Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Arthritis management

Arthritis and tools you can use

By Timothy Redd
Timothy Redd
I attended a webinar that focused on reaching people with arthritis and offering strategies and tools for arthritis management. I learned quite a bit about arthritis. Did you know?
  • About 1 in 4 (54 million) adults have arthritis.
  • More than half of adults with arthritis (32 million) are of working aging (18-64 years).
  • Nearly 60% of adults with arthritis are women
Arthritis means joint inflammation. About 1 in 4 (54 million) adults have arthritis. More than half of adults with arthritis (32 million) are of working age. Close to 60% of those with arthritis are working age and that arthritis is the leading cause of disability. The annual direct medical costs are at least 81 billion. 

The term arthritis refers to more than 100 diseases and conditions affecting the joints. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Other forms of arthritis are gout, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of arthritis are pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in or around the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms. Arthritis commonly occurs with other chronic diseases. About half of US adults with heart disease or diabetes and one-third of people who are obese also have arthritis. Having arthritis and other chronic conditions can reduce quality of life and make disease management harder.

Everyday activities such as holding a cup, lifting a grocery bag, or climbing a flight of cares can all be limited by this condition.

  • One third of adults over age 45 with arthritis report anxiety or depression.
  • About 3 in 10 find stooping, bending, or kneeling very difficult.
  • More than 20% of adults with arthritis find it very difficult or cannot walk 3 blocks.
One of the best thing recommendations for leading a better quality of life with this condition is physical activity. Physical activity can reduce pain and improve physical function by about 40%. 

There are several arthritis management education programs that can be found on the arthritis foundation website. A great one is the walk with ease program, for this particular program there is a mobile app for iPhone and Android users that you can download or you can access the program online. 

A wealth of information and support tools can also be found at the following websites:
If you would like to person to person support you can speak to by calling 1-844-571-HELP.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mid-South ADAPT confronts Corker

Local ADAPT Chapter asks Senator to support for Disability Rights

Senator Bob Corker
Today Mid-South ADAPT confronted Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker asking him to cosponsor the Disability Integration Act (S. 910). Standing on a chair in the Crave Coffee Shop in Arlington Tennessee, a Mid-South ADAPT member caught the Senator at a rare public meeting and requested the Senator support people with disabilities civil right to live in the community.
“Elderly Americans and people with disabilities demand choice in long-term care,” said the activist standing above the crowd on a chair. “Tennessee more than most states needs the Disability Integration Act to avoid expensive institutions and nursing homes.”
Corker spoke briefly at the coffee shop outside of Memphis and answered some questions from the crowd that packed the small venue. The Senator stopped promptly at 9:AM. Mid-South ADAPT handed Disability Integration Act information to Senator Corker and he said that he would look at the information.
The Disability Integration Act (DIA) is civil rights legislation, introduced by Senator Schumer to address the fundamental issue that people who need Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) are forced into institutions and losing their basic civil rights. The legislation (S. 910) builds on the 25 years of work that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services (HCBS) as an alternative to institutionalization. It is the next step in our national advocacy after securing the Community First Choice (CFC) option.
Congressman Kustoff meets Joann
The legislation, when enacted, establishes new federal law - similar in structure to the ADA - that requires states and insurance providers that pay for LTSS to change their policies, provide community-based services first, and offer HCBS to people currently in institutions. DIA operates alongside CFC, but these two laws work very differently. CFC is an option which states can choose. Even though CFC provides money for states to support independent living, many states have not chosen CFC. DIA requires states and insurance providers that pay for LTSS to make real and meaningful changes that support the right of people with disabilities to live in freedom like every other American.
The proposed legislation establishes new federal law - structured like the ADA - that says “No public entity or LTSS insurance provider shall deny an individual with an LTSS disability who is eligible for institutional placement, or otherwise discriminate against that individual in the provision of, community-based long-term services and supports that enable the individual to live in the community and lead an independent life.”
DIA makes it illegal for a state and insurance providers that pay for LTSS to fail to provide HCBS by using waiting lists, screening people out, capping services, paying workers too little for services, or the other excuses that have been used to keep people with disabilities from living in freedom. DIA requires each state to offer community-based services and supports to any individual who is eligible to go into an institution. It also requires states to take active steps to make sure that there is enough affordable, accessible, integrated housing.
The legislation requires states and LTSS insurance providers to complete a self-evaluation to evaluate current services, policies, and practices that do not or may not meet the requirements of the Act and to make the necessary changes in services, policies, and practices required to comply with the law.   Additionally, public entities are required to develop a transition plan using an extensive public participation process. Public entities that fail to comply with the law may face legal action for the Attorney General or may be sued directly. People who have been discriminated against may receive damages under the law.
Crowd at the Corker Coffee Shop town hall meeting

Friday, April 7, 2017

Disability Integration Act Introduced

Disability Integration Act (S. 910) Introduced, Kick-off event coming up soon

Senate Minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has introduced the Disability Integration Act, Senate Bill 910 in this legislative session. Sen. Casey and Warren are original cosponsors of the bill that will have a more public kick-off sometime later this spring.
ADAPT marches for equal rights

Twenty-five years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, unwanted institutionalization remains a serious problem for people with disabilities and seniors. This issue was documented in the HELP Committee report: “Separate and Unequal: States Fail to Fulfill the Community Living Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act”.

That report recommended that Congress amend the ADA to clarify and strengthen the law’s integration mandate in a manner that accelerates Olmstead implementation and clarifies that every individual who is eligible for LTSS under Medicaid has a federally protected right to a real choice in how they receive services and supports. The report and this recommendation were well received by the Disability Community.

Although the Disability Integration Act (S.2427) does NOT amend the ADA, the legislation, modeled on the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act, strengthens Olmstead’s integration mandate and creates federal civil rights law which addresses the civil rights issue that people with disabilities who are stuck in institutions cannot benefit from many of the rights established under the ADA.

Legislative Background
The Disability Integration Act builds on the 25 year campaign that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities an alternative to unwanted institutionalization. There have been a number of different incarnations of legislation intended to address Medicaid’s institutional bias, starting with the Medicaid Community Attendant Services Act.

Previous versions of legislation were required to do two things: create a Medicaid infrastructure that would meet the assistance needs of all individuals at the institutional level of care and mandate that states implement such a program. Consequently, previous versions of legislation were focused on Medicaid.

However, the Affordable Care Act included language that created the Community First Choice (CFC) Option. This language established a simple Medicaid State Plan option that pre-invests the savings associated with transition to home and community-based services into an incentive of an enhanced FMAP.

Current Environment

Although CFC was optional, it was believed that the six percent additional FMAP would result in states selecting the option and providing a real alternative to institutionalization. Unfortunately, only six states (California, Oregon, Maryland, Montana, New York and Texas) have implemented Community First Choice. Other states have indicated that they intend to implement CFC or have submitted a State Plan Amendment to CMS, but uptake of this option has been extremely limited. Some states – like Illinois – determined the state would actually generate excess long term revenue by implementing CFC, but still haven’t selected the option. It is possible for states to implement CFC, secure the extra federal funds, and continue to maintain policies that limit access to services or fail to provide a real alternative to institutionalization.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

West Tennessee Fair Housing Celebration

MCIL joins other local and state agencies in our commitment to Fair Housing

By Tim Wheat
The Memphis Center for Independent Living had the stage after lunch at the Memphis Botanic garden for the annual Fair Housing Conference. This year MCIL sponsored the event with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, The Memphis Area Legal Services, The City of Memphis and others.

Mayor Lutrell at the event
Board member Louis Patrick was to speak at the event and was replaced at the last minute with the MCIL Program Director who challenged the crowd to find the Fair Housing issues in authentic photos of inaccessible apartments in the Memphis area. The event was attended by over sixty people and was offered as a training and celebration. 

The Keynote Speaker was Bryan Greene, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Greene was the 2007 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, the highest federal honor bestowed upon federal senior executives for outstanding service.

“Fair housing is critical to other opportunities,” said Mr. Greene at the Memphis Botanic Garden. “HUD must effectively administer the law to make all communities open and attractive to everybody. Criminal background and eviction history creates a separate local market apart from HUD requirements. Many places do not rent to people with old convictions and arrest records. This can be a violation of the Fair Housing Act.”

Terri Freeman and Deidre Malone, headed the next segment facilitated by Kathy Trawick of the West Tennessee Legal Services. Ms. Freeman is the President of the National Civil Rights Museum and Ms. Malone is the new President of the Memphis Branch of the NAACP. 

The panel noted that gentrification does not always bring problems and noted that the Civil Rights Museum is actually an anchor for gentrification downtown. It is clear that redevelopment like Foote homes near the NCRM needs a grocery and that communities must be transformed before there is business investment. The moderator also presented the idea of visitibility to the group and how “town-homes” are used as a way to circumvent the accessibility of the Fair Housing Amendments Act. 

The Final Panel of the day had Tim Bolding, the Executive Director of United Housing and Steve Lockwood, Executive Director of the Frayser Community Development Corporation. They both mentioned MCIL and our importance for Fair Housing. Mr. Bolding said he builds accessible homes and was powerful in his demand for home buyer education. He said that information and education was what makes housing sustainable.

The final panel at the event

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MCIL asks Congress to preserve disability aspects of the ACA

For more information:
Sandi Klink 901-726-6404

The Memphis Center for Independent Living today called on Sen. Lamar Alexander to preserve critical components of the Affordable Care Act which secure the rights of people with disabilities to live in the community and provide vital healthcare services.  MCIL is joining disability rights organizations, the National Council on Independent Living and Centers for Independent Living all over the US in asking that Congress keep items necessary for the independence of people with disabilities.

“The Center has a long history of supporting people with disabilities right to live and work in the community like everyone else,” said Sandi Klink the Executive Director of the Memphis Center for Independent Living. “The loss of these programs will hit Tennessee taxpayers harder. We hate to see the dissolution of the common-sense programs in the healthcare law that will force people back into expensive institutions.”

Congressional Republicans are moving legislation that eliminates the Community First Choice Option (CFCO) by 2020 as part of a strategy to cut Medicaid funding for individuals with disabilities. CFCO, which was introduced as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides enhanced Federal funds to states, is the only current Medicaid program aimed at ensuring people with disabilities’ right to live in the community. CFCO saves states millions of taxpayer dollars and grant disabled citizens the freedom to decide where they want to live.

The concern is that in capping or block granting Medicaid congressional Republicans are setting limits on how many people with disabilities can transition from institutions into the community, and eliminating CFCO restores the Medicaid bias toward institutionalization that MCIL and the Disability Community has long fought to reverse.

The right to live in the community was first recognized in Federal law in the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead case. The years since have seen the growth of centers for independent living as Disability Rights organizations have made community integration one of their primary concerns.

WHEN: 3:00 P.M. Wednesday, March 22, 2017
WHERE: 1633 Madison Ave. Memphis, TN 38104

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The MATAplus Ride from Hell

Know about the service before you complain about it

Bobbie Fields
By Bobbie Fields
Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wish you had just stayed in bed? That’s how I feel after my MATAplus ride this morning. 

As usual my bus arrived late which, quite naturally made me late to work. After getting on the bus I found out that three other riders had been added to driver’s manifest to be picked before my drop off.  

The first person got on the bus asking if she was the first to be dropped off, she started to complain when she learned she was not. She started ranting and bugging the driver about being late for her appointments. 

She scheduled an 8:30 am pickup for a 9:15 doctor’s appointment, I explained to her the importance of scheduling her ride earlier and taking into consideration the 30 minute pickup window and the fact this is a shared ride service.

The second rider, considering the fact that he has a visual impairment should’ve have requested to be called when the bus arrives. Riders who cannot see the bus have the same responsibility to meet the vehicle when it arrives and people who are blind may ask for a reasonable accommodation to be notified when the bus comes. Today however, we had to wait to wait 15 minutes before the second rider finally boarded the bus. 

The final rider we picked up seemed to think that she had a private car service because she wanted to bring the family along. They took forever to board the bus. 

MATA operator

All three of these people could have made this trip go much smoother simply by being prepared. The first one should have scheduled her ride at least an hour and a half before her scheduled appointment. The next person should have added to his profile a courtesy call request when making reservations.  The third person could have made sure that all those accompanying her were ready. Each MATAplus rider should consider the other people who ride the bus and the limited space. 

I would suggest if you want your own car service and you don’t need the accessibility of MATAplus, to consider Uber or one of the other transportation providers.  Each rider must consider the certain factors that come along with using a ride share. Know what MATAplus provides before you use and complain about the service.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee

48th Annual State Convention


March 31 – April 2, 2017

Crown Plaza Hotel
300 N. Second Street
Memphis, TN

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

Hospitality Room (Harbor Room Suite)
The members of the Memphis Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee would like to welcome all convention attendees to our great city! Join us in the Harbor Room Suite located on the second floor for great food, fun, and music…our door will be open. Come mingle with leaders of the TN affiliate and fellow Federationists. Like the Cheers theme song said, “Making your way in the world today takes everything you got, taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot,” so join us on:
Friday March 31, 2017 8:00 PM-midnight
Saturday April 1, 2017 6:30-8:30 AM, 12:00noon-1:30 PM, and 10:00-11:30 PM
Exhibit Hall (Tennessee Room)
Come visit some of the Nation’s best training centers for the blind, learn about innovations in technology, and find resources that could benefit you or someone you know who is blind. Our Exhibit Hall features the largest number of exhibitors at a TN state convention, and it will be open on Friday from 3:00-6:00 PM and Saturday from 12:00-2:00 PM.
Guide Dog Relief Area
The guide dog relief area at the Crown Plaza Hotel is located across the parking lot once you exit the main entrance of the hotel.  A trash can will be on-site, so please be responsible. 

Registration (Tennessee Room)
If you have already preregistered or need to register for the NFB of Tennessee state convention, please stop by our registration table.  It will be open from 2:00-4:00 PM Friday afternoon and from 8:00-9:00 AM on Saturday. Registration is only $10.00. Tickets for the banquet on Saturday night can be purchased for $35.00!

Friday March 31, 2017

3:00-6:00 PM Exhibit Hall (Tennessee Room)

3:00-6:00 PM Sports Seminar, Jessica Beecham, Executive Director, We Fit Wellness, Colorado Springs, CO (Memphis Room)
Come join us to learn how blind people can defend themselves as well as relax with some yoga. We can live the lives we want; blindness is not what holds us back.

5:00-6:00 PM Scholarship Committee, John Harris, Chair (Beale Street Room)

6:00-7:00 PM Resolutions Committee, Terry Smith, Chair (Plaza Room)

6:00-7:30 PM Tennessee Association of Blind Students, Shannon Hanson, President (Delta Room)
Join the Tennessee Association of Blind Students as we discuss accessibility issues faced by blind students nationwide. Find out what the NFB is doing on a national level to combat them. Dr. Deborah Carter will join us to talk about minimizing stress and making college a positive experience. 

7:00-8:00 PM Audit Committee, Melisa Smith, Chair (Beale Street Room)

7:00-9:00 PM Tennessee Association of Guide Dog Users, Shea Welch, President (Memphis Room)
We are excited to welcome you to TAGDU’s fourth annual Hup Up Tennessee seminar to discuss training, advocacy, and daily life as guide dog users. Hear from representatives of two major guide dog schools, learn about working with children as a guide dog user, participate in an interactive advocacy workshop, and have a hand in the future goals of our growing organization. Join TAGDU’s seminar for some great information, door prizes, and fun!

8:00-11:00 PM TABS Game Night (Tennessee Room)
Stop by the TABS game night where you can not only join in on Family Feud and Singing Bee, but also grab some pizza and a light snack and catch up with friends! Tickets are $10.00.

Saturday April 1, 2017

General Session – located in the Tennessee Room on the lower level.

Theme: All Heart: Federation Grit and Grind
9:00 AM: Call to Order!
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

Deborah Carter, Member, Memphis Chapter
Memphis, TN

Greetings from the Land of the Blues
Christina Clift, President, Memphis Chapter
Reginald Tate, TN State Senator
Lawrence Johnson, Grizzly Community Mentoring Program
Danny Z, WUMR Music
Memphis, TN

9:30 AM: National Report: Together We Can!!
Shawn M. Callaway, Board Member
National Federation of the Blind
President, NFB of Washington DC

10:00 AM: Pushing Past Your Limit
Bobbie Davis PH.D, LCSW
Clarksville, TN

10:20 AM: 2017 Tennessee Scholarship Class
Talent Alone is Never Enough
John Harris, Chair, Scholarship Committee, State Board Member
Murfreesboro, TN

10:40 AM: University of Memphis Goes for the Slam Dunk!
Teaming up for Accessible Technology
Trey Martindale Ed.D, Instructional Design
and Technology Program
Fair Berg Ed.D, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning
Memphis, TN 

11:00 AM: AIRA and Google Glass
A Team of One
James Boehm, President, Nashville Chapter
Nashville, TN

11:20 AM: Sports and Wellness for the Blind in Tennessee
Turning Setbacks into Comebacks
Jessica Beecham, Executive Director
We Fit Wellness
Colorado Springs, CO

11:40 AM: How to Win with Social Security
Courtney Williams, State Board Member
Johnson City, TN

Noon: Adjourn for Lunch
Exhibit Hall in Tennessee Room open from 12:00-2:00 PM

12:00-1:30 PM: Tennessee Association of Blind Merchants (Memphis Room)
Sharon Treadway, President
Nashville, TN

2:00 PM: Progress and Pride
Ruth Hemphill, Outreach Librarian, Tennessee Library for the Blind
Nashville, TN

2:25 PM: Why You Should be a Federationist
Winners Find a Way
Stephanie Zundel, Member, Nashville Chapter
Nashville, TN

2:45 PM: Calling All BELL Students
Full Court Press IN Tennessee
Christina Clift, President, Memphis Chapter
Memphis, TN
Tonika and TaMyah Jordan
Mother and Daughter Duo                                  
Clarksville, TN

3:05 PM: Got Blindness Skills?
Stay Coachable
Eric Guillory, Director of Youth Services
Louisiana Center for the Blind
Cindy Jones-Yeager, Coordinator,
Alabama Freedom Center for the Blind
Birmingham, AL

3:35 PM: Tennessee Blind Services
Intense Trust Creates Incredible Teams
Shaniqua Cox, Director
Field Operations for Services for the Blind
Chattanooga, TN

3:55 PM: The Working Class Blind
Championships are Built on Relationships
Terry Smith, First Vice President, NFB of TN
Chattanooga, TN.

4:25 PM: State Presidential Report
One Team, One Goal
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

4:50 PM: Nominating Committee Report
Building a High-Performance Team
Nominating Chair, Terry Smith
First Vice President, NFB of TN
Chattanooga, TN

4:45 PM: Elections, Leading from Where You Are
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

5:00 PM: Adjourn

7:00-10:00 PM Banquet (Tennessee Room)
Master of Ceremony: June Mangum, Memphis Chapter Board Member
Keynote Address: Shawn M. Callaway, Board Member
National Federation of the Blind
President, NFB of Washington DC

Sunday April 2, 2017

8:00-8:45 AM: Nondenominational Service, Minister Corea Yates, Victory Temple Missionary Baptist Church (Tennessee Room)

General Session (Tennessee Room)
9:00 AM: Call to Order
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

9:05 AM: Invocation
Russell Jones, Second Vice President, Memphis Chapter
Memphis, TN

9:10 AM: Communications Committee Report
Steve Norman, Chair
State Board Member
Murfreesboro, TN

9:40 AM: Legislative Committee Report
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

9:55 AM: Audit Committee Report
Melisa Smith, Chair
Chattanooga, TN

10:10 AM: Treasurer’s Report
Evelyn Hogue, Treasurer, NFB of TN
Memphis, TN

10:25 PM: Website Committee Report
Tyler Butler, Committee Chair
Member, Nashville Chapter
Nashville, TN

10:40 AM: Chapter and Division Reports

11:15 AM: Resolutions Report
Terry Smith, Chair, Resolutions Committee
Chattanooga, TN

11:50 AM: Customary Motion
Nominating an Alternate delegate to National Convention

11:55 AM: State Convention 2018

Noon: Adjourn

Thank you to all of our members!
We couldn’t do this without you.

President: James Aaron Brown
4113 Tea Garden Way
Antioch, TN 37013
(615) 412-9632