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DRM Reports: Beyond Incarceration

Disability Rights Maryland has released it’s detailed report of findings related to segregation and its negative impacts, particularly for persons with disabilities. DRM’s report exposes the harm and misuse of segregation, legal violations and offers recommendations; including references to better and safer alternatives. 

Download Beyond Incarceration: Lock Down for Persons with Disabilities (PDF)

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MD Medicaid Now Covering Adaptive Car Seats

As of September 19, 2017, Maryland Medicaid will now cover adaptive car seats when medically necessary for Medicaid enrollees. These seats can enable people who need more or different support than non-specialized, off-the-shelf car seats provide — or who have outgrown such car seats and require specialized seating — to ride safely in cars and thus participate more fully in the community. Disability Rights Maryland is available to consult with your doctor or physical therapist if he or she has any questions about how to apply for an adaptive car seat for you or your family member. Please contact us at (410) 727-6352.

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HUD Report Reveals Rental Discrimination Based on Mental Disabilities

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development released an important pilot study which revealed that persons living with mental illness, intellectual or other developmental disability continue to face significant discrimination in the rental housing market.

Among the findings, persons with mental disabilities received fewer responses to rental inquiries, were informed of fewer available units and were less likely to be invited to contact the housing provider.

Read the study: Rental Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Disabilities: Results of Pilot Testing

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MD General Assembly Passes Bill to Eliminate Suspension for MD’s Youngest Students

With the passage of HB425/SB651 suspensions and expulsions for Pre-K through second grade students will be limited except in extreme circumstances. Schools must strengthen and implement currently used student support strategies such as creating behavioral intervention plans which are designed to foster peer-to-peer, student-teacher, and teacher-parent relationships. In addition, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB1287 which creates a Commission on the School-to-Prison Pipeline to study the link between discipline and student arrests, and the use of restorative practices.

View the Press Release

According to the Maryland State Department of Education, 2,363 students in Pre-K through second grade were suspended during the 2015-16 school year. Of those, 82 were in Pre-K. DRM has been working on legislation to eliminate the practice of suspension for young students. HB425/SB 651 would require schools to utilize positive interventions and supports and authorizes restorative practices. Advocates hope that this will motivate educators to deal with the reasons children act out, instead of simply removing students from school. DRM has been featured in media reports regarding this bill:

“Maryland bill limits school suspensions for its youngest students” – WUSA 9

“Bill curbing suspensions, expulsions of youngest Maryland students nears final approval” – The Baltimore Sun

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Share Your Story and Help Protect Healthcare

Congress and the Trump Administration are moving toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and changing the fundamental structure of the Medicaid program. Below, we have provided additional information about these proposals and some suggested ways to get more involved. Your story can help illustrate the importance of access to healthcare and gives a voice to many other Americans facing the same issues.

A few ways that the ACA repeal and changes to Medicaid financing would affect the Medicaid program:

  1. Under the ACA, Maryland joined 30 other states in allowing childless adults up to 138% poverty – an estimated 115,000 Marylanders – to access Medicaid coverage, which includes treatment for mental illness and substance abuse disorders that many had previously lacked. Repealing the ACA would likely end coverage for these people.
  2. The ACA allowed states to implement the Community First Choice program (CFC) that covers Medicaid services (including personal care aides) which allows over 9,500 seniors and people with disabilities in Maryland to live at home in the community rather than in institutions.
  3. Other Congressional proposals include changing how Medicaid is paid for in a way that will limit people’s access to healthcare. Currently, Federal and State governments share the cost and changes would limit federal funding by either:
    1. providing a fixed amount of money to each state for its entire Medicaid population (“block grants”)
    2. providing a fixed amount of money per person (“per capita caps”)

With less federal money coming in, either proposal would put great pressure on State funding and likely lead to cuts in services and/or eligibility.

The ACA repeal would affect everyone in Maryland, particularly people with disabilities:

  1. Certain reforms apply to nearly any health insurance plan. Insurance companies are now prohibited from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and from limiting how much they will pay for someone each year and over her lifetime. Also, women may not be charged more for insurance than men; there are limits to how much more seniors may be required to pay than young people; and dependents can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.
  2. The ACA made private insurance affordable through plans available on the exchanges, which are subsidized for people below certain income limits. It also required a more comprehensive benefit package in private plans, including mental health and substance abuse disorder services, and required that many preventative health services be covered for free.

 

Ways you can get involved today:

  1.  Share your story – why you need access to healthcare through the ACA or Medicaid – with the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Share your story with NHeLP
  2. Call your U.S. Senators and Representative, even if you believe they already agree with you, it is helpful for them to hear what their constituents think is important. Look up contact information here.
  3. Send a letter to your member of Congress – National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)

Learn More:

How the ACA repeal would impact Marylanders.
How people with disabilities benefit from the ACA.
How changes in funding would impact Marylanders

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