May 2, 2013
April 25, 2013
Health Disparities for People with Disabilities, a presentation by Silvia Yee at Health Disparities Research at the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Disability: A National Conference, April 25 & 26, 2013, Washington, DC
April 9, 2013
A coalition of 20 public interest and legal services groups has submitted a letter commenting on proposed regulations issued on March 21, 2013, related to aspects of California's implementation of federal health care reform. The proposed regulations address eligibility and enrollment requirements for the Individual Exchange (Covered California) that will assist individuals in locating appropriate affordable health insurance. The April 3, 2013 letter offers comments, and highlights various concerns, from organizations that provide advocacy on behalf of consumers.
March 21, 2013
DREDF senior attorney, Silvia Yee testifies before a meeting of the Board of Directors of California's Health Insurance Exchange, Covered California, on health and healthcare disparities experienced by people with disabilities. (PDF)
February 28, 2013
DREDF provides detailed comments to CMS on the proposed Single Streamlined Insurance Marketplace Application, which states will use to enroll people into both private and public health insurance programs beginning in 2014.
February 25, 2013
DREDF is pleased to announce the release of our newest HEALTHCARE STORIES that feature people with developmental disabilities and their families, and an intrepid primary healthcare provider who has defined the field of developmental medicine. These free, downloadable short videos illustrate, as no policy paper can, the obstacles and barriers that still stand in the way of getting appropriate health care for many people with disabilities.
February 21, 2013
DREDF expresses significant concerns and provides extensive comments and recommendations on certain aspects of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed rule regarding Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid and Exchange Eligibility Appeals and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Exchanges, Medicaid and CHIP, and Medicaid Premiums and Cost Sharing
February 6, 2013
We are deeply concerned that California's proposed policy will restrict the scope, amount, and duration of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to managed health plan beneficiaries who receive both Medicaid and Medicare. Our letter enumerates our concerns and ongoing questions.
February 4, 2013
On January 25, 2013, DREDF, with cosigning organizations Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, and Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, submitted comments and recommendations to protect access as California state courts transition to e–filing and e-service systems. The full letter was part of a larger joint legal aid system comment that included the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC). Our shared purpose was to underscore the value of electronic access to marginalized communities – and how to not squander this opportunity for improvements.
January 25, 2013
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) submitted comments to the US Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service of the Treasury Department, and HHS/CMS on proposed regulations concerning Incentives for Nondiscriminatory Wellness Programs in Group Health Plans. DREDF contributed to the letter and signed on as a member of CCD.
January 25, 2013
DREDF, in collaboration with the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) releases, "Identifying and Selecting Long–Term Services and Supports Outcome Measures," a guide for advocates.
January 14, 2013
DREDF submits comments on the Stage 3 Definition of Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Heath Information Technology
December 28, 2012
December 26, 2012
December 4, 2012
DREDF Deeply Disappointed by US Senate Opposition to Global Disability Rights Treaty
Despite the support of over 300 disability rights and veterans organizations, the US Senate failed to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) today, with a final vote of 61 Senators in support and 38 Senators opposed. By not ratifying the Treaty, the US fails to advance the human rights principles it once championed in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the landmark disability civil rights law upon which the CRPD is largely based.
October 10, 2012
Court Approves Consent Decree in Mankinen vs. Orange County.
Superior Court Judge Stock approved the settlement in Mankinen stating that the agreement addresses Orange County's wrongdoings, and the inadequacies in its system for processing applications for general assistance. The Court will retain jurisdiction over the Consent Decree for three years. This article in the Sacramento Bee is a good summary of the issues and resolution.
October 10, 2012
DREDF Secures Historic Settlement in National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Netflix, Ensuring 100% Closed Captions in Netflix's On–Demand Streaming Content Within Two Years
Today's precedent–setting Consent Decree will increase access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to movies and television streamed on the Internet, one of the fastest growing entertainment venues in the country. The case is already notable for establishing that the ADA applies to on line only businesses, a critical issue as society moves from Main Street to the Internet.
"DREDF hopes that this is the beginning of opening the Internet for our country's 48 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals in streamed entertainment, education, government benefits, and more," said Arlene Mayerson, DREDF's Directing Attorney. "We're so pleased that Netflix worked jointly with plaintiffs to devise a reasonable and workable way to achieve 100% captioning. The Decree is a model for the streaming entertainment industry."
DREDF is honored to have worked with Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson P.C., and the Boston, MA law firm Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. on this case.
September 19, 2012
Despite efforts by Californians with disabilities, DREDF, and other advocacy organizations, the California legislature passed Senate Bill 1186, which will diminish the rights of people with disabilities. On September 14, a coalition of disability rights organizations sent a letter to Governor Brown seeking an opportunity to share our grave concerns with him before he made a decision on whether or not to sign the bill. Unfortunately, the governor signed SB 1186 on September 19. We will continue our efforts to mute the impact of this unjust law.
August 13, 2012
Changes to California's Orange County Welfare Program Will Benefit Qualified Indigent People, Including Those With Disabilities
The County of Orange and DREDF, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and The Public Interest Law Project have reached an agreement on changes that will be made to the County's General Relief (GR) Program, which provides cash assistance to indigent adults. Most recipients also receive medical benefits and CalFresh, and a significant percentage are people with disabilities. DREDF brought this class–action case to remedy systemic disability discrimination by the County. The reforms will include easier transitions to the better–funded federal SSI program, and ADA–mandated reasonable accommodations such as assistance with forms, home visits, and the provision of auxiliary aids.
Download the Press Release. (PDF)
Do you think you, or someone you know, might be a member of the class?
July 26, 2012 – Happy 22nd Anniversary ADA!
In celebration and awareness of this larger civil rights journey integral to our own, DREDF invites you to dive back into the past with us on this ADA anniversary with the article "Come On In, The Water's Fine—But Only If You Can Get There" (PDF)
July 25, 2012
On the eve of the ADA's 22nd anniversary, DREDF, with Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) and Lewis Feinberg Lee Renaker & Jackson, has filed Center for Independent Living, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. that calls for the retail giant to ensure equal access to shoppers with mobility disabilities. The primary goal of the case is to make Wal-Mart's point–of–sale terminals accessible to people who use wheelchairs and scooters.
July 13, 2012
DREDF Files Administrative Complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (HHS–OCR)
DREDF has filed an administrative complaint with HHS–OCR charging the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the California Department of Health Care Services (CDHCS) with failure to adequately monitor disability discrimination in public benefits programs throughout California. People with disabilities and their families and children are among the poorest of the poor in California and are disproportionately burdened by homelessness, hunger, and illness. But state–administered programs — CalWORKs, IHSS, MediCal and others – are placing life–sustaining cash–aid assistance beyond their reach by failing to provide accessible services through ADA–mandated reasonable accommodations and the overseeing bodies—CDSS and CDHCS—are failing to enforce these laws despite being charged with this responsibility.
July 2, 2012
DREDF comments on the State Option to Provide Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) for Medicaid-eligible individuals.
July 2, 2012
A New Video Advocacy Tool in Our Campaign for Disability Healthcare Justice
DREDF is pleased to announce the launch of HEALTHCARE STORIES - free, downloadable short videos that illustrate as no policy paper can, the obstacles and barriers that still stand in the way of getting appropriate health care for many people with disabilities.
June 28, 2012
DREDF Applauds SCOTUS Upholding of Affordable Care Act
This historic decision means that people with disabilities will continue to benefit from the profound impact of the landmark law. By affirming the individual mandate, the Court ensured that private insurers will have access to the largest possible pool of enrollees, thus holding costs down. In combination with market reforms prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, this affirmation will make it possible for everyone, including an estimated 3.5 million uninsured people with disabilities, to benefit from more affordable insurance prices.
Administration for Community Living Webinar—Managed LTSS: Engaging in the Stakeholder Process
DREDF's Silvia Yee and Mary Lou Breslin were presenters in this June 27, 2012 webinar in which 360 people participated.
June 19, 2012
DREDF victory in NAD v. Netflix: Court rules that the ADA applies to web-only businesses!
In a major victory for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the nation's premier civil rights organization for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, the District Court of Massachusetts held that the ADA applies to website-only businesses. In National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Netflix, Judge Ponsor denied Netflix's motion for judgment on the pleadings and is allowing this disability civil rights case to move forward. The underlying lawsuit alleges that Netflix violates the ADA by failing to provide closed captioning on most of its "Watch Instantly" programming streamed on the Internet, thereby denying equal access to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Read the Order below.
June 14, 2012
LTSS Webinar Archive
DREDF and the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) presented a webinar on Long–Term Services and Supports in a Managed Care Environment on Monday, June 11, 2012. The transcript from the webinar and slides are available below.
June 11, 2012
A toolkit for advocates on LTSS-specific beneficiary protections developed in partnership with the National Senior Citizens Law Center
June 8, 2012
May 15, 2012
DREDF and Lewis Feinberg filed an Opposition to Netflix's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings asserting that Netflix is a place of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA, that Netflix sufficiently controls its Watch Instantly content to be held liable under the ADA, and that the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act does not conflict with or supersede the ADA. The Department of Justice also filed a Statement of Interest in Opposition to Netflix's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.
SB 1186 is pending legislation in California that would require, among other things, attorneys to send a notice letter to defendants at least 30 days before filing a access lawsuit. DREDF strongly opposes SB 1186.
DREDF comments on California's Dual Eligibles Demonstration: Coordinated Care Initiative
DREDF attorney, Silvia Yee presents on the topic, "Disability Discrimination in Health Care," at the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium held at the Jernigan Institute, Baltimore, MD, in April 2012
DREDF comments on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record Incentive Program — Stage 2 Proposed Rule
IMPROVE TRANSPORTATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES:
Please participate in this short web survey, and encourage others to do so!
The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) is conducting research on what factors are most important to riders with disabilities when deciding which transit mode to use.
The confidential survey results will be part of a national study called Transit Cooperative Research Project B-40: Strategy Guide to Enable and Promote the Use of Fixed-Route Transit by People with Disabilities. The goal is to develop strategies to improve bus and train systems for people with disabilities. DREDF's research partners are TranSystems Corporation, The Collaborative, and KFH Group.
Please take the survey, and encourage others to do so!
CMS Approval of "Duals" Demonstrations Moving Rapidly
Many states are setting up programs for people with disabilities and seniors who are on both Medicaid and Medicare. It is essential that advocates engage with their state officials and CMS on these "duals" initiatives. DREDF, the National Senior Citizens Law Center and others are working to protect the rights of people with disabilities in this process.
DREDF Investigating Public Benefits Website Access
Dear Persons with Disabilities and Disability Organizations,
We need your help to ensure accessibility of three important websites!
These websites exist so Californians can learn about some public benefits and apply for them online. The benefits include: CalWORKs, Refugee Assistance, Cal Fresh, Medi-Cal, Foster Care, CMSP, KinGAP, CAPI, Foster Care/Adoptions, and General Assistance programs.
The websites are:
Please let us know if these websites are accessible to you and your assistive technology!
Please use the technical resources in your organizations to assess these websites's accessibility to your members and let us know what you find out!
You may send your input to:
Taymour Ravandi, Attorney
Disability Rights California
Larisa Cummings, Attorney
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
Antionette Dozier, Attorney
Western Center on Law & Poverty
OPPOSE INDUSTRY ATTACK ON THE ADA
by April 4
Today, Hotel Swimming Pools
What Else Tomorrow?
See full DREDF alert
DREDF's Silvia Yee is quoted in the Guardian on the growing popularity of the controversial 'Ashley Treatment,'. DREDF published it's opposition to this medical procedure in 2007
Are you a person with a disability (including cognitive, hearing, vision, or physical) who receives benefits from the Social Security Administration? Benefits can mean SSI, SSDI, or retirement. If so, UCSF would like to talk with you!!
March 2012 Update from DREDF: SSA has issued nearly 250,000 alternate formats since ACB v. Astrue Judgment
On December 21, 2011 DREDF made an administrative complaint to the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on grounds that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare ("CMS") continues to fail to provide alternate formats to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. This complaint was made on behalf of a Medicare Parts A and B beneficiary who is visually impaired and requires bold 24 point font for all communications and notices from CMS and its contractors including all others who provide Medicare notices to the public. The requested remedies in the complaint include that CMS should automatically offer and provide the following to all blind and visually impaired beneficiaries: Braille, audio CD, large print, or MS Word on CD; any other requests should be processed promptly under the regulations which require CMS to consider those requests. Please contact Charlotte Lanvers at 510-644-2555 if you want to learn more and especially if you have had problems obtaining alternate formats from CMS. (12.21.11)
Dear Advocates and Community Members,
We at DREDF are interested in hearing from you if you or your clients have experienced discrimination on the basis of disability in state and county-run public benefits programs. For example, many counties fail to provide applicants/recipients with the reasonable accommodations they need to comply with program requirements (e.g., home visits, help with filling out forms, gathering documents, alternate formats, extensions of time, sign language interpreters, etc.). We have been told that some counties believe that the ADA and reasonable accommodations apply only to county staff, not public benefits applicants and recipients. Other examples include, but are not limited to, terminations or sanctions for failure to comply with program requirements without considering disability as a good cause exemption and failure to provide notice of rights under the ADA. Our interest is cross-disability and includes physical disabilities, mental illnesses, learning disabilities, and developmental disabilities.
If you have any questions or want to pass along information about yourself or a client, please respond to Shira Wakschlag at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-644-2555.
- DREDF Highlights
Update on National Association of the Deaf (NAD) v. Netflix(11.9.11)
Our first oral argument in NAD v. Netflix took place this week (November 8) in front of Judge Michael Ponsor in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Springfield, MA. We filed a complaint against Netflix in June 2011 for failing to provide adequate closed captioning on its Watch Instantly website and Netflix moved to dismiss the case. Judge Ponsor granted a stay in the case until February 6, 2012 (pending the Federal Communication Commission's issuance of regulations for the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act) but denied Netflix's motion to dismiss.
DREDF Files National Disability Civil Rights Lawsuit against Netflix on Behalf of the National Association of the Deaf. The lawsuit, filed on June 16, 2011 in U.S. District Court in Springfield, MA, charges Netflix with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing equal access to its streaming content. Read more details about the case. (6.16.11)
DREDF Attorney Silvia Yee documents the "double burden" minorities with disabilities experience in a new brief, Health and Health Care Disparities Among People with Disabilities. (10.18.11)
DREDF applauds the United States Department of Justice, the California Department of Education, disability rights groups, medical organizations, the Child Care Law Center, and the California School Boards Association for filing briefs on behalf of the American Diabetes Association in the Supreme Court of California case, American Nurses Association v. O'Connell. (5.31.11)
DREDF opposes misguided California legislation that would provide special education local plan areas (SELPAs) the authority to offer certification training to non-attorney education advocates. See our letter in opposition to SB 462. (4.25.11)
DREDF makes an administrative complaint against the U.S. Dep't of Education Office of Civil Rights for Direct Loans' failure to consider and provide alternate formats for communications with Direct Loans participants. For more information, contact Charlotte Lanvers at email@example.com (3.23.11).
DREDF makes administrative complaint against CDE for faulty compliance resolution system citing evidence of longstanding and systemic failures by CDE to enforce IDEA and ADA/504 in complaints brought on behalf of students with disabilities throughout California. For more information, contact Larisa Cummings at firstname.lastname@example.org. (2.25.11)
DREDF files an administrative complaint at the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on grounds that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare fails to provide alternate formats to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. (2.09.11)
from DREDF and other disability rights organizations
Department of Justice Seeks Public Comment on Development of New ADA Regulations on Equipment and Furniture
DREDF Final Comments are now posted
Bravo! DREDF's Rising Star. Cornell University Law School honors DREDF attorney Charlotte Lanvers as a Rising Star as part of its 2011 Exemplary Alumni Public Interest Awards (1.6.11)
DREDF Directing Attorney Arlene Mayerson meets with Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue: On December 3, 2010, DREDF Directing Attorney Arlene Mayerson met with SSA Commissioner Astrue to discuss concerns surrounding the civil rights of SSA beneficiaries and applicants with disabilities.Colleagues from the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, National Senior Citizens Law Center, Legal Services — New York City, and The Arc joined her. At issue is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and rights to reasonable accommodations and program modifications for persons with disabilities to "meaningfully participate" in SSA programs. DREDF has been addressing complaints about SSA's failure to comply with Section 504 through administrative complaints and litigation. Commissioner Astrue issued a Federal Register Notice on November 5, 2010 for a Section 504 "self-evaluation" that invited public comment. DREDF and our colleagues, along with 20 legal service organizations from around the country, submitted comments. The comment period closed on December 6, 2010. However, SSA will ask for input from the public and further comments about its policies and practices in a subsequent Federal Register notice.DREDF will provide updates as more information about participating in the self-evaluation process becomes available.
The Topic Guides on ADA Transportation were funded by the Federal Transit Administration to provide technical assistance on ADA transportation. They bring together the ADA requirements, FTA enforcement determinations, and good operational practices for ADA compliance.
California Supreme Court accepts DREDF's appeal to review case on behalf of students with diabetes in California public schools (K-12). DREDF and Reed Smith, LLP continue representation of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). (10.11.10)
Celebrate 20 Years of Civil Rights for Americans with Disabilities with Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund: Submit Your Photos or Recordings. (7.21.10)
SSA announces intention to provide large print and audio CD automatically to those that request it in 2011. Read a brief explanation of the Court's decision and how to request specific alternate formats. (2.9.10)
December 2009 SSA Notice Informing Blind and Visually Impaired Beneficiaries, Recipients, Applicants and Representative Payees About Their Right to Alternative Formats and How to Request Alternative Formats (1.26.10)
DREDF authored the topical brief on private and nonprofit sector housing for the National Council on Disability's report, "The State of Housing in America in the 21st Century: A Disability Perspective" (PDF). (1.20.10)
DREDF signs onto Letter of Support for H.R.3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009 (11.5.09)
To the sponsors and guests of DREDF's 30th Anniversary Celebration and Tribute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and to all our supporters and friends, our deepest appreciation and heartfelt thanks for 30 years of commitment to social justice for the disability community. For event photos and a recap of the evening, please visit the 30th Anniversary Celebration page.
DREDF and fellow disability rights organizations ask Congress and the Administration to end aversive practices in the US (9.30.09)
National Council on Disability releases report entitled "The Current State of Health Care for People with Disabilities" authored by a team led by DREDF (9.30.09)
After four years of litigation, DREDF and co-counsel Howrey LLP, went to trial on September 14, 2009, on behalf of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and a class of 3,000,000 blind and visually impaired plaintiffs. Closing arguments were presented on September 23, 2009. (9.23.09)
Diabetes Care in California Public Schools. Critical information for families in English and Spanish. (7.09)
DREDF's Comments on the Senate Finance Committee's "Description of Policy Options, Expanding Health Care Coverage: Proposals to Provide Affordable Coverage to All Americans" (5.22.09)
New York Times: Almost people-first in principle, not yet in practice. (4.21.09)
New! Clearinghouse on Foster Youth and Transition, underwritten by the California Department of Rehabilitation (3.09)
Special Education Needs in California County Jails or Adult State Prison?
DREDF is conducting an investigation into whether young people with disabilities are receiving special education and related services as guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Click here for more information.