Monday, March 23, 2015

Survey: Long-term Supports and Services in Tennessee

State Survey to let your voice be heard.

The State of Tennessee is looking at the way people find and use long-term services and supports. The state is planning for a "No Wrong Door" System.

The survey is for people with disabilities that currently may get help with bathing, dressing, eating, walking, and getting in and out of a bed or chair. Other long-term services may also include help with housework, preparing meals, taking medicine, shopping, and managing money. The survey is also for stakeholders in long-term care services.

The state of Tennessee is attempting to make it easy to learn how to get long-term care services. You may give the state ideas about how to make it easier to get services and supports. The state says you can help by taking the survey and explaining what does and does not work for you. They want you to be able to find out what you need no matter which agency you ask.

You do not have to take the survey. The state says the survey will not affect your services or your relationship with any agency. Tennessee claims that responses will be protected and confidential.

If you have questions about the survey, contact Belinda Bruns at 615-253-5818 or

The long text link follows this link to the survey.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tom Harkin asks for our help

Dear Friends of Disability Rights and Services:

Tom Harkin
I am participating in ADAPT s 10th Annual FUN*RUN for Disability Rights on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at Upper Senate Park in Washington, DC.

This event will support disability activists in our continuing fight to END THE INSTITUTIONAL BIAS in our long term services and supports system.  This battle continues even as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Though the passage of the ADA was one of the most significant pieces of legislation I sponsored in 30 years in the United States Senate, there is still more to do.

The ADAPT Community is the largest national grassroots disability rights activist organization in the country.  Through their work, thousands of people with disabilities and older Americans have gotten out of or avoided going in to nursing homes or other institutions.  I was proud to promote the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program and get the Community First Choice Option in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The END THE INSTITUTIONAL BIAS Campaign is also a state issue as we fight to protect the Medicaid funding and services that low income children, young adults and seniors with disabilities depend on to live in the community with dignity, independence and good health.

You can support me, disability rights activists, and the END THE INSTITUTIONAL BIAS Campaign by pledging for the laps I run around Upper Senate Park. To make a tax-deductible contribution all you have to do is click on the link and follow the easy instructions.<>

Even though I am not a Senator anymore, it is important to remember in these politically charged times that there are real people with real support needs behind all the rhetoric we hear from Washington, DC.  You can make a difference with your contribution. Together we can and will make a difference.

Thank you,

Tom Harkin



Sen. Harkin speaks at ADAPT's My Medicaid Matters Rally

Monday, March 16, 2015

ADAPT Success with AAPD

Disability Community United against DOL rules that institutionalize. 

The ADAPT Community
Mark Peirello of AAPD speaks at an ADAPT rally
In January, the DC District Court voided the Department of Labor companionship rules.  Rather than work with ADAPT, NCIL and the Disability Community to find an approach that wouldn't hurt attendants and cause unwanted institutionalization, DOL simply appealed the ruling.  AAPD filed an amicus brief supporting the rules.

Today, ADAPTers from Rochester and Philly came to Washington, DC.  AAPD met with these ADAPTers and NCIL representatives.  Mark Perriello, AAPD's CEO, heard - firsthand - how the DOL rules would hurt people with disabilities and their attendants.  Attendant service users talked about fearing going into an institution because they lose their attendants, but also feared for how their attendants would manage after losing a significant amount of income because of these rules.  Attendants expressed fear for the people they served and concern for their own future.

We also talked about how the DOL rules would impact people who had the most significant disabilities, but also explained how people with limited hours and "orphan" hours would be impacted.  People sharing the personal impact of these rules was very, very poweful and persuasive.  Thanks to everyone who shared their story.

ADAPT is working with AAPD and NCIL on a formal announcement, but we want to thank AAPD's CEO for deciding to withdraw the brief.  We also want to thank AAPD board members for their support on this issue, as well as acknowledge Kelly Buckland and NCIL for their extensive work.

The message should be clear.  The Disability Community is united and will defend the freedom of ALL our brothers and sisters...  We will continue to support those who support us by fighting for the funding needed to pay our attendants fair and just wages...  We will strenuously oppose ANY policy that undercuts the freedom and rights of even a segment of our community...  And we will put our bodies on the line to defend our freedom and rights!

We may not have the money and influence of those who oppose us, but truth is on our side and we have the unbeatable power of people united in the fight for justice!

Friday, March 13, 2015

ADAPT Regional Action

ADAPT speaks at the New America Foundation on the Department of Labor's Companionship Rules

By Bruce Darling
The regional hit continued today. Philly and Rochester ADAPTers got up early to metro and march to the New America Foundation where Ai-jen Poo was presenting.  We filled the front of the room and - when she started presenting - as German put it, we put some ADAPT power in her powerpoint.  ADAPTers held her accountable for breaking her agreement with ADAPT to not file comments on behalf of the Caring Across Generation Coalition - a coalition with us on the steering committee.  As Director, she made the agreement and then broke it the next day.  We made sure she understood that this is not acceptable.

We also demanded that she acknowledge the harm that came about because of the DOL companionship rules and urged her to call on the Obama administration to stop the process and bring us ALL back to the table.  She refused.  With an audience watching we urged her to consider the people with disabilities who will lose their freedom or died because they don't get the assistance they need and the attendants who will lose needed income.

It was an ADAPT-style conversation with everyone yelling and explaining the impact these rules would have on them PERSONALLY.  Spitfire punctuated the ADAPT chaos with shouts of "Deathcamps!".   They appeared to want to try dragging us out, but gave up on that plan rather quickly.  They finally announced that the police were coming and Ms. Dorothy of Philly, Eric’s wonderful attendant who is impacted by this rule, started the chant, “I'd rather go to jail than die in a nursing home!"  We all followed her lead and our voices became one.  They evacuated the room.  Police came.  We were all "escorted" out.  No charges were filed.

Apparently, today's talk by Ai-jen (and the related ADAPT protest) was

I did notice that the room looked like it was set up to be a studio and a man who was asked to drag me out did respond that he was "just a producer", but it didn't all fit together until Stephanie W called to say the event had been live streamed. I wonder if they put up the "We are having technical difficulties" screen.  Had we noticed this, we would have invited people to watch.

I know all of ADAPT appreciates the hard work that went into this regional action.  So thanks to the Rochester and Philly ADAPTers who took on this project.  And thanks to Stephanie W for identifying some strategic possibilities and pulling together the multi-chapter response that we needed to acheive a significant victory and express some truly righteous anger. Although there were no arrests at this regional hit, it still earned the Spitfire Seal of Approval.

DC is now primed and ready for the full ADAPT Community to take ACTION!

Hope to see you in DC on April 18th.  Be sure to register and seek donations for the FunRun.  Because I didn't need to use the fine money I had saved for this, starting now, the first two people to send me FunRun solicitations, with their FunRun link, will be sponsored for $100 each.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Information on Rolling for Independence

February 20, 2015 Contact: Sandi Klink
For Immediate Release

Rolling for Independence, friend and fundraiser for Memphis Center for Independent Living (MCIL) will take place on Saturday, May 2nd in Midtown! Registration begins at 9:00 am for the hearty rollers and runners with a takeoff time for the 20 mile run and roll at 9:30 am. The Family Fun 5k will walk, run or roll out at 10:00. This fun and inclusive event will start and finish at 1633 Madison Avenue with lunch and prizes at 11:30.

What are the costs and what can you get? Early registration starts at $15 per individual. Family or team fees are also available. Prize packages include gift certificates and will be awarded for the Most Spirited team or the team which finds the most barriers in the Sidewalk scavenger search. Each of these winning packages will be valued at approximately $200 with donations from such generous donors as Molly’s LaCasita, Five Guys, Applebees and others.

How did this event get started? Rolling for Independence grew from collaborative efforts related to the bike lanes on Madison Avenue. This is the 4th year for this fund and friend raiser. It is also an opportunity to bring awareness to issues faced by people with disabilities trying to get around in their communities.

MCIL is often seen as trouble makers around access issues, why is that? Independence and Access are civil rights. In 1990, the ADA was signed into law giving people with disabilities their civil rights and eliminating discrimination in the workplace, to education and to community participation. In this the 25th anniversary of this legislation, there are still restaurants, businesses and schools in Memphis that do not have access to their programs or services and many sidewalks that are impassable. Who better to bring these matters to the attention of the community than the people most affected by the discrimination? MCIL is not afraid to bring this injustice to light in whatever way we must from education to direct action!

What else does the Memphis Center for Independent Living do other than raising awareness about access issues? MCIL offers free services such as; Information and Referral, Advocacy assistance, peer counseling, which we do well as 75% of our staff are people with disabilities. We also provide Skills training such as using assistive technology to learn basic computer or Braille, learning how to budget on disability income, practicing social skills and other needs. MCIL’s Home Modification program offers some assistance getting that ramp built or bathroom changes to make homeowner’s lives easier, safer and add to their independence. Through Medicaid, our Personal Assistant Services program offers individuals a real Choice about who comes in to their homes to assist with bathing, dressing or cooking. MCIL has the information needed to make independence with a disability possible or we will help find it!

Who are partners in this year’s event? MCIL is excited to announce the addition of the Memphis Rolling Grizzlies to our event planning team! This nationally recognized wheelchair basketball team is going to do a passing drill demonstration on May 2nd to show some of their awesome skills and then lead out the 5k Family and team roll!

How can you help make equality a reality in Memphis? Join MCIL on May 2nd for Rolling for Independence as we show the community not only the problems faced but our willingness to work and play together! Pick up your registration packets today at 1633 Madison, or download one from our website at, registration fees may be paid through our website “donate now” button or at the MCIL offices. Join MCIL to help us raise some money and awareness through your participation in this fun event! For more information call: 901-726-6404 and ask for Sandi or Janice.

Rolling for Independence

Fund and Friend Raiser
May 2, 2015
Rolling for Independence drawing of skates, bicycle, wheelchair and scooter
Multi mile bike roll or run
Family Fun 5K Run, Roll or walk
Prizes for:
Team with most Spirit
Sidewalk Scavenger Search
Registration Packets available now at: or 1633 Madison
More information: 901-726-6404

- Download the registration form -