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. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Remembering a friend and true hero to the disability community

Dear Colleagues:

Suellen Galbraith -- one of our nation's best, brightest and toughest disability advocates, and a true and dear friend of InterHab members and staff -- passed away this week. Please keep her friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Though most of you may not have met or known Suellen, please remember her name as one who came before you, whose personal and individual advocacy efforts had a significant impact on national disability policies.

Suellen's work, as a part of our national network of advocates, contributed to the successful expansion of HCBS, and a growing recognition in Washington of the vital roles you and your predecessors have filled in the national effort to address the needs of persons with disabilities.  Suellen Galbraith was committed to the cause, and she was proud to work for community service organizations and professionals such as you.

She was a true hero.

Say a prayer for her spirit. Light a candle. Lift a toast to her memory.

Tom Laing

InterHab Update - July 14, 2015

Watch this week's InterHab Update for the latest on advocacy for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Monday, July 13, 2015

MCOs give more than $50k in campaign donations

The three companies that administer KanCare have donated more than $50,000 to the campaigns of current Kansas legislators since the $3 billion Medicaid program began in 2013.

Amerigroup leads the trio with $27,750 in donations, as of the most recent filings, which include donations through Dec. 31, 2014. Centene Management Corporation, the parent company of Sunflower State Health Plan, gave $17,250 in that time period. United for Health, the political action committee of United HealthCare, came in a distant third with $6,200 in campaign cash. Amerigroup donated to 20 current senators and 37 current House members, Centene gave to five senators and 26 House members, and United HealthCare donated to nine senators and four House members.

Most of the maximum donations — $500 per primary and $500 per general election in the House and $1,000 for each election in the Senate — went to conservative Republicans who currently control both chambers.

Gov. Sam Brownback's administration selected the KanCare contractors and will decide next year whether to renew their contracts after the initial three-year period.

Read full KHI News article. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

InterHab Update - July 7, 2015

The National Council on Disability wants your input.

What advice would you give to policy makers in Washington as they consider whether or not expand to Managed Care for long term services and supports?
Do not miss this chance! Give NCD your detailed experiences with KanCare.

Email your comments to, and please copy us with your comments.

Personal stories are not just welcomed, they help make NCD advocacy more meaningful and tangible. Tell your stories, offer your advice, and make your citizenship active and viable!

Watch this week's InterHab Update for more information.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Former Osawatomie State Hospital patient facing murder charge

Murder charges against a former patient at Osawatomie State
Hospital is prompting questions about mental health system.
The recent filing of murder charges against a former patient at the Osawatomie State Hospital is prompting questions about the state’s mental health system.

On May 14, Brandon Brown, 30, was released from a five-day stay at Osawatomie. He was sent to the state hospital after threatening other patients at the Haviland Care Center, a nursing facility in Kiowa County that specializes in treating adults with serious and persistent mental illness.

Brown, who has long struggled with schizophrenia, was returned to Haviland and on May 17 allegedly assaulted Jerry Martinez, 61, another patient there. Martinez was flown by air ambulance to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, where he died 18 days later.

Brown, who now is being held in a locked security unit at Larned State Hospital, has been charged with second-degree murder.

“The allegations are that he pulled the victim out of bed and slammed his head to the floor several times,” said Kiowa County Attorney Scott James.

The Haviland incident and a recent report in the Topeka Capital-Journal about staffing shortages are intensifying concerns about operations at the state’s two hospitals for people with mental illness. The newspaper report said that nearly 40 percent of the full-time staff positions at Osawatomie State Hospital and 35 percent of those at Larned State Hospital recently were vacant.

“I’ve had a few incidents like this now,” James said. “I have to say they do lead me to wonder if the pressures — whether they be staffing pressures or budget pressures — are really starting to tax these mental health entities to a degree that’s not healthy for the state. I mean, if the state hospital isn’t there to house Mr. Brown, who is it there to house?”

James’ question is at the center of a long-simmering debate over the role of the state’s mental health hospitals in Osawatomie and Larned since lawmakers in the mid-1990s decided to close Topeka State Hospital and expand the state’s network of community-based programs.

This shift from institutional care to in-community care was driven by a desire to provide treatment that is less expensive, more effective and more humane.

But there are growing concerns about the adequacy of the safety net for those who continue to need intensive, inpatient care.

“This is all about having enough ‘ports in the storm’ for when people are in crisis,” said Frank Denning, sheriff of Johnson County. “When 17 percent of the people in (Johnson County) jail have been diagnosed as having a serious and persistent mental illness, it means we don’t have enough ‘ports.’ And when Osawatomie stopped taking voluntary admissions, it leaves us with fewer ‘ports.’”

KDADS officials limited voluntary admissions at the Osawatomie hospital late last year after federal inspectors cited the facility for having too many patients and inadequate staffing levels, and for not doing enough to protect potentially suicidal patients.

Patients admitted voluntarily are those who have been deemed to be potentially dangerous to themselves or others but have not committed a crime and haven’t been sent for treatment under a court order. The limit on voluntary admissions was intended to reduce the patient census at the 206-bed hospital, which had a record 260 patients in October 2014.

Read Entire KHI News Article