COMMON DISABILITY AGENDA (CDA)

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A Call to Action:                                                     
 
Toward Our Common Future
 
Too often persons with disabilities are seen as a “niche” interest group, separate in its interests from the rest of the population.  It is long past time to debunk that stereotype as it disserves both persons with disabilities and their fellow citizens who live - for now - without disabilities. Our interests and our futures are too inextricably intertwined to waste time or money solving problems just for persons with disabilities.
 
It is time to make a substantial social investment in the infrastructure needed for a productive, democratic and caring society for all citizens, with and without disabilities.
 
The disability community has celebrated many accomplishments. However, there is much work yet to be done.  The 2008 Common Disability Agenda reflects continuing priorities. 
 
 
 
Access to Health Care
Access to health care is a fundamental need for all Michigan citizens. It is encouraging that there is continuing conversation about the reforms necessary to expand health care to everyone in Michigan. All affected stakeholders, veterans, seniors, uninsured/underinsured an persons with disabilities must be at the center of these public policy discussions to extend health care to all.
Recommendations:
  • Ensure that all health care delivery systems are prepared to accommodate the individuals needs of people with disabilities for physical access, sensitivity and effective communication.
  • Remove barriers to health care caused by Medicaid deductible (formerly called spend down).
  • Raise reimbursement rates so Medicaid Providers will serve people on Medicaid Insurance.
  • Passage of a state mental health parity law that expands coverage beyond the federal policy
Long Term Care
Many persons with disabilities and seniors rely heavily on Medicaid programs them with the services and supports they need to live, work and participate in their communities. Preserving and strengthening those programs ensures quality of life for Michigan's most vulnerable citizens and cost effective to the state. People's rights to receive long-term supports in the most integrated setting consistent with their needs was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in it's 1999 Olmstead decision.
Recommendations:
  • Restructure financing of the Medicaid LTC system to eliminate the bias toward nursing homes
  • Expand funding for home and community-based services
  • Create the groundwork for a qualified, reliable long-term care work force
  • Ensure supports are uniformly available and that the Community mental Health system understands how to implement the supports.
  • Ensure compliance by Community mental Health service providers with the mental Health Code's requirement for person-centered planning
  • Ensure funding for mental health services for adults and children with a focus on self-determination, peer support recovery and the provision of appropriate supports and treatment in the most integrated setting are maintained and increased
Michigan's Workforce
Thousands of Michigan workers from all fields are funding themselves under-educated and unskilled to meet the demands of a transitioning economy. Their ability to adapt will depend greatly on weather government creates opportunities for cooperation between business, labor and education to match academic and vocational training with employer needs.
Recommendations:
  • Government must remove public policy barriers - spend down and SGA - and offer incentives for employment - Freedom to Work program and accommodations for persons with disabilities.
  • People on TANF with disabilities must be provided, through programs, the education, training, day care and other community supports they need to move toward employment
  • Michigan's network of One Stop Employment Centers must continue to increase it's accessibility to all citizens to create an inclusive public workforce development system.
  • The entrepreneurial spirit must be championed for persons with disabilities. Small business development, telecommuting, and self-employment opportunities must be recognized and supported as viable employment options
  • the State must aggressively implement the federal mandate for school to work/life transition planning for students with disabilities.
Better Housing Options
The state must take whatever steps it can to encourage expansion in the supply of affordable and accessible housing. An efficient and key option is to offer additional subsidies, such as Section 8 (family choice) vouchers. Households with these vouchers pay no more than 30% of their income in rent and can live where they can find housing - near friends, family, employment, public transportation, school of choice, or a house of worship - making the same choices about housing as people without vouchers.
Recommendations:
  • Housing for people with disabilities should be funded separately from the services they need
  • The Michigan State Housing Development Authority's (MSHDA) initiative on homelessness as well as other agencies involved in permanent solutions to end homelessness, including Michigan's Coalition Against Homelessness and local Continuums of Care, should incorporate and address the issues of people with disabilities.
  • Governments at all levels should comply with and strictly enforce current federal and state current regulations on accessibility as well as commit to going beyond current regulations
  • Michigan builders should market a voluntary certification process for private, open market homes designed in line with the tenets of universal design
Public Transpiration
Many Michigan citizens with or without disabilities depend on public transpiration in order to purse their education, get to work, receive medical services and participate in community activities such as church, shopping and visiting family and friends. These transpiration services need to be safe, seamless, affordable and universally accessible. Nearly half of all Michigan's 83 counties have little or no public transportation services.
Recommendations:
  • The State legislature should adopt legislation that would capture use tax on the lease of automobiles at the same rate the sales tax is captured on automobile sales. Since the transportation funding formula was created, more and more vehicles are leased rather than bought, resulting in significant loss in sales tax revenue to the Comprehensive Transpiration Fund (CTF). Capturing the use on leased vehicles for the CTF would raise $20 million in funding for public transportation
  • The State should increase the level of transit rider participation in local transit decision-making through increasing the powers and responsibilities of transit Local Advisory Councils (LACs).
  • Michigan should pursue statewide accessible transpiration b implementing the legislative mandate for the Department of Transpiration work with transit agencies and local units of government to assure statewide demand-response services and to address unmet transportation needs.
  • Michigan should develop rapid transit in urban areas, which will promote economic development and reduce congestion, pollution and highway repair costs. Light rail corridors would also enhance regional mobility.
  • Michigan should use federal and state dollars to fund voucher programs, thereby increase transportation and consumer choice
Universal Education
Michigan, its lawmakers, educators and citizens must commit to helping all students learn, grow and go to school together. Students with disabilities must get the support they need, in school with other students, to prepare for work and life.
Recommendations:
  • Michigan should ban the use of seclusion in school settings.
  • Limit the use of restraints to unforeseeable emergencies involving significant risk of substantial harm to self or others. Prohibit practices that are inherently dangerous or used for punishment.
  • Require public reporting to the Michigan Department of Education when restraint or seclusion are used
  • State-level administrators must begin to implement dispute resolution changes mandated by the State's own corrective action plan.
  • The state must develop a uniform definition for Functional Behavior Supports.
From Criminalization of Disability to Personal Empowerment
Because Michigan has failed to provide adequate mental health services, there is an alarming increase in placement of both adults and children whose psychiatric symptoms are mistaken for delinquent or criminal behaviors into jails and prisons. Children and adults with mental illness who are committed to facilities in the justice system are extremely vulnerable to physical and sexual assault, self-injury, suicide and deterioration in their mental health status.
Recommendations:
  • The Governor and the legislature must act to implement the Mental Health Commission recommendations for needed improvements to the mental health system for persons with mental illness who are now relegated to the criminal system.
  • the state should mandate diversion programs that include best practice screening and assessment tools, and should require that Community Mental health programs provide mental health treatment to individuals who are in the criminal system because of offenses related to their illness
  • Michigan must continue working toward expansion of the MPRI program and make sure that it's effectiveness and efficiency are thoroughly evaluated.
  • The state should expand and fund Mental Health Courts to serve individuals with mental illness prior to conviction, and funding for the courts should not be taken from the Community Mental health Services Programs. In addition, standards for the courts should be set statewide
Protection of Citizen Rights
In order for persons with disabilities to achieve and maintain full citizenship and participation on communities, they must be afforded, like all other citizens, rights, protections and due process to ensure that the services and supports they choose are accessible and affordable.
Recommendations:
  • The Michigan legislature should continue work on guardianship reform, including Do No resuscitate and other end-of-life decisions.
  • Michigan should require financial reporting for all guardians.
  • The recipient rights system in Michigan should be external and independent
  • Local offices should report to the State Office of Recipient Rights
  • The State office of Recipient Rights must have the authority to impose appropriate sanctions to assure rights protection and advocacy.
  • All polling places must e accessible in a manner compliant with the ADA.
  • The state should recognize and explore the possibility of "no reason" absentee voting
  • Michigan should require local election officials to have polling places assessed for accessibility prior to changing location
Assistive Technology
People with disabilities are entitled to the same opportunities others enjoy. With the continuing developments in technology, being a part of one's community is more available than every before.
People with disabilities are best served by being exposed to technology, having eh opportunity to experiment with technology and being able to acquire technology through informed choice. Vigilance is needed to insure that developing technologies are inclusive and accessible.
Recommendations:
  • Legislative and regulatory safeguards are needed that will ensure full access by people with disabilities to new high-speed broadband, wireless and digital technologies.
  • The Michigan Legislature should enact a law that parallels the employment provisions of Section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.
  • Michigan's Workforce Boards should ensure that their staff receives training to use assistive technology and devices so they can assist persons with disabilities.
  • The legislature should amend the current law known as the Wheelchair Lemon Law to include regulating the sale and leasing of AT and to require AT manufactures to provide an express warranty with prescribed remedies.
  • The state should explore development of a buying cooperative for all state funded programs that purchase assistive devices for people
  • Michigan should pass a law which requires web pages funded by state money to meet the World Wide Web Accessibility Guidelines and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.
Recreation
Michigan's natural resources will always attract both in-state and out of state visitors for a wide range of recreational activities. Travel and tourism will continue to be a significant part of Michigan's economic health, and the recreational opportunities available in Michigan will be a major draw to attract new business to the state. Further, health and wellness is critical for a viable workforce and active population. Therefore, it is essential that Michigan's recreational facilities and programs be designed or modified to provide universal access to all citizens and visitors.
Recommendations:
  • Michigan must increase accessible recreational opportunities including boating, hunting, fishing, biking/hiking trails, camp site, etc.
  • Michigan should search for grant opportunities or other incentives for development of new & accessible construction and recreational opportunities
The undersigned organizations are committed to policies that support access, choice and control by persons with disabilities.
We are committed to the principle that persons with disabilities must be directly involved in the development of policies that affect their lives.
  • The ARC of Michigan
  • Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan
  • Brain Injury Association of Michigan
  • Bridges 4Kids
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
  • Development Disabilities Institute
  • Disability Network Michigan
  • MARO Employment and Training Association
  • Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns
  • Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
  • Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council
  • Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
  • Michigan Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc
  • Michigan Rehabilitation Agency
  • Michigan Rehabilitation Council (now named the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services)
  • Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter
  • United Cerebral Palsy Detroit
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan

 This document was funded in part by state and federal grants and private donations.