|Name||Disability Rights Center|
|Address||24 Stone Street, Suite 204|
|Address Line 2|
|Phone||207 626 2774|
|TTY||207 626 2774|
|Toll-free Phone||800 452 1948|
|Toll-free TTY||800 452 1948|
|Fax||207 621 1419|
|Name of P&A Executive Director||Kim Moody|
|Name of PAIR Director/Coordinator||Peter Rice|
|Person to contact regarding report||Kim Moody|
|Contact Person phone||207 626 2774|
Multiple responses are not permitted.
|1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas||0|
|2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas||360|
|3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)||360|
|1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff||102|
|2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)||2,076|
DRC staff bill their time to program they are working under. For example, if a case is opened under the PAIR program, the advocate or attorney will bill his or her time to PAIR. Whenever DRC conducts trainings, the individual conducting the training discusses all programs and includes materials from all our programs. All trainings therefore have a PAIR component and all trainings are also conducted by PAIR staff. Listed below is a representative sample of the trainings conducted by DRC staff that was at least partially paid for by the PAIR program.
At the request of Maine’s Commissioner of DHHS, DRC’s Executive Director trained the 25 statewide ASPIRE managers on disability and employment, focusing on customized employment.
DRC General Counsel conducted two training sessions at a psychiatric hospital on inpatient commitment law. The morning session was for nurses and clinicians and the afternoon session was for physicians and physician assistants. Approximately 20 individuals attended the morning session and 15 attended the afternoon session. As a result of the training, nurses, clinicians and medical staff have additional knowledge regarding commitment laws and procedures and also now have copies of DRC materials.
DRC conducted 5 trainings across the state on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Maine Human Rights Act rights in employment, Social Security work incentives, and resources available to help individuals with disabilities overcome barriers to employment. 66 people attended the trainings.
DRC presented at the annual Maine Autism Alliance Conference. The DRC attorney prepared two presentations, one on basic special education rights and safeguards for parents, and another on recent regulatory changes. The regulatory changes session focused primarily on changes to restraint and seclusion regulations and DRC collaborated with a parent advocate for that presentation. The first session was attended by 35 people and the second session by 60, for a total of 95.
DRC attorney provided training to community case managers of a large mental health agency on advance directives. Approximately 12 people attended at the site and another 30 attended by remote transmission. Community integration workers are better educated about advance directives and how they can assist their clients. DRC participated in planning events and attended a conference for peer supports. DRC presented on issues in Maine in health delivery systems and in law that should be of interest to individuals with mental illness. Peers attending the conference have a greater understanding of critical issues affecting health delivery systems and proposed changes in the law affecting rights.
DRC was invited by the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) Program Manager, part of the Family Division of the Maine Judicial Branch, to develop and deliver a presentation on special education law and protections for students with disabilities as part of a training program for new advocates. The DRC attorney trained 13 individuals who are now working as CASA advocates. In addition, the session was taped to be used in future trainings.
DRC presented as part of a panel on the ADA, Workers Comp and Family Medical Leave Act by the Maine State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section. Over one hundred Maine attorneys who attended the 12th Annual Employment Law Update were educated about the rights of employees with disabilities under the ADA, the Maine Human Rights Act, Family and Medical Leave Act and the Workers Compensation Act. The presentation emphasized how the three statutory schemes often apply simultaneously. Attendees learned about the extent to which these independent legal frameworks overlap and in some instances conflict. Following the presentation, a follow-up webinar was scheduled due to interest in the subject matter. Many additional attorneys will be educated through DRC written materials and webcasts sponsored by the Maine State Bar Association.
DRC updated approximately 30 employment lawyers who primarily represent plaintiffs at a Maine Employment Lawyers Association (MELA) meeting regarding leave rights of employees with disabilities. At the meeting the attorneys were updated and educated about the leave rights of individual with disabilities under the ADA, and how ADA rights intersect with Workers Comp and Family Medical leave laws. The purpose of the training was to protect and further the rights of individuals with disabilities in the workplace through their counsel.
DRC Executive Director provided training to more than 60 individuals at a statewide Consumer Council System of Maine meeting. Executive Director spoke about lessons learned in the psychiatric survivor movement in Maine over the past 25 years, discussed internalized repression and in-fighting in the movement and suggested ways to deal with and to avoid such conflict.
The DRC Education Team provided special education rights information in request to 110 queries from children’s case managers and other children’s providers during the 2013 fiscal year.
DRC delivered a two hour training on special education law, procedural safeguards and restraint and seclusion for individuals seeking to become advocates for 8 individuals through the Maine Autism Society.
DRC co-presented along with the Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) for the state of Delaware at a workshop focusing on the issues revolving around the definition of chemical restraint under federal law against the backdrop of actual practices in mental health facilities.
DRC advocates and attorneys provided training on guardianship and alternatives to guardianship to more than 100 individuals with disabilities, family members, guardians, and providers statewide. DRC staff presented a workshop on Guardianship and Alternatives at the annual Autism Society conference, 15 people attended the workshop. DRC attorney trained 4 community case managers. Another DRC attorney trained 15 psychologists and social workers at Colby College as part of a continuing education program for medical professionals. The DRC attorney provided DRC material to the participants at the Colby College training. DRC trained 45 self-advocates at the statewide Speaking Up For Us (a statewide self-advocacy organization for individuals with developmental disabilities) conference.
DRC presented a housing training entitled “An Overview of Tenant Rights and Overcoming Housing Discrimination” to approximately 50 community social workers and case managers. The training focused on the housing rights of individuals in the community who are either seeking housing, have housing and are at risk of losing housing or who may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation on the basis of disability in order to maintain housing. All participants were provided with an electronic folder of information that included the PowerPoint of the presentation and various housing rights documents from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A master’s of social work candidate at University of Southern Maine asked to interview a DRC staff person regarding disability in Maine for a class project. The advocate appeared in a 15-minute video segment reviewing: 1) history of protection and advocacy; 2) DRC services and priorities; 3) barriers and issues facing people with disabilities in Maine; and 4) how to use DRC services. The video was a component of a class presentation to other graduate students in social work and posted on "You Tube" for a week.
The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar certified an in-house DRC attorney to conduct a training entitled “Legal Strategies for Representing Individuals with Disabilities Who are in Danger of Losing their Housing” for 1 credit of Continuing Legal Education for 7 DRC attorneys and 8 other staff members. The training focused on using a variety of legal strategies, including state licensing regulations, federal housing regulations and developer financing agreements when advocating for the housing rights of individuals with disabilities. All participants were provided access to an electronic folder of information that included the PowerPoint Presentation and copies of all the legal authorities that were cited to in the presentation.
DRC advocate provided training on the rights of recipients of mental health services in the State of Maine to 30 students of a Case Management class at a local community college.
DRC’s Executive Director met with 15 members of the Developmental Services Oversight and Advisory Board to present training on Employment First.
DRC’s Executive Director presented a training on rights to 40 people on self-advocacy at the statewide HOPE conference, a mental health recovery conference sponsored by the state, providers, and by consumer organizations.
DRC provided rights training to a total of 739 individuals with disabilities, family members, guardians, and providers statewide, including 116 supporters and 62 self-advocates. DRC provided rights training to state coordinators. DRC provided rights training to 240 supporters and 60 people with disabilities. DRC also provided rights training statewide to 231 supporters of people with disabilities.
DRC presented a training to 10 staff attorneys at Legal Services for the Elderly on housing. The training focused on protecting clients rights if they are subject to possible eviction or discharge from assisted living facilities. A focus was on the ways to request reasonable accommodations on the basis of disability as a way to maintain housing in those types of circumstances.
DRC’s Education Team provided trainings on a wide range of topics to more than 261 children’s case managers and other child service providers. Topics covered included: rules regarding school district responses to reports of bullying and harassment; introduction to special education rights, procedural safeguards, and dispute resolution; transition planning and graduation; Child Development Services (ages birth through five); and use of restraint and seclusion at school.
A local parent group asked DRC to submit an article for its newsletter distributed to parents of children with disabilities on the topic of restraint and seclusion. The Education Team agreed and provided a one-page article outlining the new, and most significant, changes to regulations governing the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.
DRC Executive Director was invited to present a rights training to 75 upper level management staff members of a large residential and day treatment provider for Maine children. The training included specifics on IDEA and rights to assistive technology and offered numerous examples of appropriate referrals to DRC, discussed the conflict between rights and safety, discussed guardianship and took open questions from the floor as to how an advocate might work through specific challenging cases where staff are at risk of violating rights.
|1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff||40|
|2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles||67|
|3. PSAs/videos aired||0|
|4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website||72,768|
|5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated||4,516|
|6. Other (specify separately)||27,181|
Facebook-23,479 DRC Newsletter3,702
Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.
|1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)||21|
|2. Additional individuals served during the year||48|
|3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)||69|
|4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)||7|
Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 35
|1. Architectural accessibility||2|
|3. Program access||0|
|5. Government benefits/services||7|
|8. Assistive technology||0|
|10. Health care||3|
|12. Non-government services||16|
|13. Privacy rights||0|
|14. Access to records||0|
|1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor||10|
|2. Other representation found||1|
|3. Individual withdrew complaint||10|
|4. Appeals unsuccessful||1|
|5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.||3|
|6. PAIR withdrew from case||1|
|7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources||1|
|8. Individual case lacks legal merit||2|
Client not responsive-2
List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.
|1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy||0|
|2. Short-term assistance||26|
|5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution||0|
|6. Administrative hearings||4|
|7. Litigation (including class actions)||2|
|8. Systemic/policy activities||0|
|1. 0 - 4||0|
|2. 5 - 22||6|
|3. 23 - 59||47|
|4. 60 - 64||6|
|5. 65 and over||10|
Multiple responses not permitted.
|1. Hispanic/Latino of any race||0|
|2. American Indian or Alaskan Native||0|
|4. Black or African American||0|
|5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander||0|
|7. Two or more races||3|
|8. Race/ethnicity unknown||3|
Multiple responses not permitted.
|2. Parental or other family home||8|
|3. Community residential home||1|
|4. Foster care||0|
|5. Nursing home||2|
|6. Public institutional living arrangement||0|
|7. Private institutional living arrangement||0|
|8. Jail/prison/detention center||0|
|10. Other living arrangements||0|
|11. Living arrangements not known||0|
Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints
|1. Blind/visual impairment||6|
|2. Deaf/hard of hearing||2|
|4. Orthopedic impairment||30|
|5. Mental illness||1|
|6. Substance abuse||0|
|7. Mental retardation||0|
|8. Learning disability||6|
|9. Neurological impairment||6|
|10. Respiratory impairment||6|
|11. Heart/other circulatory impairment||4|
|12. Muscular/skeletal impairment||0|
|13. Speech impairment||0|
|15. Traumatic brain injury||1|
|16. Other disability||5|
|1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities||5|
|2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes||150,040|
Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.
DRC seeks systemic change with all of our activities, including case work. With regards to the Employment First initiative, according to Maine Snapshot statistics (which are based on the American Community Survey) there are 110,041 working age adults with disabilities in Maine and the employment rate for people with disabilities is 35%, which works out to 38,862 leaving 72,179 not working, and with 24% of those individuals either PADD or PAIMI eligible that means that 95,185 PAIR eligible individuals are affected. There are 54,855 people with ambulatory disabilities in Maine, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) and they all would be affected by changes to the accessibility guidelines. Finally, we estimate that there are 122 individuals affected by the Money Follows the Person in Maine.
DRC actively participated in the meetings of the American National Standards Institute which was tasked with developing the standards for accessible buildings and facilities. The standards were last issued in 2008 and the committee has begun the next review cycle. The scope of this committee includes site design and architectural features affecting the accessibility and usability of buildings and facilities, consideration to be given to all types of physical and sensory disabilities, to publicly used buildings and facilities and to residential structures. Staff participated in meetings, teleconferences and the balloting process for proposals that were submitted and acted upon by the committee. While the work of the ANSI committee is on-going, DRC staff withdrew due to time constraints and an effort to focus on those activities that will more directly and immediately impact individuals with disabilities in this state.
DRC participates in and advisory/stakeholder group meetings regarding Maine’s implementation of the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Project. In FY 13, the Independent Living Center hired a housing coordinator to assist individuals with exploring safe, affordable and accessible housing options. Also in FY 2013, 4 individuals successfully transitioned into the community and are doing well. An additional 21 people are in the transition stages, with 8 more individuals in the referral process. This project is ongoing. This fiscal year the MFP program was in the implementation stages, with several successful transitions having occurred. As the project goes forward, the stakeholder group continues to monitor progress and provide feedback and assistance with issues that may arise.
Maine legislators want DRC’s perspective on legislation that affects people with disabilities in Maine. Even when legislators want DRC’s perspective, DRC does not testify before legislative committees unless DRC receives an invitation from either the House Chair of the Committee or the Senate Chair. Any time DRC testifies, it is because DRC has received an invitation.
During his campaign, Senator Angus King, announced at a DRC sponsored candidates forum, that he would create a disability advisory Council if elected and that DRC’s ED would chair the council. In FY 2013, the DRC ED identified 10 people with disabilities who are also leaders in the disability movement to serve on the council. Two meetings were held in the fiscal year and Senator King’s staff attended both.
DRC’s Executive Director (ED) is the current Vice president of Board of Directors of the National Disability Rights Network, in the position of Vice President. That position also entails the ED serving on the NDRN Strategic Planning Committee and NDRN Succession Planning Committee.
Employment First • DRC’s Executive Director and Advocacy Director served on Maine’s Employment First Coalition that supported legislation (see below; LD 1352 An Act to Provide Integrated Community-based Employment and Customized Employment for Persons with Disabilities) making Maine a formal “Employment First” state. DRC’s ED worked with the coalition that met with the President of the Senate, asking him to be the prime sponsor on the bill. Because there were a number of disability leaders who were threatening to publicly oppose employment first being implemented in Maine, DRC’s ED worked with these disability groups and got them to agree with Employment First.
• At the request of the Commissioner of DHHS, DRC’s Executive Director met with Maine’s Governor to discuss employment issues relating to people with disabilities. They talked about the efficacy of the clubhouse model, the importance of employment in people’s lives, the desire of people with disabilities to work, customized employment (which the Governor understood because he had implemented at his business — a young woman with severe CP watching the loss prevention closed circuit monitors). As a result, the Governor agreed to support the bill.
DRC’s ED worked with a team of graduate students from University of Southern Maine on a project comparing and contrasting disability and legal advocacy among various organizations.
The entire DRC staff met for 3 hours with the staff of Alpha One, Maine’s only independent living center to discuss areas of collaboration and outlining areas of expertise.
DRC participated on a group convened by a social worker at a local hospital in order to discuss problems they are facing when an individual is or becomes incapacitated, has no interested person who may serve as surrogate decision maker, and is hospitalized. The scope of the problem included discussions of individuals in medical/surgical beds post emergency services or in emergency departments. Without a surrogate, the patient may not receive services beyond emergency services, or ends up staying in hospital unnecessarily since discharge plans cannot be developed. This not only means that the patient stays in a highly restrictive setting, it also puts them at risk of developing hospital acquired illnesses. DRC recommended that the hospital solicit help from the Maine Hospital Association to promote advance directives, both to revise and make it clearer that the form is not simply meant for end of life decisions and to develop plans for greater dissemination. DRC also recommended that a group consider some changes to the temporary guardianship provisions, to explore something possibly similar to the former medical treatment order provision. Finally, DRC offered to work with the hospital on these and other projects that they may consider.
DRC created an internal workgroup to explore systemic change in the guardianship process, including; changing current probate court practices, changing current probate statutes, working with psychologists, and use of an alternative form of assisted decision making. In FY 13, the group met with the Maine Psychological Association in an effort to build new partnerships. DRC also reached out to other organizations, such as the Developmental Disabilities Council and the Center For Community Inclusion and Disability Studies.
DRC has actively participated in and provided technical support and guidance to the City of Portland in recruiting members and developing a structure for the Portland Disability Commission. The commission was formally ratified by the city council as an official city commission, intended to advise the city on disability concerns pertaining to access, inclusion, and civil rights for people with disabilities who live, work, or interact with the city. DRC continued to support commission members, provide guidance to the commission and city staff and assist in development of commission goals and work plans. The commission has been tasked by the city manager to develop a “livability campaign” for the city, including hosting a public forum, conducting public outreach, and developing ongoing city-sponsored activities aimed at emphasizing access and quality of life issues for people with disabilities and all citizens in the city.
DRC reviewed proposed regulations issued by the Administration on Community Living and the Administration on Aging that would, for the first time, outline the duties and responsibilities of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP). DRC submitted comments to the reviewing in part how DRC has worked well with the LTCOP in Maine and how the regulations could be strengthened by having LTCOPs across the country work more closely with the P&As.
DRC actively participated in the federally mandated MaineCare Advisory Committee that advises the state Medicaid agency on matters relating to MaineCare services. DRC’s Public Policy Director was elected as Chair in January 2013. The committee routinely reviews and comments upon pending rule changes, the status of the childless adult waiver and special projects. Among the projects discussed and commented in FY 2013, were the home health initiative and community care teams, accountable care initiative, PNMI conversion, school based services, children’s services, the transportation waiver, changes to MaineCare-funded transportation services, implementation of the ACA and its impact on MaineCare (application, referral to Marketplace), and the legislative MaineCare redesign committee.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified the state that the way in which it funds residential services did not comply with federal requirements. DRC participated in meetings with Maine DHHS in reviewing proposals and promoting alternatives that will meet the needs of residents. During FY 2013 the state presented a final model for services for the medical and remedial PNMI’s. Implementation is being deferred until FY 2014.
The DRC testified and submitted comments to the Board of the Maine State Housing Authority objecting to certain portions of a proposed plan that would adversely affect reasonable accommodation requests for Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) vouchers The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires housing authorities that administer housing assistance in the form of these vouchers to have specific plans on how they deal with these issues, including the granting or denying of requests for reasonable accommodations on the basis of disability. The Board passed the administrative plan, however they are open to changing certain areas that were addressed in the DRC testimony. DRC attorney met with MSHA staff and agreements were reached in general regarding certain changes that will be finalized and presented to the Board.
DRC monitored the proceedings of a task force established by the legislature to develop plans for redesigning the MaineCare program in order to meet targeted budgetary reductions. DRC also testified at one of the hearings and submitted comments to the task force, chaired by the commissioner of DHHS.
LD 20 An Act To Fully Fund the Homemaker Services Program DRC supported this bill that would would provide an additional $1.5m in funding for Fiscal Years 13 and 14, with equivalent amounts projected for Fiscal Years 15 and 16. This bill would not eliminate the waiting lists but would allow an estimated 1,040 individuals to come off the lists and begin receiving services. The bill was later amended to create a resolve directing the state DHHS to research whether instrumental actives of daily living would be Medicaid reimbursable.
LD 23 An Act To Lower the Cost of Copies of Medical Records DRC supported this bill that would lower the costs for photocopying records because it would save DRC money. The bill became law without the Governor’s signature.
LD 155 An Act to Streamline the Approval of Accessibility Structures DRC supported this bill that increased access for people with disabilities to their homes and communities. Currently, individuals who wish to construct a ramp must go through a zoning board of appeals to approve the construction. LD 155 would allow municipalities to bypass this process by having the code enforcement officer grant permits to build a disability ramp and thereby streamline the process. The bill passed the legislature and was signed by the Governor.
LD 403 Resolve, To Establish a Task Force on the Establishment of So-Called Complete Streets Design Guidelines DRC supported this bill that would have created a task force to implement Complete Streets design guidelines and to make Maine communities safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone. This approach would allow everyone to travel to and from work, school, and other destinations with the same level of safety and ease, regardless of mobility, vision, or cognitive disabilities. The bill died.
LD 488 An Act To Improve Access to Home-based and Community-based Care in the MaineCare Program DRC supported this bill that sought to increase home and community based options for people with disabilities.. The bill would have increased home and community based services for individuals eligible for waiver services by providing that as long as the cost of home and community based services for a particular member is equal to or less than 95% of the cost of providing services to that member in a nursing facility, that member should be allowed to receive services in the least restrictive appropriate setting-home. The bill was held over to the second session of the 126th Legislature.
LD 499 An Act To Promote Dental Care for Low-income Populations DRC supported this bill that sought funding for the dental clinic located in southern Maine that will shift the cost to hospital emergency departments, as individuals seek treatment for pain and health issues related to poor oral health. The bill was carried over to the next session.
LD 633 An Act To Grant the Commissioner of Health and Human Services and the Commissioner’s Designees the Independent Authority To Issue Adjudicatory Subpoenas DRC supported this bill that would allow the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, or the Commissioner’s designee, to issue subpoenas, rather than the current system by which the Attorney General’s Office issues subpoenas upon the request of the Commissioner. The bill passed and was signed by the Governor.
LD 1065 An Act Regarding Patient-Directed Care at the end of Life DRC opposed a bill that would have allowed terminally ill patients to direct their own end of life care. The bill died.
LD 1066 An Act To Increase Access to Health Coverage and Qualify Maine for Federal Funding DRC supported this legislation that would have expanded Medicaid (called MaineCare in Maine) consistent with Affordable Care Act. The passed the legislature and was vetoed by the Governor. The veto was sustained.
LD 1230 An Act to Improve Access to Oral Health Care DRC supported this bill that would improve access to dental health services for Mainers in general, and for Mainers with disabilities in particular by creating a mid-level dental health provider license. The bill was carried over to the next session.
LD 1352 An Act to Provide Integrated Community-based Employment and Customized Employment for Persons with Disabilities DRC supported this legislation that would increase the employment opportunities of people with disabilities by requiring employment to be considered for any person with a disability before considering public benefits. The bill passed and the Governor allowed it to become law without his signature.
LD 1486 An Act To Reduce the Use of Hospital Emergency Departments for Preventable Oral Health Conditions DRC supported this bill that sought to increase oral hygiene services to Maine citizens. The bill passed the legislature and was vetoed by the Governor. The veto was sustained.
LD 1487 An Act to Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program DRC opposed this legislation that sought to impose managed care for Medicaid (called MaineCare in Maine) because the time frame outlined in the bill was not long enough to obtain input from people with disabilities, who would be the ultimate users of the system of care devised. The bill was carried over to the next session.
|1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts||17,415|
|2. Number of individuals named in class actions||0|
Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.
DRC represented 6 individuals in litigation in FY 2012. None of the litigation cases involved class actions. DRC either filed suit, or threatened suit, in a number of cases that potentially could have resulted in litigation, but settled prior to filing. Employment cases are examples of this as the law requires clients to exhaust their administrative remedies before filing in court. Employment cases are also difficult and often lead to individual results but rarely lead to systemic relief as employers often require a confidentiality agreement before settling the case.
For example, DRC represented a 52 year old male former client who was terminated from his job after a new supervisor fired him. DRC had successfully advocated for the client to get reasonable accommodations. After the new supervisor fired him, because of his accommodations, DRC took his case to the Maine Human Rights Commission. Before the commission process finished, the client had found a new job and wanted to settle the claim against the former employer. DRC represented the client at a mediation session that successfully resolved the case.
It is difficult to gauge how many individuals are affected by a single case. For example, DRC successfully represented a man in his 50’s who uses a wheelchair, who contacted DRC because the hospital where he received treatment for his wound did not have simple items that he needed when he was hospitalized for a bladder infection/UTI. The hospital did not have adequate shower chairs — some were broken, some had no railings; there was no transfer bench and because the shower chairs were not appropriate, client could not toilet in the shower and had to toilet in bed, which he did and felt embarrassed. DRC contacted the hospital and requested that they purchase an appropriate transfer bench and shower chair. The hospital agreed to purchase the equipment and sought client’s guidance before placing the order. The hospital also placed the mirror so that it is accessible to people who use wheelchairs. The client continues to access the wound clinic at this hospital.
DRC also represented a 55 year old woman with physical disabilities who contacted DRC after requesting that the housing authority where she lived replace inoperable doors and buzzers that created a safety hazard for residents and visitors with physical disabilities in a HUD subsidized apartment complex. The housing authority stated that the door opener would not be repaired for a year or more due to the lack of funds. DRC contacted the housing authority and explained their legal obligation to ensure safe access for residents and visitors with physical disabilities. Thereafter, the housing authority replaced the electronic door openers and buzzers, and now individuals with disabilities can independently access the building.
DRC represented a 51 year old man who uses a power wheelchair after a van transportation company denied him service to his medical appointments. The company maintained that because he had a bus pass, he could take public transportation, i.e., the public bus. DRC contacted the transportation company and explained that as a public accommodation, it was subject to the ADA and requested that they modify their policy and provide services to client when weather conditions make it impossible for him to access the bus. The company then agreed to client’s request.
One of the most satisfying cases DRC handled this fiscal year involved a 46 year-old woman with mobility impairments after MaineCare denied her a myoelectric prosthesis. The client, a quadrilateral amputee as a result of a systemic infection, had been prescribed a myoelectric prosthesis by her doctor because she was unable to operate the standard cable operated system she was given to engage in most tasks of daily living. MaineCare had a general prohibition against funding these items, categorizing them as "deluxe" items. DRC took the case to hearing and the hearing officer reversed the DHHS decision and ordered the myoelectric prosthesis be provided. DRC then received a request for representation in a case involving another client who needed myoelectric prosthetic arms. After DRC got involved, the DHHS withdrew the hearing request and provided funding for the myoelectric prosthetic arms.
One of the most distressing cases DRC handled involved a 59 year old man with physical disabilities whom DRC was and is representing in a pending discrimination case where the nursing facility where the client lived improperly restricted his access to his motorized wheelchair. The doctor at the nursing home filed a petition for public guardianship. DRC represented the client in the probate proceedings and assisted the client in obtaining an independent evaluation stating that the client was competent and not in need of guardianship. The DRC attorney then shared this with the attorney representing DHHS and went to a meeting with DHHS and individuals from the referring facility to discuss the matter. Following this meeting, DHHS determined that the client was not in need of guardianship and the petition was dismissed.
DRC represented a 59 year old blind man after the client went to dinner with his assistant and when they arrived, the host informed him that he would have to sit in an isolated area away from other diners because of the service dog. When client got up to go to the buffet, guided by his service animal, the host stared at him from across the room and a restaurant employee followed him with an industrial bucket on wheels and was mopping furiously where ever client went. The Maine Human Rights Commission found reasonable grounds and the result was the restaurant adopting a nondiscrimination policy, posting a sign welcoming people with service animals, and paid compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees to DRC.
For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:
1. a statement of the priority
Priority 1 People with disabilities will be safe from abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and will be guaranteed basic personal rights.
2. the need addressed by each priority
People with disabilities are often more vulnerable than the general population because they are more dependent upon others for food, care and safety and often cannot defend themselves or fear reporting instances of abuse or neglect because they fear retaliation. They are also often subject to financial exploitation. People with disabilities can placed under guardianship unnecessarily or can be subject to exploitation or neglect by their guardian
3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority
DRC will conduct secondary investigations of allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation and, if appropriate, represent the individuals. DRC will represent individuals with disabilities who report instances of abuse, neglect or deprivation of basic rights by staff of a facility or by any other individual who has an affirmative duty to the individual such as a teacher, case worker or other professional. Abuse, neglect and deprivation of personal rights are: -failure to provide appropriate treatment or evaluations, including the use of appropriate assistive technology; -deprivation of basic necessities; -providing an unsafe physical environment; -financial exploitation, physical or sexual abuse for failure to protect an individual from physical or sexual abuse by others; -improper use of seclusion, restraint, medication or other aversive intervention; and -interference with basic rights of access to the following: the outdoors, visitors, free communication, recreation, the exercise of religion, voting, family members and legal rights information and representation.
-DRC will work to find alternatives to guardianship and represent individuals who are unnecessarily placed under guardianship or at risk of being placed under guardianship unnecessarily.
4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. DRC collaborates with the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) and other state enforcement agencies, including law enforcement. The collaboration with the LTCOP has been successful and DRC continues to foster relationships with LTCOP and other agencies responsible for investigating allegations of this sort.
5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 26 cases, none of which were class actions
6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.
A 59 year old man with physical disabilities contacted DRC regarding a petition for public guardianship that was filed by the doctor at the nursing facility where he lived. DRC was already representing the individual at the time, investigating concerns that the nursing facility had improperly restricted his access to his mobility equipment. DRC represented the client in the probate proceedings, because the petition seemed to be related to the discrimination suit filed against the nursing home. DRC attorney assisted the client in obtaining an independent evaluation and in filing a form that stated that the client was competent and not in need of guardianship. The DRC attorney then shared this with the attorney representing the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and went to a meeting with DHHS and individuals from the referring facility to discuss the matter. Following this meeting, DHHS moved to dismiss the petition.
1. a statement of the priority;
Priority 2 Individuals with disabilities will receive services, including healthcare and housing, in the most integrated setting appropriate and, where possible, direct their own services.
2. the need addressed by each priority;
Often, individuals with disabilities must remain or enter into living situations that are more restrictive than what the client wants, or what is necessary in order to address legitimate safety or medical considerations. Often this happens because they are not afforded reasonable accommodations, modifications, assistive aids or services that enable them to reside where they choose. Medicaid waivers allow individuals to receive services in the community rather than in institutions but they are limited. Sometimes, hospital or service agency personnel, state agency representatives or other professionals exert undue pressure on people with disabilities to stay in a facility or not live on their own. Other times this can be the result of budget cutbacks, where departments are asked to cut spending in certain programs, such as personal care services, and in order to achieve those cutbacks, individuals are threatened with institutionalization. Whenever possible, individuals with disabilities should be able to live in communities of their choice as well as direct their own services. Healthcare is covered by this priority and is particularly important to people with disabilities. This priority also covers housing. Shelter is an essential human need. Maine has a relatively older housing stock, so inaccessible housing exits in all communities throughout the state. People with disabilities often do not own their own home, but rent where they live. They have a much more difficult time obtaining and keeping suitable housing because of their disability. They are also much more likely to be subject to eviction because of their disabilities. Tenants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable modifications or reasonable accommodations but are often denied those accommodations because of their disabilities
3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
DRC will represent individuals with disabilities in administrative hearings and in court, where service cutbacks either force them to go into an institution or remain in an institution. DRC will also represent tenants with disabilities who are being discriminated against on the basis of disability by being evicted. DRC will provide technical assistance to those who need reasonable modifications or accommodations in order for them to maintain or obtain suitable housing and their requests to their landlords have been denied. DRC will review the need for direct representation in housing cases seeking reasonable accommodation or modifications. However, since losing two staff attorneys within the last year, DRC’s ability to provide direct representation in housing cases is severely limited. DRC will participate in efforts to find alternatives to institutional or institutional like settings.
4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. DRC regularly meets and works with the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) to discuss case strategies, trends and other issues of common concern, such as issues around services in the least restrictive setting issues and questions about the nursing home waivers. DRC also works with Legal Services for the Elderly (LSE) on these issues. LTCOP refers DRC waiver cases involving individuals with disabilities living in the community who are threatened with institutionalization because they were assessed as needing fewer personal care attendant hours. DRC and LSE share legal briefs and other memoranda where appropriate. In housing matters, DRC collaborates with the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC). In return for receiving federal funds, the MHRC must prosecute housing cases where it finds reasonable grounds to believe that disability based housing discrimination occurred. DRC has discussed co-counseling cases with the MHRC and even been contacted by the MHRC to co-counsel cases. Those cases have all settled prior to DRC getting involved.
5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 26, none of which were class actions.
6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.
DRC successfully represented a 55 year old woman with physical disabilities and required that a housing authority replace inoperable doors and buzzers which were creating a safety hazard for residents and visitors with physical disabilities in a HUD subsidized apartment complex. Client complained that her building has an electric door opener that was inoperable and it was extremely difficult to open the door because it was heavy. After resident complained, the housing authority said that the door opener would not be repaired for a year or more due to the lack of funds. DRC contacted the housing authority and reiterated their legal obligation to ensure safe access for residents and visitors with physical disabilities. Thereafter, the housing authority replaced the electronic door openers and buzzers, and now individuals with disabilities can independently access the building.
Client is a 31-year-old male with Multiple Sclerosis. He entered the Emergency Department of a private hospital seeking treatment of sores on his posterior. The hospital determined that the client did not meet admission criteria and sought to discharge him but there was no place to safely discharge him. His home, where he lived with his personal care attendant, had been condemned. He could not live with his mother, as her apartment was not accessible. The local General Assistance Office was closed. DRC contacted the hospital lawyer reminding them of their obligations. While speaking with the client, DHHS called. They agreed to place client in a motel to live with his attendant. After the weekend, client reported that he was back at the hospital and either going to a nursing facility or going back to the motel.
1. a statement of the priority;
Priority 3 People with disabilities will not be subject to unlawful disability based discrimination in employment.
2. the need addressed by the priority;
In Maine, about 206,400 people have a disability, or about 16% of the population. Of those 206,400 people, about 23,390 or 11% are working age adults with disabilities in Maine. About 35% of working age Maine citizens with a disability have full time work, compared with 62% of working age Mainers without a disability. 22% of Maine citizens with disability earn less than $10,000 compared to 12% of Maine citizens without a disability. These statistics are consistent with national statistics. People with disabilities are disproportionately poor. They are systematically excluded from the workplace. They are excluded from the workforce because of stereotyping, fears of increased cost, inflexibility in considering accommodations and outright prejudice. Even though an employee may only need a reasonable accommodation in order for her or him to maintain or secure employment, employers are reluctant to provide individuals with disabilities with any accommodations. People with disabilities sometimes need assistance in making a request for a reasonable accommodation and representation when the request is denied. People with disabilities are often terminated from employment because of disabilities or they are at serious risk of termination or they have been subject to other serious adverse employment action. Sometimes people with disabilities are harassed on the job or subject to retaliation. Members of the private bar are reluctant to take employment cases because of the difficulty of proving employment claims, the hostility of the courts and the high cost of prosecuting cases. As a result of this reluctance, P&As are often the only source of representation for people with disabilities in employment cases.
3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
DRC will represent individuals who, because of their disability: -need accommodations in the workplace; -have been subjected to adverse job action in the workplace; have been subjected to a hostile work environment because of their disability; or -who have been subjected to retaliation.
DRC is always looking for opportunity to do an employment class action.
4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
Over the past couple of years, DRC has lost staff due to funding concerns and have not replaced one attorney who handled many of the employment discrimination claims. Recently, DRC has hired an advocate to work on employment issues. However, that still leaves DRC with one attorney handling employment cases. She is a member of the Maine Employment Lawyers Association (MELA) and the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). She works closely with members of the private bar across the state, including MELA members and with NELA attorneys across the country. DRC also works with legislators, providers, government officials and employers to increase the employment of people with disabilities. In fact, DRC assembled a coalition of more than 20 disability organizations to address the issue of unemployment for people with disabilities. The coalition, after deciding that an Employment First effort should be housed at DRC, worked successfully to pass Employment First legislation. An Act To Provide Integrated Community-based Employment and Customized Employment for Persons with Disabilities passed and was signed by the Governor. This legislation will require employment services as the first and preferred service or support option and will assist people with disabilities to pursue integrated community based employment and customized employment.
5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 29, none of which were class actions.
6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.
DRC represented an employee with mental illness and alcoholism after his employer withdrew a discriminatory "last chance agreement" it had previously imposed on the client. Client, a customer service representative in a large company, contacted DRC after he disclosed his disability and need for reasonable accommodation for treatment to his employer and his employer in turn imposed a punitive "last chance agreement" on him. The company made clear that client must sign the agreement or he could not return to work after his leave. Client at no time had any work performance issues whatsoever, he simply needed to take leave to obtain treatment and stay well. The agreement threatened to terminate him for taking any additional time off at all or for the slightest transgression. A DRC attorney determined that this last chance agreement violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Maine Human Rights Act and contacted the employer to challenge it. Soon thereafter, the employer withdrew the last chance agreement. Client continues to work for company and is no longer subject to the last chance agreement.
A man who has a visual impairment was able to retain his employment after his employer refused to adjust the client’s work schedule. Due to his limitations in seeing, which makes it very difficult for client to drive after dark, client requested a reasonable accommodation from his employer to work set hours so that he did not have to commute to and from work when it is dark outside. Employer refused and scheduled client to work a varied schedule, including a schedule that required him to commute after dark. Client’s mental illness was exacerbated due to extreme anxiety of having to commute under these conditions. DRC drafted and obtained a signed letter from client’s doctor verifying client’s disability and the need for reasonable accommodation. DRC then negotiated with employer who then granted the client’s request for a reasonable accommodation, a modified scheduled that allowed him to safely commute and allowed the client to retain the job he had held for over 10 years.
A client with a neurological disability was given the opportunity for advancement in his job and higher pay, after having initially been denied. Client is a man in his 50’s who contacted Disability Rights Center after his employer informed him that he may not be trained on forklift operation, which would have brought job advancement and increased pay, because of his tremors. Without any objective medical information, client’s manager and supervisor decided that the client could not operate a forklift because of the tremors which were caused by his neurological disability. DRC advised the client to consult with his doctor regarding a medical opinion on whether client could operate the forklift, and to follow up with supervisor to request reconsideration. Client’s manager thereafter changed her mind and informed client that he will be trained to drive the forklift. Client took the forklift operation safety test and passed and was trained on the forklift after he returned from an upcoming medical leave for surgery.
A client with neurological disorder was compensated for his termination from employment. Client was an employee of company which previously provided him with reasonable accommodation, a modified shift schedule of six rather than eight hours. Client contacted DRC when his new supervisor summarily terminated him due to his need for reasonable accommodation, rather than providing the accommodation or a reassignment. A DRC attorney filed a charge of discrimination at the Maine Human Rights Commission on client’s behalf alleging illegal termination and failure to accommodate client’s need for a modified shift schedule. Soon after he was terminated, client was hired by a new employer who accommodated him. He did not accept the offer of employment with accommodations from his previous employer. DRC attorney represented client at mediation at the Maine Human Rights Commission, which resulted in a confidential settlement that compensated client for his losses and attorneys’ fees.
1. a statement of the priority;
Priority 4 Public accommodations and governmental services will be accessible to people with disabilities.
2. the need addressed by the priority;
This priority covers both public accommodations and governmental services. Individuals with disabilities are often denied access to government or private services, or public accommodations, because of architectural barriers or because of policies, practices or procedures that discriminate against people with disabilities. Requests for modifications or accommodations are often denied, as are requests to discontinue discriminatory policies, practices or procedures. Often discrimination in governmental benefits occur through denial of benefits or services, or by offering benefits or services that are unequal to or less effective than those offered to persons without disabilities or by offering or providing different or segregated benefits or services when such action is not necessary in order to make the benefit or service effective. Direct representation is often the best mechanism to produce change.
3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority
DRC will represent individuals with disabilities who sought and were denied reasonable accommodations or modifications in order to access critical services either before the Maine Human Rights Commission or in court.
4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
DRC works with governmental agencies and private non-profits who refer clients to us who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination.
5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. DRC handles public accommodations and governmental services under the same priority. 13 cases, none of which were class actions.
6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.
An elderly client with physical disabilities was able to continue residing in her apartment with the necessary modifications she needed after DRC contacted the client housing provider and convinced the provider to make the modifications. A 79 year old woman who resided in a HUD development in a small Maine town contacted DRC after client’s housing provider refused to install an accessible bathtub on the grounds that it is not obligated to do so. Client and her daughter were afraid that without the modifications the client would no longer be able to live there, and client would lose the support and companionship of her family. The manager indicated that if the client wanted an accessible tub, she would need to pay for it and she would have to use the housing provider’s more expensive contractor. Client contacted DRC for assistance. A DRC attorney researched funding streams related to this housing provider and informed the provider that because it receives federal financial assistance, it is covered by both the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and that structural changes needed by an applicant or resident with a disability in housing receiving federal financial assistance are considered reasonable accommodations which must be paid for by the housing provider unless providing them would be an undue financial and administrative burden or a fundamental alteration of the program or unless the housing provider can accommodate the individual’s needs through other means. After negotiation and discussion, the housing provider finally acknowledged its obligation under Section 504 and agreed to completely modify the bathtub to make it accessible to client, at no cost to client and client was able to continue residing in her apartment.
Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:
B. Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information: 1. a statement of each prioirty; 2. the need addressed by each priority; and; 3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.
1. A statement of the priority
People with disabilities will be safe from abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and will be guaranteed basic personal rights.
2. The need addressed by the priority
People with disabilities are often more vulnerable than the general population because they are more dependent upon others for food, care and safety. They are often unable to defend themselves or fear reporting instances of abuse or neglect because they fear retaliation. They are also often subject to financial exploitation. People with disabilities can be placed under guardianship unnecessarily or may be subject to exploitation or neglect by their guardian
3. A description of the activities to be carried out under the priority
DRC will investigate allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation and, if appropriate, represent the individual. If the individual seeks an investigation that would be more appropriately performed by another agency, such as law enforcement, licensing or protective services, we will then make a supervised referral. DRC will represent individuals with disabilities who report instances of abuse, neglect or deprivation of basic rights by staff of a facility or by any other individual who has an affirmative duty to the individual, such as a teacher, case worker or other professional. Abuse, neglect and deprivation of personal rights are/include:
• failure to provide appropriate treatment or evaluations, deprivation of basic necessities; • providing an unsafe physical environment; • financial exploitation; • physical or sexual abuse or failure to protect an individual from physical or sexual abuse by others; • improper use of seclusion or restraint, involuntary medication or other aversive interventions; and • interference with basic rights of access to the following: the outdoors, visitors, free communication, recreation, the exercise of religion, voting, family members and legal rights information and representation.
DRC will work to find alternatives to guardianship and represent individuals who are unnecessarily placed under guardianship or at risk of being placed under guardianship unnecessarily.
1. A statement of the priority
Individuals with disabilities will receive services, including healthcare and housing, in the most integrated setting appropriate and, where possible, direct their own services.
2. The need addressed by the priority
Often, individuals with disabilities must remain or enter into living situations that are more restrictive than what the client wants, or what is necessary in order to address legitimate safety or medical considerations. Often this happens because they are not afforded reasonable accommodations, modifications, assistive aids or services that enable them to reside where they choose. Medicaid waivers allow individuals to receive services in the community rather than in institutions but they are limited. Sometimes, hospital or service agency personnel, state agency representatives or other professionals exert undue pressure on people with disabilities to stay in a facility or not live on their own. Other times this can be the result of budget cutbacks, where departments are asked to cut spending in certain programs, such as personal care services, and in order to achieve those cutbacks, individuals are threatened with institutionalization. Whenever possible, individuals with disabilities should be able to live in communities of their choice as well as direct their own services. Healthcare is covered by this priority and is particularly important to people with disabilities. This priority also covers housing. Shelter is an essential human need. Maine has a relatively older housing stock, so inaccessible housing exists in all communities throughout the state. People with disabilities usually do not own their own home, but rent where they live. They have a much more difficult time obtaining and keeping suitable housing because of their disability. They are also much more likely to be subject to eviction because of their disability. Tenants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable modifications or reasonable accommodations, but are often denied those accommodations because of their disabilities
3. A statement of the activities to be carried out under the priority
DRC will represent individuals with disabilities in administrative hearings and in court, where service cutbacks either force them to go into an institution or remain in an institution. DRC will provide technical assistance to those who need reasonable modifications or accommodations in order to maintain or obtain suitable housing, and whose landlords have denied such requests. DRC will review the need for direct representation in housing cases seeking reasonable accommodation or modifications. However, since losing two staff attorneys within the last year, DRC’s ability to provide direct representation in housing cases is severely limited. For individuals who are at risk of either entering or remaining in a facility, DRC will participate in efforts to find alternatives to institutional or institutional like settings.
1. A statement of the priority
People with disabilities will not be subject to unlawful disability based discrimination in employment.
2. The need addressed by the priority
In Maine, about 206,400 people, or 16% of the population, have a disability. Of those 206,400 people, about 23,390 or 11% are working age adults with disabilities. About 45% of working age Maine citizens with a disability have full time work, compared with 62% of working age Mainers without a disability. 22% of Maine citizens with disability earn less than $10,000 compared to 12% of Maine citizens without a disability. These statistics are consistent with national trends. People with disabilities are disproportionately poor and they are systematically excluded from the workplace. They are excluded from the workforce because of stereotyping, fears of increased cost, inflexibility in considering accommodations and outright prejudice. Even though an employee may only need a reasonable accommodation in order to maintain or secure employment, employers are reluctant to provide individuals with disabilities with any accommodations. People with disabilities sometimes need assistance in making a request for a reasonable accommodation and may require representation when the request is denied. People with disabilities are often terminated from employment, are at serious risk of termination or they have been subject to other serious adverse employment action, on the basis of their disability. Sometimes people with disabilities are harassed on the job or subject to retaliation. Members of the private bar are reluctant to take employment cases because of the difficulty in proving employment claims, the hostility of the courts and the high cost associated with litigating these cases. Due to this reluctance, P&As are often the only source of representation for people with disabilities in employment cases.
3. A statement of the activities to be carried out under the priority,
DRC will represent individuals who, because of their disability: • need accommodations in the workplace; • have been subjected to adverse job action in the workplace; • have been subjected to a hostile work environment because of their disability; or • who have been subjected to retaliation in the workplace.
DRC is interested in an employment class action and is always looking for a good case.
1. a statement of the priority
Public accommodations and governmental services will be accessible to people with disabilities.
2. The need addressed by the priority
This priority covers both public accommodations and governmental services. Individuals with disabilities are often denied access to government or private services, or public accommodations, because of architectural barriers or because of policies, practices or procedures that discriminate against people with disabilities. Requests for modifications or accommodations are often denied, as are requests to discontinue discriminatory policies, practices or procedures. Often discrimination in governmental benefits occurs through denial of benefits or services, or by offering benefits or services that are unequal to or less effective than those offered to persons without disabilities, or by offering or providing different or segregated benefits or services when such action is not necessary in order to make the benefit or service effective. Direct representation is often the best mechanism to produce change.
3. A statement of the activities to carried out under the priority
DRC will also provide technical assistance to individuals who have been subjected to discrimination in the provision of public accommodations or governmental services because of their disability. In select case, based on available resources, DRC will represent individuals with disabilities seeking reasonable accommodation or modifications in order to access public accommodations or governmental benefits before the Maine Human Rights Commission, or in court, when the request for a modification or accommodation has been denied.
At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.
The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.
PART VI. NARRATIVE: A. Sources of funds received and expended: Source of Funding Amount Received Amount Spent Federal (section 509) 141003.00 166132.00 State 0 0 Program income 15296.22 53025.00 Private 0 0 All other funds 0 0 Total (from all sources) 156.299.52 219157.00 B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by the report: Category Prior Fiscal Year Current Fiscal Year Wages/salaries 135901.00 137993 Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) 32613.00 31981.00 Materials/supplies 2766.00 2515.00 Postage 1039.00 945.00 Telephone/Email 2878.00 2834.00 Rent 17230.00 15664.00 Travel 3997.00 3634.00 Copying 863.00 785.00 Bonding/insurance 2558.00 2326.00 Equipment (rental/purchase) 3438.00 3125.00 Legal services 160.00 3052.00 Indirect costs 0 0 Miscellaneous 25581.00 14274.00 Total Budget 229024.00 219127.00 C. Description of PAIR staff: Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-years Professional 100 Full-time 2.97 100 Part-time 0 Vacant 0 Clerical Full-time .44 100 Part-time 0 100 Vacant 0 0
D. Advisory Boards: PAIR staff are involved with the PADD and PAIMI programs, including the PAIMI Advisory Committee on a regular basis through management, case review and development of priorities, etc. Our intake process assures that callers ineligible for PADD and PAIMI services are referred directly to the PAIR program because our intake process is fully integrated
DRC sits on the following advisory boards or work groups:
Assistive Technology Consortium
Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Committee
MaineCare (Medicaid) Advisory Council
Consumers for Affordable Healthcare Coalition
Community Intervention Program Coalition
Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (and various subcommittees and workgroups)
DHHS Behavior Regulations Workgroup
DHHS Technology Workgroup
Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, Community Advisory Committee
Mental Health Employment Promotion Collaborative
American National Standards Institute (ANSI,ANSI/A117.1) Workgroup
Portland Disability Commission
State Independent Living Council
MaineCare Value Based Purchasing Initiative Stakeholder Group
DHHS Children with Intellectual Disability and Autism Behavior Regulations Workgroup
Maine Coalition for Housing and Quality Services
Maine Can Do Better Coalition
Legislative Workgroup to Address School Based Medically Necessary Services
Adaptive Equipment Loan Board
E. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
F. Coordination with the Client Assistance program (CAP) and the State long-term care programs (LTCOP), if these programs are not part of the P&A agency.
In Maine, the CAP and the LTCOP are not part of DRC. We coordinate with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) by making certain that we cross-refer cases on a regular basis. We regularly consult with the CAP to make sure that we coordinate cases in which the individual with a disability is eligible for and seeking both CAP and PAIR services CAP services in a case involving vocational rehabilitation and PAIR services in a case unrelated to VR. We also work with the CAP on clients who are or were receiving social security benefits.
We have an ongoing relationship with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) and provide legal consultation to their staff and cross-refer cases regularly. DRC and LTCOP developed a protocol regarding the referral of cases between DRC and the LTCOP. Periodically, DRC meets with LTCOP, Legal Services for the Elderly and others to discuss cases, strategies, upcoming rule changes and other issues of common concern. LTCOP was also involved in the beginning in our nursing home class action. We collaborate regularly with LTCOP on long term care issues and certain legislative initiatives. For example, we are working with LTCOP on a project that would allow spouses who provide personal care services to be paid under the nursing home waivers.
As mentioned, DRC submitted comments to the Administration on Community Living and the Administration on Aging that would, for the first time, outline the duties and responsibilities of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP). DRC comments discussed how DRC has worked well with the LTCOP in Maine and how the regulations could be strengthened by having LTCOPs across the country work more closely with the P&As.
DRC has a long-standing relationship with Alpha One, Maine’s only Independent Living Center. We have referred clients to them and work with them regularly on disability access issues. We worked with them around proposed cuts in the states Medicaid program and anticipate doing so again this year. We worked with Alpha One as part of the Money Follows the person grant, as Alpha One has developed a program it calls “Homeward Bound”, which has helped DRC clients move out of institutions into the community.
DRC has also developed a close working relationship with a number of private and public programs to protect and advocate for people with disabilities. For example, we work with Maine Equal Justice, the civil legal services spinoff provider in the state, on a variety of issues such as health care. We actively participate on the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Committee.
Maine Civil Legal Services Commission DRC’s Executive Director, Legal Director and Board member presented on the work of the DRC to the Civil Legal Services Commission, asking for funding to expand our ability to serve low income Mainers with disabilities. We were awarded $42,000.
DD Network DRC’s Executive Director serves on the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council and works closely with the staff to identify projects on which we can collaborate and on the University Center on Excellence in Developmental Disability Consumer Advisory Committee.
Pineland DRC’s Executive Director brought together 8 people to discuss the efficacy of creating a memorial or monument at what was Pineland Center, Maine’s institution for people with intellectual and development disabilities which closed in 1990. The group is committed to celebrating the fact that Pineland is now a thriving farming, social service, business and retail community while more importantly, remembering that people were incarcerated their solely because of their disabilities. In FY 2014, the group will approach the owners of the property, the Libra Foundation, to elicit support for moving forward.
Public Forums for Adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities DRC staff, along with representatives from the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, the Center for Community Inclusion & Disability Studies, the State of Maine, the Developmental Services Oversight & Advisory Board and Speaking Up for Us, Maine’s grassroots self-advocacy organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities, collaborated in planning a series of public forums. A series of 6 forums, held throughout the state, was designed to gather input on Maine’s developmental service system, what was working and what needed to be changed. DRC staff facilitated each of these forums. Additionally, Maine’s Office of Developmental Services used these forums to seek input into the Department’s State Plan for Developmental Services. Information gathered will be presented in a report to the State and be available to the public. This feedback will also be used to guide DRC’s agency priorities going forward. 100 individuals attended these forums.
Online survey for Adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities DRC staff, along with representatives from the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, the Center for Community Inclusion & Disability Studies, the State of Maine, the Developmental Services Oversight & Advisory Board and Speaking Up for Us, Maine’s grassroots self-advocacy organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities, collaborated in developing an online survey designed to assess the developmental service system in Maine. This survey was available to consumers, providers, family members, guardians and friends of individuals intellectual and developmental disabilities. Questions covered an array of topics including: how individuals viewed their services and service providers, whether they had education and/or employment goals, their relationships with friends and family, and well they are able to access programs and events in their communities. Additionally, Maine’s Office of Developmental Services used this survey as an opportunity for individuals to provide input into the Department’s State Plan for Developmental services. Information obtained from this survey will be presented in a report to the State and be available to the public. This feedback will also be used to guide DRC’s agency priorities going forward. 110 individuals participated in this survey.
Children’s Mental Health • During a regular monitoring visit to the children’s wing of psychatric ward of a local hospital, DRC learned that were subject to an intervention called "Community Shutdown" during which all patients were sent to their rooms when they had reason to believe that patients were collectively engaging in behaviors that are problematic or pose a risk of harm to themselves or others. This protocol restricted all patients to their rooms regardless of behavior or risk of harm. Patients were also discouraged from leaving their rooms and received a reduction in privileges if did without permission. DRC collaborated with the unit director to revise this protocol in light of children’s rights and eventually the practice was eliminated. • DRC was asked to participate on a work group to draft regulations governing the use of severely intrusive behavior plans for children who engage in challenging behavior who have an Intellectual Disability or Autism or a mental health diagnosis. Using the draft adult behavior three person committee regulations as a model, the group is drafting regulations that will govern when the “three person committees” can approve behavior plans that minimize the risk of injury to the child and others and also restrict the use of severely intrusive behavior management techniques that otherwise might be employed. DRC will be not a voting member of the committee but will advocate for the child’s rights. • DRC conducted outreach to adolescents and monitoring activities on a children’s unit of a local hospital who had trouble access outdoor recreation. After attempting attempts to resolve issue without filing a complaint, DRC filed a complaint pursuant to the Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services who are Children in Need of Treatment. The hospital agreed to develop a secure recreational area on its gounds. • During the course of one of the monitoring visits at inpatient psychiatric facilities, DRC learned that children often do not consistently receive educational services. If they do receive educational services, the services are inadequate and do not allow them to keep pace with peers or to receive credit. In response, DRC convened meetings at three hospitals to develop a better understanding of the scope of the problem. It was determined that a test case, highlighting the difficulties identified, would be a good starting point for more systemic advocacy. This client has been identified and the DRC attorney represented the student who was denied all related services and had his special education services reduced significantly during a lengthy hospital stay.
• DRC’s Children’s Team meets quarterly with the Director and senior staff of the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) to discuss issues of concern. In Maine, children with developmental disabilities and children with mental health issues are served by the same office, located in the state Department of Health and Human Services. Discussions topics have included children placed out of state, the children’s developmental disabilities waiver, education of children with disabilities in state custody and how to minimize the time children wait in emergency departments for residential placements.
DD Rights Manual DRC was an integral member of a workgroup that was created to work with Developmental Services and the Maine Developmental Services Oversight and Advisory Board to finalize new behavior regulations. The new regulations will reduce systemic use of restraint, minimize rights violations and make Positive Supports the default for all behavior support plans. The final draft has been approved by all committee members, the AG’s Office, the Program Manager for Developmental Services and the Office Director for OADS and will be sent to the Commissioner and the Governor. The group reconvened several times to make changes based on feedback from the AG’s office and others. DRC also coordinated a follow up meeting with the Department to discuss transition planning, training and related rules and policies affected by the new regulations before formal rulemaking.
DD Technical Assistance DRC’s Deveolpmental Services Advocacy program provided technical assistance to individuals who call seeking information regarding the Section 21 Home and Community Based Waiver for Individuals with Intellectual Disability and Autism waitlist. DSA tracked the number of calls and where they originated. DSA staff provided information and technical assistance to at least 30 callers who were not clients, parents or guardians. Advocates gave out extensive information regarding the Section 21 rules regarding the waitlist, priorities and who to serve within the same priority. In addition, advocates gave information about proper documentation related to the Personal Plan, Reportable Events and eligibility and availability of other MaineCare services. DSA also has at least 20 open cases for clients related to this issue, working with planning teams to assure due process in being properly considered for priority status and waiver slots. Lastly, DSA co-team leader has initiated a project with the Department to create information and technical assistance documents to help people through this process.
DHHS Technology Workgroup DRC staff participates on legislatively created workgroup charged with making recommendations to the commissioner of DHHS to create efficiencies related to policy and practice, the use of technology in service delivery, individual assessment and resource allocation, incentives in service delivery and increased family support. The recommendations made by this group will be considered by the Commissioner when looking at ways to provide services to more individuals on the waiting list for Section 21 services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. The group is also looking at ways that technology can be utilized in the Other Related Conditons (ORC) waiver. The group has prepared a report to the legislature which includes an outline for service delivery which is more streamlined, individualized, flexible and creative, cultivates natural relationships and capitalizes on community resources.
Maine Coalition for Housing and Quality Services This group has been working on a draft of ’Continuum of care’ describing the way developmental services should be delivered. The goals adopted by this larger group are being incorporated into the Department’s long-term planning to change service delivery.
Education Restraint and Seclusion Regulations After learning that superintendents and school boards were organizing and developing draft language to seek revisions to the new Chapter 33 regulations regarding restraint and seclusion, DRC engaged with those groups to see if common ground was possible and to be prepared to provide education to policy makers to protect the changes during the next legislative session. In addition to reaching out to interested parties and monitoring reports in the press, during the first quarter of 2013, DRC met with representatives of the state’s special education director’s association and of the state’s superintendent’s association to discuss common ground and areas of disagreement. When legislation proposing significant changes to the rules was printed, DRC stepped up its efforts meeting with legislators and educational groups. DRC provided testimony to the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and participated in a work group along with the Maine Educational Association (teachers’ union), Superintendent’s Association, Special Education Directors Association, and staff from the Speaker’s office to craft compromise language that eventually passed through committee and the entire legislature. DRC also worked with a diverse set of stakeholders to respond to calls for major changes to Maine’s new regulations governing the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. The resulting compromises avoided the most concerning aspects of the proposed changes.
Legislative Workgroup to Address School Based Medically Necessary Services DRC participated in a stakeholder group examining how to assist Maine schools in obtaining federal funds for medically necessary services. DRC represented parents of children with disabilities. Recent changes to MaineCare policy resulted in school districts greatly reducing and in some cases eliminating their billing to Maine Care (Medicaid) for medically necessary services provided in schools. As a result, the cost for these shifted to general purpose aid (GPA). These financial pressures over time are anticipated to result in the erosion of FAPE (free, appropriate public education) for all children with disabilities attending public schools. The group reported on its efforts to the Commissioners of HHS and Education and received approval to proceed toward resolving outstanding issues and final steps before a State Plan Amendment (SPA). DRC’s role ends when the project moves to drafting of the SPA and creating guidance for school districts on MaineCare billing.
Outreach to Students 10 Students from a local high school visited DRC to learn about Protection & Advocacy activities, ask general questions regarding their rights and how DRC may be able to assist them, if they believe they have been discriminated against.
AT Consortia DRC staff attended quarterly meetings of the AT Consortia, a product of Maine’s statewide organization designed to help make assistive and universally designed technology more available to Maine children and adults who need them. Member agencies meet on a quarterly basis to discuss activities in the area of AT including, but not limited to, new funding streams, availability of AT services and advocacy for these services. The goal of the AT Consortia is to increase inter-agency information sharing regarding any and all AT-related programs in Maine. Presentations included the rise in popularity and use of tablets, as well as applications that increase accessibility for individuals with disabilities (e.g. communication-related applications), use of AT in the Home (Independent Living Consumer Choice Self-Determination Affordable Technology), from a vehicle modification dealer, a home access / home elevator company and a company that specializes in equipment for individuals who are blind or have low vision.
Adaptive Equipment Loan Board DRC is appointed by the Governor to sit on the 9 member mPower Loan Fund Board of Directors. The fund provides Maine citizens and businesses with affordable loans to create access or buy equipment to achieve independence, life enrichment and/or community participation. Loans are available to Maine residents and businesses seeking to enhance accessibility through building modifications and the purchase of adaptive equipment and assistive technology.
MH Monitoring DRC provided ongoing outreach to adults with mental illness by periodically monitoring a hospital’s behavioral health unit. As a result, staff monitor patient conditions, the hospital’s compliance with laws and regulations protecting the rights of patients, provide information to patients regarding DRC and the services it offers, and to provide training to patients regarding their rights as recipients of mental health care services.
Amicus Brief DRC filed an Amicus brief in the Law Court at the request of plaintiff’s counsel in a case against a hospital and an emergency room doctor. The case was brought by a woman who had been allegedly stripped search in a hospital emergency room prior to being transferred to that hospital’s mental health ward. Part of the hospital’s defense was that it was totally immune from the underlying lawsuit and that no search had occurred.
Statewide DD Group DRC is coordinating a statewide group of all people serving on regional Three-Person Committees that review Severely Intrusive Plans and Safety Plans for individuals receiving Developmental Services. DRC works closely with the Maine Developmental Services Oversight and Advisory Board (MDSOAB) and the Department to hold regular meetings. The group has come up with standards, forms and processes for review and consideration of Severely Intrusive Plans and Safety Plans. The group also has established consistency and standards for best practices, advocated for the adoption of the proposed behavior regulations as well as training and support to implement the new regulations, discussed trends and referred cases and issues, as appropriate to the DRC and the MDSOAB.
DD Housing Issues DRC regularly participates on the Coalition for Housing and Quality Services with Developmental Disabilities Council, Speaking Up For Us, state DHHS, parents of children with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism and others to address housing issues for people with DD (and other disabilities). This group is also helping to make policy changes in the service delivery system, promoting self-determination-so that people receiving services and their families have more control over housing and the services they receive. DRC also strongly supports the Coalition’s “white paper” which calls for more self and family direction, more community inclusion and more preventative services. DRC staff have attended this meeting every month to share information about advocacy and rights and act as a resource to family members.
Value Based Practices DRC collaborated with The Maine Partnership for Values Based Practice, a collaboration between DRC, the Developmental Disabilities Council, provider agencies and DHHS, to bring Values-Based (related to Wolf Wolfensburger’s Social Role Valorization or ’SRV’) training to Maine and develop leadership among support staff. Values Based training and practice leads to more community inclusion, less reliance on paid support and more valued roles for people with disabilities. The MPVBP brought a nationally recognized trainer, Darcy Elks to Maine to teach two workshops for 50 service providers on supporting people with disabilities to have meaningful lives and create relationships. DRC Advocate served as a group facilitator for the one of the workshops.
Comments to Proposed Education Restraint and Seclusion Regulations DRC provided oral and written comments when the Maine Department of Education proposed major substantive rule changes to the state’s special education regulations and avoided a conflict with federal regulations. When the rules went before the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, DRC realized that a proposed change to the regulations, proposed by the Maine Department of Education, changed a child’s right to stay put during the pendency of claims--in conflict with federal regulations. DRC successfully restored the “stay put” right in Maine’s regulations.
Early Child Intervention Services DRC reported to the Maine Department of Education’s Child Development Services (CDS) a number of incidences of poorly written outcomes for children served under Part C of the IDEA from throughout the state.
Maine Department of Education Special Education The Education Team met with all members of the Maine Department of Education’s Due Process Office to address common concerns and issues in the working relationship. The meeting addressed: 1) ways in which DRC’s filings could improve; 2) communications related to and scheduling of mediation and hearing dates; 3) advocate notice of participation; 4) remedies available in corrective action plans; 5) compensatory education as a remedy; and 6) interviewees in complaint investigations.
Education Complaints The Maine Due Process Office (DPO) began assigning the burden of proof to families in state complaint investigations. In 2012, DRC asked the DPO to stop, pointing out that the practice is contrary to the IDEA. The DPO refused. Although DRC has since resolved all of its complaints without a decision, the practice remains in effect and has now apparently spread to other states. DRC is seeking guidance from OSEP to stop this practice.
Unemployment Commission DRC was asked to serve as an employee representative on the Governor’s Unemployment Blue Ribbon Commission, whose task it is to study the unemployment compensation system in Maine and come up with recommendations for its improvement. In Phase one, the Commission will hold a public hearing, interview policy makers, commissioners, employees and others familiar with the system, and review 360 hearing decisions, including review of taped hearings. In Phase two (to conclude in FY 2014) the Commission will issue its report.
DD Public Fora DRC, along with representatives from the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, the Center for Community Inclusion & Disability Studies, the State of Maine, the Developmental Services Oversight & Advisory Board and Speaking Up for Us, Maine’s grassroots self-advocacy organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities, collaborated in planning and presenting a series of public forums across the state. A series of 6 forums, held throughout the state, were designed to gather input on Maine’s developmental service system, what was working and what needed to be changed.
DD Survey DRC, along with representatives from the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, the Center for Community Inclusion & Disability Studies, the State of Maine, the Developmental Services Oversight & Advisory Board and Speaking Up for Us, Maine’s grassroots self-advocacy organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities, collaborated in developing an online survey designed to assess the developmental service system in Maine. This survey alloswed consumers, providers, family members, guardians and friends of individuals intellectual and developmental disabilities to comment on DRC’s services and priorities. Questions included; how individuals viewed their services and service providers, whether they had education and/or employment goals, their relationships with friends and family, and well they are able to access programs and events in their communities. Additionally, Maine’s Office of Developmental Services used this survey as an opportunity for individuals to provide input into the Department’s State Plan for Developmental Services. Information obtained from this survey will be presented in a report to the State and be available to the public.
Voter Registration DRC conducted activities in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day (September 25, 2013) at psychiatric hospitals in Maine. DRC hospital advocates and advocacy director conducted voter registration activities, distributed registration cards, assisted in completing them, produced and distributed to patients and social work staff an absentee voting pamphlet, and helped trouble shoot voting inquiries.
HAARAN (Horn of Africa Aid and Rehabilitation Action Network) The Horn of Africa Aid and Rehabilitation Action Network (HARRAN) is a community group serving the needs of local immigrants with disabilities from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. Individuals who are citizens or who have been granted asylum are eligible for services within the education/human services systems but have trouble navigating them and accessing appropriate supports. DRC serves on HAARAN’s network of advocates/providers and attends regular meetings for the purpose of providing technical support and representation where appropriate to members of the immigrant community. The objective is to connect with this community and facilitate their knowledge of disability rights and resources.
Micmac Health Fair DSA attended a Native American Micmac Health and Information Fair to discuss advocacy and the needs of people with disabilities.
Disability Awareness Day DRC organized and arranged for a Disability Awareness Day at the State House at which 17 disability advocacy organizations participated. Participants included the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council, the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies. Goodwill of Northern New England, Iris Network, Advocacy Initiative Network, Cromwell Disability Center, Brain Injury Information Network, AlphaONe, Maine Parent Federation, Canuva, Speaking Up for Us, Maine Center on Deafness, PAIMI Advisory Council, Autism Society, MaineCite and the Consumer Council System of Maine.
DD Medical Add Ons Providers of services to individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism providers filed an appeal of a new interpretation of an existing rule governing how extraordinary medical services were provided for and billed. DRC unsuccessfully sought to intervene on behalf of individuals whose medical add on services had been reduced due to the interpretation and who did not receive notice of the reduction. DRC then filed appeals on behalf of clients who learned of the reductions, alleging either improper notice or no notice at all. The Office of Administrative Hearings agreed to stay all appeals (MeCare appeals and grievances) that had been filed on behalf of individuals challenging the reduction in MAO services. The state decided that although it thought that the provider appeal was without merit, it would reinstate all the MAO services on behalf of individuals who had appealed any reduction. The state also indicated that it would seek to rewrite the rule to reflect what they think was the proper interpretation.
|Signed By||Peter M. Rice|