Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Center for Independent Living of South Florida Advocacy Blog: Update on Medicaid Managed Care Concerns

Center for Independent Living of South Florida Advocacy Blog: Update on Medicaid Managed Care Concerns: March 18, 2015: The CILSF is talking with various Managed Care companies in South Florida (Region 11- Miami Dade and the Keys) to educate ...

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Update on Medicaid Managed Care Concerns

March 18, 2015:

The CILSF is talking with various Managed Care companies in South Florida (Region 11- Miami Dade and the Keys) to educate them about problems experienced by enrollees with disabilities. Calls to a variety of doctors, dentists, and pharmacists, across all Managed Care companies, reveals that ADA discrimination is rampant.

AHCA, the state agency responsible for oversight over Managed Care, has begun distancing itself from the problem, no longer responding to complaints or calls, and engaging in a cursory "investigation" of complaints I filed, "investigations" they closed after minimal effort and little actual investigation. I have been told only to talk to their General Counsel's Office, which no longer responds to calls or emails. My invitation to AHCA to have them participate, by phone, in an upcoming discussion with the disability community, on Friday, April 3rd, from 10-12 noon, was declined. I am hopeful that they change their position, and can spare at least one employee from the thousands that work for them, to hear what is happening to enrollees with disabilities that the state of Florida forced into enrolling in Medicaid Managed Care.  We have also invited Managed Care companies, and hope they will participate as well. We'll see.

I am in discussions with several Managed Care companies, and want to hear from enrollees with disabilities about their experiences so that we can try to fix the problem.

If you want to participate in the discussion on Friday, April 3rd, call 1-866-730-7514.  Enter PIN number 938460.

Marc



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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Do Your Notices of Upcoming Public Meetings Exclude People with Disabilities?

Do Your Notices of Upcoming Public Meetings Exclude People with Disabilities?

When you are preparing your next notice of a public meeting, consider whether your invitation or flyer unintentionally excludes people with disabilities. How would a person who needs a sign language interpreter or printed material that you are handing out in Braille get these accommodations if you don't tell them how to ask for them?

"If you need accommodations to participate, call ______ at ______ at least _____ days in advance of the meeting to make your request" is all it takes.

If you don't provide an opportunity to make the request, plan to pay the price when someone needing the accommodation shows up and you can't provide the service. You have excluded them - you have discriminated against them on the basis of disability, in violation of the ADA. If you are a recipient of federal financial assistance, you have also violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. and may lose your federal funding.

If you post the announcement, and get no requests, then you are off the hook. You don't have to provide the accommodations absent the request. But without the announcement, you are taking a very major, and unnecessary, risk.

Marc



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A Note of Support For Sharen Browning and the Power Group

The Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida recently fired a well respected staff member, Sharen Browning, who ran a group called the Power Group, and then disbanded the Power Group, both without notice, without explanation, and without discussion. In doing so, the CIL leadership caused many to question why. The You Tube video that has been posted about this, located at http://youtu.be/Nf-ohBw7q0Q, also raises serious concerns about why the Director found it appropriate to seek to have Ms. Browning's sister arrested when she came to the CIl to help her sister. Take a look at the video, and see what you think.

I don't know the folks at the CIL of North Central Florida, and imagine that the situation there is difficult and divisive.  I'm sure the Board of Directors have some hard decisions ahead of them, and one has to wonder how this will affect how funders see the Center. The sudden and unexplained firing of Sharen Browning, and the decision to seek to have her sister arrested when she came by to help her sister pack and to provide support mystifies and outrages many. And it should.

The video posted on You Tube causes the viewer to wonder why this happened, and to wonder what effect the decision to not only terminate Sharen but to also eliminate the program she ran, without discussion, will have on the consumers who relied on the program, and on the reputation of the CIL.

I work at a CIL, and I know how important the programs CILs offer to the community are. I have seen, firsthand, how CIL staff relate to consumers, peer to peer, and how empowering it is to have a staff person with a disability help a consumer with a disability. There is an awareness that when one has a disability, one sees the world differently from those who are not disabled, and that one experiences the world quite differently. I have seen it in my advocacy work, and I have seen it when I watch my colleagues work with our consumers. There is no question that the Power Group that Sharen dedicated her life to on behalf of the CIL of North Central Florida became a community unto itself, and brought its members self-esteem, empowerment, and pride. The Power Group allowed its members to value themselves, to trust in themselves, and to empower and trust in one another. Firing Sharen, and closing the group, without discussion and without explanation, is not merely shocking, it is a betrayal of the ideals of what Centers for Independent a Living stand for. There is a saying in the disability community - Nothing About Us, Without Us. Firing a disability leader, and disbanding her life's work, without notice, without explanation, and without respect, makes a mockery of that ideal.

The Director of the Center not only owes an apology to Sharen and to the members of the Power Group, she owes an apology and an explanation to the disability community at large.  And she should, at the very least. allow the Power Group to continue. This will not go away quietly, nor should it.

Marc

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

CVS Offers Talking Prescription Labels

CVS/pharmacy Now Offers “Talking” Prescription Labels for Individuals with Vision Impairments Through its Online Pharmacy

New service on CVS.com is the result of a collaboration with state and national organizations for the blind.
http://acb.org/node/1780

Woonsocket, Rhode Island (March 18, 2014) – CVS/pharmacy announced today that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a safe and convenient way to access information on prescription labels for individuals who cannot read standard print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or visually impaired. Customers can also obtain a free ScripTalk reader from Envision America that will enable them to listen to the information on the ScripTalk label.

“We are pleased to offer the ScripTalk service to our online pharmacy customers who are visually impaired,” said Josh Flum, Senior Vice President of Retail Pharmacy at CVS Caremark. “Enhancing access to important information about prescriptions is in keeping with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between CVS/pharmacy, the American Foundation for the Blind, American Council of the Blind and California Council of the Blind. These groups applauded CVS/pharmacy’s actions.

“The lack of accessible labels on prescription drug containers puts people with vision loss at serious risk of medication mishaps,” said Paul Schroeder, Vice President of Programs & Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind. “We applaud CVS/pharmacy for taking steps to provide speech access to label information for customers with vision loss along with its willingness to evaluate methods to improve large print labels.”

“This agreement is a positive step that allows for a greater level of privacy, safety, and independence for blind and visually impaired Americans of all ages who take prescription medications," said Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind.

 "The California Council of the Blind applauds CVS's willingness to offer access to the information on prescription medication labels.  As a result of this initiative, persons who are blind or visually impaired who use CVS mail order to fill their prescription needs will have the same direct, and independent access to label information as do sighted customers," stated Donna Pomerantz, President, California Council of the Blind.
To request the labels with a prescription ordered through cvs.com, the number to call at cvs.com is 888-861-4363.  Questions about the ScripTalk system should be directed to Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call cvs.com first.

About CVS/pharmacy
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://info.cvscaremark.com(link is external).

About American Council of the Blind (ACB) and California Council of the Blind (CCB)
American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. California Council of the Blind is the California affiliate of the ACB and is a statewide membership organization with 40 local chapters and statewide special interest associations. ACB and CCB are dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Their members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about ACB and CCB can be found by visiting www.acb.org and http://www.ccbnet.org(link is external).

About American Foundation for the Blind
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB’s priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the over forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit AFB online at www.afb.org(link is external).

Media Contacts:

Mike DeAngelis
CVS/pharmacy
michael.deangelis@cvscaremark.com(link sends e-mail)
401-770-2645

Kim Charlson
President, American Council of the Blind
617-501-5853
kim.charlson@perkins.org(link sends e-mail)

Adrianna Montague-Devaud
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Tel. (212) 502-7615
amontague@afb.net(link sends e-mail)
The web page was last updated March 18, 2014.


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ScripTalk Station - Talking Labels

Talking Label being applied to bottom of a prescription bottle
ScripTalk Station provides those who cannot read the information on their prescriptions a safe and easy way to manage their personal healthcare. Simply press a button and place the special Talking Label over the reader. A pleasant natural sounding voice speaks all the information printed on the label.
ScripTalk Station uses RFID and text-to-speech technology. A thin antennae and microchip embedded within the label are programmed with all the printed information. Because the data is stored in the label itself, it can be used on any size bottle, box, vial, tube or other prescription container.

http://www.envisionamerica.com/products/scripability/scriptalk/scriptalk-station-for-patients/


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