The primary focus of the survey was to determine how knowledgeable HR professionals are regarding various governmental incentives for hiring individuals with disabilities. In addition, the survey sought to find out how many companies actually take advantage of employer incentives and who in companies make decisions about using them. A secondary focus of the survey was to assess HR professionals’ attitudes and opinions regarding the impact of the ADA on the employment of individuals with disabilities; determine the level of effort companies expend in recruiting individuals with disabilities; and gain insight into senior managements' personal experiences with disabilities. Furthermore, the survey sought the opinions of HR professionals on how best to improve the employment of individuals with disabilities
In February 2011, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a Report, "Improving the Delivery of Key Work Supports: Policy and Practice Opportunities at a Critical Moment."
For more than 15 years, Federal and state governments have been working together to simplify enrollment in public benefit programs. Their work has been driven by the fact that the share of people who participate in public programs has not kept pace with the need; by a desire to make full use of the Federal resources available for low-income residents; and by the need to create more effective and efficient government services. These efforts have been successful in many ways. In some form or another, most states have implemented increasing access and simplifying policies, particularly in Federally-funded programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). They have streamlined processes, made procedures more customer-friendly, reduced paperwork, and sought to increase outreach to potentially eligible people. As a result, millions of low-income individuals who might not have obtained work supports now do. However, the work is far from complete. Often there is little coordination or seamless service delivery across programs. Although some states have coordination policies,the procedures needed to operationalize these policies are not implemented. In addition, few if any states have an effective,data-based system for determining whether families are in fact connected to the full range of programs for which they qualify.
Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families, is a 5-year project directed by the Urban Institute. It will provide nine states with the opportunity to design, test, and implement more effective, streamlined, and integrated approaches to delivering key supports for low-income working families. Visit: http://www.urban.org/worksupport/index.cfm
Health Reform GPS recently issued a Report entitled "Dual Eligible Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries. This Brief explains the background of dual-eligibles and the changes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will now be implementing. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in 2008 there were an estimated 9.2 million individuals who were eligible for and enrolled in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Dual-eligible beneficiaries typically have multiple chronic conditions that require a higher level of care and result in increased spending relative to other Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. However, their care is not usually coordinated. Policymakers have expressed concern that the lack of coordination between the two programs results in higher costs and poorer health outcomes than would be achieved if Medicare and Medicaid services were better integrated. The ACA will help to better coordinate care.
A new national report, issued by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 45.9 million American adults aged 18 or older, or 20 percent of this age group, experienced mental illness in the past year. The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.9 percent) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3 percent). The economic impact of mental illness in the United States is considerable—about $300 billion in 2002. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness accounts for more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. According to the report, rates for substance dependence were far higher for those who had experienced either any mental illness or serious mental illness than for the adult population which had not experienced mental illness in the past year. According to the report 1.9 million youth aged 12 to 17 (8 percent of this population) had experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In addition, the report finds that young people aged 12 to 17 who experienced a major depressive episode in the past year have more than twice the rate of past year illicit drug use(37.2 percent) as their counterparts who had not experienced a major depressive episode during that period (17.8 percent). The complete survey findings from this report are available on the SAMHSA Web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10MH_Findings/. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older.
The NTAR Center has recently released a report on Medicaid funding of employment supports and services for people with disabilities. recently released reports on Medicaid, Using Medicaid Funding to Support the Employment of People with Disabilities: A Federal Framework. State Medicaid agencies fund a range of supports and services for individuals with disabilities. As national public policy has recognized and emphasized the ability of individuals with disabilities to work, states have begun to integrate employment supports into the continuum of long-term care in Medicaid. This NTAR issue brief discusses the Federal legislative and regulatory framework for funding employment supports in Medicaid, and highlights examples of state innovations and best practices for using Medicaid to promote positive employment outcomes. The brief provides an overview of Medicaid eligibility, the types of benefits available under Medicaid, and the structure of Medicaid waivers. The brief then examines options for funding employment supports and services through Medicaid state plan and waiver services. The brief describes how service categories such as case management, habilitation, rehabilitation, and personal assistance can be used to finance services to directly and indirectly assist with the employment goals of individuals with disabilities. In conclusion, the issue brief notes that state policymakers have a range of options available to design initiatives that support disability employment, using Medicaid funds in combination with other federal and state resources.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 1 in 29 Americans, from our country’s service men and women to abused children and survivors of rape, domestic violence and natural disasters. June is PTSD Awareness Month. This impacts upon employment. Refer to the attached docuemnt for resources
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—while simultaneously cutting requirements that states must expand their Medicaid programs—leaves many states in a quandary. A new brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Health Affairs says it is unclear how many states will now move forward with expanding the program, or what options they have to undertake partial expansions. Previously, the ACA mandated that states expand Medicaid eligibility to adults under age 65 who earn less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. An additional brief from RWJF’s State Health Reform Assistance Network provides state officials with a guide to conduct their own Medicaid expansion analysis as they consider an expansion. The brief includes a financial impact worksheet and considerations table, which includes analyses by other states and organizations for them to consider. THis will have a large impact on persons with disabilities and their fmamlies.
The American Public Human Services Assoication (APHSA), through its "Pathways Initiative," is forging a vision for a transformed human service sytem and for the outcomes such a system can achieve. In this Initiative, APHSA includes Achieving Gainful Employment and Independence, including for persons with disabilities. APHSA has issued a policy Brief, entitled, "Employment for People with Disabilities." Excerpts... Gainful Employment and Independence is one of four key outcome areas APHSA seeks to impact through a transformed human service system. Through aligned and person-centered programs, flexible funding, meaningful accountability, and strategic partnerships, we can provide the opportunities and supports that will help low-income individuals get a job, keep a job, and start down a sustainable career path. The necessary policy directions for gainful employment and independence will require that we: •direct resources into those supports that will help adults get a job and stay employed; •emphasize education and training;affordable, quality child care; incentives for employers to hire those getting public assistance; and help with transportation to a job; •provide supports, such as tools to help secure stable housing and appropriate opportunities for those with disabilities; and •provide other opportunities through which adults can quickly become as self-sufficient as possible, such as community wealth creation enterprises. For working-age individuals and their families, having a job and staying in the workforce are critical to achieving greater independence. Employment is one of the surest and most long-lasting means to equip people with the lifetime tools they need for sustaining their incomes and dignity and avoiding future need for government support.
In December, 2012, the GAO issued Report 13-15,"Children's Mental Health: Concerns Remain About Appropriate Services for Children in Medicaid and Foster Care." An annual average of 6.2 percent of noninstitutionalized children in Medicaid nationwide and 4.8 percent of privately insured children took one or more psychotropic medications, according to GAO's analysis of 2007-2009 data from the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). MEPS data also showed that children in Medicaid took antipsychotic medications at a relatively low rate--1.3 percent of children--but that the rate for children in Medicaid was over twice the rate for privately insured children, which was 0.5 percent. In addition, MEPS data showed that most children whose emotions or behavior, as reported by their parent or guardian, indicated a potential need for a mental health service did not receive any services within the same year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and many states have initiatives under way to help ensure that children receive appropriate mental health treatments. However, CMS's ability to monitor children's receipt of mental health services is limited because CMS does not collect information from states on whether children in Medicaid have received services for which they were referred. GAO recommended in 2011 that CMS identify options for collecting such data from state Medicaid programs. Findings in this report underscore the continued importance of CMS's monitoring of children's receipt of mental health services. HHS's Administration for Children and Families (ACF) reported that 18 percent of foster children were taking psychotropic medications at the time they were surveyed, although utilization varied widely by the child's living arrangement. ACF also reported that 30 percent of foster children who may have needed mental health services did not receive them in the previous 12 months.
Medicaid – New Resources Released by The National Council on Disabilities The National Council NCD) on Disabilities released two new publications concerning the Medicaid program - A Medicaid Block Grant Program: Implications for People with Disabilities, and The Case for Medicaid Self-Direction: A White Paper on Research, Practice, and Policy Opportunities. The publications can be accessed on NCD’s website: www.ncd.gov/publications/2013
NCD Releases Annual Survey of Federal Disability Policy – “Strength In Our Differences” On Cotber 31, 2013, the National Council on Disability (NCD) – an independent federal agency that recommends disability policy to the President, Congress and other federal agencies – released its yearly report on the nation’s progress in achieving equality of opportunity, independent living, full participation and economic self-sufficiency for an estimated 57 million Americans with disabilities. NCD's report highlights federal achievements from August 2012 to September 2013 and identifies areas where changes in public policy and additional steps are needed. Full report along with a comprehensive executive summary and overview of highlights is available on NCD's website at http://www.ncd.gov/progress_reports/10312013.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ)just issued a Report and Infographic, "Medicaid and the Young Invincibles Under the Affordable Care Act: Who Knew?" This study found that nearly 5.4 million uninsured young adults ages 19-34 are currently eligible for Medicaid, or will become eligible for Medicaid in January 2014. Forty-two percent of these uninsured young adults who will eligible for Medicaid are working and 18 percent are unemployed. Of the remainder who are not in the labor force, 62 percent live with someone who works and 23 percent are students or parents. The study, authored by researchers at the Urban Institute, identified many challenges to identifying and enrolling these young adults, but note that many of them have existing ties to public assistance programs that could be leveraged.
The 2014 edition of National Disability Policy: A Progress Report has added significance this year as the National Council on Disability (NCD) celebrates its 30th anniversary as an independent federal agency.
The 2014 Progress Report details the status of people with disabilities from across the nation, providing policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders with an overview of the progress the United States has made promoting and protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities.
Specifically, the 2014 Progress Report focuses on seven key areas: the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), employment access and inclusion, subminimum wage, education outcomes, Medicaid managed care, mental health care, and data trends in disability policy. The report identifies opportunities to promote public policies that contribute to a more inclusive environment.
To access the full report, please click on Download Now or go to: http://www.ncd.gov/progress_reports/10312014
The final rules may be viewed at https://www.federalregister.gov. A fact sheet on the rules is available here: http://cms.hhs.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Other-Insurance-Protections/mhpaea_factsheet.html.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has been an innovator in the area of Assistive Technology (AT) for many years. NFB recognizes the critical role AT plays in providing independence and economic well-being to individuals who are blind or have low vision. They have identified products and technology that have proven to be most beneficial for their members and make this available on the website. They also provide assessment and advice on what AT might be most effective for the individual. Their grass-roots programs further test and identify AT equipment and software as a peer-to-peer process of sharing what's new and innovative. To learn more about how NFB may assist individuals who are blind or have low vision, please visit their webiste at: https://www.nfb.org
Webinar: Ending Youth Homelessness: Preliminary Intervention Model Webinar March 18, 2014 from 3:30 - 5:00 pm EST. Ending youth homelessness requires partnership and coordinated efforts in communities and at every level of government. USICH's Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness is a resource text for dialogue and action toward ending youth homelessness together. The framework includes a Preliminary Intervention Model, designed to help communities identify the systems and capacity necessary to meet the needs of all youth experiencing homelessness. Learn more about the intervention model and how we can work together to end youth homelessness.
To register for this webinar, please go to: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/846445951
SAMHSA published its strategic initiatives paper—an overview of SAMHSA's goals, priorities, and action steps for accomplishing its mission of reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. Carefully developed from months of public discussion and input from a wide variety of SAMHSA's stakeholders, the strategic initiatives paper lays out how SAMHSA will focus its resources in meeting the new opportunities and challenges it faces in the near future.
The eight strategic initiatives set forth in the paper address how SAMHSA will maximize its resources in an environment that promises improvements in the Nation's behavioral health care system over the next few years as a result of a variety of forces—most notably the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
These initiatives are data driven, overarching in purpose, and will help SAMHSA work in an unprecedented way across health, justice, social service, education, and other systems to improve health care services to all Americans.
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SAMHSA is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
2013 Disability Research Consortium (DRC) Annual Meeting was held on October 15 and 16, 2013. The DRC, is a collaborative effort of the Social Security Administration (SSA), Mathematica’s Center for Studying Disability Policy, and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Research studies and analysis from a number of experts in the health and disability field were presented. The link below provides access to video's, power point presentations, speaker information, and transcripts of each day of the two day event.
The Aging, Disability, and Independence of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council held a forum in June 2013 to examine the financing of long-term services and supports for working-age individuals with disabilities and among individuals who are developing disabilities as they age. The workshop covered both older adults who acquire disabilities and younger adults with disabilities who may acquire additional impairments as they age, the target population of the Forum's work. The challenges associated with financing long-term services and supports for people with disabilities impacts all age groups. While there are important differences between the characteristics of programs developed for different age groups, and specific populations may have different needs, this workshop addressed the financing sources for long-term services and supports in general, noting specific differences as appropriate. The financing of long-term services and supports has become a major issue in the United States. These are the services and supports that individuals with disabilities, chronic conditions, and functional impairments need in order to live independently. At least 11 million adults ages 18 and over receive long-term services and supports. Only a little more than half of them - 57 percent - are ages 65 or older. One study found that about 6 percent of people turning 65 in 2005 could expect to have expenses of more than $100,000 for long-term services and supports. Financing Long-Term Services and Supports for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults discusses the scope and trends of current sources of financing for long-term services and supports for working-age individuals with disabilities and older adults aging into disability, including income supports and personal savings.
The Wage and Hour Division is working hard to inform the public about the recently announced Home Care Final Rule, which extends minimum wage and overtime to direct care workers. So far, the agency has held the first of five scheduled webinars that are intended to prepare those who will be affected by the rule before it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. "The direct care workforce is growing faster than any other occupation in the country. An investment in these workers is an investment in the individuals and families they assist," said Laura Fortman, principle deputy administrator of WHD. The webinars are free and closed-captioned and allow time to address questions from participants. More information for Workers, Individuals and Families,and Agencies and Employers is available at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/
Mathematica Policy Research issued the Money Follows the Person 2012 Annual Evaluation Report on October 15, 2013. The Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program represents a major federal initiative to give people needing long-term services and supports more choice about where they live and receive care, and to increase the capacity of state long-term care systems to serve people in community settings. Calendar year 2012 marked the fifth year of implementation of the national MFP demonstration. Cumulative MFP enrollment climbed to 30,000 transitions by the end of December 2012, a 50 percent growth over the total number at the same point in 2011. In early 2012, three more states received planning grants bringing the total number of states to have received MFP grants to 47 (46 states plus the District of Columbia). At the end of 2012 the total number of operating programs stood at 37, which included the four states that launched their transition programs during the year and began serving their first MFP participants: Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, and Vermont. Oregon’s program was still suspended as the state conducted a review of its program’s overall design and 5 states were in various stages of planning. During the year, New Mexico and Florida formally withdrew from the grant program. The full report is at: http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/health/MFP_2012_Annual.pdf?spMailingID=7380945&spUserID=Njc2ODkyNzQ1MTcS1&spJobID=98147638&spReportId=OTgxNDc2MzgS1
SAMHSA’s newly-released publication, Behavioral Health, United States, 2012, the latest in a series of publications issued by SAMHSA biannually since 1980, provides in-depth information regarding the current status of the mental health and substance abuse field. It includes behavioral health statistics at the national and State levels from 40 different data sources. The report includes three analytic chapters: • Behavioral Health Disorders across the Life Span • Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Impairment in Functioning • Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Treatment Landscape The volume also includes 172 tables that include: 1) the mental health status of the U.S. population and prevalence of mental illness; 2) behavioral health services and rates of use; 3) number of facilities providing mental health and substance abuse services; 4) numbers of qualified specialty mental health and substance abuse providers; and 5) expenditures and sources of funding for behavioral health services. A PDF copy of the report can be downloaded at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2012BehavioralHealthUS/Index.aspx.
This publication examines various federal programs that can provide assistance in meeting the educational, vocational and basic supports needs of youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions (SMHCs). It briefly examines the breadth and scope of available assistance and offers recommendations to improve state, local and federal policy. Youth with SMHCs are often unprepared for the transition to adulthood and for participation in the labor force. In today’s economy, gaining a firm footing on a career path is hard for most anyone, but it is particularly difficult for those with SMHCs. Employment and other forms of engagement in community life are generally recognized as protective factors that help individuals recover from SMHCs. Currently there are numerous federal programs that can help youth and young adults with the transition to adulthood through education, job training and community services and supports. Exemplary transition support practices require a policy framework that allows for developmentally appropriate and integrated service delivery that is guided by individual preferences and situations and the report makes suggestions for policy and systemic change. The full report text is at: http://labs.umassmed.edu/transitionsRTC/Resources/publications/promiseforthefuture.pdf
The National Council on Disability (NCD) released “Clearing the Backlog and Facilitating Benefits for America’s Veterans” on Nov. 12, 2013. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has faced pressure from a variety of stakeholders to correct the backlog of veteran's claims for disability benefits. As a core and overarching recommendation, NCD encourages deliberate coordination and collaboration across congressional, executive, and federal agency partners to resolve the claims backlog issues. The partnership is essential to creating and sharing a superstructure of online information and applications that allow ease and efficiency in processing disability claims. To download a copy of the report, please visit NCD’s website at: http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2013/11122013
The National Bureau of Economic Research published a study that examines the role of Social Security Disability Insurance(DI)and health care has on the potential for obtaining employment. The research included data on employment of individuals who lost DI eligibility after the 1996 removal of drug and alcohol addictions as qualifying conditions. The study concludes that the ability to work those that were in the poorest health associated with additions, psychiatric disordres and muscleoskeletal disabilities were individuals who improved the mst and were most likely to re-enter employment. Employment was greates for those who had received DI for 2.5-3 years than for those who had received DI for less than one year or for six years. However, the results did not hold true for those on DI with chronic conditions like heart or liver disease. The results suggest that a period of public assistance can maximize the likelihood of employment for some individuals with disabilities. A full text of the research paper is available at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19793.pdf?new_window=1
Mental Disorders in Mid-Life and Older Adulthood May Be Substantially More Prevalent than Previously Reported: Common methods of assessing mental or physical disorders may consistently underestimate the prevalence of mental disorders among middle-aged and older adults, a new study finds. The analysis, published in the online edition of JAMA Psychiatry, reveals substantial discrepancies among mid-life and late-life adults in reporting past mental health disorders, including depression, compared with physical disorders such as arthritis and hypertension. The true burden of mental-health disorders might be underestimated by most studies because they use a certain common survey approach to assess the percentage of people with these conditions, researchers say. Such studies estimate the percentage of people who have mental health disorders over their entire lifetime, based on information gathered during one-time interviews, in which people are asked to recall any illness they had in the past. However, people may not always remember their medical history accurately, the researchers say. For the study, researchers followed 1,000 people of various ages in Baltimore over 25 years, interviewing them four times between 1981 and 2005. Using the information from all of the interviews, they found the rates of six mental disorders to be considerably higher than those ascertained based on just the last interview, which is called the retrospective method and is commonly used in studies. The findings are believed to be the first to examine retrospective evaluations versus cumulative assessments among older adults. (The Huffington Post, 1/9/14)
Mathematica Policy Research's (MPR) Center for Studying Disability Policy (CSDP) announced an Issue Forum on Long-Term Care Services scheduled for Thursday, February 20, 11:45 am - 1:30 pm (ET). In 2009, approximately 1.3 million Medicaid enrollees with disabilities and chronic conditions received Medicaid-financed long-term care services and supports (LTSS) in institutional settings. To give Medicaid beneficiaries greater choice in where they live and from whom they receive services, and to deliver LTSS that are integrated, effective, efficient, and person-centered, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is promoting efforts to reduce dependence on institutional care and expand access to home- and community-based services (HCBS). This will explore the progress made in recent years on these rebalancing efforts. For more information on this Webinar and to register for it, please go to: http://www.disabilitypolicyresearch.org/Forums.asp
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently releaased a report on the impact of revised definitions of autism published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5 issued in March 2013. After years of escalating growth, the JAMA study suggests that autism rates could drop off based on these new diagnostic criteria for the developmental disorder. Rsearchers found that a little over 80 percent of children who met the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, as well as DSM IV, met the revised DSM-5 criteria for the autism spectrum definition. The new version of the manual altered the diagnostic criteria and did away with Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, instead creating an umbrella classification of “autism spectrum disorder” with clinicians indicating a level of severity. For information on the primary findings and access to the JAMA study, please go to: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/features/impact-dsm5.html
The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD), which recently launched its 12-month Affordable Care Act National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC) website, has published a free technical assistance guide. The “Guide to Disability for Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Navigators” will instruct navigators and other enrollment specialists about the special needs of people with disabilities who are shopping for health care insurance. To download the free guide, please go to: http://www.nationaldisabilitynavigator.org/ndnrc-materials/disability-guide/
A comparison of the specific disability-related program funding in the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill enacted on January 17 shows that disability programs, with a few exceptions, generally did not fare well. Many programs came in slightly above the 2013 post sequestration (the approximate 5% across-the-board cuts) amount, despite about 40% sequestration relief for all programs negotiated in the budget deal for FY 2014 and FY 2015. The fiscal relief is not evenly spread, with some programs receiving significant increases and others continuing at lower levels. Overall, most disability-related programs regained some of the cuts they received in 2013, bringing them just under their 2012 funding levels. For more information, please go to The Arc's website at:http://insider.thearc.org/2014/01/27/disability-related-programs-regain-little-ground-fy-2014-omnibus-spending-bill/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=disability-related-programs-regain-little-ground-fy-2014-omnibus-spending-bill