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Friday Mail

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December 19, 2014

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News Items:

Opportunities for Comments and Involvement

Joint letter from DOJ and DHHS addressing the importance of states' implementation of the Final Rule while maintaining Title II obligations under the ADA

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) jointly issued the attached letter (pdf), which addresses the importance of States’ implementing the Final Rule in ways that comply with their obligations under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The letter instructs States to consider whether reasonable modifications are necessary to avoid placing individuals who receive home care services at serious risk of institutionalization or segregation. Specifically, the letter explains that states need to consider reasonable modifications to policies capping overtime and travel time for home care workers, including exceptions to these caps when individuals with disabilities otherwise would be placed at serious risk of institutionalization.

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The Able Act passed the U.S. Senate December 16th

A big bipartisan measure to enable people with disabilities to become more independent and to be able to achieve their dreams, just like everyone else, is becoming a reality. This follows on the historic Workforce Investment and Opportunities Act, which also passed recently and was already signed into law.                        top

Medical Services Administration Bulletin (MSA 14-58) Provider Enrollment and Service Verification

This bulletin addresses modifications to the requirements for provider enrollment and verification of provided services in the Medicaid Home Help program. Specifically, it updates and replaces processes identified in the Adult Services Manual. This bulletin will apply to all individual providers in the program who receive an individual rate for services. Additional guidance will be provided to agency providers as changes are made that would affect them. Click here to download bulletin.               top

New special education rules to bring Michigan in line with federal law unlikely to take effect this year from MLive.com

LANSING — Changes to Michigan Department of Education rules about how special education students are taught likely won’t be taking effect this year after a hearing Thursday morning.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules met Thursday morning and was considering changes the MDE believed are needed to bring Michigan in line with federal law.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley testified at the meeting and asked the committee not to approve the rules Thursday. He said parents were not represented well enough at the committee hearing, which typically involves corporate lawyers representing their clients’ interests. Click here to read more. Read more here Read a summary of the rule changes here  
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Michigan Announces Implementation Timeline Change for MI Health Link

For Immediate Release - November 24, 2014

Lansing, Mich - The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) announced a change to the implementation timeline for MI Health Link, Michigan's demonstration project to integrate care for individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. MDCH has changed the start date from January 1 to March 1 to ensure that the program is prepared to deliver services and coordinate care. Enrollment will begin in February 2014. Click here to read more. top

Department of Community Health Releases HCBS Transition Plan Draft - Comments due 12/24/14

Home and community-based services (HCBS) provide opportunities for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services in their own home or community. These programs serve a variety of targeted populations groups, such as people with mental illnesses, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and/or physical disabilities.

 

The final Home and Community-Based Services regulations set forth new requirements for several Medicaid authorities under which states may provide home and community-based long-term services and supports. The regulations enhance the quality of HCBS and provide additional protections to individuals that receive services under these Medicaid authorities.

Click here to review the new HCBS from CMS. (pdf)

Click here to review the Michigan Statewide Transition Plan for HCBS final draft. (pdf)

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Medicaid Home Help Providers Newly Subject to Criminal History Checks

The Department of Community Health has begun its implementation of criminal history checks on Medicaid Home Help providers. Home Help providers will also be entered in the Community Health Automated Medicaid Processing System (CHAMPS) for payment processing. Letters notifying the providers of these changes went out on November 20, 2014. The letter can be found here: http://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIDCH/2014/11/20/file_attachments/342872/L%2B14-58.pdf

The criminal history checks began with newly enrolling providers on October 2, 2014 and all currently enrolled providers must be checked by March 31, 2015. Some criminal offenses will result in a mandatory exclusion of the provider, however a participant may request to select a provider who has a criminal history as long as the conviction does not fall into the mandatory exclusion category. There are limited rights to review and appeal.
Finally, providers who do not have any excludable offenses will have their name entered in a provider referral database unless they indicate that they are not available for referral. The policy bulletin outlining these changes and listing the excludable offenses can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/MSA-14-40_467265_7.pdf

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A Quick and Easy Method of Screening for Medicaid Eligibility Under the Pickle Amendment: 2015 Numbers - from Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, by Gordon Bonnyman, Attorney, Tennessee Justice Center

"Screening for Medicaid eligibility under the Pickle Amendment is quick and simple. Without the necessity of performing any mathematical calculations, screening eliminates the great majority of those who are not eligible." Click here for more information on screening and a simple formula for performing necessary calculations.    top

Gov. Rick Snyder: State government must lead by example in efforts to hire people with disabilities - Executive directive calls for new policies, training across agencies, departments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Read entire press release (pdf)
Monday, Oct. 27, 2014
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan must lead by example and provide a welcoming environment for people with disabilities, encouraging them to work in state government in a competitive, integrated setting, Gov. Rick Snyder said.

 

Snyder on Monday issued an Executive Directive (pdf) requiring the government adopt a variety of policies and procedures eliminating hurdles faced by people with disabilities as they seek a career in public service.

 

Snyder also called for increased training for all state employees to raise awareness of disability etiquette and best practices, ensuring every employee is treated with dignity and respect at all times.                                                         top

Persons on Spend Down at Risk of Losing Essential Services - from Dohn Hoyle

Some persons with a developmental disability are facing a crisis, in most cases, not of
their or their families making. Recent changes, current circumstances and prior
decisions have persons on “spend-down” for Medicaid eligibility in jeopardy. They are at
risk of losing or being denied essential Medicaid and Medicaid funded mental health
supports and services.

Adoption of Healthy Michigan (Medicaid Expansion), possible miscalculation of the
General Fund savings Michigan would achieve and, perhaps, a failure to recognize one
important facet of Medicaid Expansion has potentially changed the entire landscape for
those persons who do not have Medicaid as a result of never having received SSI.

If Medicaid eligibility was through one of the approximately 40 other Medicaid programs, income, especially unearned income, over the protected income level for your county, will need to be spent for medical needs in order for the person to qualify for Medicaid (The pitiful monthly protected Income levels for Michigan range from $341, all the way up to $408). Qualifying for Medicaid is an essential factor in entitling a person with a developmental disability for Mental Health Supports and Services. A person with SSI eligibility established prior to receiving Social Security benefits has those benefits waived or not considered in determining their financial eligibility for Medicaid.  Click here to read more. (pdf) 
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MPAS Employment First in Michigan September 2014 Report

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., Developmental Disabilities Institute-Wayne State University, and Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council have completed their September report, Michigan Employment First in Michigan (pdf). It talks about the unemployment rates and strong reliance on 14c waivers.     top

Leaders in Policy Advocacy Now Accepting Applications for April 2015 Class in U.P.

Leaders in Policy Advocacy, an intensive leadership development project administered by the Arc Michigan and funded by the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, is now accepting applications for the next class in the Upper Peninsula, scheduled to begin in April 2015.  Eligible applicants are adults with developmental disabilities and parents of minor children with DD. More information and an application form can be found here: http://www.arcmi.org/new/lipa.htm      top

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into Law on July 22nd

President Barack Obama on July 22, 2014, signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system. WIOA is designed to help job seeker employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

This Act will make important changes to disability programs. Under the new law, the Independent Living and Assistive Technology Act programs, and the National Institute on Disability and Independent Living Rehabilitation from the U.S. Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The Act will increase individuals with disabilities’ access to high-quality workforce services to prepare them for competitive integrated employment. It requires better employer engagement and promotes physical and programmatic accessibility to employment and training services.

Click here for more information about the WIOA   top

Michigan Community Dental Clinics (MCDC) accept Medicaid 

MCDC has a number of dental clinics throughout the state and accepts Medicaid. Visit the website to see what services are available and where the clinics are located or call the MCDC administrative office at 231.547.7638.           top

Michigan Alliance for Families DVD “Making the Most of Early On®”  "Making the Most of Earlyon" is designed to help parents better understand and access the system of supports and services for children from birth through age three.
This video is chaptered into six easy to navigate topics:

  • What is Early On?

  • Parent to Parent Advice

  • Natural Environments

  • Problem Solving

  • Transition: Leaving Early On

  • Parent Survey

Each topic includes options for Spanish subtitles, Arabic subtitles, and English closed caption. In addition to the DVD, parents can find more early intervention resources at: www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/babies-and-toddlers.

Parents and professionals can view the videos via the Michigan Alliance for Families YouTube Channel  at www.youtube.com/michiganalliance.

A limited quantity of DVDs is available.

Contact info@michiganallianceforfamilies.org
“Making the Most of Early On®” was produced through an IDEA grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education to Michigan Alliance for Families.

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Michigan Alliance for Families' upcoming workshops can be viewed at:

 www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/upcoming-events/  Upcoming and archived Webinars can be viewed at: http://www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/webinar/

Check out our new brochure (pdf)        top

Michigan History of Our State Institutions for People with Developmental Disabilities

This video documents this regretful history and celebrates the hard work of families and advocates with the final closure of our last institution in Michigan in 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlg-g7l-MBg  top

The White House Disability Group E-mail Distribution List
In order to keep the public informed about various disability issues the White House has been hosting monthly calls. To learn about future calls, request to be added to the White House Disability email distribution list, by visiting the White House website.

These calls are open to the public and offer a unique opportunity to hear about important disability issues from individuals who work in the Federal government. You can also submit questions before the call at disability.gov.                              
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Michigan Alliance for Families Web site offers Resources to help Families

Michigan Alliance for Families is excited to announce that our website (www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/eo) now includes information to help families become more involved in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.

Michigan Alliance for Families, in partnership with Early On Michigan, announces resources to help families know their rights, better communicate their child’s needs, support the development of infants and toddlers, and prepare for the transition out of Early On into the preschool years. These resources are available to families, Early On Service Coordinators and Service Providers to increase the involvement of Michigan families in the growth and development of infants and toddlers.
Website resources include:

Handouts and video information on developmental milestones and how to promote development and learning through play

  • Handouts and video information to help families prepare to leave Early On and move on to Preschool
  • Learning tools to help families improve communication skills
  • Information to help families know their rights (Procedural Safeguards), including evaluation, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) development, natural environments and service coordination.                       top

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