counter. At last, I thought, I will have a child to play with me! What happened next, however, changed my life. I didn't go home to a child. I went to Tech Camp! At Tech Camp, I learned that there are many kids in the Southern Tier who love to play with toys, but who need some adaptations to allow them to do that. I was fitted with a battery adapter that plugs into an ability switch. Now, anyone can play with me! After graduation from camp, I landed a really great job in STIC's Lending Library. The Lending Library is a place where families of kids with disabilities can borrow all kinds of adaptive equipment, including toys like me, and try things out before making expensive purchases. It's a great job! I get to travel throughout Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, and Tioga counties. But, the best part is that I don't have one child to play with, I have many!

Sadly though, I am way overbooked. There just aren't enough of us Tech Camp graduates to keep up with the demand for adaptive toys in this area. That's why STIC is asking for your help. We need more toys who would like to go to Tech Camp and learn how to be adaptive, action-packed, Power Toys. We're not looking for expensive, high tech toys. Any battery-operated toy will do. We serve families of infants, toddlers, and school-age kids, so toys that are appropriate for any of these ages will work.

Sending a toy to Tech Camp is easy! Once you've successfully recruited a toy, all you have to do is send it to:

Southern Tier Independence Center
24 Prospect Avenue
Binghamton, NY 13901

Or, you may drop your Tech Camper off at our offices any time between 9:30 am and 4 pm Monday-Friday. Please leave your name and address with your toy so we can thank you properly. When you send a toy to Tech Camp, you'll receive a Tech Camp registration certificate and itinerary of camp activities from STIC. You'll also receive a letter from your toy, letting you know how things are going at camp, and a graduation diploma! For more information about sending a toy to Tech Camp, please contact Darlene, our Tech Camp Director, at 724-2111 (voice/TTY). Thanks!


Bush's "New Freedom Initiative"

Not long after taking office, President George W. Bush announced what appeared to be a sweeping and mostly positive approach to reforming national disability policy. Bush's "New Freedom Initiative" closely follows his campaign statements on the subject. Here are excerpts from the basic outline provided by the White House:

Assistive Technology Research and Development. The Administration will triple the Rehabilitative Engineering Research Centers' budget for assistive technologies, create a new fund to help bring assistive technologies to market, and better coordinate the federal effort in prioritizing immediate assistive and universally designed technology needs in the disability community.

Access to Assistive Technology. Assistive technology is often prohibitively expensive. In order to increase access, funding for low-interest loan programs to purchase assistive technologies will increase tenfold.

Fully Fund the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). The federal government has not provided sufficient funding for IDEA; it has become a large unfunded mandate on state and local governments and is failing to meet the needs of disabled children. The Administration will work with Congress to increase funding for special education with the goal of meeting the federal obligations under IDEA.

Early Detection of Needs. To emphasize preventative efforts to identify children with special needs, funds will focus on elementary grade students, where math and reading difficulties can be corrected before children are diagnosed as needing special education.

Telecommuting. The Administration will provide $20 million in federal matching funds to states to guarantee low-interest loans for people with disabilities to buy computers and other equipment necessary to work by phone from home. Also, legislation will be proposed to make a company's contribution of computer and internet access for home use by employees with disabilities a tax-free benefit.

Swift Implementation of "Ticket to Work." On February 1, 2001, President Bush signed an Executive Order that directs federal agencies to swiftly implement the law giving Americans with disabilities the ability to choose their own support services and maintain their health benefits when they return to work.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Assistance. Resources will be provided to promote ADA compliance and to help small businesses hire people with disabilities. The Administration will also promote the Disabled Access Credit, an incentive program created in 1990 to help small businesses comply.

Promote Homeownership for People with Disabilities. HUD's Section 8 rental voucher program for people with disabilities will be reformed to permit recipients to use up to a year's worth of vouchers to finance the down payment on a home.

Expand Transportation Options. The proposal provides $45 million for 10 pilot programs run by state or local governments in urban and rural areas to create innovative transportation plans that serve people with disabilities. It also provides $100 million in matching grants to promote alternative methods of transportation through community-based organizations. The funds will go toward the purchase and operation of vans, assisting people with down payments or costs associated with accessible vehicles, and extending the use of existing transportation resources.

Swift Implementation of the Olmstead Decision. On February 1, 2001, President Bush signed an Executive Order supporting the most integrated community-based settings for individuals with disabilities and calling for identification and removal of barriers to community placement.

National Commission on Mental Health Services. The National Commission, established by President Bush on February 1, 2001, will study and make recommendations for improving America's mental health service delivery system, including making recommendations on the availability and delivery of new treatments and technologies for individuals with severe mental illness.

Improving Access. $10 million in matching funds will be provided annually to increase the accessibility of organizations that are currently exempt from Title III of the ADA, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and civic organizations. The Administration also supports improving access to polling places and ballot secrecy for people with disabilities.

Some of these proposals are vague, and others have a downside. For example, it is unclear what significant additional benefit will result from the Executive Order "supporting" the Olmstead decision; HCFA already seems to be doing a great deal in this area. Bush did not endorse MiCASSA (Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act), a bill to let people who are eligible for Medicaid-funded nursing home or ICF placement choose community-based services instead, though this would be the best way to "eliminate barriers to community placement". There are no specific proposals to improve polling place access beyond a pledge to "work with Congress" on the issue. Also, the fine print on the telecommuting proposal prohibits the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from issuing worker safety rules for "home offices." While it may seem absurd for OSHA to regulate what people do in their own homes, the computer and internet revolutions have made possible a not-too-distant future in which large corporations can save billions of dollars in expenses for real estate, office furniture and equipment, by requiring clerical and professional workers to work at home, using closely-monitored networked computer connections. Without regulations for worker safety, the result could be an epidemic of repetitive-motion, vision-related, and other injuries. Some advocates also criticize "swift implementation" of the Ticket to Work program, claiming that proposed regulations will lead to monopolization of services by state rehab agencies and inadequate reimbursement for private providers. These critics say more time is needed to craft appropriate regulations before "rolling out" the Ticket to Work. And, the plan to provide money to religious organizations to improve access raises serious church-state separation issues.

However, there are also some clear benefits in the proposal. The plan to fully-fund IDEA is in line with legislation proposed in both houses of Congress last year and would largely remove the strongest ammunition school districts have in their arsenal of IDEA-avoidance tactics. Allowing HUD Section 8 vouchers to subsidize a mortgage down payment is a much-needed addition to the program announced last year to let Section 8 funds be used for monthly mortgage payments (see "Buy a House through HUD" for details). A program to help people with disabilities purchase accessible vehicles would also be very useful, if universally available and adequately funded.

Bush's announcement is a promising first step; if other equally positive steps follow, we may actually see some "new freedom".

Buy a House Through HUD

The federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has taken a big step forward in assisting people with disabilities to own their own homes. HUD's Section 8 vouchers can now be used to make monthly home mortgage payments.

Section 8 is a program that provides low-income people with rental assistance. A landlord agrees to make a house or apartment available under the Section 8 program, and agrees with HUD on a reasonable rent. The tenant is required to pay some portion of that rent based on their income, and HUD pays the difference between what the tenant pays and the agreed-upon rent.

The new program lets the HUD money be used for mortgage payments instead of rent. It is expected that banks will take this source of income into account when deciding if you are eligible for a loan. Here are the rules:

  1. You can use the vouchers either for your own home or for a share in a co-op building.

  2. If you have a disability, there is no requirement that you be employed. However, you are required to have a gross annual income at least equal to 2000 hours of work at minimum wage. If you have a disability, any welfare assistance you get must be counted toward that total. This essentially means you can work only part-time and still qualify.

  3. You don't have to buy a home in the area served by the Public Housing Authority (PHA) that approves your voucher, if the PHA where you want to live has a voucher homeownership program and is accepting new participants. (So it would appear that your PHA isn't required to offer this option, and you may need to advocate for it.)

  4. You can refinance your home to get better interest or mortgage terms, without penalty.

  5. The sales contract is between you and the home seller, and you must arrange your own financing; the HUD subsidy is simply a source of funds from which you can make your payments.

  6. At least 1% of the total price you pay for the home must come from your own resources.

  7. Apparently, if you have a disability, the cost of a loan to finance making the home accessible may be ignored by HUD when determining how much Section 8 assistance you can get.

  8. The PHA must approve a live-in aide if you need one. This may mean that when determining how big a home you need (and therefore how large a subsidy you will receive), the PHA must allow room for an aide if you need one.

And, President Bush has proposed that you also be permitted to receive up to one year's worth of Section 8 subsidies in a lump-sum to be used for your mortgage down payment (see "Bush's `New Freedom Initiative'").

For more information, contact your local Public Housing Authority, or check out the Section 8 Homeownership Rule page at the National Home of Your Own Alliance website.

New York's 37 Centers for Independent Living
CILs' Disability Action Agenda 2001


The Buy-In is a Medicaid option made available to the states by the federal Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. It enables people with disabilities who want to work to "buy in" to Medicaid on a sliding scale when their income exceeds Medicaid eligibility limits.

Numerous Legislative leaders, including Assembly Speaker Silver and Assemblyman Stringer, and Senators Libous, Meier, Seward, Hannon, Larkin and Marchi, have sponsored legislation to implement this program. More recently, Senate Majority Leader Bruno voiced support for the concept and Governor Pataki's 2001 State of the State message proposed such a program. New Yorkers with disabilities are pleased and excited by this support. However, the details must be worked out in order to enact a program that achieves the goal of putting tens of thousands of people with disabilities to work in good jobs.

What is an effective Medicaid Buy-In?

The Buy-In must be immediately available to all eligible people with disabilities who go to work and earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level and retain up to $40,000 in personal assets. It must provide coverage for all items now covered by NYS Medicaid that are not covered by the participant's employer-provided health insurance, if any. It must not be "phased in" over a period of years or limited to a "demonstration project". It must take effect no later than April 1, 2001.

Why is this so important?

Description of chart--`Medicaid Buy-In'

Chart: Medicaid Buy-In Increased Revenues and Cost Savings for New York State People with disabilities can't take well-paid jobs without losing Medicaid coverage. Medicaid is the only medical insurance, public or private, that provides unlimited, lifelong coverage for medical equipment and supplies, prescription drugs, and personal attendants. It is not unusual for the costs of these items to reach or exceed $28,000 per year for a person with significant disabilities. The best private health insurance puts lifetime limits on coverage that people with disabilities would exhaust within a few years, and doesn't pay for attendants at all.

Won't this increase NY's Medicaid costs?

The Medicaid Buy-In can actually pay for itself, when all costs are considered:

  • New York already pays Medicaid costs for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities who aren't working or don't earn enough to affect their Medicaid eligibility. Data from other states that have implemented a buy-in indicate that no more than 10%, and as little as 2%, of buy-in participants are people who are not already receiving Medicaid.

  • Many participants will reduce their use of Medicaid funds because their employer-provided health insurance will cover some costs previously paid by Medicaid.

  • The program is a buy-in, not a "give-away". Participants whose incomes exceed the standard Medicaid threshold pay a premium for coverage, on a sliding scale up to 7.5% of their annual income.

  • People with disabilities who earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level while keeping Medicaid will pay income taxes and use fewer public benefits. The US Census Bureau estimates that there are about 1.24 million working-age New Yorkers with disabilities. 70%, or 868,000, of them are jobless, according to the Harris Poll. If each one earns the average annual salary for people with disabilities in integrated jobs cited by NY State's Annual Status Report on Integrated Employment--$289/week--they'll pay annual NYS income taxes of over $286 million on total annual income of over $13 billion, pay up to $975 million in premiums, and reduce government benefits costs by $1.6 billion. This will make some $2.4 billion available annually to pay for the Buy-In (see chart).

  • The Work Incentives Improvement Act makes available additional Medicaid funds that states can use over five years to cushion the initial costs of offering the Buy-In.

* Pass legislation to require all state disability service agencies to develop coordinated plans and timetables to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement that people with disabilities be served in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

More than ten years after passage of the ADA, New York State still has thousands of people with disabilities in institutions, nursing homes, sheltered workshops, and segregated school programs that are more restrictive than necessary to meet their needs. The Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead decision found that the ADA requires states to serve people with disabilities in the most integrated setting. Thereafter, the US Department of Health and Human Services sent a memorandum to all state Medicaid Directors addressing how states can comply with the Olmstead decision and suggesting development of a state Olmstead Compliance Plan with input from people with disabilities and advocates. New York has not developed such a plan. As a result, the state faces a growing risk of potentially expensive and disruptive lawsuits.

Every state department/agency that operates, funds or regulates residential institutions and/or segregated congregate programs, including but not limited to: Department of Health, Office of Mental Health, Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, State Education Department, should be required to move people into the most integrated setting. A minimum of 1% per department/agency should be transferred from excessively segregated settings to more appropriate integrated services in FY 2001-2002.

The plan must be comprehensive and include:

  1. Mandated reforms of state agency information systems to track consumer requests to move from restrictive state-operated or -funded programs to more integrated settings

  2. Effective methods to directly inform every eligible individual, including those now in voluntary-operated facilities, of their right to a more integrated setting and the availability of services

  3. Removal of all legal, regulatory, or administrative requirements that segregated settings be "backfilled" before people can leave them for more integrated settings

  4. Removal of fiscal incentives that provide more funds to support segregated programs than to serve people with the same needs in integrated settings (e.g. the SSI "Congregate Care Level II" rate)

  5. Long-range planning for the inevitable downsizing and closure of segregated facilities, including plans to support and compensate voluntary providers who make good-faith efforts to reduce their use of congregate settings

  6. Sufficient oversight of local or regional jurisdictions, and where necessary, funding differentials, to ensure that movement to more integrated settings occurs with equal speed and in numbers equally proportionate to population density in every locality in the state

There is no acceptable rationale for keeping people in segregated settings. Public policy should support the fullest possible independence, inclusion, and participation in the community for adults and children with disabilities and elderly persons. Such a policy will cut government spending because integrated community-based supports are, on average, less expensive than restrictive, segregated programs. It will increase government revenue because people who live in their own homes with the support they need to travel in their communities are more likely to get jobs, pay taxes and contribute to the economy. It is the right thing to do. And it is the law!

Description of chart--Options for Living Supports

Chart: New York's Options for Living Supports for People with Disabilities
* Provide $1.59 million to Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to assist people to leave nursing homes and other institutions and move into their own homes and communities.

On average, CILs expend about 10 staff hours per week to assist a person to leave excessively restrictive settings and/or remain in the most integrated setting. For about $43,000--less than the cost of one year in a nursing home for one person--each CIL could create a new full-time Community Re-integration position and move 4 people back into the community annually, or 148 people statewide. With each such person served saving the state, on average, $46,000 each year, $6.8 million could be saved in expenditures on restrictive programs. Deducting CIL costs produces $5.2 million in net savings for disability services in New York State each year. These funds must be provided in addition to the cumulative cost-of-living increases requested by CILs.

* Pass legislation to mandate the Department of Health to seek and implement a Medicaid waiver to support people with any disability of any age who wish to leave congregate-care facilities and live like anyone else in the community.

This waiver must include funding for:

  • Housing
  • Assistive technology
  • Personal assistance and/or safety monitoring at home or in any work or community setting

It should also fund other services to facilitate transition into the most integrated setting and maintenance of community living, including but not limited to "startup costs" to set up a household. It should permit variable levels of consumer responsibility for arrangement and oversight of services based on consumer preference. Waiver services must have state-wide uniformity. Development of the waiver must involve input from people with disabilities and advocates.

On average, homecare costs New York State 1/3 of annual institutional costs for persons with similar needs. The federal 2000-01 budget contains new funds to support state efforts to reduce use of segregated services for people with disabilities, and our State should take advantage of these opportunities. $50 million in systems-change grants are available from HCFA for states to eliminate institutional bias in their Medicaid programs, with no state-funds match required. An additional $20 million are available from HCFA for state projects to transition people out of nursing homes. This is another chance for the Department of Health to obtain funding for a waiver planning process similar to one DOH proposed two years ago, and which was rejected because the federal Department of Health and Human Services gave priority consideration to less wealthy states.
  • Provide $8 million in additional funding for VESID supported employment services in 2001-02.

This proposal would put an additional 1,250 people with disabilities into integrated jobs at competitive wages in 2001-02, as the first step in a 3-year plan to place 5,000 people who have been identified as ready to leave sheltered workshops. Supported employment costs less than any other "day" or vocational program in New York, and provides a measurable return on investment in the form of increased income tax revenues and decreased benefits costs.
  • Provide $2,775,000 to enable each of New York's 37 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to implement School-to-Work Transition Services.

  • Provide funding and authorization to enable students with disabilities aged 16 and older to receive supported employment and placement services for after-school and summer jobs.

CILs have proven their ability to: 1) get more high school graduates with disabilities into integrated homes and jobs; 2) cut the drop-out rate of students with disabilities by up to 50%; 3) reduce juvenile crime. Three CILs are in Year 3 of a VESID-funded pilot project to demonstrate Independent Living approaches to transition services. These projects have already achieved the above outcomes. Solid data indicate that the majority of youthful criminals have learning and/or emotional disabilities, and successful transition from school to work and integrated living substantially decreases the crime rate. Each CIL can operate such a transition program for $75,000 per year. This amount must be provided in addition to the cost-of-living increases requested by CILs.
  • Repeal Kendra's Law (Mental Hygiene Law, Section 9.60) establishing Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT).

Recently, New York State enacted a law that enables court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) for people who, due to their treatment history and present circumstances, are "unlikely to survive safely in the community" without supervision. This law is a knee-jerk reaction to the horrific death of Kendra Webdale. These incidents are random acts of violence that will not be eliminated by this law. They have been distorted to promulgate the misconception that people diagnosed with mental illness are threats to society. Most of the people involved in these incidents weren't resisting treatment; rather, they had repeatedly sought treatment and were denied it.

AOT, a form of preventive detention applied only to people with mental health disabilities, grossly violates the civil rights of citizens. Involuntary outpatient commitment has not been shown to improve people's mental health. Controlled clinical trials, including the Bellevue Involuntary Outpatient Commitment Pilot Study conducted by Policy Research Associates right here in New York, that compare people who have been forced into outpatient treatment to people with similar diagnoses who received similar treatment on a voluntary basis, show that AOT does not work better than voluntary treatment. A national study published recently in the National Institute for Mental Health's Schizophrenia Bulletin found that fewer than half of the patients treated for schizophrenia are receiving proper doses of antipsychotic medications or appropriate psychosocial interventions. The study showed that psychosocial treatments are often prescribed at the point of hospital discharge but follow-through in the community is low. It's the treatment that works, not the force.

Our state must accept responsibility for guaranteeing the availability of effective voluntary treatment, instead of blaming the people who can't get that treatment. New York must increase investment in recovery-oriented community-based mental health services that preserve the dignity of the individual. Research like the Bellevue study shows that self-help works. What makes a difference is greater scope, flexibility, responsiveness and coordination of community-based psychiatric treatment and psychosocial services. Such services exist in consumer-run programs across the state; we need only expand them to achieve the goals that Kendra's Law envisions but pursues through oppression and force.
  • Pass legislation requiring that all state and local government programs be accessible to people with disabilities.

While New York State's Human Rights Law extends many of the same protections to people with disabilities as the ADA, some specific ADA requirements are only implied by New York law. This causes needless confusion for state agencies and operators of public accommodations. Putting the ADA's requirements for governments into state statute will strengthen the law and help to lessen confusion.

  • Pass additional legislation requiring that public accommodations also be accessible.

Another law incorporating ADA public accommodations requirements will ensure continuity of regulations for business owners and make compliance easier. In 1997, our state became a national leader by passing the Reasonable Accommodations Act, which reiterated ADA employment rules as state law. It is again time for NY to blaze a trail, building on resolutions supporting the ADA passed by both houses of the Legislature, and add other facets of ADA to state law.
  • Provide $500,000 in remaining cumulative cost-of-living increases owed to CILs through FY 1999-2000.

  • Provide a 2.7% COLA, or $285,000, (based on the federal 1999 CPI) to recoup last year's losses to inflation.

  • Provide $570,286 to bring NY's 3 newest CILs (Harlem, Cortland, and Center for Disability Rights in Rochester) up to the current minimum base level for state CIL funding, and incorporate Cortland and CDR into NYS Independent Living law.

  • Include CILs on the permanent list of programs that receive annual COLAs.

After nearly ten years without a cost-of-living increase, NY's last two state budgets provided an additional $2.5 million for Centers for Independent Living (CILs). We're thankful to those who supported this welcome development. However, that amount still falls short of the $3 million total that CILs need to recoup losses from ten years of inflation, and it does not take into account ongoing increases in operating costs. In today's tight labor market, many CILs are losing valuable, experienced personnel to better-paid jobs at a growing rate. Employee health benefit costs continue to rise, and many CILs are still unable to restore staff training budgets.

CILs assist people with disabilities to leave segregated or restrictive programs and live safely, productively, and independently in the most integrated settings possible. In doing so, they provide major savings to New York taxpayers. The average annual savings when CILs help people move from excessively restrictive settings to the most integrated environments--taking into account all public costs for supports provided in both segregated and integrated settings--is about $46,000 per person. Yet CILs still only have the capacity to serve about 4% of those who could benefit. Here are some recent examples:

Chart: Total Requested CIL Increases
  • A CIL advocated in court for a woman who was facing commitment to a state hospital. She was released and returned to living independently in her own apartment with ongoing peer support services, at a cost of $500.
    Annual Savings: $137,000

  • A CIL provided information and advocacy services to a family whose child was facing discharge from a Home and Community Based Waiver. Without waiver support, the child would be placed in an in-patient psychiatric unit. The parents successfully appealed the discharge. Assuming average annual Medicaid Waiver costs of about $40,000, plus CIL costs of $1,000:
    Annual Savings: $96,500

  • Due to inefficiencies in local service systems and her own limited self-advocacy skills, a woman who left a nursing home was experiencing difficulties in obtaining suitable personal assistance and physical therapy services. She was in danger of being returned to the nursing home. CIL advocates provided ongoing advocacy and skills training, and helped her win a Fair Hearing and remain in her home with appropriate supports for a total cost to the CIL of $7,000. Assuming average annual homecare costs of $16,000:
    Annual Savings: $23,000

Description of chart--`Total Requested CIL Increases'

CILs are free-standing, locally-controlled, non-residential non-profit agencies that are governed and operated by people with disabilities. They assist people with all disabilities of all ages to be as independent as possible. They also help families, businesses, agencies, and governments to better meet the needs of people with disabilities. Centers provide a broad range of services, such as architectural barrier, assistive technology, and housing assistance, benefits advisement, life skills training, peer counseling, advocacy and information/referral. Some Centers also provide sign language interpreters, supported employment, service coordination, personal assistants and more, depending on the needs of their communities.

Have You Done Real Person-Centered Planning?

People with developmental disabilities and/or their families must undergo a planning process in order to receive most educational or support services. If you answer "no" to any of the questions below, your planning process probably was not truly person-centered (some questions may not be applicable to young children).

? Did the consumer or family member decide when and where the meeting took place?

? Did the consumer or family member decide whom to invite to the meeting?

? Was the consumer or family member able to exclude any person from the meeting whom they did not want to attend?

? Were people who know the consumer very well and who might be able to help the consumer achieve his/her goals, but who were not being paid to work with the consumer--such as significant others, close friends, neighbors, employers--invited?

? Did the meeting take several hours and/or several sessions?

? Was the first thing that happened at the meeting a free-ranging discussion of the consumer's dreams, life goals, interests and preferences, without any attempt to impose limits on what might eventually happen?

? If the consumer is able to express him/herself, did he/she do most of the talking?

? If the consumer is able to express him/herself, was his/her input listened to and respected, and was it the basis for most of the discussion?

? Was much time spent planning for goals that are to happen more than 6 - 12 months in the future?

? Were ways to help the consumer achieve goals by connecting him/her with ordinary people and places in the community--such as neighbors, friends, churches, social clubs, or places to work or volunteer--a major focus of discussion?

? Were health and safety issues talked about only within the framework of the lifestyle the consumer chose for him/herself?

? If agency services were discussed, did the service coordinator present information on the full range of services available from all of the agencies that serve your geographic area?

? Did the service coordinator describe supports other than group homes, group day programs, or sheltered workshops?

? Did the service coordinator avoid urging the consumer or family member to accept a particular service agency or option?

? If a preferred item, service or support was simply not available, did people at the meeting make a plan to advocate to get that item, service or support in the future?

If you'd like to learn more about real Person-Centered Planning and how to use it, call our Person-Centered Planning Outreach Coordinator, Dawn Stone, at 724-2111 (voice/TTY). Dawn is not a service coordinator. She simply teaches people with disabilities, family members, service coordinators, and others how to do Person-Centered Planning. You'll still work with your preferred service coordinator during and after the process.

Medicaid Buy-In:
In the Home Stretch, or Just Horsing Around?

The struggle for a Medicaid buy-in, a law to let working people with disabilities keep Medicaid coverage for essential attendant, equipment, and prescription services for which earning a decent income would otherwise make them ineligible, continues in New York State. However, the focus returned to the halls of government this winter on a decidedly upbeat note.

The first act was Governor Pataki's proposal for a buy-in program. Last year, apparently influenced by bad information from his Division of the Budget that projected highly inflated costs, Pataki had opposed any such bill. Advocates, however, mounted a successful media blitz to explain the need for the program and show how it could potentially pay for itself. Everywhere the Governor went during the summer and fall election campaign, activists and reporters asked hard questions about the buy-in, including why it was that Pataki opposed a program that his own hand-picked US Senate candidate, Rick Lazio, had sponsored. So in his January budget message, while still claiming a grossly inflated pricetag of $90 million, Pataki proposed a Medicaid buy-in program.

Pataki's proposal is much more limited than the version passed by the Assembly and introduced in the Senate last year. It would only be available to people making up to 250% of the poverty level, would only permit people to keep up to $10,000 in assets, and it doesn't include a sliding scale for premium payments. It won't take effect until January 2002.

The Governor got praise for proposing any bill at all, but the details got decidedly lukewarm support, even from Senate Republicans. A few days later Pataki told the press that he was sure he'd be able to come to an agreement with the Legislature on a final bill.

So the Legislature got to work. Identical versions of a new Work and Wellness Act were introduced in the NYS Assembly and Senate (S. 1691-A). With sponsorship by virtually all the key people in the Assembly--Gottfried, Luster, Glick, Markey, Cahill, and Sanders--that house passed the bill unanimously in February. Libous, Seward, Marchi and Meier are sponsors in the Senate and Senate Majority Leader Bruno is on record as favoring a bill.

The Work and Wellness Act is much closer to what advocates are looking for. Here are the details:

  • People with disabilities who earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level and have up to $40,000 in assets can participate.

  • Those earning up to 150% of poverty would pay nothing for coverage.

  • Those earning between 150% and 350% would pay a premium equal to no more than 7% of their gross income.

  • Those earning between 350% and 400% of poverty would pay no more than 10% of gross income.

  • People with disabilities who lose their jobs involuntarily can retain Medicaid eligibility for up to a year.

  • Community agencies will be funded to provide information and assistance to help people enroll in the program, using federal money from the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act.

  • The bill eliminates the usual county share (25%) of Medicaid costs for the program.

  • Data will be collected to verify advocates' claims that a buy-in will increase state income tax revenues and decrease welfare costs.

  • A statewide advisory board consisting mostly of people with disabilities will have input on program policies and procedures.

  • A demonstration program will test the proposition that giving people with degenerative conditions access to Medicaid health coverage before their disabilities become severe enough to qualify for coverage under normal circumstances will prevent or slow their eventual loss of employment.

  • The bill would take effect on April 1, 2001 (though that seems unrealistic given the usual protracted budget debate).

There are some problems with the bill. For example, it will "sunset" on March 31, 2004, unless extended by the Legislature. Of greater concern is that it doesn't appear to allow workers to build up large retirement accounts. One may well ask, how can we expect people to shoulder the burden of difficult and responsible jobs if they will be unable to enjoy the fruits of their labors in their old age?

Nonetheless, this bill already goes beyond what New York's 37 Centers for Independent Living requested in their Disability Action Agenda. And, a version close to that now before the Legislature seems likely to pass and be signed by the Governor. This is hopeful news indeed, and further evidence of the effectiveness of a united approach to disability policy advocacy.

Self Determination Expands - Really!

NY's Budget Division has approved two key concepts of the Self Determination model: Community Supports and Services (CSS), and the Personal Resource Account (PRA). This paves the way for the first full demonstrations of Self Determination service planning, budgeting, and provision in our state.

CSS is a feature of New York's recently-modified Home and Community Based Services Medicaid waiver. It lets Medicaid funds be used for virtually any service or support that will assist a person with a developmental disability to enter or remain in integrated community settings, including:

"1) Any activity that supports an independent, fulfilling life in the community, including, but not limited to: living, working, socializing, recreating, personal growth, and maintenance of safety and health.

2) Changing any aspect of their supports to achieve evolving personal goals and valued outcomes, and to prevent institutionalization.

3) Hiring people with or without connections to the human service field but with skills useful to the consumers in achieving desired outcomes.

4) Learning to make informed choices and to self advocate for personal outcomes."

CSS eliminates requirements for "certified" or "approved" providers so that consumers can directly hire, fire, and supervise virtually any person who can deliver a needed service or support. Up to now, New York's Self Determination pilot was limited in its ability to demonstrate creative uses of natural supports because of the old HCBS waiver requirements that forced Medicaid funding to flow only to approved providers of specific services.

The PRA is the individual portable budget that each participant in Self Determination controls with the assistance of a Circle of Support. OMRDD had proposed a methodology to assign amounts of money to a person's PRA based on the person's needs and abilities as recorded on the computerized DDP 2 form. These amounts are not an "entitlement" but provide a framework within which consumers can develop their budgets to purchase supports and services using CSS Medicaid, State Plan Medicaid, NYS funds, and personal funds. These budgets are fully portable; they are assigned to the individual, not to a provider agency, and they include all of the money that OMRDD will spend on the person. Therefore, a Self Determination participant should not have to get prior approval or arrange a "backfill" in order to stop using services from one provider and buy them from someone else instead. OMRDD is now completing a final draft of policies and procedures for the CSS and PRA.

Together with OMRDD Commissioner Tom Maul's announcement that a hundred new participants will be added to the Self Determination pilot project, these developments should bring us closer to the flexible, consumer-controlled integrated services that we have been advocating for. However, there was no word on when the new participants would enter the pilot or on how they will be chosen.

OMRDD's service funding process and the Self Determination pilot still have serious problems. Local Developmental Disabilities Service Offices (DDSOs) like Broome Developmental Services get to decide how to spend available funds, and they don't have to spend them on Self Determination. A Self Determination participant may submit a well-justified plan and budget to live in their own apartment and work at a real job, only to be told there's no money to fund it, and then in the next breath be told that they can be "placed" in a group home within a few months-in other words, "business as usual". A lot of new money is coming into the "system" from NYS CARES. Nearly all of it will be sucked up by group homes if we don't get a handle on the funding process. We still don't know if OMRDD's final policies and procedures on health, safety, and "allowable" purchases will be flexible enough. A lot also rides on whether consumers or fiscal intermediaries will be "employers of record" for people who provide supports. Fiscal intermediaries may be able to require lots of unnecessary qualifications, training and benefits that will void the cost-savings we're trying to achieve.

OMRDD's highly decentralized administration has a poor track record of enforcing uniform policies on DDSOs. We must build a strong and consistently active grassroots effort here in the Southern Tier if we are going to get Self Determination off the ground.

The first step is for anyone with any interest in Self Determination to attend one of the informational forums being sponsored by Broome Developmental Services (BDS) in late March and early April. There will be one afternoon and one evening forum for each county served by BDS (Broome and Tioga Counties will have combined forums here at STIC), so you can attend the one most convenient for you (see below).

Those who attend and are interested in pursuing Self Determination for themselves or a family member will be invited to a second, more in-depth forum on application, planning, and budgeting issues. After that, interested parties will complete an application to be reviewed by the BDS Self Determination Committee, which includes consumers, family members, agency representatives (including STIC), and BDS staff. Each applicant and members of their circle of support will meet with the committee to demonstrate their level of understanding of and commitment to the Self Determination process. The Committee will then decide whom to recommend to participate.

Otsego County

Tuesday March 20
Rte. 7, Oneonta
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Delaware County

Wednesday March 21
Delaware Regional Center
6 Franklin Rd., Walton
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Tompkins County

Thursday March 22
Tompkins Regional Center
1257 Trumansburg Rd., Ithaca
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Broome/Tioga Counties

Monday March 26
Southern Tier Independence Center
24 Prospect Ave., Binghamton
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Chenango County

Wednesday April 11
Chenango Regional Center
Eaton Center, 24 Conkey Ave., Norwich
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Somewhat OK, the Bad, & the Ugly

Governor Pataki's proposed 2001-02 budget-- Here's what we know:

Independent Living: The Governor proposed a $1 million cut in state funds for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) like STIC. This amounts to a take-back of the increase that CILs received last year with the Governor's well-publicized support. Advocates initially speculated that this was intended as punishment for the intense public pressure that CILs put on Pataki for his failure to support a Medicaid Buy-In last year. However, STIC has learned that the cut idea originated in the state Division of the Budget, where someone noticed that federal CIL funding for the state had been increased by $1 million; apparently this official felt there would be no net loss to CILs. This is wrong, because not all CILs in New York State get federal funds, and some of those funds are specifically allocated to start new CILs, not fund existing ones. Is it really likely that neither the DOB official nor Pataki understood the situation fully?

OMRDD: The third year of the NYS CARES initiative to get people off the waiting list for residential services is funded with 978 new "residential opportunities", 190 day program "slots", and service coordination for all those to be served. 188 residential and 1,238 additional day program slots will be made available for people "aging out" of school (whom OMRDD is mandated by law to accommodate), and 48 "Individual Residential Alternative" (group home) "beds" will be constructed for people being released from developmental centers. This amounts to a great deal of money, but notice, in essence it's already allocated and spent. OMRDD's local Community Service Planning (CSP) committees, which were established to let consumers, parents, and local agency representatives jointly allocate available funds to meet the most pressing and deserving needs in the most cost-effective manner, will effectively be forced to rubber-stamp these allocations (if they get the opportunity to consider them at all), and will not have any new funds at their actual discretion for a third straight year. There will also be funding to provide extended supported employment services to an additional 1,550 people. However, there will be an effort to "persuade" (force) as many of these people as possible into HCBS Medicaid-waiver-funded supported work, in order to draw down federal money and minimize the state dollars used. What this means is hundreds of people who neither want nor need the waiver's service coordination services will be manipulated into accepting them. (Full-fledged service coordination is no longer required for waiver participants; "Plan of Care Support" (PCS) service may be substituted. But PCS doesn't pay nearly as much as service coordination, and provider agencies will be able to "sell" the more profitable service coordination to people on whom they will need to expend very little effort. Even PCS, which simply covers the costs of doing the paperwork required by the waiver-whose only purpose in this case is to justify use of federal funds-is a waste of taxpayer dollars for most of these people.) OMRDD also says it will release 179 people from "institutions". However, this is misleading. They plan to release 179 people from developmental centers, but they plan to put 60 people into a new "secure treatment" facility and another 40 into "multiple disability units", so the net number to be released from "institutions" is only 79.

Mental Health: The Governor wants to close two psychiatric centers. This is being strongly opposed, as usual, by public employee unions, and also by some people who are rightly concerned about the fact that the money saved from these closures is not proposed to be redirected into community-based supports for the people who will be released. However, the correct way to handle this would be to amend the budget legislation to redirect those funds, not to block the closures.

Vocational Rehabilitation: The Governor wants to "take back" the $1 million increase for VESID supported employment services that the Legislature added to this year's budget. This is probably a negotiating ploy; the Legislature will be forced to work on getting that $1 million back instead of on putting in another increase. However, both this specific cut and the overall strategy are senseless contradictions of the Governor's conservative self-reliance policies in that they attack services that most directly contribute to increasing the self-reliance of people with disabilities in New York State.

Supreme Court Rules in Garrett

In a 5-4 decision announced in February, the US Supreme Court ruled against Patricia Garrett and another plaintiff in their Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) employment discrimination suits against state government. The decision does not directly affect ADA's critical Title II prohibition of discrimination against people with disabilities in programs and services operated by state or local governments, and therefore does not void the Olmstead decision; advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief. However, the Court ruled that citizens may not sue state governments for money damages for employment discrimination on the basis of disability under the ADA without the state's consent.

There wasn't enough time to analyze the decision and report on all of its potential implications in this issue of AccessAbility. It does appear that the Court made a conscious decision to avoid the Title II issue, and that had it not done so, it might well have found it unconstitutional with regard to state governments. We'll have a full report in June.

Volume of Community-Based
Services Lawsuits Grows

Disability activists are increasing their use of the courts to try to force state governments to integrate services for people with disabilities, especially those with developmental disabilities. The Helen L and Olmsteadcases provided the inspiration and in some cases, the precedents for these suits, which have been filed in upwards of 20 states over the last two years. Information on all of these suits can be found at the University of Minnesota's Research and Training Center on Community Living website. A few of these cases are of special interest to us in New York. Here is a brief summary:

Lewis et al. v New Mexico Department of Health et al: One of a number of "waiting list" lawsuits that allege that states violate federal Medicaid regulations that require reasonably prompt provision of services when they put people on indefinite waiting lists for community-based services, this suit is interesting because New Mexico has no large institutions for people with developmental disabilities. This class action suit specifically includes people who are now living in small ICF group homes who would prefer less restrictive services. The federal district court ruled against New Mexico and the case is being appealed to the federal 10th. Circuit.

Martin et al. v Taft et al.: This Ohio case was delayed for several months in hopes of reaching a settlement, but has now returned to the courts because the plaintiff alleges that the state's waiting list for its Home and Community Based Services waiver program is "not moving at a reasonable pace". This is of interest because New York State has not added new money to its HCBS waiver program for all individuals with developmental disabilities for two years, preferring to restrict new waiver services only to people on the NYS CARES waiting list.

Delong et al. v Houston: This Pennsylvania case is interesting because plaintiffs charge that a Self Determination-model program that uses a special Medicaid waiver designed to give people with developmental disabilities more direct control over their services violates Medicaid law because the state has failed to provide the services to the full number of people specified in its waiver agreement.

Ball et al. v Biedess et al.: In this Arizona case, plaintiffs are charging that the state violates the Social Security Act by failing to provide sufficient Medicaid reimbursement to service providers to make those services consistently available to all who are eligible for them. In this case, much as in New York and for much the same reasons, Arizonans with disabilities are unable to obtain personal attendant services because provider agencies can't pay enough to recruit new attendants.

Sanchez et al. v Johnson et al.: In California, activists say that rate differentials that provide higher wages and benefits to workers in institutional settings than to those in community-based services violate the ADA's Title II ban on public entities providing differential services to people with disabilities and also violate ADA regulations that prohibit governments from "utilizing criteria or methods of administration...that have the effect of subjecting qualified individuals with disabilities to discrimination on the basis of disability." Plaintiffs also claim that California's practices violate the same Social Security law provisions referred to in the Ball case, above.

We Vote!

Right after last fall's election, the NY State Independent Living Council conducted a voter survey of 590 people with disabilities from across the state. Overall, 92% were registered to vote. Out of this number, 73% had registered within the last year, indicating that the national VOTE! 2000 Campaign organized by disability activists had a significant impact. This also affected voter turnout-84% stated that they voted on Election Day 2000. Some reasons for not voting offered by the remaining 16% included: not registered; ambivalent to political process; transportation difficulties; absentee ballot requested was not received; confused by the voting machines; no interpreters for the deaf.

In the Presidential race, 67% voted for Al Gore, 23% for George W. Bush, 5% for Ralph Nader, 2% other candidate, and 3% no response. The variance from the national election numbers may have resulted from significant outreach efforts, and/or detailed position statements on issues important to the disabled community, from the Gore campaign. In New York's US Senate race, 67% voted for Hillary Clinton, 27% for Rick Lazio, 2% other candidate, and 4% no response. This variance may have resulted from negative publicity over a Lazio campaign TV ad involving persons with disabilities. In addition, Clinton's campaign sent representatives to attend events on her behalf whenever possible, and Clinton supported many of the disability proposals in the Gore platform.

84% of those who voted did so at polling places, while 16% used absentee ballots. Of those who voted at polling sites, 70% said the locations were accessible to people with disabilities. Sites were described as inaccessible for one or more of the following reasons: voting machines inaccessible; steps created a barrier to entry; no braille or large print on voting machines; doors too heavy to open or not wide enough for entry; inadequate accessible parking spaces; accessible entrance not marked; elevator too small for use; no interpreters for the deaf.


Deaf Can Use Any Service

Some people in the deaf community may have the idea that they can only use our Deaf or Interpreter Services. That's not true!

All STIC services are available to deaf people. Just tell the front-desk person what you are looking for, so he or she can send you to the right person or department. For example, suppose your child is having trouble getting the right programs or services at school. Tell the front-desk person you're interested in education services, and they will send you to our Transition Services Coordinator and Education Advocate, Julie Epply. When you talk to Julie to set up an appointment, tell her you'll need an interpreter, and she'll arrange for one. Or, suppose you're interested in services for a friend or family member who has a developmental disability or a head injury. The front desk will send you to our Service Coordination department. Again, when you schedule an appointment, ask for an interpreter and we'll get one. We can also help with equipment, attendants, benefits such as SSI or SSDI, getting a job, psychotherapy--all of these services are available for deaf people. Don't wait to talk to the Deaf Services person first; that will just slow you down. Tell the front desk person what you need!

Here's a list of STIC services:

Accessibility Advice
Assistive Technology/Loan Closet
ADA Services
Benefits Advisement
Housing Assistance
Information & Referral
Resource Library
Personal Attendants
Peer Counseling
Employment Assistance
Supported Employment
Independent Living Skills Training
Interpreter Services
Service Coordination
School-to-Life Transition

For more information, visit our Services page.

Interpreter World

by Carrie Watkins-Smith

Hello everyone! I want to share with all of you some great news! Julie Morgan has joined our team here at STIC as Interpreter Services Assistant. She is helping me process all of the interpreter requests that we receive. She works about 10 hours a week and is doing a wonderful job! But let's let her speak for herself:

"Hello! My name is Julie Morgan and I am a part-time employee at STIC since January of this year. My normal work schedule is 2 days a week, usually Tuesday and Thursday or Friday. This job can get pretty challenging when it comes to handling an emergency request for an interpreter. I enjoy this kind of job and meeting new people. On to the personal side of myself, I am deaf and married a hard-of-hearing man. We have a little girl. Our residence is in the Vestal area where I grew up and attended Vestal schools. I graduated from NTID at RIT, majored in data processing."

I would like to remind everyone that if you need to meet with me or Julie to discuss interpreter services or anything of that nature please schedule an appointment ahead of time. We will then be able to put all our attention into what you need. I also want to remind you that we now have a beeper system in place. If you have a legal or medical emergency at night or during the weekend you can beep us at (607) 774-4780. If you are deaf, you need to call through the relay. Follow the instructions after you dial the number. The beepers have been an asset and have made interpreters more accessible during emergencies.

Don't forget to read Linda Greeno's articles in the BC Voice. You can access it through the internet at then click on writers to find Linda's name. Linda recently wrote a powerful article about being denied medical care. All of the articles are very educational and helpful. Please read them if you get a chance!


Pat Charma in Deaf Services has taken a medical leave for a few weeks due to surgery. She is doing very well but is taking the time off to heal. John Greeno has agreed to take her place until Pat is feeling well enough to come back.


Monday, Wednesday, Friday
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Please keep Pat in your thoughts as she continues to heal from surgery.


FOR SALE: Quickie wheelchair 2 hp titanium lightweight adult 18 inches. Used a few times. Originally $2,600; asking $1,300 or best offer. (570) 587-0967


Spring 2001
Issue No. 62