March 2013 Edition - Access Press

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People & Places, page 9

Volume 24, Number 3

Ruling outlines medical suppliers’ burden by Access Press staff

Could changes at the federal level cause harm to people with disabilities who need specialty medical equipment? That is the concern centered on a ruling last month in the case of Key Medical Supply Inc. versus Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and Marilyn Tavenner, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, for lack of subject manner jurisdiction. He also denied the defenSuppliers’ burden - p. 10

March 10, 2013 Never too soon

Start planning now for summer fun by Access Press staff

For most families the search for a good children’s summer camp program, sports teams or activity program starts when snow is still on the ground. Children with disabilities need not be left out of the fun and traditions of camp, crafts, sports and field trips but it does take planning to make an enjoyable summer. Finding summer activities for children with disabilities is much easier than it was Even a fake dolphin can be a good playmate at summer camp. File photo years ago. Still, parents need to be diligent about asking the right questions about accessibility and accommodations. It’s also important to find programs where children will have fun and be comfortable, and not feel out of place. Unfortunately, children with disabilities can be subjected to many forms of bullying at recreation centers and camps. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes more options available for children. In the vast majority of cases public and private programs cannot deny participation in programs based on disability. If participation would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other participants or would fundamentally alter the nature of a program, there could be exceptions. But most programs, policies and procedures can be modified and ways can be found to inclusive to all children. Summer fun - p. 13

State operated services criticized in auditor’s report

The security hospital in St. Peter is one of the facilities studied in the state’s audit. File photo

by Jane McClure

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) needs to find new ways to manage state-operated facilities and services for persons with chemical dependency, mental illness and developmental disabilities. The call for change is made in the wake of a critical report by the Minnesota Legislative Auditor’s Office. The report details problems ranging from a rise in assaults, to patients kept at facilities for longer than they should. State lawmakers requested the audit last year. The audit report states that “a wide range of significant problems” were found as a result of the auditor’s scrutiny. “Of particular concern, we found that the department’s approach to managing state-operated services has caused confusion and resulted in inadequate oversight and accountability,” Legislative Auditor James Nobles said. “Among other recommendations, we call on the legislature to more clearly define in law the state’s role and objectives in directly delivering human services and operating facilities.” Nobles presented the report February 27 to state lawmakers, telling them the audit revealed “significant and persistent problems.” Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee said they are frustrated about the problems. Sen. Tony Lourey, (DFL-Kerrick) was among those expressing frustration at how long problems have gone on and the lack of communication about problems. He and other lawmakers said they support

the recommendations from the legislative auditor. In a statement, DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said, “We agree with each and every recommendation in the auditor’s report. We have already begun implementing many of the auditor’s recommendations.” DHS has already taken a number of steps ranging from changing division leadership and installing new managers for the troubled state security hospital in St. Peter. That facility is currently under probation, after violations including seclusion and restraint of residents, were found in 2011. Jesson also pointed out that Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget includes money for transitional housing and supportive services for people discharged from state-run facilities. The DHS State Operated Services division has a budget of almost $300 million. It runs about 130 residential facilities, ranging from group homes to the Minnesota State Security Hospital in St. Peter. Almost 1,300 people live in the facilities. Thousands more are served as outpatients. Nobles questioned whether some clients can be better served by private providers and whether other clients are better off in community-based settings. The recommendation for privatization would be for smaller facilities and not for larger state hospitals. One huge problem is that of safety for residents and employees. The number of assaults involving staff or residents at DHS facilities almost doubled in 2012 with a total of nearly 2,000 incidents. The report also outlined a rise in reported sexual incidents, self-injuries and threats. While the increased number of assaults may be partially due to changes in reporting standards, legislators expressed surprise at the high numbers. They also are worried about the report’s concerns about use of restraints and seclusion techniques in state facilities. Another red flag is the number of ongoing problems at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter. Auditors found that many of the facility’s 400 patients, being among the most mentally in Minnesota, don’t regularly receive therapy or see psychiatrists. More than half of the patients have not seen a psychiatrist in the past 30 days. Patients spent, on average, about 16 hours a week in various State services criticized - p. 10

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She’s a dedicated volunteer. Page 9 Read about the 2013 Minnesota Legislature’s activities, with everything including the kitchen sink. Page 3 Food is no fun when eating hurts. Page 4 Check out what’s new and weigh in on programs and services through a new Minnesota Department of Human Services column. Page 5 Lots of things can be used to adapt toys and spark learning. Page 14

INSIDE Accessible Fun, pg 11 Events, pg 12 People & Places, pgs 7 & 9 Radio Talking Book, pg 13 Regional News, pg 6

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Tim Benjamin This legislative session has been a different experience for me. Usually, I am much more involved in tracking what is happening on many issues, following whose bills are going where, researching what committees are meeting, and scheduling my time to be at the particular floor debates I want to hear. And of course I want to attend the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities’ Tuesdays at the Capitol meetings. But this year isn’t usual. I haven’t gotten the “sense of urgency” bug about the session, and I did not even know about the lowered deficit forecast until March 3. I’ve got to do a lot of studying and watch some “game tapes” to get caught up. Not to get into a civics lesson, but the legislative session is in some ways like a basketball game. You can start watching in the fourth quarter and pretty much get the gist of what’s happening, but you haven’t learned a lot about the game of basketball or about the teams. By the time bills are first introduced, they’ve already been discussed among legislators, constituents, public policy wonks, commissioners, and lobbyists. After a legislator authors a newly proposed bill, it is assigned to a related committee, where

in hearings it is reviewed, researched and debated among many experts and affected citizens or organizations. Usually a bill ends up moving on to other committees that get more background information and do more review. In any of the committees, the bill could be held up and never really be seen again. But as in a basketball game, where the first three periods lay the groundwork for what will happen in the fourth quarter, the legislative session can only really be understood if you participate from the jump ball (or the opening bell). If you don’t get in on the groundwork, it’s hard to know if a bill is good for the community, especially as its language changes and a big provision gets deleted or a “little” one changes the bill entirely. If you’re not tracking the “ball” of a bill, you can’t know if it’s going to even make it to the floor for a final vote by both House and Senate and become law. When a basketball game goes into the fourth quarter, the fan who has watched the whole game may be able to predict what the final minute will look like and which team will win based on how they played the first three quarters. The citizen who has observed the whole legislative process is in the best position to make sense of the final few minutes on a floor vote and understand what it means for the community. Sometimes I think the disability advocates and lobbyists and others who regularly work at the capitol represent our whole community. But this last Saturday was kind of a revelation for me. I was reminded that I only know a small section of our community

when I went to a banquet held by Capable Partners, a group of hunters and anglers with disabilities along with the volunteers who help them participate in outdoor activities. It’s a large organization of good people doing good work. When I went in, I was expecting to see at least a few people I knew, but I recognized only Dean Petersen, the group’s president, who had invited me. It was a packed house, a huge number of people, with every kind of disability and using every kind of mobility device. There were young and middle-aged men and women, seniors and children having fun and mingling with their friends— most of them dressed in camo, with a silent auction featuring hunting and fishing gear, and backed up by a video of successful expeditions. I came away wondering if enough of the disability community is actually on the hill advocating for everybody’s needs. How we can get the folks I met on Saturday night into the legislature to give their expert testimony, have their voices heard and make legislators aware of their needs? We must make sure that we’re doing the best, most informed work for our entire community. We need to have everybody at and in the game. We talk a lot about the differences in the disability community. However, do we really know what the differences are and accept them? My opinions on research had to be re-examined last month, and maybe this month my opinion needs to be re-examined on the interests of hunters and anglers. Maybe next month it will be re-examining super PACs? (Maybe not.) Have a safe month, use our advertisers, and try to get involved in the important game we call politics. ■


U.S. Dept of Labor marks centennial this year by Access Press staff

March 4, 1913, marked a milestone event in the history of the American workforce. On that day 100 years ago, President William Howard Taft—on his last day in office—reluctantly signed legislation creating the U.S. Department of Labor and giving workers a direct seat in the President’s Cabinet for the first time. Observance of the federal department’s centennial got underway last year, with the production of a centennial video, an interactive timeline, a series of historical posters and collection a of historical vignettes

Volume 24, Number 3 • Periodicals Imprint: Pending ISSN Co-Founder/Publisher Wm. A. Smith, Jr. (1990-1996) Co-Founder/Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief Charles F. Smith (1990-2001) Board of Directors Brigid Alseth Steve Anderson Kristin Jorenby Elin Ohlsson Halle O'Falvey Carrie Salberg Kay Willshire

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Cartoonist Distribution Scott Adams S. C. Distribution Editorial submissions and news releases on topics of interest to persons with disabilities, or persons serving those with disabilities, are welcomed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Editorial material does not necessarily reflect the view of the editor/publisher of Access Press. Paid advertising is available at rates ranging from $12 to $28 per column inch, depending on size and frequency of run. Classified ads are $14, plus 65 cents per word over 12 words. Advertising and editorial deadlines are the last day of the month preceding publication, except for employment ads, which are due by the 25th. Access Press is a monthly tabloid newspaper published for persons with disabilities by Access Press, Ltd. Circulation is 11,000, distributed the 10th of each month through more than 200 locations statewide. Approximately 450 copies are mailed directly to individuals, including political, business, institutional and civic leaders. Subscriptions are available for $30/yr. Lowincome, student and bulk subscriptions are available at discounted rates. Application to mail at Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at the St. Paul, MN 55121 facility. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Access Press at 161 St. Anthony Ave, Suite 901, St. Paul, MN 55103. Inquiries and address changes should be directed to: Access Press care of The Kelly Inn Offices; 161 St. Anthony Ave; #910; St. Paul, MN 55103; 651-644-2133 Fax: 651-644-2136 email:

in its DOL newsletter—all designed to educate, inform and inspire the public about a rich and complex history. The website has many fun pieces of information about everything from when various pieces of legislation were signed to stories of people who played roles in U.S. labor history. Go to Taft had lost his bid for another term and signed the legislation just hours before President-elect Woodrow Wilson took office. A federal Department of Labor was the product of a half-century campaign by organized labor and the Progressive Movement for a “Voice in the Cabinet.” When the federal Department of Labor was founded, treatment of workers was a huge concern nationally. Child labor was still common. Exploitation of workers in a variety of industries regularly made newspaper and magazine headlines. Workers of all ages often found themselves in unsafe conditions, working with no protection for low pay. One interesting bit of information on the Department of Labor’s website notes that on Dec. 16, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Legislative efforts to include age as a factor by which employers could not discriminate began with the Employment Opportunity

Act of 1962 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lack of data on age discrimination in the workplace prompted Secretary of President William Howard Taft Labor Willard Wirtz to commission the report “The Older American Worker: Age Discrimination in Employment.” On the department’s centennial day, Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, also had reason to celebrate. Martinez was among nine people honored by the Viscardi Center for their contributions to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities. The Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards recognizes contemporary members of the global disability community who have impacted the quality of life of people with disabilities. Martinez has been a tireless advocate for people with disabilities, creating opportunities for traditional diversity entities to collaborate with the disability community in true sustainable partnerships that can move toward full inclusion and real systems change. “This award is an honor, and it is very much in keeping with principles the Department of Labor has espoused throughout its 100-year history: advancing opportunities for profitable employment, protecting work-related benefits and rights, and guaranteeing fair compensation for all members of the diverse American workforce,” said Martinez. ■ The History Note is a monthly column sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and www.partnersinpolicy

March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1

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Repeal of 2011 cuts sought

Dwindling state deficit is cause for cautious optimism by Access Press staff

A lower-than-anticipated state deficit is good news for Minnesota leaders and for Minnesotans with disabilities who are working on issues at the capitol. But what the February forecast means is still taking shape. The forecast shows a projected deficit of $627 million, down from the $1.1 billion deficit predicted in November 2012. Gov. Mark Dayton called the lower deficit forecast “very good news for Minnesota.” The new forecast means state lawmakers will have to make fewer spending cuts and/or tax hikes than anticipated a few months ago. It also means stepped-up work on the state budget before adjournment in May. Dayton will unveil a revised budget the week of March 11. But the governor isn’t ready to change his plans to dramatically overhaul the state tax system. The forecast released Feb. 28, projected a $295 million fund balance in Minnesota’s treasury by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Because the state borrowed money from schools in the past, the state must pay $290 million back to schools. The schools are still owed $801 million. Growing tax collections are helping to whittle down the state deficit. State officials expect to collect $323 million more in revenue than predicted in November, with $297 million more coming from higher-than-projected income tax payments. But it’s important to note that spending is also down by $117 million, largely because of savings in Medical Assistance payments to health care providers negotiated by the state. A smaller state deficit would add to the push to repeal past state budget cuts targeting people with disabilities. It could also add fuel to efforts to get more funding for nursing homes. But some at the capitol caution that even a smaller deficit doesn’t mean getting out long wish lists. Bills followed by disability advocacy groups and self-advocates continue through the committee process. The high-profile and sometimes controversial effort to obtain spinal cord injury research funds moves head. Advocates are asking for $8 million in the next biennium for research grants to help find a cure. Dr. Walter Low, a professor and researcher in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Neurosurgery, said new advances in science and technology make the time right for finding a cure through the use of robotics, spinal cord regeneration and drug therapies. “I believe a cure is good health care policy,” Matthew Rodreick told the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee Feb. 27. Rodreick’s son, Gabe, was injured in a body surfing accident in 2008. Gabe Rodreick uses a wheelchair. But Rick Cardenas, who said he has waited for a cure for more than 50 years, said the universities should fund research with their own budgets, not with state general fund dollars. Nor does he want funding currently used for community programs and services for these individuals to be redirected for the sake of research. Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan) is sponsoring a bill that would provide research grants to public institutions and establish an advisory committee on spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. Her bill was approved and sent to the House Government Operations Committee. Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Mpls) sponsors a companion awaiting action by the Senate Finance Committee. Here’s a look at other pieces of legislation: Repeal the 1.67% Cut to Disability Services.. A number of groups are asking that

Health care workers seek right to unionize The effort to allow home care workers the right to form a union continues at the 2013 Minnesota Legislature. Hearings are expected this month on a bill that would allow the workers, who are not affiliated with any home care agency to form a union. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center) and Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park). Advocates see the bill as addressing a potential crisis in the state’s public home care programs. “We are facing a massive shortage of workers to care for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Nelson. “As the ‘baby boomers’ age, there is going to be a strain on our state’s long-term care system. We must ensure there are enough workers to help people retire with dignity.” Many home care workers are employed directly by their clients in self-directed home care programs. Even though 100% of the funds that pay for these programs are controlled by the state, the workers do not have the right to form a union. The bill would allow home care workers to decide if they want to form a union and would allow them to negotiate with the state for better wages and working conditions. “Minnesota relies on the thousands of dedicated home care workers who do extremely important work,” said Eaton. “When I worked as a public health nurse, I would do home assessments to decide how much care the state would provide for a senior or person living with a disability. The truth is the work home care workers do is real and valuable.” Many home care workers have hailed the bill. “I’ve been caring for my mother for three years,” said Johnese Abney of Duluth. “My wages and hours have been cut. With my first check of the month, I pay rent. My second check goes towards Unionizing health care - p. 4

state lawmakers repeal the 1.67% reduction in funding for disability services, which is scheduled to last from July 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013. The Arc Minnesota is one of the groups leading the charge to repeal the cut. One case made for repeal is that people with disabilities have experienced hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to their services over the past decade, and this would add $12 million more in reductions to those supports. Services for people with disabilities should no longer be used to balance our state budget, advocates said. The cut was made by state lawmakers in 2011. It was included in the 2011 human services bill in case savings from another provision of the bill didn’t materialize. In that bill, the legislature directed Minnesota’s Commissioner of Human Services to ask the federal government for changes in criteria for the level of care provided at nursing facilities. It was anticipated that changes would save the state of Minnesota money by spending fewer Medicaid dollars. However, because these savings depended on federal approval of these changes by June 30, 2012, state lawmakers also approved a 1.67% cut in disability services funding if that approval wasn’t obtained. And as it turned out, the federal government did not approve the state’s request by the June 30, 2012 deadline. The legislature delayed the 1.67% cut until July 1, 2013 through payment shifts to disability providers, but the cut is still scheduled to take effect this year. Bills repealing the cut will be introduced soon. Anti-bullying advocates are making another run at passage of the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act. A coalition of more than 80 groups is working to get legislation passed that would protect all students from bullying, harassment, intimidation and violence at school. The bill has been introduced again A 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Education rated Minnesota’s anti-bullying last among the weakest in the country. Efforts to strengthen the law began in 2009. A bill passed the House and Senate in 2009 but was vetoed by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Last year Dayton launched a task force to research anti-bullying efforts and inform future legislation. That group submitted its final report in August 2012. Families whose children have autism or autism spectrum disorder are asking state lawmakers to help cover intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. The treatment isn’t covered by most insurance providers even though it is often prescribed. “That (decision) should be between the physician and the family. Don’t disRepeal of cuts sought - from p. 5

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Guest Commentary

If you are what you eat, why does it hurt so much? by L.A. Reed

Oh, my stomach hurts! I just had my first pizza in several months. Even though it tasted great, several hours later my gut was saying, “This hurts!” And the next day I was sick. I was little when I sat on my grandmother’s knee and ate rye bread dunked in sweet, light (with milk) coffee. It tasted wonderful. SHE was wonderful. Giving up coffee (I had to do it twice) meant giving up all of those memories of my grandmother. I gave up sweets too: sugar, pastries, chocolate cake and TastyCake (the East Coast Twinkies). Groannnn! All those lovely things; All those memories of family get-togethers. All those gluten products! I can’t eat that stuff anymore. My small intestines have something called leaky gut. Stress and eating the wrong foods actually cause fissures in the intestines and they leak toxins into the cavity of the body. Not pretty. My body has a lot of aches. I live with fibromyalgia, neuralgia arthritis and mostly recently, autoimmune disease with my thyroid. There is so much that I cannot eat. Do you think this doesn’t limit my diet? Do you think I haven’t lost friends over (shudder) going out to a restaurant? Or from turning down invitations to come over for dinner? It’s a scary proposition. One friend showed me a card she takes to restaurants and present to the waiter. It states, if you feed me anything with peanuts I could die. Ahhhhh! For me, the questions I have to ask of waiters and restaurant managers would amount to an inquisition. Which I’ve done. And, that is exactly how they acted like I was doing. So, I don’t bother. Sitting is also painful due to compressed discs in my back. Going to a potluck dinner produces high anxiety. Being invited to someone’s house for dinner is like a complicated theater production which involves the inquisition again. Did I mention I can’t eat any milk products either?

Come over to my home and read my menu. Today’s menu features cooked rutabagas, with beets and kale. This is actually quite tasty and healthy. Add some cooked-in-water (no oil) cod or salmon. I buy mine at a co-op because most salmon and cod contain high amounts of mercury and other toxins because the oceans they are fished from are being poisoned. I might also have some brown rice or rice pasta, with the meal. That’s it! One can get very creative with this food. But it’s a very different diet than most of the rest of society eats and it’s very different from what I was raised with. It’s a diet without any spices; or MSG, or cornstarch. So please understand that I want to get to know you, I am not trying to be difficult. I just like a pain-free life. Though having that with friends would be great. L.A. Reed, Minneapolis ■

Unionizing health care - from p. 3 utilities and other necessities. That leaves me nothing. My mother is 93 years old and needs my care. It’s not about the money, but I can barely make it right now. As home care workers, we need a voice to protect us from further cuts and to make this job into a profession that people can live on.” “We deserve the same rights as every other worker to form a union so we can fight for better wages, paid time off, even training,” said Darleen Henry of Rosemount. She cares for her mother who suffered a series of strokes. “Mine and my mother’s future, as well as everyone else’s, could only get better. I want to thank the legislators for introducing this bill. It gives me, my family and my fellow home care workers hope.” The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development projects demand for more than 50,000 new home care workers in Minnesota over the next 10 years. However, the core labor pool from which the state’s workers are traditionally drawn—women aged 25-54—is expected to decline by nearly 2,000 workers. The bill is expected to have its first hearings in March. There are an estimated 10,000-12,000 Minnesota home care workers in self-directed programs. The bill would create a Quality Self-Directed Services Workforce Council. A majority of this council will be made up of people who receive direct support services. The council will advise the commissioner of human services on steps that the state should take to ensure the quality, stability, and availability of the direct support workforce. Second, the bill will give home care workers who work directly for the people they support through self-directed programs the right to form a union so they can bargain directly with the state over wages, benefits and training opportunities. The bill explicitly protects the rights of people who receive services to select, hire, direct, supervise, and terminate the employment of their workers and it recognizes that home care workers are essential employees who would not be allowed to strike. People with disabilities who use personal care attendant (PCA) services joined workers at the capitol for SEIU Lobby Day when the bills were announced. For more information about how the disability community is showing support for home care workers contact Galen Smith at 651-285-5364 or ■

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March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1


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Reform 2020 envisions more choice, independence for people with disabilities

by Loren Colman

Joe is able to transfer from his bed to his wheelchair with limited assistance from his support staff. While it may be faster some days for his support staff to complete the transfer for him, Joe and his support staff plan enough time for him to complete as much of the transfer as he can. In this way, Joe is able to build the muscle strength and skill in transferring that promote his confidence, independence and overall well-being. Jessica is a young girl whose disability has impacted her ability to communicate verbally. She has begun using a communication board to assist her. While she and her support staff developed ways to communicate before, the support staff now works with her to build skills in using the board. With the focus on her skill development, Jessica is gaining the ability and confidence to interact with others and more fully express her thoughts and needs. As she becomes more fluent in using the communication board, her family is considering using some of her service funding to purchase an upgraded communication device that will allow her to communicate even more effectively. This is the first in a series of articles focusing on people who use the Minnesota Department of Human services (DHS) and the ways our department is working with them and others to realize a new vision for long-term services and supports. In this vision, quality, person-centered services and supports are not only sustained for the future but enhanced and maximized through new tools and technologies and new service approaches. The examples above reflect some of what we are hearing as we talk to Minnesotans about Reform 2020 proposals and how they want to see longterm services and supports in Minnesota evolve. People with disabilities want to continue to receive services but also want opportunities to do as much as they can for themselves, have flexibility to have choices and to be as independent as possible. Reform 2020 is the banner under which DHS is redesigning long-term services and supports to ensure that people get the right services at the right time by promoting low-cost, high-impact services earlier; decreasing reliance on costly services; and changing the system’s orientation so that home and community-based services are available when people need them. The examples above relate to Community First Services and Supports (CFSS), which, upon federal approval, would reform the Personal Care Assistance Program to one that is more accessible and flexible for the people who use it.

Under the CFSS model, individuals can get help with activities of daily living but also get flexible services, such as instruction, coaching, prompting and home modifications and technology to replace human assistance. Provider standards are also changing and are encouraging the development of agencies and staff with specialized skills. This will help people with disabilities to get services better tailored to their individual needs. The new MnCHOICES assessment tool will look comprehensively at each person and his or her situation, including employment, community participation and housing support. A budget will be developed based on each person’s needs for assistance with activities of daily living and/or behavioral intervention and the current home care rating scale that is used to determine the PCA units numbers. People can buy services from an agency or hire their own staff. They also can convert some of their service dollars for technology and home modifications that replace human assistance. Future articles will look at other components of the comprehensive Reform 2020 effort to restructure longterm care to emphasize consumer choice, quality and sustainability. Just as these proposals were developed in partnership with community stakeholders, DHS continues to need stakeholder support as these ideas are discussed at the Minnesota Legislature and with federal officials and as we work toward implementation of reforms in the most productive way. As we have been in the past, we are all in this work together, responding to challenges with innovation, creativity and deep commitment to helping individuals reach their potential. Approximately 133,000 Minnesotans with disabilities access Medical Assistance services administered by DHS. The department helps people with disabilities with health care, long-term services and support, employment training and housing so they can lead productive and enriching lives. About 47 percent of all Medical Assistance funding administered by DHS is for people with disabilities. The remainder is for seniors (22 percent), children and parents (30 percent) and other adults without children (1 percent). ■ Loren Colman is assistant commissioner for the Continuing Care Administration of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, a position he has held since 2003. Colman directs the divisions of Disability Services, Aging and Adult Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and Nursing Facility Rates and Policy. Contact the Disability Linkage Line at 1-866-333-2466 for more information.

Repeal of cuts sought - p. 3 criminate or eliminate any therapies,” Bradley Trahan, leader of the Minnesota Autism Task Force, told the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee. Last month the committee approved a bill that would require private health insurance providers regulated by the state to include autism spectrum disorder coverage in their policies, including the request therapy. Providers also would have to accept the treatment plan recommended by the patient’s doctor or mental health professional. Depending upon the intensity of the individual’s plan, treatment can cost between $30,000 and $100,000 per year. Some families carry two policies: paying into their employer plan for themselves and enrolling their child into Medical Assistance and paying a sliding fee to cover their child’s autism treatment. By requiring providers to insure autism therapies, the state could save as much as $1.5 million. The autism task force is calling for other initiatives as well, such as establishing a website for access to statewide services, among other suggestions found in the task force’s Strategic Plan Report released in December 2012. Nursing homes could be in line for increased funding, thanks to a bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers. They want to increase state funding to nursing homes. They are calling for increasing state nursing home reimbursements by $56 million over the next two years. Otherwise, the legislators fear that nursing homes could close. The state gave nursing homes $382 million in 2012. The increase is sought because many nursing homes around Minnesota are struggling. Losing nursing homes not only gives people fewer options for care, it also eliminates jobs, according to some state lawmakers. But a possible red flag could be that more funds for nursing homes would be used to justify fewer dollars to keep people in their homes. Advocates for children with allergies to certain foods or insects bites are fighting for extra protections for their children. State lawmakers are considering a bill this session that would make it easier for schools to obtain epinephrine auto-injectors and store them. The auto-injectors would be available to use in certain scenarios, when a student suffers an allergic reaction. The bill doesn’t mandate that schools carry epinephrine: instead it eliminates the barriers facing school officials who want this measure of protection. Working actively on the bill are representatives of the Anaphylaxis & Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA), the Minnesota Ambulance Association, Mylan and Pfizer. The School Nurse Organization of Minnesota, the Board of Pharmacy, Board of Nursing and other groups have all been asked for input and

suggestions on the bill. But the Minnesota School Boards Association lead lobbyist has stated that they plan to oppose the bill because its members have not said it is needed. Cooking with ovens that date from 1924 may sound like activity at a museum. But that is what staff at the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind do every day to prepare residents’ meals. The two residential schools need $85,000 for new kitchen equipment and upgrades, including a new dishwasher and replacing the elderly ovens. The request to the House Education Finance Committee is unusual, and provoked some amused comments and questions when it was presented last month. Some lawmakers asked whether the state and the academies could find a more efficient way to take care of such business. Still, committee chairman Rep. Paul Marquart (DFLDilworth) agreed that it was time to replace the ovens. One challenge is that the request is being made in a non-bonding year. Another is that it isn’t the kind of financing request the committee usually hears. ■

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REGIONAL NEWS Pedestrians get more time People don’t walk quite as fast as once thought, so within the next two years, most Twin Cities area counties and cities plan to give pedestrians more time in a crosswalk, anywhere between two and six additional seconds to cross the street. Conversion of the signals will take a few years but it could be a lifesaver for people In the United States, crosswalks are timed on the width of the intersection, assuming most people walk at about 4 feet per second. But, researchers looking at the aging population determined people need more time than that. In 2009, the federal government recommended states and cities slow crosswalks to a speed of 3.5 feet per second. More than three years later, most agencies are only now making changes, because the massive undertaking requires time and money. Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) traffic engineer Sue Groth said her department is currently updating 1,300 traffic signals run by the state. MnDOT has reprogrammed around 200 signals so far, and hopes to finish the rest by the end of summer in 2013. “The 3.5 feet per second will give people an additional 2 to 6 seconds depending on the width of the intersection, so we are pretty confident that is going to improve, but you do have to be intentional, we want people to push the button and be ready to move when the walk signal comes up,” said Groth. In Minnesota, every intersection is considered a crosswalk whether marked or unmarked and the motorist is required to stop. The state also launched a pedestrian safety campaign, Share the Road, just as 2012 started off with a surge of pedestrian accidents. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 876 pedestrians were injured or killed last year. (Source: KARE 11)

Bracelet helps find missing child

Man accused of faking Alzheimer’s

The Washington County Sheriff’s Department has been publicizing the benefits of electronic tracking bracelets. One was used last month to find a missing Lake Elmo boy. The 7-year-old boy, who wears one of the bracelets because of his cognitive disabilities, was found within about 45 minutes at a nearby house. He was not in a dangerous situation, said Washington County Detective Sgt. Lonnie Van Klei, He had told the people he was with that his parents knew where he was. If not for the bracelet other agencies would have been called in to help search about 600 homes in the Cimarron mobile home community where the boy lived. Washington County works with a company that provides the battery-operated bracelets for a fee. They are available for adults or children who are at risk of wandering or becoming lost, Van Klei said. When someone wearing the bracelet is reported missing, Washington County officers bring a tracking device to the area and follow the signal emitted by the bracelet. (Source: Pioneer Press)

Hermantown resident James W. Smith was considered an effective spokesperson for those with Alzheimer ’s disease. In speeches and web posts he described how his work as a computer expert was derailed, when he was only in his mid-40s. He left a high-ranking job at American Express Financial Services and became an advocate for those with Alzheimer’s. Smith lobbied state and federal elected officials and was named a “Health Care Hero” by KARE-11 Television. But he recently was found to have faked his symptoms and is awaiting sentencing for fraud. Prosectuors stated Smith defrauded the government out of $144,293 and collected more than $300,000 from Met Life in disability payments. The fraud occurred between 2006 and August 2010. Medical experts said it is rare for someone to fake the disease, but that it can be done. Smith will be sentenced in U.S. District Couirt this spring. (Source: Star Tribune)

Minnesota among states winning awards Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the first recipients of State Innovation Model awards made possible by the Affordable Care Act. Nearly $300 million in awards will provide flexibility and support to states to help them deliver high-quality health care, lower costs, and improve their health system performance. “As a former governor, I understand the real sense of urgency that states feel to improve the health of their populations while also reducing total health care costs, and it’s critical that the many elements of health care in each state — including Medicaid, public health, and workforce training — work together,” Sebelius said. Model Testing awards will support Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, and Ver-

mont in implementing their plans for health care delivery system transformation. The six selected states will use funds to test multi-payer payment and service delivery models, including approaches already under way at CMS, such as Accountable Care Organizations, on a broader scale within their state. Through the State Innovation Model Testing awards, CMS will learn whether these new models produce greater results when implemented broadly and combined with additional state-wide reforms. An additional 19 states will receive awards to further develop proposals for comprehensive health care transformation. (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) Regional news - p. 14

March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1

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PEOPLE & PLACES Opportunity Partners celebrates its many partners with awards Four businesses were honored with recognition awards at “Celebrate Opportunity—An Executive Networking and Business Recognition Luncheon,” hosted by non-profit disability organization Opportunity Partners Feb. 27. Awards were given to businesses that have shown exemplary leadership in providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities in 2012. About 400 people were on hand for the event, which featured speakers and displays from business partners. Frank Vascellaro of WCCO-TV served as emcee for the event, which was held at the Marriott West in Minneapolis. The Laura Zemlin Employer of the Year winner is Engineered Products Company (EPCO). A supplier of specialty lighting and wiring consumable products for electrical contracts, EPCO brings in two teams from Opportunity Partners Monday through Friday. In a single week, the teams assemble thousands of parts for interior and exterior lighting systems as well as many other products. Production Customer of the Year winner is DecoPac. The company is the world’s largest wholesale cake decoration supplier and marketer. DecoPac turns to Opportunity Partners for many projects, including annual licensed Super Bowl commemorative cake decorations sold across the nation. The Community Partner Award went to Walgreens. Walgreens has joined with Opportunity Partners to provide people with disabilities a variety of opportunities in their retail stores. Walgreens has 14 stores that serve as valuable work evaluation or training sites for Opportunity Partners. Through the partnership,

Opportunity Partners awarded Kraus-Anderson Construction Company its Julie Olson Topp Employer of Excellence Award on February 27, 2012. Bryce Larson and Michelle Suess, who are office assistants at Kraus-Anderson, helped present the award and are shown here with Frank Vascellaro of WCCO-4, George Klauser, President and CEO of Opportunity Partners, and Diane Duguay, Kraus-Anderson Director of Employee Relations & Diversity. The award was presented at Opportunity Partners’ Celebrate Opportunity business luncheon, which drew 400 business leaders from across the Twin Cities. Photo courtesy of lauren b photography

more than 20 people have been assisted in their path toward independent employment. The Julie Olson Topp Employer of the Year was given to Kraus-Anderson Construction Company. Kraus-Anderson, one of the nation’s leading commercial general contractors and construction managers, has hired several employees from Opportunity Partners for general office duties. The company has done an exceptional job of advocating for the hiring of workers with disabilities and has provided positive exposure to the cause. Chris Wright, president of the Minnesota Timberwolves delivered an unforgettable keynote presenta-

Pulice awarded outstanding service award Global Rehabilitation, L.L.C. opens Pat Pulice, Director of Fraser Center of Autism Excellence, was recently awarded an Outstanding Service Award by the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health. This award is given to recognize individuals who have shown extraordinary achievement and/or leadership in the field of children’s Pat Pulice mental health. Pulice has more than 30 years of experience working with children on the autism spectrum. She provides program development, resources and continuity of intervention, integrating multidisciplinary services including mental health, pediatric therapy, transition services and housing needs at Fraser, a Minnesota nonprofit serving children and adults with special needs. Pulice was also appointed to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force for the State of Minnesota to define the parameters of autism treatment and funding for a report to the Department of Human Service. She has provided multiple testimonies to the Minnesota Legislature over the years regarding the needs of children on the autism spectrum and their families. She is consulting with Fairview Hospital system to increase hospital staff knowledge and skills to work more effectively with children and youth who are severely impacted by autism. Fraser is Minnesota’s largest and most experienced provider of autism services. Fraser also serves children and adults with more than 60 types of mental and physical disabilities. Its programs are nationally recognized for their high quality, innovation, and individualized, family-centered approach. For more information, call 612-861-1688 or visit ■

Dayna L. Wolfe, M.D., an integrative physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, has announced the opening of her new practice, Global Rehabilitation LLC in Columbia Heights. Wolfe writes the Health Notes column that appears from time to time in Access Press. Wolfe is a global health care provider with extensive experience as an educator, clinician, scientist, patient advocate, business consultant and community leader. She is well-versed in disability issues. She uses a holistic approach to the assessment and treatment of patients with chronic illness and disability, care of patients with Lyme and associated diseases and comprehensive nutritional supplements consultations. Wolfe also serves as a home-based physician services for individuals with severe mobility impairments Her new clinic is located at Total Health Square, 5194 Central Ave NE, Columbia Heights. ■

Desktop Publishing: Advertisements Brochures Catalogs Flyers Newsletters Newspapers Project Mgmt Scanning ... & More! Ellen Houghton 952-404-9981 presentationimages@

tion on “Building Your Superstar Team.” He spoke about seeing the strengths of every employee and giving back to the community can create an organization bound for success, even during tough times. Established in 1953, Opportunity Partners is celebrating its 60th anniversary of helping people with disabilities live, learn and work more independently through innovative services and collaborations with business. One of the largest social service agencies in Minnesota, the organization supports 1,700 people with disabilities each year. It is based in Minnetonka. ■

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PEOPLE & PLACES It’s snow fun for the 25th Northland 300 ride

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The 25th annual Northland 300 snowmobile ride went off without a hitch thanks to ample snow conditions and a good group of riders and volunteers. The ride from Two Harbors to Ely raised $174,267, with $112,410 cash and $61,857 in in-kind donations. This brings the all-time accumulative total to more than $3.8 Million to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Minnesota. It was a proud accomplishment for those taking part in the special anniversary ride. The ride was held the last weekend of January. In concern for the trails and availability of snow, Northland 300 Board members Marc Williams, Meaghan Dahl and Janel Vorel headed north the Saturday before the ride to ensure that 82 snowmobilers would be able to ride the 300-plus miles from Two Harbors to Ely and back. The report was good and snow conditions improved a few days later. Snowmobilers departed Superior Shores Lodge in Two Harbors, early Jan. 24. But first they enjoyed a moving opening ceremony. Special Olympics Minnesota athletes Louis Nosan carried the torch and passed it to Tyler Bengston, a first-time participant who rode on the back of his father Steve Bengston’s sled. Tyler Bengston then passed the torch to Laurie Mallory, Two Harbors Special Olympics Minnesota athlete. Malloy has supported the Northland 300 since its first ride in 1989. The final carrying and holding of the torch, was done by Steven Eull, Special Olympics Minnesota athlete and five-year Northland 300 participant who rode on the back of his coach, Jason Reinsch’s sled. Nosan sang the National Anthem as the torch was brought in. Special guests were also on hand. Two Harbors Mayor Randy Bolen, presented the key to the City of Two Harbors to Kathy Karkula, volunteer event director, and declared it Northland 300 Day to the participants of the ride. Darrin Young of Superior Shores Resort, Gordy Anderson, President of Two Harbors Chamber of Commerce and the Two Harbors Ameri-

A display of Ski-Doo snowmobiles was a hit with Northland 300 riders.

can Legion Color Guard were present to wish participants well. Temperatures were below zero when the ride began. Snowmobilers were happy to begin their first leg of the trek with snow on the trails to ride to their destination, Grand Ely Lodge in Ely. Ski-Doo, a Northland 300 Gold Medal Sponsor, hosted a demonstration trailer there. Northland 300 participants and event visitors met Ski-Doo representative Joe Cameron and tried out a variety of Ski-Doo model snowmobiles. A ceremony was also held at Grand Ely Lodge, with lodge manager Denis Jordan, Ely Mayor Ross Peterson, the local VFW/American Legion Color Guard and Ely’s own Jay Mackie, who sang the National Anthem. Eull and Bengston carried in the torch followed by Northland 300 snowmobilers on their sleds. Many prizes were awarded to Northland 300 participants. The top raffle prize, a 2013 Ski-Doo MXZ Sport 600 snowmobile, was won by Todd Forrest, Tomah, Wisc. The second and third prizes of $1,000 apiece were won by Mike Read of Mounds View and Shawn Snyder of Apple Valley. Bob Bloom of Balsam Lake, Wisc. won fourth prize, a champagne weekend for two at Superior Shores Resort. Other prizes included fishing and summer vacation packages, a camera, a television set and gift certificates. To learn more about the Northland 300 and Special Olympics Minnesota, visit and ■

Riders round a curve as they go on the Northland 300 ride. Inset: Nighttime riding was exciting and beautiful. Photos courtesy of Northland 300

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March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1

PEOPLE & PLACES Poetz raises awareness of developmental disabilities issues The term “pioneer in the self-advocacy movement” is used to sum up Cliff Poetz’s involvement in disability rights. But that phrase greatly simplifies what he has done as a self-advocate, leader of The Arc, and leader in other disability organizations and causes for more than 40 years. Poetz was honored recently by The Arc Minnesota for his advocacy, as one of the Heroes of The Arc. His work is again noted during March, which is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month A native of St. Bonifacius, Poetz moved to Portland Residence in Minneapolis as an adult. He soon became an activist, joining the facility’s Client Council and then becoming its president. He also began working with disability organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, Michigan and Indiana. Poetz’s work got the attention of national leaders. In 1973, Don Bartlett, Portland Residence Program Director, got an unexpected call from the office of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Bartlett initially thought this was

a prank. However, Kennedy’s staff really did want to speak with Poetz. Poetz was asked to come to Washington, D.C., to testify in support of the Developmental Disabilities Act. After the call, Poetz and Bartlett spent 14 hours hammering out three pages of testimony. But Poetz encountered opposition from disability community members before the Senate hearing. “Some of the leaders in Washington, D.C. didn’t want me to read what was in my testimony,” Poetz said. “I was calling for self-advocacy involvement in setting up developmental disability councils and the right of people with disabilities to advocate for themselves. But some in the movement were too overprotective, and they didn’t want to rock the boat. My staff and I insisted that I should speak up for more consumer involvement and empowerment. We prevailed, and I read my testimony the way it was.” Poetz was vindicated by the support he received from others—including Muriel Humphrey, wife of Sen. Hubert Humphrey. “She came up to me after the hearing and complimented me on the testimony and said, ‘You did the right thing.’” His testimony was part of a larger victory. The Developmental Disabilities Act passed, providing needed protections and funding for advocacy agencies and developmental disabilities councils nationwide. Poetz also has decades of experience with The Arc,

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first as a board member for Youth ARC in the 1974. In the early 1980s, he joined The Arc’s national board and made his presence felt. Because of his push for the rights and acceptance of people with disabilities, The Arc, in Poetz’s words, “…eventually understood what selfadvocacy was all about and Cliff Poetz why it’s so important.” Thanks to him, The Arc rewrote its mission statement with stronger language on self-advocacy. He also led efforts to create a self-advocacy movement in Minnesota, as co-founder and president of People First Central in the Twin Cities and a leader in People First Minnesota, He traveled the state to help found and advise new People First chapters. He was a leader in Advocating Change Together, and helped co-found Remember With Dignity (RWD) to respect state institutions’ past residents with named grave People & Places - from p. 15

Dedication to Stillwater Place residents makes her a winner Donna Chipman’s new quilt makes her small apartment at a senior living facility in Little Canada much cozier. The quilt, with its light green and blue pattern, adds a cheerful touch to her home. “It’s so much more than a quilt,” she said. “The colors are stunning, but what’s most beautiful is what this represents—a family.” Chipman’s colleagues from Lutheran Social Service (LSS) of Minnesota honored her in February with the handmade quilt and this year’s Volunteering is Vital Award or VIVA. It is a special award within Lutheran Social Service’s Disability Services, recognizes Chipman’s talents and skills. But it also is recognition of a heart that is full of love for the Donna Chapman is shown receiving women she supports. her quilt. “What a surprise to receive appreciation for my volunteering,” Chipman said. “Volunteering is its own reward.” For 10 years, Chipman worked as a direct support professional at Stillwater Place, an LSS home for adults with developmental disabilities in Shoreview. When it came time to retire last year, she thought about giving her time to children in schools, but it didn’t take long to realize she belonged right where she was. She went back to Stillwater Place as a volunteer. “After a while, I really missed the ladies that I helped support for so many years; they had become my family,” Chipman said. “I thought with all my experience, I would be more useful staying where I was.” “Donna has the innate ability to make everyone around her feel loved and cared for,” said Cindy Iverson, Chipman’s longtime supervisor at LSS. “She’s got an energy that the ladies just love and they’re always so excited to learn that she is coming over—they wait at the door to greet her with a hug.”

Besides giving out the best bear hugs, her top priority is making sure they have every opportunity to lead full, rewarding lives. Chipman spends ample time researching free or low-cost activities happening in the community. “My hope is that they get to do what they dream of doing. I want to inspire them to think of things they didn’t realize were possible,” Chipman said. “Nothing pleases me more than when we come up with an idea or planned activity, and the ladies love it and are excited about it.” “They tell me ‘thank you’ all the time,” she added. “It’s great to see them having fun. I remember one adventure we took together to Laura Ingalls Wilder Days in Pepin. One of the women ran up to me, her arms all the way up in the air, and as she grinned from ear to ear, she said, ‘Donna you made my day.’” Knowing that she is a part of some lasting memories for the women she supports is a special thing, but for Chipman, the most rewarding moments are unexpected. “They teach me every day to appreciate the small things,” Chipman said. “The littlest thing or silliest comment means so much and goes a long way in making our days together a joy.” Statewide, LSS serves 1,500 people with disabilities through supervised community homes, in-home support and respite care. LSS of Minnesota helps children and families, people with disabilities and older Minnesotans through a wide range of services that inspire hope, change lives, and build community. The non-profit organization, headquartered in St. Paul, serves more than 100,000 Minnesotans yearly with operations in 300 Minnesota communities. LSS employs more than 2,300 people. For information about the organization’s statewide services, visit ■

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Pg 10 March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1 State services criticized - from p. 1

Suppliers’ burden - from p. 1

employment, hobby, fitness and recreation activities, with about one hour per day on “scheduled therapeutic activities,” according to the report. The report calls for the Minnesota Security Hospital to adopt policies on “the hours of counseling, therapy and other treatment offered per week to help patients address their underlying mental health issues.” State Operated Services is urged to “develop clear, consistent standards that address how often Minnesota Security Hospital patients should be seen by a psychiatrist, and it should monitor compliance with these standards.” Another recommendation is to find better placement operations for people with mental illness who are ready to return to the community. One troubling finding is that many people stay months or even years longer in state facilities than they have to. For example, more than one-third of patients at the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center are ready to be discharged. But they remain in the facility, in part because of a lack of resources. “Some facilities have had significant difficulty finding placements for individuals ready to be discharged, and (the department) should develop or foster additional placement options,” the report states. Discharge problems are one reason that “many behavioral health patients have stayed in state-run hospitals longer than necessary.” One issue the audit raised is the need for changes in the civil commitment process used to place many people in state operated services. Many states have a regular judicial review process to evaluate people placed in state operated services; Minnesota does not. “We recommend requiring periodic judicial review of individuals committed as mentally ill and dangerous or as developmentally disabled, “Nobles said. The audit revealed that some patients have lived at the Minnesota Security Hospital for as long as 30 years, yet their cases have had no judicial review. “It’s important for the legislature and DHS to address situations that, frankly, could be lawsuits waiting to happen,” said Joel Alter. He led the study for the Office of the Legislative Auditor. People with developmental disabilities are also a focus of the report. The report recommends that DHS develop a plan to reduce the number of group homes it operates for people with developmental disabilities, and that state lawmakers address the issue in 2014. “There are a lot of other capable providers who run group homes for the developmentally disabled,” said Alter. But he did concede that some more challenging individuals may be best served by the state and not private providers. ■ The text of the report can be seen at sos.pdf

dants’ motion for summary judgment and a motion by Key Medical to seek a temporary restraining order. But he also expressed concerns about the federal government’s new competitive bidding program. The program affects that who can supply certain medical equipment and how much those providers can be paid by Medicare. “While the decision in the motions is supported by law, the Court is deeply concerns about the unjust consequences of its order,” Frank wrote. Frank stated that while he lacked authority to rule on the program’s legality, the federal government is ignoring the harm it could be inflicting on people with disabilities. “This is a sad day for those who believe that when a judge adheres, evenhandedly, to his or her oath of office, justice will prevail and the public interest will be served. To the extent that a civilized and democratic society is measured by the manner in which it treats and protects its most vulnerable members, it has failed today.” Frank also stated that the government appears to be indifferent to the fact that people with disabilities have a need for the custom-fit low entereal feeding tube, known as a G-tube. Other types of feeding tubes are more susceptible to accidental removal. Frank said if the court had jurisdiction, it would likely conclude that the federal government’s action is arbitrary and capricious. But Congress has intentionally prevented courts from reviewing the program. The ruling not only disappoints Key Medical Supply Inc., a Shoreview-based company, it has implications for suppliers throughout the nation. “Half of Key Medical Supply’s supply revenue is at risk,” company’s lawyer, Samuel Orbovich of Fredrikson & Byron, told Thomson Reuters’ News and Insights Blog. Orbovich said the company may have to refocus its business as a result of the new program. Filing an appeal with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is also an option. Key Medical supplies a wide range of specialty medical equipment. The company filed suit against the federal government in March 2012, in U.S. District Court. Key Medical is objecting to a new competitive bidding program that takes effect in July in the Twin Cities. The program has been phased in elsewhere across the United States, and is in already in effect in nine states. It is tied to the Affordable Care Act. In the court case, Key Medical Supply argued that the new program would destroy much of the company’s business. The company also claims that the program would prevent people with developmental disabilities from having continued access to crucial equipment and supplies. The bidding program is being implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The intent is to cut prices Medicare pays for certain medical equipment and supplies. But medical supply companies fear that program will make it difficult if not impossible for them to supply items people need for daily living. The new program caps what Key Medical Supply would be reimbursed for a specialty tube, called a Gtube, at less than $40. Court documents indicate that is less than what it costs to buy the tubes Federal officials have not commented on the case. But the competitive bidding program has been criticized in other states for hampering patients’ access to needed medical equipment and supplies. Home care advocates have already said they would bring in federal legislation to make changes to the program. Frank will file a longer opinion on the case in the future. ■

Did you know that Access Press is a nonprofit organization? One of the reasons we’re able to continue to bring disability related news to our readers is thanks to our advertisers. We ask that you take the time to support them with your dollars—and to take the time in thanking them for their support! Accessibility Design Accessibility Options, Inc. Accessible Homes LLC Accessible Space Advocating Change Together AgStar Allegiance Ability Assistance American Ramp Amery Regional Med. Center ARC Greater Twin Cities ARC Minnesota Assistance Dogs Phoenix Residence Assoc. of Residential Resources Axis Healthcare BDC Management Blue Cross/Blue Shield Brain Injury Assoc. of MN Brain Injury of Minnesota Break-Thru Home Care Break–Thru Home Care Calvary Center Apartments Camp Winnebago Capable Partners Capstone Services LLC Care Planners Inc. Comm. Ed. Netwk on Disabilities Comm. Involvement Programs Cooperating Comm. Programs Cornerstone Solutions Courage Center DeafBlind Services Development Disabilities Diamond Hill Townhomes Dungarvin Minnesota, LLC East Suburban Resources Ebenezer Care Center Ebenezer Park Apartments Enterprises & Services Equal Access Homes EquipALife Family Foundations MN

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March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1 Pg 11

In the Time of the Butterflies

ACCESSIBLE FUN Welcome to the Access Press Accessible Fun listings. Readers looking for additional opportunities to enjoy the arts have these options: For information on galleries and theater performances around the state, join the Access to Performing Arts email list at or call VSA Minnesota, 612-3323888 or statewide 800-801-3883 (voice/TTY). To hear a weekly listing of accessible performances, call 612-3323888 or 800-801-3883. On the web accessible performance listings are found at, or,, or (c2: caption coalition, inc.), which does most of the captioned shows in Minnesota and across the country. Sign up to connect with ASL Interpreted and Captioned Performances Across Minnesota on Facebook (or 257263087700814. Sign up to connect with Audio Description Across Minnesota Performances on Facebook ( Want to attend a show but not finding the accessible services needed? Contact t the performing company as far in advance as possible to request the service. Arts organizations can borrow a captioning display unit from VSA Minnesota for free. Call the Minnesota Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-627-3529 with the number of the arts organization box office. With video relay a caller’s VP number automatically connects to a sign language interpreter when making a call to another caller who does not also have a video phone.

Jay Leno headlines benefit Comedian and talk show host Jay Leno is bringing his popular brand of humor to PACER’s 31st Annual Benefit on Sat, May 11, at Mpls Convention Center. Tickets are available now for his show that will support PACER Center programs for children with disabilities and their families. Benefit tickets include Leno’s performance as well as the silent and live auctions. The evening begins at 6 p.m., and tickets start at $65. A pre-benefit gourmet dinner is available by separate ticket, and a post-concert patron party is available for people purchasing Benefit tickets of $140 or more. The Benefit supports free PACER Center programs for children with disabilities and their families as well as PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. FFI: 952-838-9000,

Arts Accessibility grants available Access to the arts for people with disabilities has increased in recent years, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act Access Improvement Grants for metro arts organizations are available for the fourth year by VSA Minnesota with money from Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Nonprofit arts groups in the seven-county metropolitan area can apply for grants of up to $15,000 to help make their arts programming, activities and facilities more accessible to people with disabilities. Deadlines is May 17. Potential projects anything that helps to remove barriers and more effectively serve and attract artists, audience members, board or staff with disabilities. FFI: VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888,,

Artists around town Upstream Arts, a Mpls-based program for artists with disabilities, offers a number of programs and services for artists. The mission of Upstream Arts is to enhance the lives of adults and youth with disabilities by fostering creative communication and social independence through the power of arts education. The program website has a blog that is always worth checking, to see what activities Upstream Art staff and artists are doing in the community. The blog is updated regularly. Visit www.upstream

Take the Polar Plunge Whether it’s one toe at a time, eyes tightly closed with an uneasy step forward or a fearless cannonball, brave souls are already planning their grand entrance into the icy waters at the 2013 Polar Bear Plunge, presented by Minnesota law enforcement for the benefit of Special Olympics Minnesota. Registration is now open for the 2013 Plunge Season. With 16 Polar Bear Plunge events scattered across the state through March 16, dare-devils and do-gooders alike are sure to be “freezin’ for a reason.” Brave Plungers jump into the frigid Minnesota waters as individuals or as a member of a team to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. Although each participant must raise a minimum of $75 to Plunge, the average Plunger raised more than $200 in 2012. The total amount raised in 2012 was $2.85 million. FFI: 800783-7732,,

Mixed Blood Theatre continues to offer a wide range of accessibility options for this play, thanks to its Radical Hospitality Program. Every performance will be captioned. AD and ASL shows are 7:30 p.m. Sat, April 20. Pre-show tactile tours are available on request. Contact Brie Jonna (brie@, 612-338-5403) for the tactile tour. Call for access discounts and transportation. Any patron who self-identifies as having a disability is eligible for a no-cost advance guaranteed reservation and for a free cab ride to and from the theatre. Call the Box Office at 612-338-6131 or check the Accessible Fun listings for details.

Neighborhood HealthSource Neighborhood HealthSource hosts its 8th annual gala, 6-8 p.m. Thu, April 18 at Nicollet Island Pavilion, 40 Power St. Mpls. Tickets start at $60. WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman is emcee for the Caring for our Community event. Enjoy food and beverages, live music, silent auctions, raffles and more. RSVP by Thu, March 28th. FFI: 612-287-2479,

MACT*Fest 2013 Ten troupes combine to host the Minnesota Association of Community Theaters festival, at North Hennepin Community College Fine Arts Center Theatre, 7411 85th Ave. N., Brooklyn Park. AD shows are Fri-Sat, March 15-16. Enjoy performances, workshops and a silent auction. Tickets are $10 per session of plays ($8 senior/student or group of 8+); $15 per workshop. Or ask about package rates. FFI: 612-548-1773,

God of Carnage The 2009 Tony Award-winning drama about the aftermath of a playground altercation is performed by Rochester Repertory Theatre at 103 7th Street NE, Rochester. ASL show is 8 p.m. Fri, March 15. Tickets are $20; with a student/senior discount. FFI: 507-289-1737,,

The Yeomen of the Guard, or the Merryman and His Maid Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company presents the popular operetta at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls. AD show is 7:30 p.m. Sat, March 16, with a tactile tour beforehand. Tickets are $18, children under 12 $8. FFI: 651-255-6947; http://

MN Hands & Voices Youth Art Contest Open House Lucy’s Coffee Café, Griggs/Midway Building, 540 Fairview Ave., St. Paul, hosts an open house of artwork submitted for the first MN Hands & Voices Youth Art Contest. The event is 6-8 p.m. Sat, March 16. The theme is “Youth Pride in Being Deaf or Hard of Hearing.” See the art and meet the artists and Cynthia Weitzel, who plans on working with Hands & Voices as an advisor for the 2013 Youth Art Contest. MN Hands & Voices at Lifetrack Resources is a team of trained parents who provide a variety of support services to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The coffee house is owned by Julie Peck, parent of two with hearing loss. RSVP appreciated: FFI: 651-265-2435,,,

Compulsion or the House Behind Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company presents the story of a writer whose obsession with sharing Anne Frank’s diary results in complex battles. Presented at Hillcrest Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul. AD show is 1 p.m. Sun, March 17. Tickets are $22, $20 for group of 10+, student rush $12; FFI: 651-647-4315,

Owl Moon The Caldecott Medal-winning book, about a father and child walking in a winter wonderland, is performed by Stages Theatre Company at Hopkins Center for the Arts Mainstage, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. ASL show is 7 p.m. Fri, March 22. Call about AD performances, at least two weeks in advance of the show’s run through March 24. Tickets are reduced to $11, $9 child/senior, $8.50 weekend/evening group (12+); apply to the individual needing AD/ASL and one companion; ask for discount and seating section when making reservation. FFI: 952-979-1111 option 4,

Twelfth Night William Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of mistaken identity, transformations and deception is performed by the internationally acclaimed Propeller troupe at the Guthrie Theater, Wurtele Thrust Stage, 818 2nd St. S., Mpls. AD show is 7:30 p.m. Fri, March 22. Captioning is 1 p.m. Wed, March 27. ASL show is 7:30 p.m. Thu, April 4. Tickets are reduced to $20 for AD/ASL, $25 for

Photo by Rich Ryan

captioning (regular $24-62). FFI: 612-377-2224, TTY 612-377-6626,

The Odd Couple (Female Version) Neil Simon’s comedy is presented by Lakeshore Players Theatre at 4820 Stewart Ave., White Bear Lake. ASL show is 2 p.m. Sun, March 24. (If no ASL seats are reserved within two weeks of the performance, the ASL interpretation will be cancelled.) Note mature themes and language may be issues for some theatergoers. Tickets are reduced to $10 for ASL patrons (reg. $20, senior/student $18). FFI: 651-429-5674; tickets@lakeshoreplayers. com,

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel of greed, murder and madness is performed by Chameleon Theatre Circle at Burnsville Performing Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre, 12600 Nicollet Ave., Burnsville. AD show is 2 p.m. Sun, March 24. ASL show is 7:30 p.m. Fri, March 29. Tickets are $20 (reduced to $17 for AD and ASL patrons, Fringe Button holder, student, senior or group of 8+) at the box office. FFI: 952-232-0814,

Bill W. & Dr. Bob Illusion Theater presents the story of the men who helped start Alcoholics Anonymous, at the Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave, 8th floor, Mpls. AD show is 8 p.m. Wed, March 27. ASL show date is to be determined. Tickets are $15-20. FFI: 612-339-4944,

Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller’s story of salesman Willy Loman is performed by Lyric Arts Company of Anoka at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, 420 E. Main Street, Anoka. ASL show is 2 p.m. Sun, April 7. Seats for ASL patrons are held in reserve until two weeks prior to the show, then released to the general public. When ordering tickets, please indicate the need for seating in this section; if there are no reservations, the interpretation will be canceled. Tickets are reduced by $5 for guests requiring ASL interpretation and a companion (regular $12-22). FFI: 763-422-1838;,

Accessible Fun - p. 15

Pg 12 March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1

UPCOMING EVENTS Advocacy Tuesdays at the Capitol Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) resumes its traditional legislative session schedule once the 2013 legislative session is underway. This includes “Disability Matters Tuesdays at the Capitol” on every Tuesdays, a 10 a.m., briefing in the basement cafeteria of the State Office Building and full membership meetings on Fridays during the legislative session from 12-1 in room 500 N of the State Office Building as well during the legislative session FFI: MSCOD Town Hall on voting rights Minnesota State Council on Disabilities wants to hear from Minnesotans about voting options and access to the polls. A town hall meeting is 1:30-4 p.m. Mon, March 18 at Minnesota Department of Human Services, 444 Lafayette Road, Room 5137, St. Paul. There are numerous Minneapolis and Greater Minnesota locations where videoconferencing is offered. Or the event can be web streamed, available in Real Player and Windows Media with a Closed Captioned option. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Jeff Nachbar from Minnesota Council for Non-Profits and Jim Dickson of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) are among the speakers. The event is free but preregistration is needed, at Reasonable accommodation requests should be made during registration. Registration deadline is Thu, March 14. Disability Day at the Capitol Brain Injury Alliance Day at the Capitol is Thu, April 25. Make plans now to attend and speak out about budget decisions and plan to meet with your legislators. Events start at 10 a.m. in the great hall of the state capitol with registration, followed by briefings at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. A rally is at noon, and then participants can break for lunch on their own. The event is free but participants should register. The event is sponsored by Advocating Change Together, Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance People First of Minnesota, Self-Advocates Minnesota, and The Arc Minnesota. FFI: Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance at 1-800-669-6442, Mental health rally at capitol The Mental Health Legislative Network, a coalition of more than 20 statewide organizations, will hold a Mental Health Rally at noon, Tue, March 12, in the capitol rotunda. Scheduled speakers include legislators, families and persons living with a mental illness, service providers and mental health advocates. The event, co-chaired by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota and the Mental Health Association of Minnesota, will focus on improving mental health services for children and adults. An information session will be held before the rally at 10 a.m., at Christ Lutheran Church, 105

University Ave. West, across the street from the capitol. FFI: NAMI, 651-645-2948,

Information and assistance

MCIL Disability Day at the Capitol Metropolitan Center for Independent Living Disability Day is noon-1 p.m. Thu, April 11. Go to a rally and then go meet with your legislators. The MCIL staff will help you find your legislators’ contact information. FFI: Corbett Laubignat, 651-603-2028,, Cindy, 651-603-2037,

Free exterior house painting Metro Paint-A-Thon offers free house painting for lowincome seniors and people with disabilities every August, Qualifying home owners whose homes need paint and minor exterior repairs must live in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington counties. Deadline to apply is April 12. Eligibility guidelines are online. FFI: 612-276-1578,,

Plan for conference Deadlines are approaching for the 2013 Minnesota State Self-Advocacy Conference, “Together, Yes We CAN!” The conference is April 26-27 at Crowne Plaza, St. Paul Riverfront Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Several organizations sponsor the conference. FFI: 651-6414053,

Activities for adults Aging, ageism, and health care A free interactive workshop on Aging, Ageism and Health Care is offered by the Gray Panthers and Pratt Community Education, 6:30-8 p.m. Mon, March 18 Pratt School, 66 Malcolm Ave. SE, Mpls. Learn about the challenges of aging and ageism in health care and learn to advocate for your concerns and needs. Pre-register. FFI: 612-668-1100, Independent living classes offered The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) offers free and accessible classes on living independently for people with disabilities. Most classes are held at 1600 University Ave., #16, the green tile building at University and Snelling, St. Paul, unless specified. A new event is a happy hour gathering, with games, movies and fun starting 4-7 p.m. Wed, March 20 . A full calendar of all events is offered online. Enjoy field trips, knitting and crafts, wii fun, cooking, and classes to help with everyday living. Weekenders outings are for those who are tired of sitting home all weekend. Meet other people who share similar interests and want to meet new people. Next is noon-2 p.m. Sat, March 23 at Hazel’s Northeast. Please bring spending money for this. All other events are free of charge, accessible and mostly scent-free. Please RSVP and give two weeks’ notice of needed accommodations. FFI: Corbett Laubignat, 651-603-2028,, Cindy, 651-603-2037,,

Youth and families Family support groups offered The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota sponsors free support groups for families who have a relative with a mental illness. Led by trained facilitators who also have a family member with mental illness, groups help families develop better coping skills and find strength through sharing their experiences. A family support group meets in St. Paul on the second Wednesday of each month from at 6-7:30 p.m., at Goodwill-Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Ave. N., St. Paul, in room 123. FFI: Sonja, 651-357-2077. A group meets at 6:30 p.m., on the 4th Tuesday of the month, at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 285 N. Dale St., St. Paul. FFI: Marc, 763-227-9446. A group also meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. FFI: Anne Mae, 651-730-8434. PACER offers workshops PACER Center offers useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with disabilities. Workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Workshops for March include Bullying Prevention—Everyone’s Responsibility: What Parents Can Do is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thu, March 14. Advance registration requested. This workshop, led by staff of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, is designed for parents and professionals to explore the dynamics of bullying, and learn what they can do to help children address the issue. IDEA: Understanding the Individualized Education Program (IEP) is 6:30-9 p.m. Thu, March 21 at Central High School, 275 Lexington Pkwy. N., St. Paul. Advance registration is requested for all workshops. FFI: 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237 (toll free), Parents with disabilities group MCIL offers a support group for parents with disabilities, Learn from and grow with others who are dealing with the intricacies of disability and parenting responsibilities. Everyone’s experience is valuable and questions are important. The group meets 5-7 pm. Mon, March 11 at MCIL, 1600 University Ave. W., St. Paul. Pre-registration requested. RSVP: Corbett, 651-603-2028,

UCare meetings UCare hosts informational meetings about its UCare for Seniors Medicare Advantage plan. Meetings are held all over the region. UCare for Seniors has more than 75,000 members across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. UCare serves Medicare-eligible individuals and families enrolled in income-based Minnesota Health Care Programs, such as Minnesota Care and Prepaid Medical Assistance Program; adults with disabilities and Medicare beneficiaries with chronic health conditions and Minnesotans dually eligible for Medical Assistance and Medicare FFI: 1-877-523-1518 (toll free), Mental Illness support groups NAMI-MN free support groups for families who have a relative with a mental illness. NAMI has about two dozen family support groups, more than 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, groups for veterans and other groups. Led by trained facilitators, the various groups provide help and support. FFI: 651-645-2948. Partners and Spouses support group meets 6:45 p.m. the first Tue of each month at Falcon Heights United Church of Christ, 1795 Holton St. FFI: Lois, 651-788-1920, or Donna, 651-645-2948 ext. 101. Open Door Anxiety and Panic support, meets at 6:30 p.m. the first and third Thu at Woodland Hills Church, 1740 Van Dyke St., St. Paul and 6:30-6 p.m. on the second and fourth Thu at Goodwill-Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Ave. N., St. Paul. FFI: 651-645-2948. NAMI Connection peer support group for adults are led by trained facilitators who are also in recovery lead NAMI Connection groups. One group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tue, at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 285 Dale St. N., St. Paul. FFI: Shelley, 651-228-1645. Bi-weekly adult recovery groups meet at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wed at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, Roseville. FFI: Will, 651-578-3364. Chronic pain support group MCIL offers a peer support group for people who live with chronic pain. The group will start meeting 6:30 the first and third Thursday at MCIL, 1600 University Ave. #16, St. Paul. Group members will discuss what chronic pain is and how it affects people. FFI: Cindy Langr, 651603-2037, GLBT group meets Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) offers a GLBT support/social group that meets 6-7:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at 1600 University Ave. W. #16, St. Paul to discuss topics related to being a part of the GLBT community and dealing with a disability. Dinner is provided. RSVP at least 2-3 days in advance, as group cancels if fewer than three people sign up. FFI Corbett Laubignat, 651-603-2028,

Volunteer, Donate Share a smile Brighten the day of a senior citizen in north or southwest Minneapolis and have fun. Visit an elder and do things together: movies, games, crafts or just friendly conversation. Hang out with an elder on a regular basis and do things that you both enjoy, like watching a movie, building stuff, playing games or friendly conversation. Onetime or ongoing opportunities through the NIP Senior Program. FFI: Jeanne, 612-746-8549, srvolunteer@, Help with arts calendar VSA Minnesota is seeking a volunteer or volunteers to assist with the compilation of the monthly VSA Minnesota arts calendar. The calendar lists accessible performances, films, galleries and events throughout the region. FFI: Jon, 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883, Voice/ TTY, Open the Door to Education Help adults reach their educational goals and earn their GED. Tutor, teach or assist in a classroom with the Minnesota Literacy Council. Give just 2-3 hours a week and help people expand their opportunities and change their lives through education. The literacy council provides training and support. Accommodations for volunteers

Events - p. 15

March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1 Pg 13 Kate Saunders; Poetic Reflections (Sunday at noon) is airing Y, by Leslie Adrienne Miller, and Everyday People, by Albert Goldbarth; The U.S. and Us (Sunday at 4 p.m.) is airing Prairie Silence, by Melanie Hoffert.

Radio Talking Book March sampling

Comment on a format change Radio Talking Book is asking listeners to weigh in on a format change. The information about the number of broadcasts and the beginning date now immediately follow the name and author of the book. This change was suggested by a listener who reads the full newsletter on a closed-circuit television. The Radio Talking Book staff wants to hear public opinions on the change, both for and against. Call manager Stuart Holland, at 651-6420503, or from outside the Twin Cities, call 1-800-6529000.

Books available through Faribault Books broadcast on the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network are available through the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library in Faribault. Phone is 1800-722-0550 and hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The catalog is online and can be accessed by going to the main website, http://, and then clicking on the link. Persons living outside of Minnesota may obtain copies of books by contacting their home state’s Network Library for the National Library Service. Listen to the Minnesota Radio Talking Book, either live or archived programs from the last week, on the Internet at Call the staff at 651-6420500 for your password to the site. See more information about events on the Facebook site for the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network. Facebook is a fee social networking web site. Register at Access Press is one of the publications featured at 9 p.m. Sundays on the program It Makes a Difference.

Weekend Program Books Your Personal World (Saturday at 1 p.m.) is airing To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal, M.D., and You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap), by Tammy Strobel; For the Younger Set (Sunday at 11 a.m.) is airing The Dragon’s Tooth, by N.D. Wilson, and Magicalamity, by

Chautauqua • Tuesday – Saturday 4 a.m. Consider the Fork, Nonfiction by Bee Wilson, 2012. 14 broadcasts. Begins March 27. Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something edible, and sometimes delicious. The tools and tricks we’ve learned have shaped modern food culture. Read by Yelva Lynfield. Past is Prologue • Monday – Friday 9 a.m. Former People, Nonfiction by Douglas Smith, 2012. 18 broadcasts. Begins March 19. Two aristocratic families were caught in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin’s Russia. Some survived. L - Read by John Potts. Bookworm • Monday – Friday 11 a.m. Léon and Louise, Fiction by Alex Capus, 2012. Nine broadcasts. Begins March 19. In 1918, Léon and Louise fall in love. Wounded and separated, each believes the other dead. Reunited decades later, they are torn apart again. L - Read by John Mandeville. The Writer’s Voice • Monday – Friday 2 p.m. Floyd Patterson, Nonfiction by W.K. Stratton, 2012. Eight broadcasts. Begins March 12. In 1956, Patterson became the youngest boxer to claim the title of world heavyweight champion at age twenty-one. Known as “the Gentle Gladiator,” he was overshadowed by Ali’s theatrics and Liston’s reputation. Read by Jim Gregorich. Louis Agassiz, Nonfiction by Christoph Irmscher, 2012. 17 broadcasts. Begins March 26. Swiss immigrant Louis Agassiz launched American science 150 years ago, focusing on zoology while also discovering how Ice Age glaciers formed. Invited to lecture in Boston, he never left. Read by Lannois Neely. Choice Reading • Monday – Friday 4 p.m. The Life of an Unknown Man, Fiction by Andrei Makine, 2012. Seven broadcasts. Begins March 25. Shutov, a disenchanted writer, is inspired by Volsky, an old man he meets in St. Petersburg. Shutov feels like just another unknown man, but Volsky has known great happiness in spite of a life of suffering. L - Read by Phil Rosenbaum.

PM Report • Monday – Friday 8 p.m. The Passage of Power, Nonfiction by Robert A. Caro, 2012. 36 broadcasts. Begins March 20. By 1958, Lyndon Johnson had become the greatest Senate Leader in history. He traded that to become the powerless vice president under John F. Kennedy in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. But it was that role that put him in line for the presidency. L - Read by Leila Poullada. Night Journey • Monday – Friday 9 p.m. You Don’t Want to Know, Fiction by Lisa Jackson, 2012. 18 broadcasts. Begins March 20. Ava’s son, Noah, has been missing for two years but his body was never found. But she still hears him crying in the nursery and has seen him walking near the dock. Read by Amy Morris. Off the Shelf • Monday – Friday 10 p.m. The Technologists, Fiction by Matthew Pearl, 2012. 20 broadcasts. Begins March 25. In 1868, the latest war is one between tradition and technology. There is resistance as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology opens its doors to harness science for the benefit of all. L - Read by Neil Bright. Good Night Owl • Monday – Friday midnight It’s Fine by Me, Fiction by Per Petterson, 2012. Seven broadcasts. Begins March 25. Audun Sletten, workingclass teen in Oslo, sees himself like the tough characters in Jack London and Ernest Hemingway novels. He chafes at the limitations of school and looks forward to a time of greater independence. Audun lives with his mother and delivers papers to keep the family solvent. When his alcoholic father reappears in his life, Audun sets out to see what else life has to offer. Read by Arlan Dohrenburg. After Midnight • Tuesday – Saturday 1 a.m. Shades of Desire, Fiction by Virna DePaul, 2012. 11 broadcasts. Begins March 19. Natalie Jones, lucky survivor of a killer who preys on young women, is now paralyzed by fear and failing vision. Special Agent Liam “Mac” McKenzie has scars of his own. Despite the attraction between the two of them, he needs Natalie’s help to catch a predator. She uses her camera and imagines a life with Mac, never guessing that the clues in her photographs are drawing them into a confrontation with a madman. L, S - Read by Beth Marie Hansen. ■

Abbreviations: V – violence, L – offensive language, S – sexual situations

Summer fun - from p. 1 Lots of good websites offer advice for parents. One of the best and most often repeated tips is that children with disabilities usually do best in activities that are more about fun and less about winning. Many parents have found that less structured programs, which are more social or recreational than competitive, are a good fit for their child. Here are some tips to making planning fun summer activities: Ask around. Other parents, parent groups, a child’s teachers, community education program staff and community groups are the best source for information about programs a child might enjoy. Ask what a child’s friends are doing for summer activities. Online parent groups can also be a wealth of information about programs that work and don’t work for children. When seeking information, don’t be hesitant to ask questions. What was the camp or activity experience like for your child? What did she or he like or dislike? How was the communication between families and staff and/or volunteers? What accommodations are available? Plan ahead and register early. Many programs, especially programs specifically for children with disabilities, can fill up right away. Popular summer activities, such as community education trips to water parks, also can be in high demand. Communicate a child’s needs clearly and specify what is needed. Should a wheelchair be waiting at the program site? Would the child need a tactile tour of a museum? Or is American Sign Language needed to make the play enjoyable? Would a T make it easier to hit a ball? Can a buddy push the wheelchair around the bases or be a play partner? Make sure when registering a child that staff in-

volved know of the child’s disability or disabilities and can best plan accommodations. Community-based education programs are doing more to accommodate children with disabilities but information is needed to get the right accommodations. Some programs welcome a parent, sibling or personal care attendant to come along but ask how that will affect program or activity costs. Ask about special programs. One example is Little League Baseball. In some communities a “Challenger Division” is offered for children ages 6 through 18. This might be an option for children with disabilities who want to play baseball. The rules are flexible and are set by the skill levels of the players. Children are paired with other children. For information about programs in your area, go to Learn_More /About_Our_Organization/divisions/ challenger.htm Get technical help. One great resource is the National Center on Accessibility (NCA). Technical assistance staff will also answer questions about recreation issues. They are knowledgeable about current accessibility standards, program modifications, equipment, best practices and innovative solutions. Talk to a NCA Accessibility Specialist by calling 812-8564422 or e-mail questions to Look at resources. PACER Center has a good list of camp resources, and frequently asked questions about summer camps and activities. Go to http:// This includes links to Discover Camp, a resource for parents of children with disabilities who need helping selecting a camp. It also includes links to the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability websites, which have valuable information. Have fun at home! One of the best websites Access Press found is, which had

great ideas for free or inexpensive backyard. Build tents, make your own water park, have a goopy and gooey sensory day, and more! health-daily-care/daily-care/playing/top-ten-summeractivities-special-needs.html ■

Pg 14 March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1


Disability requires creativity, adaptation, use of found items Use a wide range of tools, devices to help children learn by Jen Mundl

Assistive technology and accommodations for autism are not expensive but do require creativity and the use of everyday objects. Courage Center recommends using a wide range of tools to help children with ASD learn the building blocks of robotics. By building LEGO structures in new and unique ways in a First LEGOS League, children learn to use creativity, an important skill that was often very challenging for them. Many children with autism spectrum disorder become frustrated and uncomfortable when asked to break out of repetitive activities to create something new. Using applied behavior analysis, the science of figuring out how to target and systematically change a specific behavior, children can be taught to play with LEGOs in a more creative way. In a recent study, children who had wanted to create the same 24-block LEGO structure over and over again at the start of the study began venturing out of their comfort zones to create new structures with different color patterns or shapes. Snapping a yellow LEGO brick onto a blue one when only red bricks had touched blue bricks in the previous structure can a big step in helping a participant with autism spectrum disorder cope with new situations encountered in everyday life. Through use of LEGO pieces, new skills were taught and meaningfully retained. In a group dynamic, children with autism spectrum disorder can practice social skills. The program at Courage Center is a great way to practice the skills children learn in therapy, so children can learn to

Many ways available to adapt toys/games Professionals at Courage Center have discovered many ways to adapt toys and play for children with disabilities. Adaptations can allow for discovery, increase a child’s opportunity to be successful, enable a child to become a full, active participant, address the child’s individual needs, promote and facilitate enjoyment, personal power and control and give a child a level of control of his/her surroundings. These can be used for all forms of play. Adaptations can enhance the quality of a child’s life by helping develop self-confidence and the will and desire to continue and strive for new heights. Professionals and volunteers can observe and provide an opportunity for a more equal partnership by supporting and encouraging their initiations. Busing adaptations doesn’t diminish the challenge for the child, but rather allowing that child access to the challenge. Play is as unique as each child so adaptations need to be individualized as well. These unique adaptations require creativity. The methods to create adaptations are not always expensive and may only require the use of everyday products. When adaptations are necessary create the best possible adaptations for that particular child by first following suggestions below. Stabilize toys and materials by attaching them to a surface. Use a C-clamp to attach the robot to a table or wheelchair tray. Put one side of a Velcro strip on the floor and the other side on the bottom. Use Velcro to make wrist and ankle bands on children and then attach pieces to the bands. Attach Velcro to the palm


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work with others. Children can develop or gain skills in the social area over time with their involvement. Building with LEGO pieces is often so motivating it takes some of the fear out of social interaction for that child. What about other disabilities? The ability to manipulate real things allows a child with a physical disability to make a product or a new design come to life. Children see what can be adapted and what cannot for a child to participate. From handling individual LEGO pieces to connecting them to form a robot to programming the assembled robot, there are many opportunities to explore which adaptations and which can make activities like these accessible. This technology also can be something that may help this child in school, with homework, chores or work. Plus, they are learning it first in a motivating, fun way; later, they can use it for more complex, high-level work. For children with cognitive disabilities, the First LEGOS League work can help to test a child’s memory, ability to transition, and ability to follow multiple steps, written or verbal commands. These tasks all can be incorporated into day-to-day work on the team. The child can use a planner, an iPad or a computer to remember to go to the LEGO activity; to use at home to learn more about science or technology; and to record where they left off and what they need to work on next week. A timer may also help cue the child to stop or move onto the next activity. These and other individual cognitive strategies are fun and important ways a child can learn to compensate for a cognitive deficit, and become more successful in the work they do. of a glove or mitten for easier grasping. Screw suction cups onto the bottom of robot. Place self-adhesive Velcro on each square of a board game and on the bottom of the LEGO pieces. Use anti-skid rug material, Rubbermaid shelf liner or Dycem under blocks to prevent sliding Make items bigger so they are easier to see. Make parts bigger so they are easier to grasp and handle. Screw dowel rods onto pieces for a larger handle. Attach foam hair curlers to handles. Make color copy indicators for finding things quicker and easier. Provide small easels for children with poor upper body strength. Attach drawing paper or instructions with sticky poster putty, two-sided tape or drafting tape (it won’t rip your paper).

Patrick enjoyed working with robotics. Photo courtesy from Courage Center

Robotics is fun for kids and adults alike. LEGOS provide many opportunities for children with disabilities. The impact of LEGOS on learning and socialization are only two of the benefits they provide through assistive technology methods. Real-life learning makes it fun such that kids partake and don’t realize everything that is happening behind the scenes. You never know what will be the next greatest discovery and it could be a child with a disability. ■ Jennifer Mundl works in Courage Center Assistive Technology. Contact her at AT@couragecenter. org To learn more about First LEGOS League, go to

Many stores can provide source materials for adaptation. Appliance shops can provide large packing cases. Get scrap materials, wire, tile and boards from building contractors, and tubing from contractors. Dry cleaners can provide shirt cardboard and wire hangers. Fabric shops may have bits of fabric, ribbons, tape, buttons and zippers. Boxes, reusable poster paper, Styrofoam pieces and plastic tubs can be obtained from stores. Paint, wallpaper and carpet samples can also be useful. And always remember to ask other parents and teachers for their ideas and resources. These can be handy not just for children who enjoy robotics but for children in all modes of play. Have fun! ■

Regional News - from p. 6

ASL petition drive continues

Woman accused of bilking the state

Activist Adrean Clark is continuing her efforts to have American Sign Language (ASL) recognized as an an official language. The Burnsville woman, 33, has placed a petition on the White House’s “We the People” website calling for recognition of ASL as an official language, including in schools. While some states already allow students to take ASL as a language option, Clark wants to broaden that. She also wants schools to stop treating ASL as a foreign language. She is waiting for a response from the White House. Clark’s petition has more than 32,000 signatures . Learn more about the petition and other efforts to promote ASL at Clark is deaf and grew up with parents who pushed her to learn to speak, rather than focus on ASL. She eventually convinced her mother to try using sign language, Clark’s interest in ASL grew at the North Carolina School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University. Clark is the author of seven books, including How to Write American Sign Language. Read about her work at ■ (Source: Star Tribune)

Lana Barnes, whose high-profile fight over her husband’s living will drew attention two years ago, is now accused of cheating the state out of funds for personal care attendant (PCA) services. The 58-year-old from Scandia is accused of bilking the state out of more than $110,000 in PCA services for her husband, between 2007 and May 2010. Felony charges have been filed against Barnes. A pre-trial hearing is March 19. Many of the time cards for PCA care indicate Barnes’ son was caring for her husband. The son was working out-of-state at the time. Two years ago Barnes was accused of falsifying her husband’s living will. She battled with Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park over the level of care he should receive. Doctors believed she was making decisions that were futile. Doctors filed a court order to take away her ability to make decisions for him but Al Barnes died in February 2011 before the case was resolved. The fraud allegations are among many pursued by the state’s Medicad fraud unit. Nineteen criminal fraud cases were filed in 2001, with 14 convictions. ■ (Source: Star Tribune)

March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1 Pg 15

Thanks to all of you for supporting Access Press FRIEND SPONSOR ($50 and above) Anonymous Monte Blair Ellen Boucher Martha Brown Jerry Caruso Teresa Dock Mel & Georgia Duncan Robert Engstrom Steve & JoAnn Erbes Nancy Eustis Thomas & Mimi Fogarty Claudia Fuglie Lael Gatewood Marjorie Goldberg Laurie Jarvis Barb Kane Noreen Linney Gene Martinez Christopher Meyer Lee Ohnesorge Henn. Cty Commissioner Mike Opat William & Joen Overby Annette Pantel Linda Paulson Kelly Rathcke Virginia Schwartzbauer John Sherman Amanda & Mark Tempel Equity Services of St. Paul BRONZE SPONSOR ($75 and above) Brigid Alseth Susan Bulger Rick Cardenas Mike Chevrette Stephanie Cunningham Christopher Duff Craig Dunn Anne Henry Mary Kay Kennedy Dianna Krogstad Dave & Carol Larson Richard & Vicki Dalle Molle Scott Neamy Donn Poll & Eric Nelson Mark & Mary Payette Ann Roscoe John Schatzlein Patty Woodey Blue Worm Labs Hennepin County Library

People & Places - p. 9 markers. He was also involved in the successful effort to pass legislation calling on the state of Minnesota to apologize for treatment of people housed at those institutions. Poetz has performed numerous roles as a board member with The Arc Twin Cities and The Arc Minnesota, serving in almost every way possible. He also assumed leadership positions in other disability organizations, including Minnesota State Council on Disability, Interact Theater and the Advisory Committee for the Direct Service Training Initiative. He led workshops at the annual conferences of The Arc Minnesota, and did public speaking around the world. His efforts strengthened the organizations he served and empowered countless other self-advocates. Poetz has won many awards. One of the highest honors was from the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation. He was given its Self-Empowerment Award in 2000 for his “pioneering work in self-advocacy.” He enjoyed his first-ever ride in a limousine at that event and met activists from around the world. What has made Poetz most proud? He fondly recalls how his testimony helped make the development Disabilities Act federal law. He also remembers his involvement in a lawsuit against Metro Mobility to improve transportation to people with disabilities and his work with Remembering with Dignity. Yet another point of pride is his work to educate The Arc’s national board, parents, and professionals on self-advocacy and working with self-advocates. But he also focuses on what is still needed: better transportation; more employment opportunities; further movement of people from large facilities into community-based facilities; and more education of legislators to understand what self-advocates and direct care staff do every day. Poetz continues to be one of the most visible and vocal advocates for persons with developmental disabilities in Minnesota. As he said at The Arc Minnesota Heroes event: “All I’ve ever said is that we want to be treated as equals. We’re getting there.” ■ Jerry Smith at ICI and The Arc Minnesota provided material for this article.

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Events - from p. 12

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Accessible Fun - from p. 11 Deathtrap The Broadway hit is presented by the Jungle theater Company at Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls. AD show is 7:30 p.m. Thu, April 11. Assistive Listening Devices available. Tickets are reduced to $10 (regular $20-38); AD season ticket $50; FFI: 612-822-7063; email:,

In the Time of the Butterflies Mixed Blood Theatre presents the story of courage and sisterhood, inspired by a true story, in Alan Page Auditorium at Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 S. 4th St., Mpls. Every performance will be captioned. AD and ASL shows are 7:30 p.m. Sat, April 20. Pre-show tactile tours available on request. RSVP to Brie Jonna (, 612-338-5403). ). Call for access discounts and transportation as any patron who self-identifies as having a disability is eligible for a no-cost advance guaranteed reservation and for a free cab ride to and from the theatre. Call the Box Office for more information and to reserve these services Tickets can be chosen between first-come, first-served, no-cost admission under Mixed Blood’s Radical Hospitality program, or guaranteed admission of $20. FFI: 612-338-6131,, ■

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Pg 16 March 10, 2013 Volume 24, Number 1

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