Friday, September 19, 2014

Suspects with hearing loss need to have sign language interpreters provided - A Case in Point

In 2012, the Center for Independent Living of South Florida (CIL) received a complaint from an individual who alleged that a local police department had failed to provide him with a sign language interpreter at his arrest for domestic violence. He informed the CIL that when the police arrived at his home to investigate the crime, they arrived without a sign language interpreter, and sought to interview him and his wife. His wife is not deaf, and was able to talk to the officers to share with them what had happened. When the officers sought to interview the suspect, he asked them to provide them with a sign language interpreter, but they denied the request. Instead, they chose to use his 12 year old daughter to communicate with him.

He refused to allow the officers to communicate with him through his daughter, and repeatedly asked to have a sign language interpreter provided. His repeated requests were repeatedly denied, and the officers arrested him based on statements from his wife, and on observations of a bruise on his wife’s arm.

When the CIL later interviewed him, using a sign language interpreter, he revealed that had an interpreter been provided at the scene, he would have told the officers that he had thrown a DVD at his wife, but had not intended for it to hit her. The bruising observed by the officers was consistent with her having been struck by the DVD. In the absence of provision of the sign language interpreter, the police did not have the statement to use against him at trial.

Upon his arrest, he was taken to jail, and spent the night in jail. The next morning, he was brought before the court, but no sign language interpreter was provided, as the corrections department had failed to alert the court to the need for a sign language interpreter. As a result, the court was put into the difficult position of having to choose to place him back into lockup to await the arrival of a sign language interpreter, or to communicate with him without a sign language interpreter. She did her best to communicate with him, and released him.

The prosecutor’s office reviewed the case, and offered him a plea – pretrial intervention and a domestic violence counseling program. If he attended and successfully completed the program, the charges would be dismissed. Had he been able to make his statement to the police, admitting to having thrown the DVD at his wife, perhaps the plea offer would have involved probation and the domestic violence program. Had that been the case, then if he failed to attend and successfully complete the program, or recommitted while on probation, he could have been sent to jail for violating the terms of his probation.

He then sought to enter a domestic violence program and complete the terms of his plea. He asked the programs to provide him with a sign language interpreter so that he could participate. None of the programs that had contracts with the court agreed to provide him with an interpreter. He languished in limbo, unable to comply with the terms of his plea, unable to benefit from the counseling program, and unable to receive the benefits of the diversion program.

Negotiations ensued between the CIL and the programs, and eventually, a program agreed to provide a sign language interpreter, and he eventually completed the program and the case was dismissed. Other diversion programs continue to resist providing sign language interpreter services, a problem that is widespread across the nation.

The CIL also spoke with the police department which had arrested him. The CIL discovered that the police department had never appointed an ADA Coordinator, never entered into a contract with a sign language interpreter company, and never trained any of their officers about interacting with members of the deaf community. As a result of the CIL’s advocacy, the police department designated an ADA Coordinator, trained him and other officers about the ADA and Section 504 (federal civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability), and began the process of enhancing their relationship with members of the community with disabilities.

The CIL also spoke with the court’s ADA Coordinator, who agreed to enter into a contract for video remote interpreter services (VRI), available whenever needed and whenever an in-person sign language interpreter was delayed or unavailable. The Court found that the use of VR enhanced services to domestic violence victims seeking restraining orders, as well as cases involving emergency motions.

The denial of sign language interpreter services could have been pursued through litigation, and through complaints filed with the federal government, seeking enforcement of the ADA and of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

If you are a crime victim, witness, suspect, or incarcerated defendant  with a disability in Miami Dade County, and would like more information about crime victims with disabilities, and information about the ADA, please contact us. For more information about crime victims, witnesses, and suspects with disabilities, please visit www.thearc.org www.ada.gov, and www.cavnet.org.

Marc Dubin, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
Center for Independent Living of South Florida
mdubin@pobox.com
www.ADAadvocacyBlog.org

Marc formerly served as Special Counsel to the Office on Violence Against Women at the Justice Department (1994-1995) and as a Senior Trial Attorney at the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department from 1993-2005. In that capacity, he was responsible for nationwide enforcement of the ADA and of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 on behalf of the United States. He also founded and operates CAVNET (Communities Against Violence Network), a national victims’ rights network that shares information and resources among experts and advocates, across disciplines, addressing violence against women. Visit www.cavnet.org for more information.



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Monday, September 08, 2014

“Serving Women with Developmental Disabilities: Strategies for the Justice System”


Serving Women with Developmental Disabilities: Strategies for the Justice System”
By Marc Dubin, Esq.
http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/133/over7.html


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NY Times: Medicare Star Ratings Allow Nursing Homes to Game the System


Medicare Star Ratings Allow Nursing Homes to Game the System




"...But an examination of the rating system by The New York Times has found that Rosewood and many other top-ranked nursing homes have been given a seal of approval that is based on incomplete information and that can seriously mislead consumers, investors and others about conditions at the homes.
The Medicare ratings, which have become the gold standard across the industry, are based in large part on self-reported data by the nursing homes that the government does not verify. Only one of the three criteria used to determine the star ratings — the results of annual health inspections — relies on assessments from independent reviewers. The other measures — staff levels and quality statistics — are reported by the nursing homes and accepted by Medicare, with limited exceptions, at face value...."

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Accessible Performances at the Arsht Center

A message from the arsht Center.  Please note below:

From: Alice Fifelski [mailto:afifelski@arshtcenter.org]
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2014 6:42 PM
Cc: Box Office Managers; Matt Saurusaitis; Gary Herman (gherman@fgo.org); Neal Hoffson; Pauline Goldsmith; Rodolfo Mendible
Subject: Accessibility Services

Good evening Friends –

It’s almost time for the curtain to go up for the 2014-15 season.  Attached is our flyer with dates for audio described, open captioned and ASL interpreted performances.  Below is the listing of our audio described performances including Miami City Ballet’s The Nutcracker on December 21.  Miami City Ballet has confirmed that a touch tour will be available prior to the performance.  Like last season we are speaking with the company manager for all the Broadway shows with a request for a touch tour prior to curtain.  Last year we were 100% successful so we’re looking forward to continuing that streak for the 2014-15 season.

Audio Description
Time
I Love Lucy
1:00P
Cinderella
1:00P
Madame Butterfly
2:00P
The Book of Mormon
1:00P
The Nutcracker
1:00P
Beauty and the Beast
1:00P
Cosi Fan Tutte
2:00P
Newsies
1:00P
The Pearl Fishers
2:00P
Wicked
1:00P
Sister Act
1:00P
The Consul
2:00P
Ticket prices vary anywhere from $16.00 to $139.00 depending on production and seatlocation.  Our Box Office is ready to help you with the best seat selection.  The number is305.949.6722.  We will always do our best to not simply meet, but to exceed guest expectations. The season promises to be terrific and we genuinely hope you will join us.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of assistance.  The best number to reach me on is my cell, 305.785.3899 or email afifelski@arshtcenter.org.

Looking very forward to seeing you soon. 

Best regards,
Alice

Alice Arslanian Fifelski
Theater Manager
cid:image001.jpg@01CD4B0C.72695990
Tel  786.468.2294  Fax  786.468.2006
Cel 305.785.3899     
Friend/Fan/Follow for news and inside scoop!
  cid:image002.jpg@01CD4B0C.72695990 cid:image003.jpg@01CD4B0C.72695990



William Rivera



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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Do You Want to Learn More About the ADA?

The Advocacy Program of the CILSF will be providing training about the ADA, and we would like to have people with disabilities, businesses, and state and local government officials involved, so that there is more voluntary compliance occurring.

What are your questions about the ADA? What do you want to know?
Are you a business owner who wants to learn how to better serve customers with disabilities?
Are you an ADA Coordinator who wants to know more about the ADA?
Are you a person with a disability, or a parent of a child with a disability, who wants to know if the ADA can help you?

Are you being discriminated against on the basis of disability? Do you want to be a better self-advocate?

Contact us, and get involved in our Advocacy Program. There is no charge.

The Advocacy Program is directed by Marc Dubin, a former Senior Trial Attorney with the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. From 1993-2005, Marc enforced the ADA nationwide on behalf of the United States, and is a nationally-acknowledged expert in the ADA. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Marc directly at 1-305-896-3000, or email him at mdubin@pobox.com. Follow him onTwitter (@ADAexpertise) and subscribe to our Advocacy Listserv.

We are here to help, and we want to hear from you about how we can.


Subscribe to our ADA Expertise Listserv and get information sent directly to your inbox. To subscribe, send an email to Marc Dubin, Esq., at mdubin@pobox.com. Include your name and contact information, and write "subscribe to ADA listserv."

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Florida's Managed Care Website Broken - Enrollees Unable to Use Site to Get Information

UPDATE: The site has been fixed:


Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Good Afternoon Marc,

The website has been revised and the error message should no longer occur.  Users may select a county and the plan information will be displayed.

Thank you for communicating with us regarding the error message.  We appreciate you making us aware of the issue.

Thanks,
Melanie


Melanie Brown-Woofter
Director, Community Relations
Agency for Health Care Administration
2727 Mahan Drive, Bldg. #3, M.S. 50
Tallahassee, Florida  32308
(850) 412-4028
melanie.brown-woofter@ahca.myflorida.com



The state of Florida, with great fanfare and controversy, rolled out its Managed Care Plans across the state. Medicaid recipients were told to go to the web for information about the plans in order to make a selection. If they did not make a selection, the state enrolled them in a plan chosen by the state.

I looked at the site again this morning, and found that it just doesn't work.

The site, located at http://www.flmedicaidmanagedcare.com/PlanChoice.aspx, offers enrollees information about the various plans - at least, that was the idea.

However, when one clicks on http://www.flmedicaidmanagedcare.com/PlanChoice.aspx in order to get information about the plans available in one's county, it doesn't work.When one clicks on the link entitled "Plan Information - To get information about the plans available to you please select your county," , you get an error message which reads:

"Runtime Error

Description: An application error occurred on the server. The current custom error settings for this application prevent the details of the application error from being viewed remotely (for security reasons). It could, however, be viewed by browsers running on the local server machine."

How many Medicaid patients will be denied services as a result of this problem? When will it be fixed?






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