Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Detailed Power Up! Conference Schedule

Schedule is tentative and subject to change.
Wednesday, October 14th

8:30-11:30 a.m.
Pre Conference Session “Can you hear me now”
Sarah Michel
Ever wonder why you can’t seem to connect with certain people or why some interactions can be so frustrating?  Do some people get under your skin while others you just connect instantly with?  Do you ever wonder why you can’t seem to “sell” your ideas to certain people?  Yes?  Then join Sarah Michel for this enlightening, fun and highly interactive program designed to help you demystify the four communication styles so you can learn to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

By attending this special pre-conference event, you will explore your strengths and weaknesses in communicating with and influencing others.

Different approaches such as how we are driven to accomplish results, how we create buy-in for our ideas, and how our natural beliefs systems drive our style of interacting with and leading others will be exposed to provide a system for recognizing different styles and knowing how to adapt to meet the communication needs of others to make your work relationships work.

Learning Outcomes:
Understand sources of miscommunication to build stronger work relationships and better collaboration
Learn how to harness your influence style to get better results and create more buy-in for ideas.

Recognize the styles of others and use differences to achieve well rounded teams.

Noon-12:45 p.m. 
Facilitator Training with Sarah

1-2:15 p.m. 
Connexity General Session 
Don't miss this interactive keynote session that will connect you with like-minded attendees who face the same professional challenges, issues, and responsibilities. Awarded speaker Sarah Michel helps you make connections with the information, resources, and ideas you need to do business faster, better, and easier. You'll join human services professionals at "neighborhoods" for small-group discussions on industry hot topics and will leave with tangible outcomes and solutions all while making high-value connections that will grow throughout the week and beyond.

Connexity! -  The focus of a Connexity general session is on you - the participants. It's a learner-centric model instead of the typical old-school speaker-centric model we're used to. It's networking on steroids designed to help each participant connect with the information, resources and ideas they need to do their jobs faster, better and easier. A modified open space approach is used with focuses on tangible outcomes and solutions. You'll experience it and learn how to create the experience for your own organization. Connecting and learning begins right from the start of Power Up! - you are the opening program!

Join conversations...spark the conversations you need!

2:15-3:15  p.m.
Exhibits and Giveaways! 
Come take a tour

Breakout Sessions 

Wednesday, October 14th, 3-5:15 p.m.


Tom Laing, InterHab; Ron Pasmore, KETCH
Ron Pasmore and Tom Laing will give an overview of the evolution of the IDD system; they will discuss the role of advocacy in system change; and, they will describe the integral role of the Kansas community services network: The Kansas Assocation of Rehabilitation Facilicites (KARF) which later became InterHab. New InterHab members and first-time conference attendees are encouraged to attend!

EDPSDT (Kan Be Healthy): Give us a “T” 
Rocky Nichols, Disability Rights Center of Kansas
Enacted by Congress in 1967, Early Periodic Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT), referred to in Kansas as Kan Be Healthy is a mandatory benefit for “categorically needy” children under the age of 21. EPSDT was intended to broaden Medicaid coverage to all children in households receiving Aid to Families with Dependent children (AFDC). In 1989, EPSDT was further broadened to ensure that all treatments falling within the federal definition of “medical assistance” would be available.  In 1997, as part of the Balanced Budget Act, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was established, which makes EPSDT an optional service for children covered under separately administered CHIP plans.  Kansas does not administer its CHIP plan separately. Therefore, EPSDT is not optional under the Kansas CHIP program for children under the age of 19. In this session attendees will learn about this  powerful tool for children under the age of 21 (under the age of 19 for CHIP)and how to effectively access any service that a doctor considers appropriate to “correct or ameliorate” a mental or physical condition. In Kansas, through the KanCare program, the 3 managed care entities are responsible for the provision of EPSDT services. Today in Kansas there is a lengthily waiting list to access I/DD HCBS waiver services.  However, there is not a waiting list for EPSDT services.  You cannot afford to miss this session!

Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll
Roger Frischenmeyer, Prairie Independent Living Resource Center; Billy Thompson, South Central Kansas Foundation on Chemical Dependency
When it comes to information about drug use and sexual activity, young people with disabilities need some of the same information as their non disabled peers. Yet, there may be additional pieces of information they need based on their disability. This session will examine what is currently being done to promote knowledge about drug use and sexual wellness as well as skills that youth with disabilities can develop to promote healthy social participation. Participants will also have the opportunity to share what they are doing in their communities.

Increasing Expectations of Employment
Shelly May, Sunflower Health Plan
Increasing expectations of employment and creating opportunities to build skills that employers are seeking in potential candidates.

Collaborating to Build Positive, Healthy, Inclusive, Communities Across Kansas 
Matt Enhart, MSED & Sara Quick, MSED, Kansas Institute for Positive Behavior Support
The Kansas Institute for Positive Behavior Support (KIPBS), at The University of Kansas, has been building positive, healthy and inclusive communities for more than fifteen years. Early on this occurred through a comprehensive PBS training system for professionals and multi-tiered PBS systems for schools. In the last five years, KIPBS has expanded its emphasis to include organization and community applications of multi-tiered PBS systems focused on improving quality of life. Driven by fifteen years of data from projects, spanning across populations and systems, KIPBS is now purposefully focusing on research and training activities related to the integration of multi-tiered systems of support, research based behavioral health interventions, effective transition processes, and systems of care. These activities are occurring in collaboration with multiple research, organization, and system partners. In this presentation, we will share our synthesized findings from the last 15 years, describe the features of the new Kansas PBS intensive training and Organization-wide PBS (OW-PBS) models, explain how collaboration amongst university and community stakeholders is beneficial, and discuss how we can collaborate to create positive, healthy and inclusive communities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Response to Armed Engagement
Lt. David Mattingly, Sedgwick County Sherriff’s Office
What would you do if an armed intruder entered your facility? This presentation will provide information on how organizations should prepare to respond to this type of situation.

Wednesday, October 14th,  4:15-5:15

EDPSDT (Kan Be Healthy): Give us a “T” Part 2
Rocky Nichols, Disability Rights Center of Kansas

Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, Part 2

Collaborating to Build Positive, Healthy, Inclusive, Communities Across Kansas, Part 2

Response to Armed Engagement, Part 2

Fraud Risk Assessment & Prevention
Dick Dameron & Debbie Coan, CBIZ
Fraud is not normally a subject that any organization wants to deal with. However, every organization is susceptible to fraud and most organizations experience fraud to some degree. Fraud is a common risk that should not be ignored and can be an expensive drain on an organization’s financial resources. To help illustrate the above, our presentation will include a collection of fraud case studies based on real-life experiences accumulated over the years, which include findings, impact, how the fraud was allowed to happen and actions and follow-up. It is likely that attendees will be able to draw comparisons from examples in assessing and improving their own controls. In any environment, good controls, documented procedures and robust vigilance to ensure compliance with controls will help preserve the organization’s assets and help save money. Well-run organizations take proactive steps to anticipate issues before they occur and take action to prevent undesired results.

The Fatal Five: Common Preventable Illness in the IDD Population
Julie Cooper, BSN, RN, MA, LifeShare
Dehydration, Constipation, Seizure Disorders, Aspiration/GERD and Sepsis are the conditions included in this presentation. Studies show, and for those in the field antnecdotally, it bears out that these conditions are among those that are seen too frequently in the IDD field of care. All too often these preventable conditions lead to a fatal outcomes for those we support. This presentation is geared towards the DSP and healthcare and/or management team in HCBS that supports the DSPs through appropriate training for their positions. There are five common types of illness/conditions that can negatively effect individuals who are diagnosed with IDD and these conditions with education and the appropriate interventions are preventable. Learn how to prevent these potential fatal outcomes and educate the DSPs who are in the field on the daily basis that knowledge is power.

Wednesday, October 14th, 5:30 p.m.

President’s Reception
Executives and Connexity facilitators are invited to join us for this event sponsored by Foulston Siefkin.

Wednesday Evening Entertainment To Be Announced! 

Thursday, October 15

7:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

7:30  a.m. 
Executive Breakfast

8:45-10:45 a.m.
Thursday Keynotes

Refresh Yourself
Carole Ann Drick, American Holistic Nurses Association
Simple, doable self-care strategies that put you in an optimal physical and mental space to think and act clearly and re-energize your passion. Your busy life means quick effective strategies that fit into your already full schedule. Taking care of yourself first reduces stress and gives you clarity in your caregiving.

When you said yes and became a provider, you had a passion and a love of people to provide care. Remember? Is it still alive? Where did it go? Let’s refresh yourself with a new understanding and ways to begin to live your vision again. Even the tough parts of your job – death and dying – can have a fresh perspective as you open the door to begin the conversation first with yourself and then with the family.

Seven Strategies for Success in Difficult Times
Jerr Boschee, The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs
Jerr Boschee’s presentation will identify seven strategic opportunities available to entrepreneurial nonprofits:  Adopting the right leadership style; charting the right navigation system (driving forces, vision, mission, core values, long-term goals); selecting the right market niche; creating the right brand; joining the right eco-system; employing the right benchmarks; and developing the right organizational culture.  Audience members will leave the session with a greater awareness of strategic opportunities and an introductory field guide to best practices.

Breakout Sessions 

Thursday, October 15th, 11 a.m. -noon

End of Life Issues & Feelings 
Carole Ann Drick, American Holistic Nurses Association
What’s holding you back from being comfortable and fully present when talking about end of life? Beginning the death and dying conversation is one of the most important and least prepared for part of your job. Let’s discover a new level of comfort and ability to speak with compassion and caring. When you said yes and became a provider, you had a passion and a love of people to provide care. Remember? Is it still alive? Where did it go? Let’s refresh yourself with a new understanding and ways to begin to live your vision again. Even the tough parts of your job – death and dying – can have a fresh perspective as you open the door to begin the conversation first with yourself and then with the family.

Seven Strategies for Success in Difficult Times, Part 2
Jerr Boschee, The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs

Reflective Supervision: Bring Out The Best In Your Staff 
Audra Kenneson, Rainbows United
We spend a good deal of time and money educating our staff on how to build relationships with children and youth in order to bring out their best behavior, yet we seldom train supervisors on how to bring out the best in their staff. This session focuses on how supervisors of disability service providers can bring out the best in the people they lead. Through good communication, strong mentoring and reflectively supervising you can create well-built, powerful teams who will, in turn, learn to be a stronger support for the youth and families you serve. In this session you will discover and practice the four stages of reflective questioning to better prepare you for this task!

Sensory Processing
Evan Dean, KUMC
Sensory Processing describes a person’s response to environmental stimuli. People respond differently to sensory information based on how soon they detect and how they manage sensory stimuli. A sensory processing framework can be used as a way to understand challenging behavior. For example, a person who is distracted in a busy environment may have difficulty tuning out extraneous noise or movement. This presentation will introduce a strengths-based sensory processing framework and discuss how the concepts can be used to explain behavior. Additionally, the presenter will discuss how recognizing and attending to the person’s sensory responses can support community participation.

Improving Employment Outcomes through Project SEARCH
Kim Perry & Beth Johnson, JCDS; Craig Knutson, KCDD
Project SEARCH is an internship program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that began in 1996 at Children's Mercy Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities brought Project SEARCH to Kansas in 2010 and the first class of interns graduated in May 2013. Until recently, Project SEARCH was exclusively a school-based program for students in their last year of eligibility for services. However, adult programs are now emerging across the country and the first group of adult interns supported by Johnson County Developmental Supports graduated from Project SEARCH in May 2015. This presentation describes the process of implementing a Project SEARCH program for adults and will include suggestions for maximizing success throughout the project. Strategies for successful job development will be shared and will include specific examples of employment outcomes achieved by the interns.

Wellness on a Budget
Amber Ames, Mosaic in Southeast Kansas
As the Health and Wellness Committee Chairperson for Mosaic, Amber will share various wellness initiatives her organization has provided over the past few years. Many of these initiatives are simple and cost little to no money.  She will explain the importance of wellness in the work place and share the trials and errors of what has worked. The desired outcome from the presentation is for participants to walk away with new creative ideas they can take back to their place of employment to encourage the health and wellness of both employees and individuals in services. This is a great application for Health Home Initiatives, as we work within our perspective budgets and meet the demands of Health Home Initiatives.

Thursday, October 15th, Noon -1:15 p.m. 

Lunch and Exhibitor Showcase

Thursday, October 15th,  1:30-4:45 p.m.

Idea CafĂ© 
During our Idea Cafe, attendees will have the opportunity to dig deeper on issues that were identified in our opening Connexity Life session. A coffee house set-up will allow for open sharing and give people the chance to get to strategy solutions through self-facilitated roundtables. Some topics will be pre-selected and others will flow organically based on the attendees needs, professional areas and expertise.

Facilitators to include: Elizabeth Moran, Jerr Boschee, Evan Dean, Amber Ames

Thursday, October 15th,  1:30-2:30 p.m.

Rev Up Your Benefits Knowledge: 2015 Compliance summary to keep your HR engine running smoothly
Julie Athey, The Miller Group
In spite of the Affordable Health Care law being five years old, it still makes weekly headlines. Constant legal battles, shifting definitions, deadlines and delays – what’s an HR professional to do? Simply ignoring the situation is NOT a strategy we recommend, no matter how tempting. Financial penalties and DOL/IRS audits are a reality you don’t want to face.  Julie Athey, Director of Compliance for The Miller Group, is an attorney by way of education and a compliance expert by way of experience.  Her understanding of the many recent benefits-related legal rulings and regulations that affect employers provides a perfect complement to her real world knowledge of the daily challenges of businesses and nonprofit organizations. In this workshop, she will discuss recent legal and regulatory changes regarding the healthcare mandates, with an emphasis on the implications for most nonprofit agencies.  Topics of review include: Wellness programs and incentives; Implications of same-sex marriage for employee benefit plans; Update on contraceptive coverage mandate; Benefit reporting in 2016 (1094-C and 1095-C); DOL Audits and how you can prepare; Our crystal ball and the ACA.

End of Life Issues & Feelings, Part 2
Carole Ann Drick, American Holistic Nurses Association

Benefits of Self-Care for Disability Service Providers 
Audra Kenneson, Rainbows United
The single most important factor in child emotional well-being is the well-being of the adults who care for the child. A caregiver’s capability is most challenged when he/she is under stress. When under stress, humans rely on their emotional resources as much as their skill to function. When under stress, a caregiver’s ability to apply skills may be seriously compromised. This training will first discuss the characteristics of a healthy work community. Then, participants will explore stress: the causes of stress, how one’s coworkers know one is stressed, and how one’s stress impacts the children and youth being served. Next, participants will discuss levels of stress and how to care for oneself at each level. Finally, participants will leave with a tool to assist them in evaluating their own stress level.

Thursday, October 15th, 2:45-3:45 p.m.

Supplemental Security Employment Pilot
Mary Ellen O’Brien Wright, KDHE
Employment plays a major role in adult life, frequently bringing with it a sense of accomplishment, personal satisfaction, self-reliance, social interaction and attachment to community. Lack of attachment to an employer, result in lost opportunities to maintain and improve skills, loss of a sense of belonging in the workforce, and loss of the mindset that employment is possible. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Employment Support Pilot is a project proposed in the original KanCare 1115 Demonstration. In May 2015, KDHE submitted an amendment to the KanCare 1115 Demonstration to CMS seeking approval to move forward with the SSI Employment Support Pilot. Pending CMS approval, KDHE hopes to launch the pilot on 10/1/15. The pilot is designed to promote employment for Kansans with intellectual/developmental (I/DD) and physical disabilities (PD) who are on waiver waiting lists by providing them with a monthly allocation to purchase personal assistance, employments supports, technology and home modifications if they meet the pilot definition of employment. Participants in the pilot will continue to receive medical coverage through KanCare, and individuals with I/DD participating in the pilot will continue to receive Targed Case Management through KanCare.

End of Life Issues & Feelings, Part 3
Carole Ann Drick, American Holistic Nurses Association

Benefits of Self-Care for Disability Service Providers, Part 2
Audra Kenneson, Rainbows United

Pilates Class
Join us for a pilates workout. Bring a towel or yoga mat if you have one and dress ready to work out!

Thursday, October 15th, 5 p.m.

Entertainment Night! 

InterHab Bucks & Costume Game Night
The Power Up Entertainment Night theme is Family Game Night and we will be playing BINGO during the event. As far as costumes go, we just like to have fun! So join in and bring a costume. Nobody will think you are weird - they'll just think you belong. Dress up as your favorite video game character, Clue character, a pair of dice, the queen of hearts, a crazy BINGO lady, a game show host or even a playing piece from a board game. So get ready and start planning your costume!

Friday, October 16

8 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

Breakout Sessions

Friday, October 16th, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Trust and Trauma Informed Care 
Jennifer Medgyesi, Phd, LCSW, Sunflower Health Plan
At least 49% of persons with I/DD have reported sexual trauma during their first 18 years of life and 75% have been or have witnessed physical violence in their own home. 90% have experienced trauma in some form in their lifetime. With a specific emphasis on trauma, this training will provide education and tools for both natural and professional supports serving individuals with I/DD. As we know, traumatic events overwhelm an individual’s ability to functionally cope with life when faced with stressful events. It is not uncommon to experience feelings of terror, powerlessness and dysregulated behaviors. By taking the time to deepen our own awareness and understanding, it isour hope we can provide an educational opportunity underscoring the vulnerabilities of trauma in order to decrease risk or re-traumatization and increase peaceful, positive quality of life.

WIOA, CMS Final Rule, Employment First 
Steve Gieber, Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities
The Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities (KCDD) used the Kansas Employment First Commission report to develop a Request for Proposal asking that a Road Map be developed to improve the employment outcomes for people with disabilities in Kansas. A well respected national consulting firm, Griffin and Hammis received the grant from KCDD to develop the Road Map. In this session, we will be reviewing some of the findings from the Road Map and future direction that we need to take to accomplish the vision of integrated community employment. We will also cover the new Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act as well as an update on the Federal Department of Labor Committee that was formed to make recommendations on subminimum wage.

Emerging Artists 
Cary Odell, Johnson County Developmental Supports
This presentation will include information about how the Emerging artists concept was developed and what sets it apart from other art programs designed for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The techniques that are utililizedto assist artists in learning how to create pieces that reflect their natuaral abilties and appeal to art lovers. The marketing stratigies that have been effective in promotingthe program and increasing art sales, which inclues recruiting volenteer community artiststo provide individualized instruction and mentoring. The importance of establing strong partnerships with the local art community will be discussed and many examples that have led to the inclusion of the Emerging Artists in local art shows and related events.

Adult Guardianship in Kansas: Understanding Your Options and Alternatives 
Elizabeth Moran, Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities
Are you concerned about a person who has a disability or mental health diagnosis, or is aging? Are you the parent or family member of a person who needs help making decisions and is turning or over the age of 18? Has someone suggested you should pursue guardianship for your loved one? Did you know there might be options or alternatives that you're not aware of that would provide support and/or protection in your situation? Do you work with individuals or families who may be considering these issues and/or guardianship? Do you work with students who are in the special education transition process? Have you thought about the legal implications of guardianship for your family member? DO you know how to find the balance between autonomy and support/protections? Join us for this review of adult guardianship in Kansas and a discussion that will help you explore the options and alternatives to adult guardianship in Kansas!

Friday, October 16th, 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Trust and Trauma Informed Care, Part 2
Jennifer Medgyesi, Phd, LCSW, Sunflower Health Plan

WIOA, CMS Final Rule, Employment First, Part 2
Steve Gieber, Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities

Adult Guardianship in Kansas: Understanding Your Options & Alternatives, Part 2 
Elizabeth Moran, Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities

Kansas Impact Program from the KU MBA Program
Charlotte Tritch, University of Kansas
As a state institution and in support of its overall mission, The University of Kansas is committed to understanding the challenging issues facing the State of Kansas and its citizens. A core objective of the Kansas Impact Program is to provide organizations in the state an opportunity to partner with KU MBA students who take on consulting assignments on behalf of nonprofit and service organizations, in order to address important issues affecting the lives of citizens in Kansas. Under the guidance of expert mentors and faculty, teams of MBA students analyze organizational challenges, perform research and identify solutions. The program culminates in a presentation to the leaders of the organization, community members, and the university faculty and staff. Some of the projects addressed in the past are: recruiting and retaining quality nursing talent for LTC facility in western Kansas; understanding and alleviating No Show rates at a CMHC; assessing the economic impact of the local food economy in Douglas County.

Friday, October 16th, 11 a.m.  

Awards Luncheon!
Check out last year's awards video below.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Appeals court upholds minimum wage for home-care workers

A U.S. appeals court today upheld a Department of Labor rule requiring employment agencies to pay the minimum wage and overtime to domestic workers providing in-home care for the elderly, sick or disabled.

The three-judge panel concluded that the Fair Labor Standards Act gave the Department of Labor authority to determine which in-home care services are exempt from minimum wage and overtime protections. The minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Read More. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Data suggests unemployment on the rise for Americans with disabilities

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities rose last month from 9.3 percent to 10.4 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In contrast, the unemployment rate for the general population remained steady at 5.3 percent.

However, despite the month-to-month dip in employment for people with disabilities, the 10.4 percent unemployment rate from July 2015, reflects a 1.7 percent improvement over the same period last year.

According to NPR, If you have a disability in the U.S., you're twice as likely to be poor as someone without a disability. You're also far more likely to be unemployed.

The article explains that a lack of accessible transportation is one big problem for disabled individuals trying to work or go to school. And that students with disabilities are less likely to graduate from high school and college, putting them at a disadvantage in a competitive workforce.

Another obstacle to employment is that if recipients of federal disability payments save more than a certain amount they risk losing their benefits.

The outlook however, may be improving. Congress recently passed a law (the ABLE Act) that will soon allow some disabled adults to save more money by establishing special accounts — exempt from the cap — in which certain savings can be placed. Federal contractors are also required to set goals for hiring more disabled workers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Nation tells of 'Life and Death in Brownback's Kansas'

The Nation, a weekly magazine and online news source covering American political and cultural life, wrote an in-depth feature on how Gov. Brownback's decision to not expand has impacted Kansans.

Life and Death in Brownback’s Kansas, documents the lives of specific people affected as well as the State as a whole. The article also chronicles how Kansas went from being positioned to become a case study for the Affordable Care Act's successful rollout, poised to meet the demands of a new insurance marketplace and Medicaid expansion, to being one of the 21 states refusing to expand Medicaid.

In addition to startling facts about the healthcare strategy in Kansas, Life and Death in Brownback's Kansas tells real stories about the struggles Kansans are facing, and have faced under the Brownback administration.

RaDonna Kuekelhan facing grave prognosis in her sister's home in SE Kansas.
Photo by Catalin Abagiu, courtesy of The Nation. 

RaDonna Kuekelhan, a woman from southeast Kansas, is dying. After surviving cancer and 35 rounds of radiation in the late '90s, her most difficult challenge was yet to come. Back then she had a job making motors for small appliances at Emerson Electric, and it came with a health plan. However, after Emerson shut down RaDonna could now find only temp work with no insurance plan.

In 2010 RaDonna fell ill, during a time when Kansas had one of the more restrictive Medicaid programs in the country. At the time, working parents couldn't ear more than 32 percent of the federal poverty level - or $5,859 a year for a family of three. Childless adults like RaDonna, didn't qualify no matter how much or how little they took home.

By 2011 RaDonna had a destroyed esophagus and colon cancer. She was too young to collect Social Security, and she was trying to survive on a $231-a-month pension from Emerson. Despite her diagnosis and collapsing income, as a single adult she still didn’t qualify for Medicaid. The only way into Kansas’ program was to qualify for disability—and in 2013 the state rejected her application.

As all of this unfolded, the sisters weren’t paying much attention to the debate over healthcare reform in Kansas. Medicaid expansion would give RaDonna a fighting chance, but its prospects were fading fast. Over the course of Brownback’s first months in office, any cautious support that he’d shown for Obamacare quickly evaporated, as movement conservatives made it clear that they wanted a united front in opposition to the law.

By early August, the state GOP was poised to vote on five separate resolutions demanding that Brownback and the legislature do the legal minimum to implement Obamacare and reject the innovator grant. Four days before the vote, Brownback beat the party to the punch and returned the $31.5 million. “Every state should be preparing for fewer federal resources, not more,” he declared in a statement, previewing an argument he’d use against Medicaid expansion as well. “That requires freeing Kansas from the strings attached to the Early Innovator Grant.”

In June 2012, the Court upheld the ACA’s mandate that Americans buy insurance. But the justices shocked even close Court observers by ruling that states could not be compelled to accept Medicaid expansion. Brownback and other GOP governors were now free to opt out without sacrificing funding for their current programs.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback

By this point, the governor had launched a stunning political offensive designed to rid the state of any remaining Republican moderates. Brownback had run on a radical platform, vowing to eliminate the state income tax, rewrite funding for public schools, create judicial elections, dismantle welfare—on and on toward a libertarian zero-government utopia. Yet once in office, he faced frequent obstruction from the Nancy Kassebaum Republicans, who still controlled the state legislature. In 2012, Brownback purged them.

Brownback now brags that he’s cut the number of people receiving public assistance in Kansas by more than half. But reducing benefits and reducing need isn’t at all the same thing. The poverty rate has remained flat. The share of children who qualify for subsidized school lunches has grown to more than 50 percent for the first time in the state’s history. And according to an analysis by the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, more than half of working-age adults who are uninsured already have jobs.

RaDonna Kuekelhan’s greatest sorrow now isn’t her failing health. Rather, it’s the dependence that being uninsured has forced upon her. Since she can’t turn to the state for help, she’s had to burden her sister’s family. RaDonna lives in their house and depends on them for everything from food to transportation.

“I think there’s a case to be made,” said Dr. Julie Griffin at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, “that if we had gotten her Medicaid a long time ago, when I met her, that we would have gotten her to a specialist and they would have been able to treat her, rather than just closing off her esophagus.”

This is the hard reality of practicing medicine in a place like southeast Kansas, Griffin says. It too often leaves you defeated. “It’s so hard to be the doctor who has to reveal: ‘I’m not giving you a death sentence by telling you you have cancer. I’m giving you your prognosis because you don’t have coverage.’”

Click Here to Read the Full Article. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sec. Buffett announces changes at KDADS

The Secretary's office announced today appointments and changes affecting the Community Services and Programs Commission (which has been known as CSP/HCBS). 

These changes will also impact the Survey, Certification and Credentialing Commission (SCC) and the Office of the Secretary. Finalizing these decisions will allow us to move forward aggressively to fill vacant positions in the commission. 

  • Brandt Haehn to be the new Commissioner for Community Services and Programs. Brandt, who holds a Master’s Degree from Wichita State University, comes to KDADS from the state Division of Emergency Management, where he has worked for nine years and is currently Director of Planning and Mitigation.
  • Aquila Jordan is moving to the Office of the Secretary, where she will be the Director of Policy and Regulation.
  • Kimberly Pierson will become director of Home- and Community-based Services.
  • Oversight of the disability hospitals, Parsons State Hospital and Training Center and the Kansas Neurological Institute, will move to the CSP CommissionHCBS Quality Management Services and Licensing will move to the SCC Commission, under Commissioner Joe Ewert. Program Integrity positions will remain in CSP. To aid integration of waiver management, management of the SED waiver will move to CSP.

The appointments will become effective the week of August 10. Transition of the programs will take place over the next several weeks.

Your commissioners and program directors will have additional information for you about these changes in the coming weeks. Field staff who will affected by the move to SCC will receive more information from the commissioner.

Friday, July 24, 2015

August Training Events!

Maximizing Successful Outcomes of Inclusive Education and Childhood Activities
3-Part Webinar Training Series 
August 3rd - 5th 

Students with special needs traditionally have been segregated from their peers and placed in special classrooms and even special schools. Although great strides have been made in including children in "regular classrooms" unfortunately segregated classrooms, schools and other children's services and supports continue to exist.

In this motivating "how to" training, Dr. Tom Pomeranz details clinical, instructional, administrative and environmental strategies to make inclusive education and other daily life activities successful. Thus, not only teachers of special needs students will benefit from this training but provider agency staff who support school aged children will find this session very informative.

Providers of family supports, respite, and other wrap around supports will be able to assist families in advocating for their child to have an inclusive life. You will also learn how to help advocate for the benefits of inclusive education for both the student with special needs as well as the "mainstream" student.

This 3-part training will be of interest to anyone involved in supporting a child to become involved and included in all aspects of their lives and those activities and learning environments that also include their non special needs peers.

Dr. Tom Pomeranz is a nationally recognized authority, trainer, clinician and consultant in the field of services for people with disabilities.

Register Today 

Unemployment Insurance 
August 24th 

In 2014, Kansas signed into law HB 2105.  The Bill increased the taxable wage base from the current $8,000 to $12,000 in the calendar year 2015 and then adds an additional increase to $14,000 in the calendar year 2016.

This is an effective 75% increase to your current unemployment insurance costs over the next two years, an increase passed on to employers despite improving economic conditions.  BUT, it is an increase Nonprofits can avoid and potentially see ever greater savings.  Join us to learn how your organization can lower it’s Unemployment Insurance costs and receive additional services at that lower price.

Marshall Whittey, Regional Sales Director, First Nonprofit, will be the presenter for this insightful training.  Marshall is a graduate of University of Nevada (U of N), earning a B.S. with a concentration in Elementary Education.   In his role, Marshall works directly with our program partners, insurance brokers, members, and prospective members around the country.

This free training is open to members only. Click Here to Register

Positive Behavioral Supports: Programs for Individuals with Disabilities
Webinar Training
August 25th 

Behaviors can be changed without focusing on the punishment.  Providers can create positive programming that is antecedent-based so that the chances of success are significantly higher.  The result is happier people who are busy and on less medications for their disruptive behaviors.

  1. List 3 characteristics of Positive Behavior Programming.
  2. State what ABC means when talking about behaviors.
  3. List at least 4 possible functions of a behavior.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Obama addresses ADA during anniversary event

President Obama this week pledged to continue working to "tear down barriers" facing people with disabilities. This announcement comes just days before the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Twenty five years may have passed since the ADA became law, but there is still much work to become to fully support independence and inclusion for people with disabilities.

“Now, days like today are a celebration of our history. But they’re also a chance to rededicate ourselves to the future — to address the injustices that still linger, to remove the barriers that remain,” Obama said to a packed room in the White House on Monday. “We all know too many people with disabilities are still unemployed — even though they can work, even though they want to work, even though they have so much to contribute.”

In addition to the White House ceremony, there are several events planned in the nation's capital to honor the anniversary of this important civil rights law.

From July 24-26, the Smithsonian Museum of American History will host a 25th ADA Anniversary Festival for Federal agencies to offer educational insights about the ADA, employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and the history of the disability rights movement.  The festival will also present interactive demonstrations of accessible and inaccessible streetscapes, new way finding technology, assistive technology, accessible vehicles, and more.

The White House will also host a series of events celebrating the ADA and the past, present, and future of the disability rights movement.

The Obama Administration also announced a series of new actions aimed at improving the lives of and expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. Click here for more information.