RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

Montana (Disability Rights Montana) - H240A160027 - FY2016

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights Montana
Address1022 Chestnut Street
Address Line 2
CityHelena
StateMontana
Zip Code59601
E-mail Addressbernie@disabiltiyrightsmt.org
Website Addresshttps://disabilityrightsmt.org
Phone406-449-2344
TTY 406-449-2344
Toll-free Phone800-245-4743
Toll-free TTY800-245-4743
Fax406-449-2418
Name of P&A Executive DirectorBernadette Franks-Ongoy
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorBernadette Franks-Ongoy
Person to contact regarding reportBernadette Franks-Ongoy
Contact Person phone406-449-2344
Ext.4811

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas223
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas7
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)230

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff7
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)273

10-6-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Ft. Belknap Reservation, 8 People 10-6-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Rocky Boy Reservation, 8 People 10-7-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Ft. Peck Tribe, 7 People 10-8-15 Outreach to Native American Tribes, Voting Information, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, 10 People 12-3-2015 International Day of PWD, Kalispell, MT 10 People 12-17-15 Training for Landlord/Tenants, P&A Overview and Voting Information, Missoula, MT 30 People 5-12-16 Program Information, Montana Disability Employability Conference, Great Falls, MT 200 People 7 Events Total 273 People

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles0
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website969,162
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated0
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

DRM NewslettersDate Recipients11-13-15 6082-12-16 6125-16-16 6087-27-16 6108-19-16 6009-16-16 635 Total 3673 RecipientsTwitter Account: 132 Currently followingFacebook - 877 Likes; 3,947 Followers

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

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)32
2. Additional individuals served during the year110
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)142
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)7

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 31

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility10
2. Employment22
3. Program access0
4. Housing9
5. Government benefits/services6
6. Transportation5
7. Education11
8. Assistive technology4
9. Voting0
10. Health care39
11. Insurance1
12. Non-government services2
13. Privacy rights1
14. Access to records4
15. Abuse17
16. Neglect4
17. Other13

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor52
2. Other representation found12
3. Individual withdrew complaint0
4. Appeals unsuccessful6
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.10
6. PAIR withdrew from case20
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources7
8. Individual case lacks legal merit11
9. Other0

Please explain

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy4
2. Short-term assistance98
3. Investigation/monitoring13
4. Negotiation2
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)1
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 41
2. 5 - 2215
3. 23 - 5997
4. 60 - 6410
5. 65 and over19

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females49
2. Males93

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race0
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native15
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American2
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1
6. White121
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown2

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent60
2. Parental or other family home20
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care1
5. Nursing home2
6. Public institutional living arrangement1
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center53
9. Homeless0
10. Other living arrangements5
11. Living arrangements not known0

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment10
2. Deaf/hard of hearing9
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment60
5. Mental illness2
6. Substance abuse1
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability6
9. Neurological impairment10
10. Respiratory impairment3
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment10
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment12
13. Speech impairment1
14. AIDS/HIV0
15. Traumatic brain injury0
16. Other disability18

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities4

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes7,500

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.

We worked in coalition to ensure that Montana Counties adopted jail standards that require provision of medical treatment for inmates with disabilities.We also participated in the nationwide effort to identify accessibility issues at Amtrak stations across the country. The last part of this project was to help get people to the press conferences across the state with Amtrak regarding their improvements in station accessibility.We also engaged in interim committee work which occurs between legislative sessions, which included identifying problems with administrative rules passed to address Medicaid expansion which passed in 2015. One issue was to raise co-pays exorbitantly for people who need personal care attendants. Our advocacy helped get the state to reverse its rule. In addition, our advocacy helped reverse the dental services cap for people with disabilities. The state wanted to cap costs, but for people with disabilities who have complicated issues involving dental work, it would have meant that patients would have had to wait long periods of time between parts of a dental process in order to change the coverage year. We were able to, in coalition, exempt people with disabilities and seniors from that cap.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts250
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

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.

We represented an athlete who started trying to work with staff at a local marathon to include athletes who need racing wheelchairs or hand cycles to compete in 2012. He was put off many times by the marathon, which did not allow people who used racing wheelchairs or hand cycles to compete in the full marathon.Through his advocacy and public pressure, the marathon belatedly agreed to allow racing wheelchairs and hand cycles in the full marathon in 2014 only a month prior to it, but still imposed multiple rules only upon wheeled participants. We argued that those rules were discriminatory, and an investigator from the Montana Human Rights Bureau agreed in July of 2014. The case was set for hearing in February of 2016.The case settled prior to the hearing, with the marathon accepting judgment against it, and agreed to lift its discriminatory rules and to stop prohibiting hand cyclists from the full marathon. It also agreed to pay client, a local athlete, $13,000 for the damages it caused to him.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

Core ServicesIdentify and describe priority.Provide reliable, timely information and referral services to all callers.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Individuals with disabilities face a whole host of issues, both legal and technical, whose answers are not generally available. We can serve as the resource to direct people with disabilities to the correct resources to get the right information.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.We are successful when we respond to each caller promptly and provide helpful and accurate information.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.We update our information that we provide to callers. Staff attend trainings to keep current on state-wide resources and developments.Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 227 Service RequestsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.A woman called Disability Rights Montana on behalf of her husband, while they were experiencing a crisis. Her husband had been diagnosed with both fibromyalgia and Sturge-Weber Syndrome. His Rheumatologist had put him on a new medication and he began to exhibit some very severe, negative mental health side effects. The client expressed his concerns to the doctor, but the doctor told him that this was the best medication to alleviate the symptoms of his fibromyalgia and Sturge-Weber Syndrome and wanted him to persevere with it. The client continued on the medication and within a small amount of time, began to experience psychosis. During this time of psychosis, he became paranoid and began having delusions. This led him into some serious trouble with the law, and a restraining order was put in place by the police department against him. He was not allowed to be within 100 feet of a police officer, one of which was his next-door neighbor. This left him unable to remain in his home. Disability Rights Montana was able to refer his wife to a few different legal services and public defenders to assist with lifting the restraining order. Disability Rights Montana was also able to connect her husband up with psychiatric outpatient services at the Billings Behavioral Health Clinic, where they flushed him of the medication and many of his symptoms began to subside. When staff followed up with the caller, she told staff that they did find an attorney who took her husband’s case and that would be helping them lift the restraining order that very week. She also told staff that client was getting back to his normal, and that the mental health symptoms had almost completely disappeared. They were both very grateful of the help they received from Disability Rights Montana, even though it was outside of our capacity to legally assist them.Identify and describe priority.Provide short-term assistance for non-priority issues to eligible persons with disabilities.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Often people with disabilities need assistance with issues that do not fall within our priorities. In such circumstances, we can give assistance under this objective to help them resolve the issue presented.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.Our indicators are our ability to provide accurate information and appropriate referrals if necessary, the outcome we achieve for the callers and the extent to which we advance our mission through our advocacy.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.We update our information that we provide to callers. Staff attend trainings to keep current on state-wide resources and developments.Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 38 Service RequestsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.Client called regarding ongoing problems that she was having with her property management company which was not making necessary repairs to her rental home. With the client’s permission, a DRM advocate called the property management company and spoke with the manager. Soon after this conversation the property management company made appointments for the necessary repairs, including the plumbing as well as the electrical problems. The DRM advocate followed up with client and verified that all repairs had been made.Abuse and NeglectIdentify and describe priority.Identify all instances of inappropriate or inadequate medical and mental health services affecting people with disabilities in Montana prisons and jails and pursue legal remedies. Identify systemic issues to effect change in practice, policy, rule or law.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Unfortunately, many inmates who have disabilities have needs that are unmet in the prison environment. Often, their requests for devices or materials that would help them with their mobility, independence and success in the prison go unmet or unheard. This is true for many reasons, including insufficient staffing and rigid correctional rules that determine many devices to be security risks without further analysis. This results in unnecessary suffering and unequal treatment for inmates with disabilities.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.Our measures of success are the prompt response to complaints as well as prompt attempts to resolve the issues.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 38 Service Requests, 2 ProjectsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.Under this priority, we have participated in a working group to establish and enforce standards in local jails with regard to the provision of medical services to inmates with disabilities. Montana does not have state required standards, so we, along with other advocacy groups are participating in this group established by the Montana Association of Counties and the Sheriff’s Association.Discrimination, Employment, Benefits, Access, and VotingIdentify and describe priority.Review cases, provide short-term assistance, technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been discriminated against on the basis of disability or denied reasonable accommodations by employers, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Unfortunately, some providers are still unaware of their responsibilities when it comes to accommodating their employees with disabilities.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.Our success is judged on the basis of the effectiveness of our advocacy, including not only the outcome of any litigation but the change brought about by bringing attention to the particular discrimination issue.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 28 Service RequestsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.We were contacted by a woman who was having problems performing some of her job duties due to her disability. She is legally blind. Staff attended a meeting with her supervisor to address these issues. Upon entering the meeting her supervisor was very abrasive towards her. She has been having difficulty with work. For example, she is not as fast as other employees and has made mistakes due to the fact that she has trouble seeing the paper that she is feeding into the machine. She once used a piece of purple paper to divide documents because she stated that she was able to see it better and got in trouble. Her boss states that her job expectations are not being met and that client often has a "high error rate" when performing job related tasks.She claims that her boss as well as the Deputy Clerk feel that even one mistake is unacceptable. She feels that if she were able to work at her own pace she could be more efficient and perform her job duties. Her boss as well as the Deputy Clerk feel that this is not due to her disability but rather her lack of attention to detail. The HR representative wanted to know what kind of additional accommodations client would need in order to be able to do her job. Client has been employed at Records Management for ten years and has never been asked to perform the job duties as highlighted in part B of the job description.At the end of the meeting HR stated that if she were unable to do the job tasks in part B they would have to lower her pay grade or that there would be disciplinary action because "that's just the way it is." The comment was also made that Client or people with low vision are not as efficient and she needs to be able to do her job tasks as fast as her colleagues. Our advocate helped her write up job accommodation requests which she presented to her employer. She also looked into retirement and found that she qualified and decided to exercise that option.Identify and describe priority.Review cases, provide technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been denied or have been prohibited from using assistive technology or auxiliary aids by various entities including Medicaid, Medicare, governmental entities, public accommodations or other entities, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.We continue to see the denial of the use of assistive technology or auxiliary aids or the failure to accommodate that use.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.We judge our success on the basis of the effectiveness of our advocacy, including not only the outcome of any litigation, but the change brought about by bringing attention to the particular discrimination issue.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.There were no PAIR funds expended under this priority.Identify and describe priority.Review cases, provide technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been denied meaningful access to benefits or services or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of disability by governmental entities, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.State and local government does not consistently grant reasonable accommodations or otherwise offer services and benefits to people with disabilities without discrimination.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.We judge our success on the basis of the effectiveness of our advocacy, including not only the outcome of any litigation, but the change brought about by bringing attention to the particular discrimination issue.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 14 Service Requests; 1 ProjectProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.Under this priority, we represented an athlete who wanted to participate in a local marathon but it prohibited the use of racing wheelchairs or handcycles. He began asking to discuss their policy and how to address their concerns, which regarded safety primarily. Through his advocacy and public pressure over 2 years’ time, the marathon belatedly agreed to allow racing wheelchairs and hand cycles in the full marathon in 2014 only a month prior to the race, but imposed discriminatory rules on wheeled participants. We represented him in a Montana Human Rights Bureau investigation, which found that he was discriminated against by the marathon when it prohibited and then delayed allowing him to participate in the marathon and imposing discriminatory rules upon him to participate.The case was set for hearing and discovery began. Eventually, the marathon asked that judgment be entered against it, which the hearing examiner granted. The order required the marathon to allow people with disabilities who use hand cycles or racing wheelchairs to participate and prohibits it from implementing discriminatory rules, including greatly limiting the speed of these athletes for almost the whole second half of the marathon and requiring that they yield to all other racers. It also must provide its board of directors and executive director at least 2 hours of training on the Montana Human Rights Act, with an emphasis in providing accommodations for people with disabilities. Finally paid our client $13,000 for the damages caused to him through its discriminatory practices.Identify and describe priority.Review cases, provide technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been discriminated against or denied meaningful access to the benefits or services of places of public accommodation, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Public accommodations do not consistently grant reasonable accommodations or otherwise offer services and benefits to people with disabilities without discrimination.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.We judge our success on the basis of the effectiveness of our advocacy, including not only the outcome of any litigation, but the change brought about by bringing attention to the particular discrimination issue.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 11 Service Requests; 5 ProjectsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.Under this priority, we helped with press conferences across the state with Amtrak regarding their improvements in station accessibility. We also supported a grant application by a business at one entrance of Glacier that wanted to make its pit toilets accessibility to people with disabilities.EducationIdentify and describe priority.Collaborate with community-based groups to improve educational and transition outcomes for students with disabilities.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.We have been involved with community groups of advocates for special education services in certain communities in Montana. We need to continue our involvement to advocate for effective educational and transition processes for students with disabilities.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.Our success is measured by the effectiveness of our advocacy and the engagement of community members in accomplishing reform.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.PLUK (Parents Let’s Unite for Kids) is a common collaborator. Additionally, parent advocacy groups in Bozeman and Butte have been partners.Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 2 Service Requests; 5 ProjectsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.DRM launched an extensive education website to provide information and resources for students with disabilities, their parents and advocates. The website includes our Student Rights Handbook (over 100 pages) authored by DRM’s education unit supervising attorney which provides in-depth coverage of the legal rights of students with disabilities and advocacy strategies; a resource guide; advocacy forms; and more. All clients seeking services from the education unit are now, at a minimum, referred to the education website and Student Rights Handbook.Identify and describe priority.Obtain appropriate Medicaid funded services for children with developmental disabilities, ASD, ED, TBI, and physical disabilities in coordination with educational services.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.We continue to see a lack of awareness and the need for education about the importance of Medicaid funded services for children with disabilities in the school system.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.We judge our success on the basis of the effectiveness of our advocacy.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 0 Service Requests; 1 ProjectProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.We were contacted by a parent of a high school student who was being denied services from his rural school and graduation. We requested an evaluation of the student under the IDEA, helped the parent through the re-determination process, provided information about special education procedures, and helped the parent submit a reasonable accommodation request. We also helped the parent by preparing talking points for the school board, as the parent requested an exception to the district policy regarding participation in the commencement ceremony. Finally, we drafted points for the parent to request a waiver for additional credits. The student was found eligible for special education services, despite a prior decision denying his eligibility. He was also allowed to walk with his class for commencement and was given the waiver for additional credits.Identify and describe priority.Provide advocacy and/or legal representation to students with TBI, DD/ID, ASD, ED, and physical disabilities to obtain the supports and services they need to progress in their education.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Sometimes we need to advocate to ensure appropriate services in a manner that is more confrontational than others. Legal advocacy and legal representation are critical in some cases to get the desired result.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.We judge our success on the basis of the effectiveness of our advocacy.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.PLUK is often a collaborator in these cases.Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 6 Service Requests; 2 ProjectsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.A parent contacted us about services for his sons. He is new to the area, having just moved for a job. They chose their house based upon its proximity to a public school for their son. Their mother uses a service animal, and when the school district was informed of that, the school said the school was full and they would have to be bussed to a different school in the district. They felt the timing was suspicious but had no other evidence that this was a discriminatory act.The two sons have a growth hormone deficiency and related problems. Neither one had an evaluation at the time for special education services, though one is in occupational therapy and both receive physical therapy. We provided our form for them to request the evaluations of their sons and contact information for the principal and special education director. The parent said he would submit them as soon as possible and we provided information about placement and meeting requirements as well as the requirement that they be taught in the least restrictive environment.OutreachIdentify and describe priority.Provide and sponsor disability-rights-related awareness and training events throughout the state targeting minority and under-served persons with disabilities.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Often people with disabilities and their families are not aware of the full panoply of services available to them. Outreach to the community is a good way to accomplish this.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.Often people with disabilities and their families are not aware of the full scope of services available to them. Outreach to the community is a good way to accomplish this.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 7 ProjectsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.As part of outreach, DRM conducted a presentation at Montana Head Start, trained its staff to go to various community organizations to train them on getting registered to vote and to vote a ballot. DRM also participated in a fund raiser with the public at an Ales for Charity event.Identify and describe priority.Produce and disseminate an electronic newsletter and publications.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Getting information to people with disabilities can be challenging but electronic media is increasingly popular as a means of communication, so we have chosen an electronic format for our newsletter.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.Indicators of success include , providing timely updates to our website as well as our tweet and Facebook updates We also look to feedback from our readers to judge our success.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.Under this priority, we disseminated 6 e-newsletters this year, to a total of 3,673 recipients.Identify and describe priority.Enhance DRM’s interactive electronic presence (website) to leverage technology to distribute information and receive input.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Electronic communication is a good way to contact people with disabilities with timely information.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.We define success by ensuring timely and consistent posts about relevant information for people with disabilities.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 3 Projects1 Project; Twitter - 132 Followers1 Project,; Facebook - 877 Likes1 Project; Website hits - 969,162Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.More people with disabilities are more connected to the electronic world and are more easily able to be apart of social media.PolicyIdentify and describe priority.Monitor and respond to law, policy, and rule changes affecting the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities, and affecting the ability of DRM to serve people with disabilities between legislative sessions.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.People with disabilities are affected by changes in state law and policy. This happens both intentionally, via measure that address disability specific issues, and it happens somewhat inadvertently, through measures that have unintended consequences for people with disabilities. To help the greatest number of people with disabilities and to hopefully avoid or prevent problems brought about by policy changes, it can be advantageous to participate when these issues are being considered and debated.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.The primary indicators of success is our timely response to issues when raised and the change we can effect through our advocacy.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.We often work in coalition with the independent living centers, PLUK, AARP, the Area Agency on Aging, and others.Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 7 ProjectsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.Under this priority, we engaged in interim committee work which occurs between legislative sessions. We also commented on proposed rules, including an unhelpful dental services cap for people with disabilities. It was a part of Medicaid expansion and the state wanted to cap costs, but for people with disabilities who have complicated issues involving dental work, it would have meant that patients would have had to wait long periods of time between parts of a dental process in order to change the coverage year. We were able to, in coalition, exempt people with disabilities and seniors from that cap.We also participated in the Alzheimer’s state plan committee to draft a services plan to address our aging population.Identify and describe priority.Educate law and policy makers through oral and written communications in legislative and executive branch forums during the state legislative session and in legislative interim committee forums.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.People with disabilities are affected by changes in state law and policy. This happens both intentionally, via measure that address disability specific issues, and it happens somewhat inadvertently, through measures that have unintended consequences for people with disabilities. To help the greatest number of people with disabilities and to hopefully avoid or prevent problems brought about by policy changes, it can be advantageous to participate when these issues are being considered and debated.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.The primary indicators of success is our timely response to issues when raised and the change we can effect through our advocacy.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.We often work in coalition with the independent living centers, PLUK, AARP, the Area Agency on Aging, and others.Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. 2 ProjectsProvide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.Under this priority, we informed the interim law and justice legislative committee about the issues with the Montana Department of Corrections’ follow through on PREA, and the difficulties that inmates with disabilities face in accessing counseling services and other things that were supposed to be forthcoming with the federal law. The committee required Department officials to address these issues at a later meeting. We have seen some improvement but more work needs to be done.Civil RightsIdentify and describe priority.Provide advocacy and/or legal representation for people with disabilities in cases with the potential for establishing precedent, enforcing and clarifying constitutional and other rights. This can only be used with prior approval of the Executive Director.Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.Sometimes a case will present itself that does not fit within Disability Rights Montana’s current priorities and we must be able to respond.Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration. N/AProvide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions. O Service Requests, no funds were expended under this priority.Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

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.

Core Services1. a statement of each priority;Provide reliable, timely information and referral services to all callers.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Individuals with disabilities can face a whole host of issues, both legal and technical. Those answers are not always generally available. We can serve as the resource to direct people with disabilities to the correct resources to get the right information.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.We will continue to address concerns through our intake process under this priority, which involves ensuring that we provide accurate and timely referral information that is appropriate to their particular situation.1. a statement of each priority;Provide short-term assistance for non-priority issues to eligible persons with disabilities.2. the need addressed by each priority;Often people with disabilities need assistance with issues that do not fall within our priorities. In such circumstances, we can give assistance under this objective to help them resolve the issue presented.3. description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.This priority is necessary as sometimes callers raise issue that do not fall under our other priorities, but can be addressed and resolved with limited, short-term assistance. Under this priority, we will conduct brief investigations and provide advocacy for callers to help resolve issues presented. We do not litigate under this priority.1. a statement of each priority;Provide and sponsor voter education and registration events for people with disabilities throughout Montana.2. the need addressed by each priority;People with disabilities are often one of the groups with historically low voter registration and participation rates. Because of this, it is important to make a concerted effort to ensure that Montanans with disabilities are registered to vote and know how to vote.3.and; a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Under this priority, we will do outreach and training events in places where people with disabilities congregate to receive services, recreate and otherwise spend time.Abuse and Neglect1. statement of each priority;Identify all instances of inappropriate or inadequate medical and mental health services affecting people with disabilities in Montana prisons and jails and pursue legal remedies. Identify systemic issues to effect change in practice, policy, rule or law.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Individuals who are impacted by abuse, neglect and the violation of their civil rights in institutions often have no advocates or means to challenge their treatment. Unfortunately, lack of treatment can cause inmates to decompensate and become more disabled and be less successful in their rehabilitation and preparation for their ultimate release to the community.3.a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.We will employ any appropriate intervention, including investigations, advocacy and the filing of complaints and litigation.DEBA1.a statement of each priority;Review cases, provide short-term assistance, technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been discriminated against on the basis of disability or denied reasonable accommodations by employers, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.2 the need addressed by each priority;Unfortunately, some employers are still unaware of their responsibilities when it comes to accommodating their employees with disabilities.3.a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.The activities to be carried out include investigations, advocacy, filing administrative complaints, lawsuits and appeals.1. a statement of each priority;Review cases, provide technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been denied or have been prohibited from using assistive technology or auxiliary aids by various entities including Medicaid, Medicare, governmental entities, public accommodations or other entities, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.2. the need addressed by each priority;There is still the denial of the use of assistive technology or auxiliary aids and the failure to accommodate the use of that technology.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.The activities carried out include investigations, advocacy, filing administrative complaints, lawsuits and appeals.1.a statement of each priority;Review cases, provide technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been denied meaningful access to benefits or services or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of disability by governmental entities, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;State and local government does not consistently grant reasonable accommodations or otherwise offer services and benefits to people with disabilities without discrimination.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.The activities carried out include investigations, advocacy, filing administrative complaints, lawsuits and appeals.1.a statement of each priority;Review cases, provide technical assistance, and represent individuals who have been discriminated against or denied meaningful access to the benefits or services of places of public accommodation, using such individualized strategies as filing administrative complaints, lawsuits, and appeals.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;We find that public accommodations do not consistently grant reasonable accommodations or otherwise offer services and benefits to people with disabilities without discrimination.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.The issue addressed here are public accommodations that do not treat their customers with disabilities in a non-discriminatory manner. The activities carried out include investigations, advocacy, filing administrative complaints, lawsuits and appeals.Education1. a statement of each priority;Provide information and referral to students with TBI, DD/ID, ASD, ED, and other qualifying disabilities to obtain the supports and services they need to progress in their education2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Providing brief technical assistance, information, and referral services to students with disabilities in cases in which no longer term intervention strategy will be offered.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Providing brief advices and information, and referral phone calls to students with disabilities in cases in which no longer term intervention strategy will be offered.1. a statement of each priority;Provide advocacy and/or legal representation to students with TBI, DD/ID, ASD, ED, and other qualifying disabilities to obtain the supports and services they need to progress in their education.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Ensuring students with disabilities can access a free appropriate public education without discrimination in accordance with state and federal law.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Depending on case needs and resource availability, the full range of legal and advocacy tools will be utilized to protect the rights of students with disabilities, including informal negotiation, mediation, administrative complaints and litigation.1. a statement of each priority;Provide advocacy and/or legal representation to students with transition needs to obtain the supports and services they need to progress in their education and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Ensuring transition age students with disabilities can access a free appropriate public education without discrimination in accordance with state and federal law.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Depending on case needs and resource availability, the full range of legal and advocacy tools will be utilized to protect the rights of students with disabilities, including informal negotiation, mediation, administrative complaints and litigation.4. a statement of each priority;Provide advocacy and/or legal representation to protect the rights of students with disabilities to access educational programs, services, activities, and benefits free from bullying, harassment or other discrimination on the basis of disability.5. the need addressed by each priority; and;Ensuring all students with disabilities can attend school free from bullying, harassment, and other forms of discrimination.6. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Depending on case needs and resource availability, state and federal anti-discrimination laws will be utilized to help ensure school programs are not allowing or inadequately addressing bullying, harassment, and other forms of discrimination.1. a statement of each priority;Increase community awareness of DRM Education Unit services and resources available for supporting students with disabilities from birth through adulthood.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Ensuring students with disabilities can access a free appropriate public education without discrimination in accordance with state and federal law.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Engage in strategic public education and outreach opportunities to increase public awareness of student’s rights under IDEA, Section 504, ADA Title II and other relevant laws, including continuing development of DRM’s education website and Student Rights Handbook, participation in training programs and other outreach opportunities. Engage in selective policy advocacy as resources and need permit.1. a statement of each priority;Collaborate with community-based groups to improve educational and transition outcomes for students with disabilities of all ages.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Ensuring students with disabilities can access a free appropriate public education without discrimination in accordance with state and federal law.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Provide technical assistance, information and training to our community partners such as the Parent Training and Information Center, Montana education association, Counsel of Exceptional Children and others.Outreach1. a statement of each priority;Provide and sponsor disability-rights-related awareness and training events throughout the state targeting minority and under-served persons with disabilities.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Often people with disabilities are not aware of the types of services available to them. Outreach to the community is a good way to accomplish this.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Often people with disabilities are not aware of the full range of services available to them. Outreach to the community is one way to overcome this.1. a statement of each priority;Produce and disseminate an electronic newsletter and publications.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Getting information to people with disabilities can be challenging but electronic media is increasingly popular as a means of communication, so we have chosen an electronic format for our newsletter.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Under this priority, we compose and distribute an electronic newsletter roughly every other month. During our biennial legislative sessions, we produce a newsletter each week.1. a statement of each priority;Enhance DRM’s interactive electronic presence (website) to leverage technology to distribute information and receive input.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Electronic communication is a good way to contact people with disabilities with timely information.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.Policy1. a statement of each priority;Monitor and respond to law, policy, and rule changes affecting the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities, and affecting the ability of DRM to serve people with disabilities between legislative sessions.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;People with disabilities are affected by changes in law and policy. This happens both intentionally, in measures addressing disability specific issues as well as inadvertently through measures with broad application that often have disproportionate effects upon the disability community. To help the greatest number of people with disabilities and to hopefully avoid or prevent problems brought about by policy changes, it can be advantageous to participate when these issue are being considered and debated.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.This priority is necessary as people with disabilities are affected by changes in law and policy. This happens both intentionally, in measures addressing disability specific issues, as well as inadvertently through measures with broad application which often have disproportionate effects upon the disability community. To help the greatest number of people with disabilities and to hopefully avoid or prevent problems brought about by policy changes, it can be advantageous to participate when these issues are being considered and debated.Under this priority, we inform administration officials and others about the impact of rules, practices and procedures on people with disabilities.1. a statement of each priority;Educate law and policy makers through oral and written communications in legislative and executive branch forums during the state legislative session and in legislative interim committee forums.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;Under this priority, we analyze and respond to proposed bills, resolutions and administrative proposals with regard to how they affect people with disabilities. We can often accomplish more with discussions with policy makers than through litigation.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.This priority is necessary as people with disabilities are affected by changes in law and policy. This happens both intentionally, in measures addressing disability specific issues, as well as inadvertently through measures with broad application which often have disproportionate effects upon the disability community. To help the greatest number of people with disabilities and to hopefully avoid or prevent problems brought about by policy changes, it can be advantageous to participate when these issues are being considered and debatedUnder this priority, we inform policy makers of the impacts of pending legislation and inform the public of pending legislation.Civil Rights1. a statement of each priority;Provide advocacy and/or legal representation for people with disabilities in cases with the potential for establishing precedent, enforcing and clarifying constitutional and other rights. This can only be used with prior approval of the Executive Director.2. the need addressed by each priority; and;This priority exists to allow us to take on cases that are not within our priorities but present significant civil rights issues. We will continue to maintain this priority for times when these issues present themselves.3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.There are some cases, such as constitutional claims, that may not fit under the priorities we have established each year. This priority allows us to address these issues when they have the potential to change the law in a way that will affect more persons than the client in the matter or to have other far reaching benefits for people with disabilities. We investigate, draft legal memos or reports and litigate under this priority

Part VI. Narrative

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.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

A. Sources of funds received and expendedSource of Funding Amount Received Amount SpentFederal (section 509) $212,039 $212,039State $0 $0Program income $0 $0Private $0 $0All other funds $0 $0Total (from all sources) $212,039 $212,039B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this reportCategory FY16 Budget FY17 BudgetWages/salaries $148,571 $104,986Fringe benefits (FICA, unemployment, etc.) $53,186 $39,704Materials/supplies $4,246 $2,892Postage $653 $482Telephone $2,123 $1,566Occupancy $17,635 $12,650Travel $4,200 $4,650Copying $300 $1,000Bonding/insurance $1,470 $1,205Equipment (rental/purchase) $8,164 $6,024Legal Services $3,000 $1,500Indirect costs $4,776 $4,005Miscellaneous $1,200 $1,200Total Budget $249,524 $181,864C. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)Type of Position FTE % of year filled Person-yearsProfessionalFull-time 1.58 100 12Part-time 0.75 100 4VacantClericalFull-time 0.15 100 1Part-timeVacant

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByBernadette Franks-Ongoy
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date11/30/2016