Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Court stops DOL Companionship Rule

ADAPT hopes Labor will work for comprehensive rule

ADAPT marches in Harrisburg PA
ADAPT applauds today s ruling which voided the Department of Labor's Companionship Rule.  This decision ensures that people with disabilities will not lose their attendants due to an unfunded mandate.  

The Department of Labor (DOL) developed this rule without adequate involvement of the Disability Community which was concerned that without additional Medicaid funding, attendants would lose income that is vital to their lives and individuals with disabilities would be forced into institutions.  Instead of addressing these serious concerns, DOL implemented the rule over our objections  and even refused to extend the effective date to give states sufficient time to fund these changes in their Medicaid programs.  

Although the Department of Labor could appeal this ruling, ADAPT hopes they will use this opportunity to develop an approach that addresses our concerns and the serious unintended consequences for attendants and attendant service users.  ADAPT stands ready to work with organized labor and worker groups to fight for improvements in attendant wages and benefits in a manner that doesn't sacrifice the rights and freedom of people with disabilities.

Monday, January 12, 2015

ADAPT gets Nurses Commitment on Delegation

ANA signs agreement on support of Delegation and Assignment for Community Living

ADAPT storms ANA office
Last spring, ADAPT went to the headquarters of the American Nurses Association (ANA) to demand that they publicly support nurse delegation and assignment of health related tasks to attendants.  This is needed to fully implement the Community First Choice Option and FREE OUR PEOPLE!

Here's the link to Tim Wheat's ADAPT Action Report:

When the ANA wouldn't negotiate with ADAPT, we refused to move and eventually took the street in front of the offices where about 40 ADAPTers, including one of the documentary film-makers, were arrested by the Silver Springs police.

Those arrests were the beginning - not the end - of the story.  Beginning with connections ADAPT of Texas had forged with their state nurse association, discussions with the ANA continued behind the scenes.  ADAPT is happy to announce that the ANA has released a position statement titled "Support for Nurse Delegation to Ensure the Right of People with Disabilities to Live in the Community".

You can see the statement at this link:

We know that many people need assistance with health related tasks in order to live in the community.  In states where we need nurse delegation or assignment so attendants can do these tasks, this position statement can be used to help persuade you state nurses association and legislature to make the needed changes.

ADAPTers braved some extreme conditions to get this statement.  With its release, these activists pass the torch to YOU.  Take this statement and use it to get the changes needed at the state level to allow nurse delegation/assignment and FREE OUR PEOPLE!

The ADAPT Community

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

DOL Companionship Rule Change Stopped!


By Stephanie Woodward
Yoshiko Dart with Stephanie Woodward
ADAPT is relieved to learn that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a temporary restraining order for the Department of Labor's companionship rule changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The rule changes promulgated by the US Department of Labor created an unfunded mandate to pay attendants time-and-a-half for overtime hours which would result in the capping of attendant hours because the vast majority of state Medicaid programs do not cover the cost of the new DOL-mandated overtime.  Many attendants who work more than 40 hours per week will be forced to work for multiple agencies or leave the field to maintain their current income levels.  This mandate will also force people with disabilities into institutions; cause lapses in services that will result in harm, illness, and death to individuals with disabilities; and violate the civil rights of disabled people.

ADAPT has been working for years to address the unintended and serious consequences for attendants and attendant service users.  We have vigorously advocated that DOL delay the effective date of the rules by 18 months because most states had not had a full budget cycle in order to fund the changes, and some states hadn't even begun their budget process. 

Furthermore, ADAPT's position against the DOL rules has been based on the belief that states, which are currently reducing Medicaid funded services, would not allocate the needed Medicaid funding to pay the increased time and a half wages.  The result would harm people with significant disabilities and the workers who provide these needed services.

When DOL refused to delay the effective date, ADAPT decided to support the litigation of the Home Care Association of America, submitting an affidavit to the United States District Court Judge explaining the harm that people with disabilities and attendants will experience if the new rule is implemented.
ADAPT Activists in Little Rock

On January 9, 2015, the judge will rule on a preliminary injunction in this case. We hope that the judge will, again, rule in favor of the rights of people with disabilities so that our attendants can keep their jobs and we can remain safe, happy, and healthy in our homes in the New Year. We are committed to improving the wages and benefits of attendants and will continue our advocacy to do that without undercutting the freedom and rights of people with disabilities.

Stephanie Woodward, J.D.
Director of Advocacy
Center for Disability Rights, Inc.
497 State Street
Rochester, New York 14608
(585) 546-7510 (Voice)
(585) 546-5643 (Fax)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Caremark Offers Talking Prescription Labels, Braille, Large Print

New service expands CVS Health’s offerings to the blind community

The Memphis Public Library
Congratulations CVS Health! Today the largest integrated pharmacy company in the United States announced that it is now providing talking, braille and large print prescription labels through its mail service company (Caremark) to blind and visually impaired members. [Jump to Press Release below] Caremark is offering the accessible labels through Envision America’s ScripAbility system. Members can order the new labels by calling their Caremark call center number. Caremark’s general Customer Care toll-free number is 1-800-552-8159. Envision America can be reached at 800-890-1180.

In developing its accessible prescription label program CVS Health engaged in Structured Negotiations with the American Council of the Blind and several blind Caremark members. The Law Office of Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian of the Oakland civil rights firm of Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho worked on the initiative with the Claimants and CVS Health.

CVS Health Offers Talking, Braille and Large Print Prescription Labels Through its Mail Service Pharmacy for Individuals with Vision Impairments

Woonsocket, Rhode Island (January 5, 2015) – CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today that it now offers the ScripAbility prescription accessibility system through its mail service pharmacy to CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired. The system includes ScripTalk talking prescription labels as well as braille and large print labels. In March of this year, the company announced that ScripTalk talking labels were available from CVS/pharmacy for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, Today’s announcement further expands CVS Health’s offerings to its blind and visually impaired customers and members.

The ScripTalk talking labels provide a safe and convenient way to access information on prescription labels for individuals who cannot read standard print. The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired. Members can also obtain a free ScripTalk reader from Envision America that will enable them to listen to the information on the ScripTalk label.

We are pleased to further demonstrate our commitment to providing our visually impaired members and patients with enhanced support, by offering them the ScripTalk service through our mail service pharmacy. Ensuring all of our members have access to important information about their prescriptions is in keeping with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.
Jon Roberts, President of CVS/caremark, the pharmacy benefit management business of CVS Health

Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between CVS Health, the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and several CVS/caremark members. ACB President Kim Charlson praised the new initiative:

Access to prescription label information through audio, large print or braille is essential for the safety and independence of customers who are blind or visually impaired. We commend CVS Health on its efforts in this important area, and for their leadership role within the industry to more effectively serve their customers with visual impairments.
Kim Charlson, ACB President

Members can request a product from the ScripAbility suite by contacting Caremark’s call center.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is dedicated to helping people on their path to better health as the largest integrated pharmacy company in the United States. Through the Company’s 7,800 retail pharmacies, more than 900 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefit manager serving approximately 65 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about CVS Health at

About the American Council of the Blind (ACB)

The American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. ACB is dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Its members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about ACB can be found by visiting

Monday, January 5, 2015

Tennessee Transition Plan to help people move to integrated housing

Statewide Transition Plan Update -
New Rules for Home and Community-Based Services

From the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities
photo of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities
In January 2014, the federal government announced a new rule explaining which kinds of services can be covered through Medicaid-funded home and community-based services (HCBS). These services typically include day and residential programs that are funded by the Medicaid Waiver and provided by private nonprofit agencies in local communities.

The new rule is intended to increase opportunities for people who use home and community-based services to be part of their communities. States will not be allowed to use federal Medicaid dollars to pay for services in settings that isolate people from the community or that do not show respect for people’s right to privacy, dignity and self-determination.

To help states evaluate the services currently provided against the new settings that are required, providers are in the process of assessing their services. Families and people receiving services will participate in the assessment of the current programs. The state is creating a five-year transition plan explaining how they will modify current programs so that they are in compliance with new settings rules. Medicaid programs will be specifically designed to support services in home and community-based settings that are an alternative to institutional care and, most importantly, that emphasize the quality of individuals’ experiences in community programs.

TN released its transition plan a few months ago for public comment.
On Dec. 23, an updated version was posted for public review at


Extended Hours Tuesday ONLY

Memphis Public Library
MEMPHIS – In cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Health and in light of the increased activity of influenza-like illnesses in the community, free flu vaccine will be available beginning Tuesday, Jan. 6, at ALL Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) clinics while supplies last during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).   

Additionally, select clinics (see below) will offer extended hours ONLY on Tuesday, Jan. 6, until 6 p.m. 

Annual vaccination against influenza is recommended for everyone six months and older, including school-aged children, who want to reduce the risk of becoming ill or transmitting it to others. The vaccine is especially recommended for the following persons who are at increased risk for severe complications associated with influenza:

Pregnant women
People 50 years of age and older
People of any age with chronic medical conditions, including asthma and other lung diseases, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from influenza, including:
*  Health care workers
*  Household contact of persons at high risk for complications from influenza
*  Household contacts and caregivers of children less than six months of age

Help protect against the spread of influenza by doing the following:
Clean:            Properly wash hands frequently with warm, soapy water; disinfect surfaces.
Cover:            Cover your cough and sneeze into a disposable tissue or arm.
Contain:         Stay home from school/work when sick to keep germs from spreading.   

If an individual experiences flu-like symptoms, they should contact their health care provider.  Symptoms include: fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater; headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, and sore throat.

Millington Clinic                  Immunization Clinic                                   Shelby Crossing Clinic
8225 Highway 51 N.            814 Jefferson Ave., Room 216                  6170 Macon Road

Southland Mall Clinic        Collierville Clinic
1215 Southland Mall           167 Washington