Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MATA Service Analysis

Data from MATA on “Wheelchair Riders” by month for 2012 to September of 2015
(October and November of 2014 are missing).

MATAplus Ridership:

MATA reports that the average monthly paratransit ridership has increased 14% since 2013.

Pie chart showing 99.6% of MATA ridership do not use wheelchairsParatransit ridership has increased while MATA reports that fixed route service has declined 12.55% between January of 2013 and October 2014.

MATAplus accounts for about 3% of the 2014 total ridership of MATA, up from 2.5% in 2013.

Wheelchair users on the fixed route account for less than one half of 1% in 2013 (.33%) That is about three wheelchair users per 1000 MATA fixed route passengers.

Wheelchair users are reported up in 2014 to about 4 per 1000 MATA fixed route riders. 
Graph showing MATAplus ridership similar in 2012 and 2014, but 2015 ridership doubling that of 2013.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Scandal involves Employment of People with Disabilities

US Department of Justice probe AbilityOne and SourceAmerica

People sitting at a table

WikiLeaks today published tapes and transcripts they claim expose the AbilityOne and SourceAmerica fraud that is under investigation by the US Department of Justice. You may access the WikiLeaks tapes and transcripts at:

The AbilityOne program is intended to employ more than 50,000 people with disabilities, most with significant disabilities. It is the largest employment program for people with disabilities in the country with over $3 billion a year expected to fund employment of people with disabilities.

Most of the funding is funneled to the non-profit SourceAmerica to place people with disabilities in jobs. The US Department of Justice alleged that nearly half of the SourceAmerica money does not subsidize work for people with disabilities. The thousands of placement companies under SourceAmerica profit from the placement of able-bodied and not significantly disabled workers. 

WikiLeaks has listed 26 tapes and transcripts on their website that discuss the alleged corruption. The released information are conversations between the Lead Counsel of SourceAmerica and Bona Fide Conglomerate Inc., one of the placement organizations. Ruben Lopez, is the CEO of Bona Fide and Jean Robinson is the Lead Counsel for SourceAmerica. 

People in a meeting

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Clover Bottom Developmental Center Closing After 92 Years

Randy Alexander speaks with Gov. Phil Bredesen
NASHVILLE—The final people with disabilities to receive services and supports at Clover Bottom Developmental Center (CBDC) are moving into their new community homes marking the closure of Tennessee’s first institution for the care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Gov. Bredesen promised to close the institution by 2011. The state did not make that deadline and the cost of inappropriate institutionalization has been about $1,400.00 per day for each individual. That is a monthly cost of $42,000.00 per person for our state's failure. However, not closing the massive facility is costly in other ways.

"Between September 2012 and August 2013," reported The Tennessean in February of 2014. "DIDD recorded five serious injuries, 17 allegations of abuse and neglect and 775 other injuries — an average of 19 injuries per person living at Clover Bottom over an 11-month period."

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities released the following timeline with a press release about the closure of Colver Bottom. MCIL notes that the timeline does not include:

  • 1973 — Lawsuit established that Clover Bottom residents could not be forced to work without pay.
  • 1994 — A federal investigation that finds that Clover Bottom violated residents Constitutional Rights.
  • 2010 — Gov. Phil Bredesen proposes to close Clover Bottom at the end of the calendar year.

DIDD Timeline for Clover Bottom:

  • 1919 — First appropriation for construction of institution for people with intellectual disabilities 
  • 1920 — Tennessee lawmakers approve $100,000 to buy land and build buildings that would become Clover Bottom Developmental Center 
  • 1923 — First admission 
  • 1924 — 248 people were admitted in first 9 months of operation 
  • 1960 — Greene Valley Developmental Center opens in East Tennessee 
  • 1961 — Name changed to Clover Bottom Hospital and School 
  • 1963 — Peak census of 1,563 
  • 1968 — Arlington Developmental Center opens in West Tennessee 
  • 1973 — Name changed to Clover Bottom Developmental Center 
  • 1976 — First cottage-style residences open 
  • 1995 — CBDC, et al. lawsuit filed by People First and USDOJ 
  • 1999 — CBDC, et al. Settlement Agreement finalized  
  • 2010 — Arlington Developmental Center closed 
  • 2015 — CBDC, et al Exit Plan approved

Monday, November 2, 2015

Get out in the community!

Being part of the community is worth the struggle

Louis Patrick with ADAPT in 2007By Louis Patrick

My wheelchair is five years old, so, theoretically, Medicare would approve my getting a new one. I talked to the company I’ve been dealing with for several years, and we agreed on the specifications for a new chair. I should have known things are never so easy. I got a call last week from someone in the company telling me that Blue Cross had turned me down. They needed more information—preferably medical, of course. He said the company would re-file.

It’s been my experience that it’s not wise to leave such matters unattended. I called BC/BS’s “customer service” line and asked to speak to someone in the group who had denied my claim.  The sweet young rep explained that she couldn’t do that; they had different phones. She looked up my records and told me that, yes, my claim had been denied, they didn’t have enough information to establish that I needed an ultra-light chair, but that I had the right to “appeal.” They had not received an appeal from the company yet. She called them and found out they had not have received the denial by mail yet; she would fax it to them. If I liked, she could fax or mail the appeal application to me, but, no, they aren’t allowed to use email.

Louis Patrick

Now, first thing, I’m 68 years old, as is my wife. Silly me, that alone seems like reason enough; nobody my age should have to lift a tank of a wheelchair. I didn’t think to tell the rep that, however. I did tell her that I’m very active; I’m out and about very often through the week. I drive and need to be able to get my chair in and out of the car easily. Also, my wife needs to be able to get the chair in and out of the trunk when she and I are riding together. And I reminded her that being active in the community, dealing with other people, is a well proven tonic for health. Staying bottled up at home alone is a killer.

Insurance companies are great believers in Nancy Reagan’s philosophy: “Just say no.” Whenever possible, deny claims. Adjudicate. Wrap up the claim in red tape. Many, if not most, people will simply accept the denial.

I was at the Center talking about this with a good friend. She had just been denied payment on a feature that reclines the chair, taking pressure off the tush. She was told she was eligible for a “Group 2” chair but not a “Group 3” chair. Again, to be active in the community for several hours the reclining feature is very helpful—and healthful.

I’ve also heard before that Medicare was clamping down on heavy duty wheelchairs unless needed IN the home. This is a straight-forward matter of health: Get out of the house! Get out in the community! It’s better for you.

Never take no for an answer. Fight for the equipment you need to stay active.

Louis Patrick is on the Board of MCIL.

Louis Patrick shakes hands with someone