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

Mississippi (MISSISSIPPI P and A SYSTEM, INC.) - H240A180025 - FY2018

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameDisability Rights MS
Address5 Old River Place
Address Line 2Suite 101
CityJackson
StateMississippi
Zip Code39202
E-mail Addressinfo@drms.ms
Website Addresshttps://www.drms.ms
Phone601-968-0600
TTY 601-968-0600
Toll-free Phone800-772-4057
Toll-free TTY800-772-4057
Fax601-968-0665
Name of P&A Executive DirectorPolly Tribble
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorVeronica lane
Person to contact regarding reportVeronica Lane
Contact Person phone601-968-0600
Ext.244

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 areas11
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas242
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)253

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff3
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)350

Disability Rights Mississippi (DRMS) partnered with the DD network in Mississippi (The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) and the Mississippi Council for Developmental Disabilities (MSCDD) and recently trained 75 staff from 18 community colleges and universities on how to better assist and accommodate students with disabilities. The trainings were held in Jackson, Hattiesburg and Starkville The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers virtually all colleges and universities in the United States. DRMS attorney explained all programs, including extracurricular activities, must be accessible to students with disabilities. This includes architectural access, providing aids and services for communication, and by the modification of policies, practices, and procedures where necessary. Designed to provide participants with an interactive learning experience, the ADA Training provided a basic overview of the ADA and the incorporation of its elements in the postsecondary educational environment. Self-advocates shared personal stories regarding their on-campus experiences, including requesting and receiving accommodations.Training participants discussed emerging issues related to accommodations, such as emotional support animals, they are currently facing on the state's college and university campuses. The DD Network partners plan to develop and implement a follow-up training focused on educating students with disabilities about how to ask for accommodations at their school. DRMS staff will also work individually with students having problems with their accommodations.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles6
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website14,855
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated4,000
6. Other (specify separately)35,000

Narrative

In June 2018, DRMS was retained by a family who experienced discrimination at a local fast food restaurant. After the event, the family posted a description of the event, which involved one of the restaurant's employees making fun of our client, who is deaf, on Facebook. The post received millions of views, resulting in an outcry for accountability and justice. As a result of DRMS' legal assistance, the family entered into a resolution agreement with the franchise's management company. Newspapers across the state reported on the agreement, which was later shared hundreds of time via press releases and social media outlets, including a video interpreting the article in ASL that was viewed approx. 28,000 times. This incident garnered national interest and resulted in thousands of publicity opportunities for DRMS. https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2018/08/09/kfc-provide-sensitivity training-after-incident-deaf-woman/9333564002/

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)14
2. Additional individuals served during the year21
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)35
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)2

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 14

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility1
2. Employment4
3. Program access1
4. Housing3
5. Government benefits/services1
6. Transportation8
7. Education8
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care2
11. Insurance0
12. Non-government services0
13. Privacy rights0
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse0
16. Neglect0
17. Other13

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor18
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint8
4. Appeals unsuccessful0
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.1
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources2
8. Individual case lacks legal merit5
9. Other1

Please explain

DRMS had several cases which involved community issues. DRMS also had a detailed case about a client not permitted in community building due to her service dog. The client suffers from PTSD and depression. Client attended a public event at the community building and was harassed by its owners. Due to this stress, she had a seizure and could not drive home when they demanded client to leave. Law enforcement was called to the scene. Client was admitted into a hospital. DRMS received information from the client providing documents, outlining service animal registration and other events which have recently occurred at public building. DRMS discussed incident and harassment. Client filed a complaint. DRMS Litigation Director reviewed after report of being contacted and threaten by Deputy Sheriff. Letter from DRMS attorney and ADA guidelines were sent to owner of public building. Client is now able to go to the public building without harassment. DRMS will monitor the progress of this success story.

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-advocacy0
2. Short-term assistance8
3. Investigation/monitoring6
4. Negotiation9
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution4
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)9
8. Systemic/policy activities1

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 40
2. 5 - 227
3. 23 - 5912
4. 60 - 643
5. 65 and over13

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females20
2. Males15

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 Native0
3. Asian0
4. Black or African American16
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White18
7. Two or more races1
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent16
2. Parental or other family home2
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care0
5. Nursing home2
6. Public institutional living arrangement0
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center1
9. Homeless0
10. Other living arrangements14
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 impairment4
2. Deaf/hard of hearing0
3. Deaf-blind1
4. Orthopedic impairment9
5. Mental illness1
6. Substance abuse0
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability4
9. Neurological impairment5
10. Respiratory impairment1
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment0
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment3
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV1
15. Traumatic brain injury1
16. Other disability5

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities7

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes2,000

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.

DRMS noticed a growing number of callers who were in higher education and needed assistance with accommodations. Realizing that students and administrators needed some training, DRMS set out to provide some assistance to these groups. Most of Mississippi’s colleges and universities have good policies in helping someone with a disability to get accommodations, the practices needed fine tuning. Unfortunately, many of these staff assigned to the Disability Support offices were not trained in human services and especially not in working with people with disabilities. DRMS organized a training for the Disability Support Staff (DSS) at all public and private colleges in MS. The training provided legal assistance and practical tips on getting accommodations for people with disabilities. The trainings were free, held in three different regions, and was attended by 75 staff from 18 different colleges and universities. As a result of this, DSS are organizing to work more closely together in the future. DRMS realizes that this training is only a small part of the solution. During this process, we were able to work through with one university staff to problem solve about a service dog being brought onto their campus. A student had a service dog, but she was rooming with someone who was allergic to dogs. DRMS staff discussed reassigning the students to different roommates. Phase 2 of this project is reaching students at the colleges and universities to training them on what to ask for, what they are entitled to, and how to get what they need. DRMS has assigned a staff member to concentrate efforts on this phase in FY19. We will also offer the DSS training again this year in other areas of the state. Our goal is teach young adults how to advocate for themselves not only at school, but in all areas of their life.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts2,000
2. Number of individuals named in class actions8

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.

In 2009, DRMS filed a civil action against the City of Jackson, Mississippi for failure to provide equivalent service under the Americans with Disabilities Act and for failure to operate its para-transit service in accordance with federal law. The Department of Justice intervened in the case and the parties settled and entered into a Consent Decree in 2010. The Consent Decree outlined the improvements, mostly to maintenance protocols and customer service, to be instituted to bring the City of Jackson into compliance with applicable law.

Compliance with the Decree has waxed and waned over time. While the overall situation has improved significantly since 2010, progress has come in fits and starts and poor longstanding practices have been difficult to change. Over the past year, the City continued to operate buses with malfunctioning wheelchair lifts, to operate the para-transit system with capacity constraints, and other poor practices that resulted in denials of service for people with disabilities.

The Consent Decree was set to expire on September 30, 2018 so the Plaintiff’s filed a motion to extend the Decree for an additional two years. The City objected to the extension, claiming they had substantially complied with the terms of the Decree, but the District Court judge sided with DRMS and the Plaintiffs and entered an order extending the Decree until September 30, 2020.

Despite the setbacks in working toward full compliance with the provisions of the ADA, passengers with disabilities have reported improvements in service overall during the life of the Consent Decree so far. Para-transit customers are experiencing fewer late pickups and missed trips and fewer passengers on the fixed routes are being left on the sidewalk due to a malfunctioning wheelchair lift.

DRMS will continue to work on this case through the life of the Consent Decree to ensure that passengers with disabilities on Jackson’s public transit system receive the services the law guarantees.

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.

1. Assist individuals who experience abuse, neglect, rights violation or exploitation in public schools and long -term care facilities through monitoring activities, investigation, individual service requests, or technical assistance. In MS there is a great need for individuals with disabilities on the college level to have appropriate services.DRMS partnered with the DD network in Mississippi (The Institute for Disability Studies) and the Mississippi Council for Developmental Disabilities(MSCDD) and recently trained 75 staff from 18 community colleges and universities on how to better assist and accommodate students with disabilities . DRMS handled 6 rights violations related issues in this fiscal year. A successful outcome happened when DRMS met with appropriate school officials to discuss concerns and complaints about client getting his accommodations. DRMS discussed and educated staff on the law concerning students with a disability while attending college.. The college is now providing all requested accommodations for client. Another DRMS client contacted our office to complain about parking spaces in his local Kroger parking lot. DRMS Advocate went to measure the spaces and check out the accessibility issues. Advocate found that the spaces met some qualifications, but there was not adequate room for a van accessible spot. Advocate found out who owned the land and DRMS attorney wrote them a letter informing them of the issues. The owner repaved the parking expanding the spaces and making two additional spots. Client is pleased and thanked DRMS for its involvement. 2. DRMS focused on community living for people with disabilities. DRMS focused on and will continue to focus on the needs of students in higher education and getting accommodations that they need while attending college/university. DRMS helped staff and students through training and issues on higher education explained elsewhere in this report. DRMS also handled 10 accessibility cases which allowed clients to fully enjoy life.

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.

I. Individuals with disabilities will be free from abuse, neglect and violation of individual rights. Individual will live in a safer, healthier, and improved facility or community setting. 1. DRMS will identify and investigate instances of abuse, neglect, and rights violations of individuals with disabilities in all/any living settings. As reports of abuse & neglect come into our office, we will pursue and investigation. We also look for patterns and injuries when we do routine monitoring visits. 2. Staff will investigate 100% of allegations of abuse, wrongful death, or neglect received by DRMS. II. People with disabilities will be integrated into the community. Individuals will have access to appropriate and individualized community-based services that will enhance their ability to live independently. 1. Staff will receive training and technical assistance on community integration issues and how to cultivate an environment or community living for individuals with disabilities 2. DRMS will continue to train higher education staff and students about rights of individuals with disabilities in receiving accommodations in college classroom. 3. Staff will gather information about Medicaid waiver services and their waiting list. Staff will monitor the state's compliance with Medicaid's new final setting rule. 4. Staff will gather information about inaccessible sidewalks in Jackson, MS. Staff will continue to monitor the consent decree in the JATRAN case in Jackson,MS. III. People with disabilities will receive appropriate services. 1. Youth will be provided a free appropriate public education in their least restrictive environment moving them toward independent living. a. Staff will provide materials to parents, families and individuals to help educate them in their rights at school, filing state complaints, and other self-advocacy issues. b. Assist individuals who are not allowed to a business, service, or program because of their disability.

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.& B. Revenue, Expenses & Budget PAIR Award 171,598.00 171,598 EXPENSE 2018 Actual 2018 Budget Salaries 103,868.36 100,082.99 Sub-Contract Supp Srvcs 745.34 1,864.33 FICA Tax 5,681.48 6,205.15 Medicare 1,328.94 1,451.20 MESC Tax 170.12 1,525.36 SIRA ER 2,748.12 3,002.48 Insurance - Group 15,125.73 19,434.25 Insurance - General 83.22 1,186.39 Worker's Compensation 1,390.25 305.07 Instate Travel 361.44 2,824.75 Out of State Travel 1,197.40 451.96 Professional Development 946.46 282.47 Furniture and Equipment 1,040.16 56.49 IT Support Services 544.08 338.97 Equipment Maintenance-Support 252.14 56.49 Office Supplies 217.49 338.97 Online Law Subscriptions 1,437.23 1,073.40 Legal Consultants 669.20 112.99 Consultants 2,248.55 112.99 Printing 197.24 56.49 I/S Travel - Board 741.82 564.95 O/S Travel - Board 101.00 0.00 Training - Board 45.50 45.20 Production Expenses 97.41 28.25 Public Awareness/Outreach 339.44 112.99 Accounting Services 3,278.71 2,090.31 Membership Fees and Dues 1,593.05 1,468.87 Telephone 1,144.51 1,016.91 Postage/Shipping 139.07 124.29 Rent & Utilities 9,860.30 12,428.88 Parking 48.33 169.48 Conference-Cosponsor 692.20 225.98 Miscellaneous (1.26) 112.99 Bank Fees 35.40 225.98 Legal Expenses 272.38 112.99 Staff Morale 1,888.61 160,529.42 159,604.27 C. PAIR staff includes the ED who has been with DRMS for 28 years. It also includes administrative, intake, and legal staff. Recently DRMS has appointed a PAIR Coordinator whose primary duties will include the oversight of the PAIR program. She has ove 25 years of experience working with people with various disabilities. D. The Governing Board for DRMS is involved in the oversight of the PAIR program. There is no separate advisory board for this program. E. There were no grievances filed in the PAIR program in this fiscal year. F. The Client Assistance Program (CAP) nor the state long term care program is housed within Disability Rights MS. DRMS staff and CAP staff coordinate on various projects. DRMS has attempted to meet with the new manager over the CAP, but to no avail. An attempt has been made by DRMS to formalize legal oversight for them, but they have no interest in doing that. DRMS refers callers to the state long term ombudsman program. The director of the ombudsman program is a former Board member.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByPolly Tribble
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/06/2018