Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fr. James J. Close, 1936-August 31, 2011: Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Chicago, IL


August 31, 2011
James J. Close was a legend and a father for “today’s orphans”

Office: 312-738-4389
Cell: 312-933-9757

Chicago, August 31, 2011—For a city known for boasting loudly of its big shoulders, Chicago has lost a true giant who quietly, and humbly shouldered the burdens of thousands of young people for more than three decades. Rev. James J. Close—or ‘Fr. Jim,’ as he was affectionately known by scores of youth, friends and donors to Mercy Home—died at 3:30 a.m. following a long battle with cancer. His family was by his side. He was 75 years old.

“I had the privilege of working alongside Fr. Jim for many years,” said Fr. Scott Donahue, president of Mercy Home who served with Fr. Close since 1990, first as a member of its Board of Regents, and later as its Associate President. “Fr. Close’s legacy is profound. His imprint on this community and on the lives of thousands of young people who have passed through our doors will continue to be felt for generations to come,” Donahue said. “Let us pray and give thanks to God for having given Fr. Close to Mercy Home.”

“We have lost a legend,” said Darryl Schimeck, chairmain of Mercy Home’s Board of Directors. “Fr. Close was a true father to so many who came to Mercy Home lost, forgotten, or cast aside. He served these children and he served the Lord. And he did it all with gentleness, with grace, and with humility.”

James Joseph Close was born on Chicago’s North Side in 1936 to Catherine and Sylvester Close, who emigrated from Ireland. Fr. Close was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest since 1963, performing his parish ministry for 10 years before taking the helm at Mercy Home. Close was an inspired and dedicated servant of the poor in spirit. In the course of his 33-year ministry at Mercy Home Fr. Close forever changed the lives of hurting and hopeless young men and women, many of who consider him a father in the truest sense.

“In life, it’s not what you take with you at the end that counts,” Fr. Close said in a homily at his retirement Mass in April 2006. “It’s what you’ve done for the least of your brothers and sisters. This is my daily prayer. It’s a prayer of thanksgiving and acceptance. It is a prayer for you and me.”

He was committed to meeting the ever-evolving challenges faced by young people by embracing change and innovation in their care. That boldness of leadership enabled Fr. Close to transform a struggling home for boys in a tough West Side Chicago neighborhood into a nationally-recognized leader in caring for neglected, abandoned and troubled youth.

To help more children who sought refuge at Mercy Home from difficult and unstable environments, children he termed society’s ‘new orphans,’ Fr. Close launched a program of aftercare to support the long term success of former Mercy Home residents, opened a home for girls on Chicago’s south side, and expanded capacity at both campuses to serve more young men and women.

Thanks to his vision, and his tenacity, Mercy Home now provides critically-needed services for more than 600 young men and women every year and faithfully stewards the support of thousands of loyal donors and friends all over the world.

Anyone wishing to pay their respects is invited to attend a Mass of the Christian burial for Fr. Close at Chicago’s Holy Family Church, 1080 West Roosevelt Rd. Please check Mercy Home’s web site for date and time, www.mercyhome.org.

About Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls has been a solution for kids in crisis since 1887. Our residential, aftercare, and mentoring programs provide safety and opportunity for more than 600 kids every year. Mercy Home is 99.6% privately funded and operates on two campuses in Chicago–a home for boys at 1140 W. Jackson Blvd. and a home for girls at 11600 S. Longwood Dr.

Please visit mercyhome.org to learn more:

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act : info, resources from DBTAC Southwest ADA Center

What does this law do?

The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) gives the Attorney General the power to investigate conditions of confinement of state and local government institutions such as prisons, jails, detention centers, juvenile correctional facilities, government-operated nursing homes, and institutions for individuals who have psychiatric or development disabilities. It allows the Attorney General to uncover and correct serious problems that put the health and safety of people in these institutions in danger.

So if I have a complaint about the way I was treated in a jail, can the Attorney General sue them for me?

No. The Attorney General does not have the power under CRIPA to investigate isolated incidents or to represent individual institutionalized persons.

But if it’s widespread, then the Attorney General can sue?

Yes, on behalf of the government, but not on behalf of an individual. The Attorney General can sue in civil court if there is reasonable cause to believe that conditions are “egregious or flagrant,” that they are causing “grievous harm” to the residents or detainees, and that they are part of a “pattern or practice” of denying residents the full enjoyment of constitutional or federal rights.

Who do I contact to bring something to the Attorney General’s attention?

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Special Litigation Section – PHB
Washington DC 20530

For more from DBTAC Southwest ADA Center visit: http://www.ilru.org/

# Also check your own states & local governments for possible more resources, and your local Center for Independent Living (cil) office, or other disability organizations in your area...

Illinois New Medicaid Plan : Paralyzed football player Rasul "Rocky" Clark fears for health: remembering Rocky Clark 1984 -2012

Rocky Clark, Paralyzed High School Football Player, Dies | Jan 5, 2012

In Memoriam of Rasul "Rocky" Clark

1984 -2012

Long-Term Patients Must Leave Hospitals That Don't Join

{Aug 31 2011} From the time he was paralyzed in a high school football game in 2000, Rasul "Rocky" Clark has received his medical care at Ingalls Health System in Harvey.

In fact, Clark credits the physicians, nurses and aides there for keeping him healthy for the past 11 years, longer than quadriplegics in his condition are predicted to live.

But now, Clark will have to leave the hospital he has depended on since he was hurt, he said.

Clark, 27, is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of chronically ill individuals forced to find new doctors because of changes in the state Medicaid program.

"Basically I don't have a choice if I'll live or die," he said from his hospital bed at Ingalls on Tuesday. "It's wrong for the state to do anyone like this, especially a disabled person. It's very insulting to my condition."

Illinois is rolling out a new program of HMO-style care for people with serious disabilities. Because many doctors and hospitals are refusing to join the new Medicaid program, some patients with cerebral palsy, autism, schizophrenia and other conditions will be forced to find new doctors.

Ingalls has not enrolled in the new program, but the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is working to get the hospital to participate, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

"Uninterrupted health care is crucial in cases like this, and we are doing everything possible to ensure Rocky's continued well-being," said Brie Callahan, press secretary for Gov. Pat Quinn.

Officials with the state would not discuss Clark's case because his medical history is private, the spokeswoman said.

The new Integrated Care Program will affect about 40,000 Medicaid recipients and is expected to save the state an estimated $200 million over the next five years, a news release said. The program will enroll adults with disabilities into two private, HMO-style plans that have promised to better coordinate medical care for them.

For Clark, the changes mean he will have to leave the doctors who have treated his condition for more than a decade. He said he will have to turn to John H. Stroger Hospital, which is about 22 miles away from his Robbins home.

"My condition could get worse," he said. "It will be rough on me."

Clark held a news conference with his mother and the pastor of his church Tuesday afternoon to discuss his latest health obstacle. He said he is being forced to make the changes by Thursday. This year, the $5 million insurance policy that once covered Clark's medical care reached the lifetime maximum and came to an end.

Since then, the community rallied and volunteers stepped up to help meet some of his needs. The staff at Ingalls adjusted their billing so that Clark could still get treated there, the Rev. Anthony W. Williams said.

Clark was 16 and a backup running back for Eisenhower High School on Sept. 15, 2000, when he was tackled and suffered two broken vertebrae in his neck and a spinal injury.

Clark's right lung is severely damaged and he regularly battles pneumonia. Typically he is hospitalized three to four times a year, said his mother, Annette Clark.

### Source for article
Chicago Tribune By Lolly Bowean, TRIBUNE REPORTER Aug 31 2011

For more of the journey of Rocky Clark, and the Illinois Law for Student athlete's insurance protection:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Disabled Teen’s Van Stolen During Chicago's Greek Fest : Aug 30, 2011

CHICAGO (CBS) – A trip into the city was a costly one for a Lombard family.

While they were at Greek Fest on Sunday, someone stole their van, but it’s not just any van – it’s a handicapped accessible vehicle that belongs to a special young man who can’t even get to the doctor now.

“I searched everywhere to find it,” said Matthew Kaye, 15.

As CBS 2′s Kristyn Hartman reports, Matthew, who has cerebral palsy, got downtown in a Dodge Caravan conversion made to accommodate his wheelchair. He and his mom parked on Monroe Street, between Sangamon and Green streets.

When they returned to the spot, the van was gone. As of Tuesday night, there was no indication someone towed it. The Kayes called police to file a theft report.

Anna Kaye said she believes the person who took the van knows it was special.

“You can tell,” she said. “It’s lower to the ground. It has a sticker on the door where the ramp comes down showing a wheelchair.”

She said the van is going to be tough to replace. It took her a long time to find a mildly-used one she could afford – and even then it was expensive.

“It’s hurting us as a family. It’s really hurting us,” Anna said.

He needs that for his life,” said Matthew’s uncle, Tony Darmstadt, “I love Matthew with all my heart.”

Darmstadt says the van opened the world up to his nephew. It also made it possible for him to get to therapy and doctor appointments.

Matthew asked, “Can you let them know that’s my van?”

We told him we would get the word out, thus this story.

The theft couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Matthew’s dad has been laid off. His mom says there’s no income and it costs too much to rent an accessible van.

So, if you’ve seen a dark blue Dodge Caravan with plate number 864-5489, call police.

Source for article: CBS 2 Chicago Reporting Kristyn Hartman August 30, 2011
[TY CBS 2 for report]
For CBS 2 Chicago visit: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/

Illinois: Docs and hospitals, get on board; (does) Everyone wins if Medicaid care is improved? : Editorial August 31, 2011

Chicago Tribune Editorial
August 31, 2011

Docs and hospitals, get on board
Everyone wins if Medicaid care is improved

In January, we applauded Illinois lawmakers for finally passing a serious Medicaid reform bill. The state's ambitious goal: Move half of Illinois' 2.6 million Medicaid patients — that's 1 of every 5 Illinoisans — into managed care by 2015. The overarching strategy is to improve health care for millions of Medicaid patients and save the state tens of millions of dollars.

We're now seeing the first phase of how that works. Managed care generally means patients are assigned a "medical home" — a doctor (it could be an HMO-style clinic) who oversees their care. Doctor and hospital fees are geared to delivering better health care, not just more of it. Providers stand to receive bonuses if they meet quality benchmarks — reducing readmissions to hospitals, for example.

At the time the bill passed, we noted that reforming Medicaid wouldn't be easy. We figured Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos could expect plenty of blowback from hospitals, health care providers, patient advocate and unions that defend the status quo. A major flashpoint: asking doctors and hospitals to accept restructured, possibly lower, reimbursements.

Unfortunately, our prediction about Illinois' evolution to managed care is coming true.

As the Tribune's Judith Graham reported Friday, the state is pushing to enroll people with serious physical and mental disabilities in two private, HMO-style plans — Aetna Better Health and IlliniCare Health Plan.

But many doctors and hospitals have refused to join the new managed care program. The hospitals listed by Graham include Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, the University of Chicago Medical Center, Children's Memorial Hospital and Loyola University Health System. We've heard that many of these elite hospitals and physician groups are still negotiating terms and rates so all of this could — should — change.

For the moment, however, those hospital and doctor refusals are forcing hundreds if not thousands of poor, chronically ill patients who had been relying on them to find new doctors and make new health care arrangements.

What a shame. Many of these hospitals and doctors have long and admirable records of serving the kinds of patients included in the state's pilot managed care program. These providers already treat many Medicaid patients and they work with HMOs in the commercial sector. Why are they resisting the state's managed care initiative?

We've heard several reasons: Hospitals and doctors don't like the bureaucratic red tape of working with the new plans. They're fearful of relentless cost-cutting measures often associated with managed care. They're not looking to expand their Medicaid treatment base because they already lose money on those patients.

We're not in the business of telling hospitals how to function. We know that many hospitals in the state operate on thin margins; 1 in 3 Illinois hospitals is losing money, according to the Illinois Hospital Association.

But we hope these hospitals and doctors realize there's a larger point here: The state's shift to Medicaid managed care is vital and long overdue.

All hospitals, doctors and patients can embrace the ultimate goal: Coordinated, and better, health care for Medicaid patients. One example: Effective managed care — treating health problems before they get more serious — should keep patients out of emergency rooms, saving hospitals plenty in unreimbursed expenses.

There are other incentives for providers to participate. The private insurers running the managed care programs have pledged to pay providers faster — in 30 days at most. That's a huge sweetener in a state where Medicaid bills can pile up in state offices for six months or more.

In some cases, Aetna Better Health CEO Robert Mendonsa told us, hospitals and doctors stand to be paid higher than normal Medicaid reimbursement rates, based on quality-performance benchmarks. Bottom line: Everyone wins if Medicaid care is improved and its costs controlled.

Other states have already done this. Illinois can too. No, it must. We hope those doctors and hospitals negotiate contracts that will work for them and … get on board.

Ability Chicago does not support the Medicaid reform as in effect, way to
many concerns. The history of the State of Illinois in medical care, and treatment for its citizens is not favorable...



Proposed Agreement brings residents one step closer to expanded opportunities for community living and meaningful individual choice

(CHICAGO, August 30, 2011) – A groundbreaking proposed agreement announced today in Colbert v. Quinn, if approved by the court, will end the forced, long-standing and unnecessary segregation of people with physical disabilities or mental illness in nursing homes – affording them a real opportunity to live in their own homes and to participate fully in the community. If the Court approves this agreement, Medicaid-eligible nursing home residents in Cook County will, for the first time, have a meaningful choice about where they wish to live.

In Cook County, thousands of people with physical disabilities and mental illness are warehoused in nursing homes because they cannot afford to live in the community and because they cannot get the services they need in the community. Under this agreement, filed today in federal court in Chicago, the State will now provide housing assistance to address the biggest obstacle to Medicaid-eligible people with disabilities living in the community. “This is a momentous day for nursing home residents with disabilities,” said Steve Libowsky of SNR Denton, the lead attorney for the class. “Because of the way services in Illinois are funded, thousands of people with disabilities are forced to live in nursing homes rather than houses or apartments of their choosing. If the Court approves this agreement, Illinois will afford people with disabilities a real opportunity to live and participate in their communities and will no longer make a nursing home the only housing option.”

Today’s agreement is the latest development in the case Colbert v. Quinn, originally filed in August 2007 on behalf of a class of nursing home residents with disabilities in Cook County. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision, nursing home residents have the right to receive long-term care services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. The vast majority of people with disabilities who are receiving Medicaid have no meaningful alternative to living in a nursing home. “By providing housing assistance, Illinois is addressing the single greatest obstacle to Medicaid-eligible nursing home residents being able to return to the community,” said Steve Gold of the Law Offices of Stephen F. Gold, co-counsel for the class.

“In the nursing home, I wasn’t able to make my own choices about how I live,” said Lenil Colbert, a named plaintiff who lived in a nursing home at the time the original complaint was filed. “I had to eat when they told me. I couldn’t leave to visit my family without permission.” Colbert moved out of the nursing home in 2008 and now lives in his own apartment. “Now that I’m living in my own place, I can make decisions for myself, and come and go as I want. I’m pleased that more people like me will now be given the choice I had.”

Under the agreement, the State will provide housing and related assistance, including personal assistants, to at least 1,100 Cook County nursing home residents with disabilities during the first two and a half year period of the agreement – the first phase. “This agreement is a huge step forward for thousands of people who want to live and participate in communities of their choice,” said Marca Bristo, President and CEO of Access Living. “We commend Illinois for entering into this agreement because it recognizes the right of people with disabilities to choose where to live. We look forward to partnering with the State to implement the agreement.”

After the first phase, the State will continue to provide housing and related assistance to other Cook County nursing home residents with disabilities so they can move into the community. During the second phase, the state will implement a comprehensive plan to move Medicaid recipients living in nursing homes who desire to move into the community in accordance with a plan based on data collected during the first phase. The State will spend no more, in the aggregate, than what it is now paying to serve people with disabilities living in nursing homes. “Historically, nursing home costs have far exceeded the costs of community-based services,” said Karen Ward of Equip for Equality, co-counsel for the class. “This agreement not only offers people with disabilities the choice to live independently, it also provides a significant cost savings to the State.”

Colbert v. Quinn is the third in a trio of class actions brought against the State on behalf of people with all types of disabilities living in institutions to assure them the choice to live in the community. The other two cases, Ligas v. Hamos and Williams v. Quinn, reached similar settlement agreements. “Court approval of the Colbert agreement will bring us closer to our goal of ending the involuntary segregation and isolation of people with all types of disabilities in nursing homes and institutions across Cook County and Illinois,” said Benjamin Wolf of the ACLU of Illinois, co-counsel for the class.

Access Living and SNR Denton, which is providing representation on a pro bono basis, are serving as lead counsel on the case. The plaintiffs are also being represented by attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Equip for Equality, and by the Law Offices of Stephen F. Gold. Colbert v. Quinn is case number 07 C 4737. For documents related to the settlement, visit www.accessliving.org. For more information, contact Gary Arnold at 312-640-2199 (voice), 773-425-2536 (cell), garnold@accessliving.org .

About Access Living
Established in 1980, Access Living is a non-profit, Chicago-based disability rights and service organization that provides individualized, peer-based services for people with disabilities. With a strong influence in public policy and social reform, Access Living is a leading force in the community. Committed to challenging stereotypes, protecting civil rights and breaking institutional and community barriers, Access Living is a nationally recognized change agent at the forefront of the disability rights movement. For more information, www.accessliving.org

About SNR Denton
SNR Denton is a client-focused international legal practice delivering quality and value. SNR Denton serves clients in key business and financial centers from more than 60 locations in 43 countries, through offices, associate firms and special alliances across the US, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS, Asia Pacific and Africa, making it a top 25 legal services provider by lawyers and professionals worldwide. Joining the complementary top tier practices of its founding firms -- Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP and Denton Wilde Sapte LLP -- SNR Denton offers business, government and institutional clients premier service and a disciplined focus to meet evolving needs in eight key industry sectors: Energy, Transport and Infrastructure; Financial Institutions and Funds; Government; Health and Life Sciences; Insurance; Manufacturing; Real Estate, Retail and Hotels; and Technology, Media and Telecommunications. For more information and legal notices, www.snrdenton.com.

About Equip for Equality
Designated in 1985 as the federally funded Protection and Advocacy System for people with disabilities in Illinois, Equip for Equality’s mission is to advance the human and civil rights of people with all types of disabilities in Illinois. Equip for Equality provides self-advocacy assistance, legal services, and disability rights education while also engaging in public policy and legislative advocacy and conducting abuse investigations and other oversight activities. For more information, www.equipforequality.org.
About the ACLU of Illinois
The American Civil Liberties Union is a non-partisan, non-profit membership organization dedicated to protecting and extending freedom, liberty and equality to all in the United States. The work of the ACLU is based upon, but not limited to, protecting the liberties and freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. With a membership of more than 500,000 nationwide - more than 23,000 in Illinois - the ACLU accomplishes its goals through litigating, lobbying and educating the public on a broad array of issues affecting our liberties. For more information, www.aclu-il.org.

# # #

Colbert v. Quinn Fact Sheet

In Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), the Supreme Court held that unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). People with disabilities are entitled to receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.
Colbert v. Quinn is an ADA lawsuit filed in 2007 by people with disabilities (plaintiffs) who reside in Cook County nursing facilities and who want to receive community services. The Judge certified the case as a class action, so the case could move forward on behalf of the approximately 20,000 Medicaid-eligible people living in Cook County nursing facilities. The parties reached an agreement and filed a proposed consent decree with the court. The Judge will set a schedule for comments on the agreement and will address those comments in a Fairness Hearing. If the Judge enters the consent decree, the historic agreement would reflect a momentous change in state policy for serving people with physical disabilities and mental illness who reside in nursing facilities.

If approved by the judge, the consent decree will:

• In accordance with Olmstead, provide class members with the opportunity to receive services in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to their needs.

• In the first 30 months, provide housing assistance that will permit more than 1,000 class members currently living in nursing facilities to move into housing in the community who otherwise would not be able to do so.

• Assure that people who desire to remain in nursing facilities will be able to do so.

• Require the State to develop a plan to transition other nursing facility residents into less restrictive and less costly community-based settings.

• Develop community-based services and housing for class members moving out of nursing facilities.
• Require the appointment of an Independent Monitor with expertise in the development and provision of community-based services to persons with mental illness and physical disabilities.


If you have questions about the proposed agreement or how to file comments with the Judge please contact Patti Werner at 312/640-2148 or at pwerner@accessliving.org

# # #

Community Integration Class Action Initiative
Access Living, the ACLU of Illinois and Equip for Equality

In 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), that unwarranted institutionalization is discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although Illinois is one of the most institutionalized states in the country, the State failed to meaningfully address the segregation of people with disabilities following the Supreme Court’s decision. Accordingly, Access Living, the ACLU of Illinois and Equip for Equality agreed to collaborate and serve as co-counsel on three class actions to address the failure of the State to provide community services to people with disabilities in three different settings. Each organization agreed to serve as lead counsel on one of the cases, which would include securing pro bono representation.

Williams v. Quinn 05 C 4673
This statewide class action was brought on behalf of approximately 4,500 people with mental illness residing in large private state-funded facilities (IMDs). The ACLU of Illinois serves as lead counsel, Kirkland & Ellis is the pro bono law firm, and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is also co-counsel in this case. A Consent Decree was reached with the State, which will allow all IMD residents to be evaluated and move into community-based settings over a period of 5 years. The agreement received final approval in September 2010 (748 F.Supp.2d 892) and in July 2011, the judge approved the State’s Implementation Plan. An Independent Monitor has been appointed to oversee implementation of the Consent Decree.

Ligas v. Hamos 05 C 4331
This statewide class action was brought on behalf of approximately 6,000 people with developmental disabilities residing in large private state-funded facilities (ICF-DDs), as well as those who are “at risk” of moving into one of those facilities. Equip for Equality serves as lead counsel and SNR Denton is the pro bono law firm. A Consent Decree was reached with the State and was approved by the judge in June 2011. Under the agreement, all residents who have expressed a desire for a community placement will move into the community over a period of 6 years. Additionally, 3,000 people with developmental disabilities currently living at home without services will receive community services. An Independent Monitor has been appointed, and the State is currently developing its Implementation Plan.

Colbert v. Quinn 07 C 0747
This class action was brought on behalf of approximately 20,000 people with physical disabilities and/or mental illness residing in traditional nursing homes in Cook County, Illinois. Access Living serves as lead counsel, SNR Denton is the pro bono law firm, and the Law Offices of Stephen F. Gold is also serving as counsel in this case. A Consent Decree was reached with the State and filed with the judge in August 2011. If the Consent Decree is approved by the court, the State will provide housing assistance, and thus, dramatically expand community living opportunities for people with physical disabilities and/or mental illness who currently reside in nursing homes in Cook County.

# # #

Service Animals : A Guide for Individuals with Disabilities and Illinois Businesses


All citizens, including the approximately 1 in 10 individuals in Illinois
with disabilities, are entitled to free and equal participation in society.
To ensure these rights, I have made it a priority to enforce state and federal laws that guarantee that people with disabilities have equal access to all public accommodations.

The information in this pamphlet identifies the legal obligations of
businesses to provide access to people aided by service animals, which
often provide the eyes, ears, strength, or balance necessary for a person with disabilities to perform common, everyday tasks.

If you have any additional questions or would like to file a complaint,
please call my office’s Disability Rights Bureau at one of the numbers
listed on the bottom of this pamphlet.
Lisa Madigan
Illinois Attorney General

Service Animals & The Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as any
dog* individually trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability An animal fitting this description is considered a service animal under the ADA regardless of whether the animal is certified by a particular entity or wearing identifying markers. Service animals help people with disabilities perform tasks for which theyneed assistance. Most of us are familiar with guide dogs used by people who are blind or have visual impairments. However, service animals also help people with a variety of other disabilities.
Examples include:
• Alerting deaf or hard of hearingindividuals to sounds;
• Carrying and picking up objects for individuals with mobility impairments;
• Providing balance assistance for individuals with mobility impairments;
• Alerting individuals to oncoming seizures.

Service Animals vs. Pets
Some service animals wear special collars, harnesses, or capes. Some are
licensed or certified by training entities and have identification papers. Special identification and certification, however, are not required by the ADA.
How the Law Affects Your Business
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people
with disabilities by places of public accommodation, such as restaurants,
hotels, retail stores, theaters, parks, concert halls, and sports venues.
These businesses must allow people with disabilities to bring their service
animals onto the premises and into all areas where the public is generally
allowed. Businesses may not demand identification cards or make unnecessary
inquiries about an individual’s disability under any circumstances, including when a person is accompanied by a service animal.
Illinois Law
Under the Illinois Guide Dog Access Act and the Illinois White Cane Law,
a person who has a visual impairment, hearing impairment, or physical
disability and is accompanied by a qualifying service dog is guaranteed
the right of entry to and use of all public accommodations.
All citizens, including the approximately 1 in 10 individuals in Illinois
with disabilities, are entitled to free and equal participation in society.
To ensure these rights, I have made it a priority to enforce state and federal laws that guarantee that people with disabilities have equal access to all public accommodations. The information in this pamphlet
identifies the legal obligations of businesses to provide access to people
aided by service animals, which often provide the eyes, ears, strength,
or balance necessary for a person with disabilities to perform common,
everyday tasks. If you have any additional questions or would like to file a complaint, please call my office’s Disability Rights Bureau at one of the numbers listed on the back of this pamphlet.

Lisa Madigan
Illinois Attorney General
A Message from
Violation of the Guide Dog Access Act is a
Class C misdemeanor.
Violation of the White Cane Law is a Class
A misdemeanor.


This material is available in alternate format upon request from;

100 West Randolph Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601
(312) 814-5684
TTY: (800) 964-3013

500 South Second Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
(217) 524-2660


What can I say to an individual with a service animal who comes into my business?

You may ask whether the animal is a service animal and inquire as to what
tasks the service animal has been trained to perform. You may not, however
require identification documents for the animal or ask about the person’s

Who is entitled to use a service animal under the ADA?

The ADA does not limit the type of disability one must have in order to use
a service animal. It only requires a link between the task the animal performs and the person with a disability. In other words, the animal must be individually trained to work for the benefit of the person with a disability.

Is there any limitations Are or conditions that I can place on the use of a service animal in my establishment?

No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be required as a condition of allowing the service animal to accompany the individual. The service animal may not be segregated or excluded from areas of the facility open to the public. Further, you may not ask the individual to remove the service animal from the premises, unless: (1) the presence of the animal fundamentally alters the goods, services, facilities, or accommodations
of your business or (2) the animal poses a direct threat to the health
or safety of others.

What if I have a "no pets" policy that applies to all persons who enter my establishment? Do I still have to admit a service animal?

Yes. The ADA requires that you modify your policy to allow use of a service animal by a person with a disability. A service animal is not a pet; it is a working animal.

Are there any services that I have to provide for service animals while they are in my business or public facility?

No. The owner of the service animal is solely responsible for its care and supervision. You are not required to provide care, food, or a special location for the animal.

What can I do if I have a dispute or experience a violation of the ADA or state law?

Complaints can be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice, or by contacting
the Disability Rights Bureau at the Office of the Attorney General.
A complaint alleging a violation of the White Cane Law or the Guide Dog
Access Act should be filed with your county state’s attorney.


Service dogs are an innovative way to physically assist people with disabilities, they are also instrumental in removing many of the barriers faced by the disabled in today's society.

YouTube Uploaded by The Reeve Foundation on Oct 26, 2010

UPDATED: State of Illinois closer to stopping housing adults who have physical and mental disabilities in nursing homes : August 29, 2011


State officials on Monday moved a step closer to ending Illinois' long-standing reliance on large nursing facilities to house adults who have physical and mental disabilities.

A proposed settlement to a class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court Monday evening. It would require state agencies to offer subsidized apartments to thousands of Cook County nursing home residents who can function independently and want to move out of the institutions.

Before it becomes state policy, Monday's settlement still requires court approval and a "fairness hearing" to consider the comments and objections of interested parties. But the agreement was hailed as a civil rights victory by advocates for low-income people with disabilities who say the new settlement would bolster other recent court agreements and legislative reforms aimed at reshaping Illinois' troubled long-term care system.

"Institutions foster dependency. It is actually harmful to people to live in nursing homes when they could be better served in the community," said Patricia Werner, an attorney for the nonprofit Access Living, which filed a 2007 federal lawsuit that paved the way for the settlement agreement.

Officials for the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn say the new agreement would not burden Illinois taxpayers because the debt-ravaged state would recoup Medicaid dollars as it offers apartments and community housing to the former nursing home residents. In other states, they say, such subsidized dwellings have proved less costly to taxpayers than nursing facilities. Under the court agreement, the new housing plan must be implemented in a way that costs the state no more than its current use of nursing homes.

The agreement would require state agencies to offer so-called supportive housing to as many as 20,000 Medicaid recipients who currently reside in Cook County nursing facilities. The plan would be rolled out cautiously, with some 1,100 nursing home residents moved into apartments and group homes during an initial 30-month period.

Quinn and state officials worked to settle three linked disability-rights lawsuits and reform Illinois nursing homes following a 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation that detailed numerous reports of sexual assault, violence and drug abuse in the state's most troubled facilities.

While some Cook County nursing home residents receive excellent treatment, others find themselves trapped in a subset of grim, profit-making institutions that provide little therapy or discharge planning, the Tribune investigation of court records and interviews found.

Cook County nursing homes often take direct control of residents' disability checks, which typically total about $700 a month, and allot each resident just $30 per month in spending money — far too little to amass an apartment security deposit or build a life beyond the institution.

Advocates for the elderly and disabled in 2005 filed the first of three linked lawsuits demanding that Illinois abide by a 1999 Supreme Court decision known as Olmstead, which requires government agencies to place people with disabilities in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their needs.

Newspaper investigations around the country have shown that supportive living arrangements are not an automatic cure for the abuse and neglect found in nursing facilities.

"We have to be vigilant in making sure the people who move are prepared and the places are safe. We're dealing with the most vulnerable people in society, which gives us a special obligation to make sure wherever they live is as safe as it can be," said state Department on Aging acting Director Michael Gelder.

Under Monday's court settlement, Cook County nursing home residents can be evaluated by state-supervised professionals to determine whether they are eligible to be moved into a less restrictive setting and what is needed to thrive there. The evaluation is voluntary, and residents can decline to take part and remain where they are.

Those who opt to move would be offered rental assistance that in many cases would total roughly $700 per month, as well up to $4,000 in transitional funds to equip and furnish their apartments. This money will not be handed to the clients but will be distributed to their landlords using a method akin to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

Community-based organizations would provide on-site or off-site services, including mental health treatment, life-skills training, personal attendant services and case management that includes linking clients with medical providers.

# Source for article: Chicago Tribune By David Jackson August 29, 2011

Judge gives preliminary nod to disabilities deal

A federal judge in Chicago has given preliminary approval to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit involving the rights of disabled Medicaid residents in nursing homes.

U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow also set Dec. 20 for a fairness hearing where people can give their opinions in the case.

The settlement ultimately could affect about 20,000 people with disabilities living in Cook County.

In the deal's first phase, the state would spend $10 million to help at least 1,100 of those residents move into houses or apartments. More people would be helped in the second phase.

The settlement states that Illinois could reap an average annual net savings per person of at least $2,320 by housing people in apartments with community services instead of nursing homes.

# Source: Associated Press August 30, 2011

Top 10 Myths About ADHD

Just-released government statistics confirm that ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is more prevalent than ever before, increasing over the past decade from 6.9% to 9% among children ages 5 to 17. With nearly 1 in 10 kids being diagnosed with ADHD, and more adults learning they have it, too, it's become commonplace to blame it for everything from bad behavior to a messy house. Everyone, from friends and neighbors to Hollywood celebrities, has something to say about it, much of it with no basis in science. Here to help you get your facts straight, the top 10 misconceptions about ADHD:

Myth #1: Only kids have ADHD

Although about 10% of kids 5 to 17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD, at least 4% of adults have it, too -- and probably many more, since adult ADHD is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. That's partly because people think only kids get it.

Myth #2: All kids "outgrow" ADHD

Not nearly always. Up to 70% of children with ADHD continue to have trouble with it in adulthood, which can create relationship problems, money troubles, work strife, and a rocky family life

Myth #3: Medication is the only treatment for ADHD

Medication can be useful in managing ADHD symptoms, but it's not a cure. And it's not the only treatment. Lifestyle changes, counseling, and behavior modification can significantly improve symptoms as well. Several studies suggest that a combination of ADHD treatments works best

Myth #4: People who have ADHD are lazy and lack intelligence and willpower

This is totally not true. In fact, ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or determination. It's a neurobehavioral disorder caused by changes in brain chemicals and the way the brain works. It presents unique challenges, but they can be overcome -- which many successful people have done. Even Albert Einstein is said to have had symptoms of ADHD

Myth #5: ADHD isn't a real disorder

Not so. Doctors and mental-health professionals agree that ADHD is a biological disorder that can significantly impair functioning. An imbalance in brain chemicals affects brain areas that regulate behavior and emotion. This is what produces ADHD symptoms

Myth #6: Bad parenting causes ADHD

Absolutely not! ADHD symptoms are caused by brain-chemical imbalances (see #4 and #5) that make it hard to pay attention and control impulses. Good parenting skills help children deal with their symptoms

Myth #7: Kids with ADHD are always hyper

Not always. ADHD comes in three "flavors": predominantly inattentive; predominantly hyperactive-impulsive; and combined, which is a mix of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Although kids with hyperactive-impulsive or combined ADHD may be fidgety and restless, kids with inattentive ADHD are not hyper

Myth #8: Too much TV time causes ADHD

Not really. But spending excessive amounts of time watching TV or playing video games could trigger the condition in susceptible individuals. And in kids and teens who already have ADHD, spending hours staring at electronic screens may make symptoms worse

Myth #9: If you can focus on certain things, you don't have ADHD

It's not that simple. Although it's true that people with ADHD have trouble focusing on things that don't interest them, there's a flip side to the disorder. Some people with ADHD get overly absorbed in activities they enjoy. This symptom is called hyperfocus. It can help you be more productive in activities that you like, but you can become so focused that you ignore responsibilities you don't like

Myth #10: ADHD is overdiagnosed

Nope. If anything, ADHD is underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. The pressures and responsibilities of adulthood often exacerbate ADHD symptoms, leading adults to seek evaluation and help for the first time. Also, parents who have children with ADHD may seek treatment only after recognizing similar symptoms in themselves

# Source: The Editors at RealAge Aug 18, 2011

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

List of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder organizations; 2011

In the US

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) helping adults with ADHD live better lives.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD) a membership organization that hosts support groups for individuals with ADHD, publishes Attention! magazine and sponsors an annual conference and runs the National Resource Center on ADHD clearinghouse for evidence-based information on ADHD.

Feingold Association of the United States (FAUS) educating people about the benefits of the Feingold Diet

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) support for parents and teachers of children with learning disabilities

Edge Foundation providing coaches that specialize in high school and college students with ADHD

LDOnline bringing support and resources focusing on learning disabilities, learning disorders and differences.

In the UK

the Hyperactive Children's Support Group (HACSG) a registered charity that is a a proponent of a dietary approach to the problem of hyperactivity.

Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service provides information and resources about ADHD to parents, sufferers, teachers or health professionals.

Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder working to raise the profile of ADHD Adults.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wounded Warrior Motorcycle Run 2011; More than 1,800 riders : article August 28, 2011

More than 1,800 motorcyclists showed up Sunday for a Wounded Warrior Motorcycle Run where five local veterans were honored and money was raised for the cause of supporting injured soldiers across the country.

“A lot of bikes here,” said Bill Teckenbrock of Naperville, surveying the motorcycles lined up in the morning in New Lenox Commons. Shortly after noon, the hundreds of motorcycles rumbled off to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

The ride was preceded by a ceremony in which checks of $1,000 were presented to five area veterans, three of whom are in wheelchairs.

But just the presence of so many people in support of soldiers wounded in war and in peacetime meant much to the soldiers and their families at the Wounded Warrior event.

“It helps a lot,” said Aimee Zmysly, of Oak Lawn, whose husband Yuriy was one of the local veterans honored at the ceremony. Yuriy, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak after suffering brain injuries because a breathing tube was removed erroneously while he was recovering from an appendectomy at a military base hospital after returning from war.

Speaking for her husband, Aimee said the sight of so many people for the veterans’ cause “definitely boosts his morale. He can see how many people support him and his brothers.”

“Thank you so much — everyone — for your support,” Josue Cordova, of Mokena, told the crowd during the ceremony.

Cordova is an Air Force veteran who was injured in a 1995 vehicle accident, uses a wheelchair and is active in Paralyzed Veterans of America.

“We are proud to serve our country. We are proud to be veterans,” Cordova said. “If the Lord put me on my feet today, I’d be honored to be back at the front gate and ready to serve again.”

Wounded Warriors Motorcycle Run I-80 Marseilles,IL 2010

YouTube Uploaded by ##### on Sep 3, 2010

Other local veterans and service members honored at the ceremony were Tim Lindgren, of Homer Glen, Brad Hojek, of Oak Lawn, and Sgt. Dominic Bender, of Barrington.

Mike Cozzi, of Crestwood, one of the organizers of the Wounded Warrior event, said money for the local veterans was raised beforehand through T-shirt sales and fundraisers at supermarkets, as well as support from Chi-Town Harley-Davidson in Tinley Park and the Mokena Mayor’s Charity Foundation.

Proceeds from Sunday’s event would go to the Wounded Warrior Project, a national organization devoted to supporting injured members of the military service and raising awareness of their needs.

“We are extremely blessed to have this type of support from numerous motorcycle clubs — both veterans and non-veterans,” Cozzi said.

Jim Ammirati, of Frankfort, a Vietnam era veteran who was riding in the run, said returning soldiers are treated a lot better than when he served. But, he said, veterans still have problems adjusting to civilian life when they come home.

“These veterans are forgotten,” he said. “They can be fighting for their jobs. A lot of them get divorced. There are mental issues because of the stress.”

But, he said, looking around the New Lenox Commons, “I’m glad there’s a lot of support for them here, even from the non-veterans.”

Lindgren, one of the local veterans honored Sunday, is paralyzed from the sternum down from a car accident that happened while he was
on leave from Great Lakes Naval Base.

Lindgren was training to be a Navy corpsman at the time. He never made it. But now he’s a peer counselor for at Hines Veterans Hospital near Maywood.

Helping veterans at Hines “makes me feel really good,” Lindgren said. “I joined the military to help the Marines. I never got a chance to do that.”

Now, Lindgren often helps injured veterans like himself, many of them injured in battle. They appreciate support back home, he said.

“It really helps to have people around and events like this,” Lindgren said. “It’s great to have, especially for guys coming home, to know it’s not in vain.”

# Article as Source: Chicago Sun Times BY BOB OKON Aug 28 2011

Nursing Homes : The Maze of questions, for Illinois : info, resources...

The below information is as a guide in the maze of Nursing Homes questions, check your States website, as Illinois information will be included here, use this as a beginning for your questions - Some Nursing Homes have a good track record, and some do not - advocate for the best possible care:

The Official U.S. Government Sit for Medicare

Nursing Homes

Welcome to the Nursing Homes section of our website. The purpose of this section is to provide visitors with information relating to Medicaid and Medicare certified nursing homes throughout the United States. It includes information on payment and patient rights, and a nursing home checklist which will help you evaluate the nursing homes that you visit.

The following summaries describe what information can be found here. To view any section that is of interest to you, please click on any of the links below, or select any of the links from the menu bar on the right side of the screen.

Nursing Home Compare: Provides an interactive tool that allows Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers to access comparison information about nursing homes. It contains information on every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country, including over 17,000 nationwide. Nursing Home Compare includes:

•Nursing home characteristics such as number of beds, type of ownership and whether or not the nursing home participates in Medicare, Medicaid or both.

•Resident characteristics including percent of residents with pressure sore, percent of residents with urinary incontinence and more.

•Summary information about nursing homes during their last State inspection.

•Information on the number of registered nurses, licensed practical or vocational nurses, and nursing assistants in each nursing home.
Nursing Home Checklist: Provides a detailed checklist for rating different nursing homes visited based upon, Quality of Life, Quality of Care, Nutrition and Hydration, and Safety. The checklist also elaborates on how to use the information discovered through Nursing Home Compare when visiting nursing homes.

About Nursing Home Inspections: Explains, in more detail, the nursing home inspection process and its goals.

Alternatives to Nursing Home Care: Describes the Medicare covered programs that are available to those in need of Nursing Home Care, but who would rather live in the comfort of their own home.

Paying for Care: Provides basic information about Medicare, Medicaid, and Long Term Care Insurance as they pertain to Nursing Home Care.

Nursing Home Resident Rights: Lists the rights, by law, that are given to all nursing home patients.

Nursing Home Awareness Campaigns: Provides information on important nursing home awareness campaigns, such as Nutrition and Hydration Awareness Nutrition Care Alerts.

Nursing Home Publications: Links you to the site's Publication Page. You will be taken directly to the section containing Nursing Home related publications.

Nursing Home Related Sites: Links you to the site's Helpful Contacts section. You will be taken directly to the page containing Nursing Home related websites.

Information Available


Nursing Home Compare


About Nursing Home Inspections

Alternatives to Nursing Homes

Paying for Care

Resident Rights

Nursing Home Awareness Campaigns

Nursing Home Publications

Nursing Home Related Sites

# For Medicare.gov visit: http://www.medicare.gov/Nursing/Overview.asp

Nursing Homes in Illinois

Uploaded by GovernorQuinn on Aug 2, 2010

CHICAGO -- July 29, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed historic legislation that transforms Illinois' system of care for frail older adults and persons with disabilities. The new law is the product of months of research and deliberation initiated by the Nursing Home Safety Task Force that Governor Quinn appointed in October. The task force was charged with ensuring all Illinois nursing home residents are safe and receive the treatment appropriate for their condition.

"Today begins a new era of nursing home care in Illinois," said Governor Quinn. "Older adults who require 24-hour care deserve a safe, high-quality home, and persons with mental illness must have the care and treatment they need to live full and productive lives in their communities. This law protects Illinois' most vulnerable adults."

Senate Bill 326, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), resulted from strong collaboration between state agencies, members of the Illinois General Assembly, advocates, home and community based service providers, residents and the nursing home profession, led by Governor Quinn's Nursing Home Safety Task Force.

The new law remakes the system of admission to nursing homes, ensuring that only those in need of 24-hour skilled care are admitted. The law also strengthens the screening process to prevent residents with violent criminal histories from being placed with vulnerable, older adults.

The law sets higher nursing home quality and staffing requirements, raises penalties for violations, and increases inspections and monitoring. The new law also requires nursing homes to help all residents achieve their highest level of functioning and prepare to transition to more independent, community-based living.

Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 2863, sponsored by Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) and Rep. Harry Osterman (D-Chicago), which will reduce fraud and abuse in nursing homes. An initiative of the Office of the Attorney General, the law requires prompt reporting of fraud, abuse and neglect in nursing homes, broadens the definition of criminal neglect, and requires greater disclosure by nursing home owners.

"We have to do everything we can to protect vulnerable nursing home residents and make sure they are safe," said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. "These bills significantly strengthen the process for protecting nursing home residents from those who may pose a threat. And they provide us with critical tools needed to target nursing home fraud."

Governor Quinn formed the Nursing Home Safety Task Force in October 2009, to respond to concerns for the safety of nursing home residents by thoroughly examining current regulatory policies and coordination among state agencies, and identifying necessary changes in legislation, regulation and policy. The task force held public meetings, heard testimony from more than 50 advocates, academic experts, nursing home residents and their families, and gathered hundreds of public comments through an interactive Web site, www.nursinghomesafety.illinois.gov.

The task force released its final report in February that included 38 recommendations, which served as a blueprint for this reform legislation. State agencies, nursing homes and advocates continue to collaborate to develop new nursing home rates and assessments, as called for in the legislation.

Illinois Dept of Public Health

Illinois has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities serving more than 100,000 residents, from the young to the elderly. These facilities are licensed, regulated and inspected at least annually by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Department also assists the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with certifying these facilities for participation in federal payment reimbursement programs.

The Department’s Bureau of Long-term Care is responsible for making sure nursing homes comply with the provisions of the state Nursing Home Care Act. In addition, under a cooperative agreement with CMS, the Department conducts certification surveys to ensure facilities receiving Medicaid (state) or Medicare (federal) money for resident payment abide by applicable federal regulations.

Each year, Department surveyors conduct about 10,000 surveys, including annual licensure inspections, complaint investigations and reinspections. The Department’s 24-hour a day Nursing Home Hotline (800-252-4343) receives nearly 19,000 calls and, as a result, staff respond to more than 5,000 complaints.

Who Regulates Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes in Illinois are licensed, regulated, inspected and/or certified by a number of public and private agencies at the state and federal levels, including the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). These agencies have separate -- yet sometimes overlapping -- jurisdictions.

A Listing of Illinois Nursing Homes :

This listing of nursing homes by county provides the address, name of the administrator, the type of payment accepted, the number of beds and type of license classification (e.g., sheltered, intermediate, skilled), and ownership information for each facility.

How to Select a Nursing Home :

When a person can no longer live independently, a decision must be made about the best alternative arrangement for care. Such a decision often must be made during a time of crisis, frequently when the person is ready to leave the hospital after a serious illness or operation. This booklet serves as a guide for those faced with the test of selecting an appropriate care setting for a person who no longer is able to live independently.

CMS Nursing Home Database :

This database provides information about the performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in Illinois based on the most recent state inspection. The database also contains information reported by the nursing homes prior to the last state inspection, including nursing home and resident characteristics.

Quarterly Reports of Nursing Home Violation :

This report contains a listing of disciplinary action initiated by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last quarter against facilities that have been determined to be in violation of the Nursing Home Care Act, or have been recommended for decertification to the Illinois Department of Public Aid or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Illinois Law on Advance Directives :

You have a right to make decisions about the health care you receive now and in the future. An advance directive is a written statement about how you want medical decisions made when you can no longer make them. Illinois has three advance directives: health care power of attorney, living will and mental health treatment preference declaration. Read more about advance directives and access the forms you need to fill out for each.

Long-term Care Annual Reports to the Illinois General Assembly

Nursing Homes with No Certification Deficiencies

No deficiencies were identified at these facilities during their most recent annual Medicare/Medicaid certification survey.

Health Care Worker Registry

# For more information in Illinois visit:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Make Your Point! Tired of the wrong people parking in spaces reserved for people with disabilities?

United Spinal Association

Get proactive, get the word out, and make your point.

We have all witnessed it and many of us have experienced it. The wrong person in the right parking spot. Have you ever discovered someone illegally parked in a spot reserved for people with disabilities and wished you could say or do something?

Now you can! Take action with our handy "Just a Minute…" is 60 Seconds Too Long parking pad.

For United Spinal Association visit: http://www.unitedspinal.org/

UPDATED: RTA Chicago hits snag with Senior transit card & RTA failed to include instructions when they mailed out the new cards: Aug 27 2011

Senior transit card switch hits snag

With worried seniors clogging the phone lines into the Regional Transportation Authority, officials are extending hours for the customer service center as the deadline looms for eliminating free rides on the CTA, Metra and Pace for those 65 and older.

Changes in state law will phase out the program, established by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, as of next month. It will be replaced by a two-tier system with Circuit Ride Free permits for low-income seniors and Reduced Fare cards for all other riders.

The RTA started mailing new permits in late July, but mix-ups have dogged the process.

The agency used the Illinois Department on Aging’s database. However, some discrepancies in the information along with out-of-date addresses triggered problems, communications director Diane Palmer said.

The demand also has been much higher than anticipated. Instead of the 56,000 Circuit Ride Free permits originally expected, the RTA has sent out 82,000. The agency has increased staff at its call-in center from seven to more than 30. Average daily calls have shot up from 500 to 2,000.

As of Friday afternoon, the RTA said it will extend hours for its call-in center from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the next two weeks.

If you are a senior waiting for a Reduced Fare or Circuit Ride Free card or have received an incorrect permit, contact the RTA at (312) 913-3110. If you hear a recording, dial 0, officials advise.

# Source: Daily Heraly article By Marni Pyke 8/26/2011
Read more: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110826/news/708269705/#ixzz1WEjDurEw

Heckuva Job RTA

* In other news of excellent management and foresight, the RTA hired an outside consultant which posted YouTube videos to inform senior citizens about how their new reduced fare card will work. Trouble is, the RTA failed to include instructions when they mailed out the new cards…

Many seniors have already expressed confusion and frustration over the new cards mailed to them by the Regional Transportation Authority because the cards were not accompanied by any instructions.

“How the devil do these cards work?’’ asked Rita Shafer in an email to the Tribune. “Nothing in the totally useless information provided (by the RTA) tells one how to put money on the card.’’

The RTA didn’t use “smart cards” that can be charged like an ATM card because, they say, they didn’t have enough extra smart cards on hand. So, that means seniors will have to manually charge the paper cards at CTA rail stations, which isn’t great news for bus riders…

Reloading transit cards will create a major inconvenience for the many senior citizens who travel only on buses. They will need to make a special trip to a CTA rail station and walk up or down stairs to the fare card machines.

In addition, the magnetic strip cards are more prone to fail or jam in fare machines than more sturdy smart cards, which are also easier to handle, transportation experts and seniors who use the cards say.

#Source: Capital Fax Blog - Posted by Rich Miller Aug 26 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

PBS NewsHour Video Explains Why Medical Cannabis Works, Benefits, and Limits

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

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Program: PBS NewsHour
Episode: 'Clearing the Smoke': The Benefits, Limits of Medical Marijuana

Sixteen states have passed laws that allow patients to use medical marijuana to treat side effects of various illnesses, but now some are moving to either limit or repeal those laws. Anna Rau of Montana PBS reports.

CTA : How-to Guide: Pay Fare as a Senior With an RTA Reduced Fare Permit

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From: CTAConnections

There are a variety of options available for paying your fare when you have an RTA Reduced Fare Permit for seniors and it's easy to learn how

The Seniors Ride Free Program Ends Thursday, September 1, 2011

Due to a new law passed by the State of Illinois, the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) Senior Ride Free Program will end and all RTA Seniors Ride Free Permits will be deactivated on Thursday, September 1.

Effective September 1, only qualifying seniors with a valid RTA Circuit Ride Free Permit will be eligible to ride free on the CTA. All other seniors will be eligible to ride the CTA at a reduced fare with a valid RTA Reduced Fare Permit.

The basic information on this page is also available in a downloadable brochure at: http://www.transitchicago.com/seniors/

Fare Payment Options
There are four ways to pay. All methods require a valid RTA Reduced Fare Permit.

Fare Type Info Cost
RTA Reduced Fare Permit

•Value is stored on permit; fare is deducted on buses and at rail stations.
•Add value to permit at any CTA Transit Card Vending Machine.
85¢ 1st ride
15¢ for up to two transfers
within two hours of 1st ride
CTA Reduced Fare Transit Card

•Value is stored on card; fare is deducted on buses and at rail stations.
•Add value to card at any CTA Transit Card Vending Machine.
•At rail stations, request assistance from station personnel.
•Purchase online, at CTA Headquarters and at select locations across Chicagoland.
85¢ 1st ride
15¢ for up to two transfers
within two hours of 1st ride

Sold in packs of two for $15.30, $8.50 value per card.

CTA Reduced Fare 30-Day Pass

•Offers unlimited riding for a 30-day period.
•30-day period begins with first use; cannot be reused once period ends.
•Purchase online, at CTA Headquarters and at select locations across Chicagoland.
$35 per 30-Day Pass


•Cash fare is accepted on buses only, rail turnstiles do not accept cash.
•At rail stations, request assistance from station personnel.
85¢ Rail
$1 Bus
No transfers issued.

How-to Chart
This chart explains, more precisely, how to use your RTA Reduced Fare Permit with the various fare payment options you have.

To pay using…

On buses:
(use farecard slot on machine attached to side of farebox)
At train station turnstiles:
(use slot to your right, on top of the turnstile surface)

Money stored on your RTA Reduced Fare Permit
Insert your card, then remove it when it pops back up.
Insert your card, remove it when it pops back up, then proceed through the gate.

Reduced Fare Transit Card
Insert your Reduced Fare Transit Card and show the bus driver your RTA Reduced Fare Permit. Remove your card when it pops back up.
Ask the Customer Assistant for help. Show them your RTA Reduced Fare Permit, then with them present, insert your Reduced Fare Transit Card and remove it when asked to do so.

Reduced Fare 30-Day Pass
Insert your Reduced Fare 30-Day Pass, then remove it when it pops back up. Next, insert your RTA Reduced Fare Permit and remove it when it pops back up.
Insert your Reduced Fare 30-Day Pass, then remove it when it pops back up. Next, insert your RTA Reduced Fare Permit and remove it when it pops back up. Then, proceed through the gate.

Cash / coin
Insert the exact amount into the cash or coin slots on the top of the farebox and show your RTA Reduced Fare Permit to the bus operator.
Train station turnstiles don’t accept cash; add value to your RTA Reduced Fare Permit at a vending machine and use your card to enter.

•If you don’t have enough money on your RTA Reduced Fare Permit or Reduced Fare Transit Card when boarding the bus, you can still use it as long as there's some value on the card (at least five cents). Just pay the difference between what’s on the card and the fare that’s due (use exact change—excess money put into the farebox when making up the difference does not get stored on the card). In doing so, you’ll be able to use your card for transfers (then also adding the transfer fee at the time of your first transfer).
•There’s very little difference between using your RTA Reduced Fare Permit and a Reduced Fare Transit Card except that it’s easier to use the RTA Reduced Fare Permit, by itself. It’s only one card you need to carry and use as you go and you won’t need a station attendant to assist you in getting through train station turnstiles.

How do I use my new RTA Reduced Fare Permit?
The new magnetic cards are easily inserted into the farecard slot on bus fareboxes and rail station turnstiles by dipping the card down and pulling it back out again.

Will the new permit work?
Yes. CTA uses these magnetic cards for other customers and they are easy to use and function efficiently.

Where can I add value to my RTA Reduced Fare Permit or CTA Reduced Fare Transit Card?
There are several locations where customers can add value: at the Transit Card Vending Machines at CTA rail stations, CTA Headquarters, and select grocery stores and currency exchanges.

Does a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus work with my new RTA Reduced Fare Permit?
No. Only the new cards issued will be valid for seniors who are eligible for reduced fare rides.

I want to ride free. How do I apply for the RTA Circuit Ride Free Permit?
For eligibility requirements and for an application, contact RTA Customer Service at 1-312-913-3110.

More Help
CTA Customer Service

Information regarding CTA fares

On the Web
Complete fare chart
Where to buy fares, in person
Buy fares online
How to ride the bus
How to ride the train
How to pay a fare

By Phone
1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282),
TTY: 1-888-CTA-TTY1 (1-888-282-8891)
Open 7am to 8pm, weekdays

In Person
567 W. Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60661
Open 8am to 4:30pm, weekdays

RTA Customer Service
Information about the Reduced Fare Program or Circuit Ride Free Program

By Phone
TTY: 312-913-3111
Open 8:30am to 5pm, weekdays

In Person
165 N. Jefferson Street
Chicago, IL 60661
Open 8am to 4:30pm, weekdays


Detroit-Area Clinic Owner Sentenced for Medicare Fraud Schemes Totaling More Than $15 Million : Aug 25, 2011

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, August 25, 2011

Detroit-Area Clinic Owner Sentenced to 48 Months in Prison for Medicare Fraud Schemes Totaling More Than $15 Million

WASHINGTON— An owner of three Detroit-area clinics was sentenced to 48 months in prison today for his role in schemes that attempted to defraud the Medicare program of more than $15 million, the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.

Jose Rosario, 54, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to the prison term, Rosario was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay, jointly and severally with other defendants in the case, $10.7 million in restitution. Judge Rosen ordered the sentence to run consecutive to a 46 month sentence that Rosario received in the Southern District of Florida in July 2011, in connection with an unrelated mortgage fraud case.

Rosario pleaded guilty on Aug. 18, 2009, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. According to court documents, Rosario acknowledged that in approximately September 2006, he and a co-defendant incorporated Sacred Hope Medical Center Inc. in Michigan. Sacred Hope purported to specialize in providing injection and infusion therapy services to Medicare patients. Rosario admitted that he and the co-defendant were the owners of the clinic, and agreed to split the profits generated there evenly between them.

According to court documents, during the time that Sacred Hope was open, the clinic routinely billed the Medicare program for services that were medically unnecessary and/or never provided. Rosario admitted that he knew the clinic purchased only a small fraction of the medications that the clinic billed to Medicare. Rosario admitted he participated in hiring co-conspirators to falsify the medical files to make the treatments purportedly provided at Sacred Hope appear legitimate, when in fact he knew they were not.

Rosario also admitted that Medicare beneficiaries were not referred to Sacred Hope by their primary care physicians or for any legitimate medical purpose. Rather, they were recruited to come to the clinic through the payment of kickbacks. In exchange for the kickbacks, the beneficiaries visited the clinic and signed documents falsely indicating that they had received the services billed to Medicare. According to information contained in the plea documents, kickbacks came in the form of cash and prescriptions for narcotic drugs.

In addition to the conduct at Sacred Hope, Rosario admitted to being a part owner of Dearborn Medical Rehab Center (DMRC), another infusion clinic, and to playing similar roles at a third Detroit-area infusion clinic, Xpress Center. Rosario admitted that he was fully aware that the DMRC and Xpress Center routinely billed the Medicare program for services that were medically unnecessary and, in many instances, never provided. Rosario admitted that the purpose of the DMRC and Xpress Center was not to provide legitimate health care to patients, but rather to defraud the Medicare program.

Between approximately March 2006 and March 2007, Rosario admitted to causing the submission of approximately $15.3 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for services purportedly provided at Sacred Hope, DMRC and Xpress Center. Based on the fraudulent claims, approximately $10.7 million was paid.

Today’s sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the HHS Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorney Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney John K. Neal of the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Since its inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine districts have charged 1,000 defendants that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the HEAT team, go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

DeafMD : Health Education in American Sign Language

Welcome to DeafMD, an innovative website providing accurate, concise, and valuable health information in American Sign Language to the Deaf & Hard of Hearing population. Using health information created by two trustworthy and unbiased government sources—the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, our team of healthcare providers, linguists, and educators translates this complex information into ASL.

Our goal is to develop an easy to use site without overwhelming advertisements. DeafMD contains 4 distinct, informative sections: Diseases & Illnesses, Understanding Tests, News, & Find a Deaf Friendly Doctor. While each section is different, each one is specifically designed to promote a better understanding and knowledge of health. Navigate to the Disease & Illness section, the Understanding Tests section, or the News section, and a video will begin to play discussing how to use each section. One of the most exciting areas of the site is the Find a Deaf Friendly Doctor section. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990 to ensure equal rights to every citizen, the Deaf have repeatedly been overlooked. We have attempted to compile a list of doctor’s offices and other healthcare facilities that use ASL fluently with their patients or comply with the ADA by hiring qualified interpreters for their patients. This list is in no way exhaustive, and we encourage you to submit your provider for inclusion to this list. Email us at ContactUs@DeafMD.org to help us add to this list.

It is important to understand that treatment should never be delayed because of something you have read on DeafMD. If you think that you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately or go to your nearest Emergency Room. DeafMD does not provide medical advice or promote any product or service. All content found on DeafMD is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek advice from a qualified physician or healthcare professional about any medical concern and do not disregard professional medical advice because of anything you have read on DeafMD. Do not go on if you do not understand. Navigating past this page indicates that you have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions of Use for www.DeafMD.org.

It is our desire to improve the understanding of health related topics to promote the overall wellness of the Deaf community. Please sign up for our email list to be included in the latest health information posted to DeafMD. Please remember, DeafMD functions from the generosity of donations from our users. Any support you could provide would be greatly appreciated! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any constructive feedback, after all, this site is built for you. Wishing you a lifetime of health & happiness,

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For Deaf MD visit: http://www.deafmd.org/index.cfm

Federal officials defend civil rights enforcement : movement now involves people with disabilities, African-Americans, Muslims, gays, native Americans, immigrants and minorities Aug 2011

EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois' top federal prosecutor brought the federal government's top civil rights lawyer here Thursday to remind people that the struggle for civil rights is not over, and in fact, the caseload is expanding.

Stephen Wigginton, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, said his office is serious about civil rights, and he has been working with top U.S. officials to see that the job gets done here.

"In my first year in office, I decided civil rights would be my first priority," Wigginton told a crowd at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Wigginton was appointed about a year ago.

"As Martin Luther King said, 'We need to feel that fierce urgency of now,'" Wigginton said just before introducing Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Wigginton said his office will not tolerate any violation of civil rights, such as hate crimes, human trafficking, violence or threat of violence.

The civil rights movement now involves African-Americans, Muslims, gays, people with disabilities, native Americans, immigrants and minorities being exploited for monetary gain, he said.

White people, too, are included in the people he serves in the civil rights arena, Wigginton said.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," he said, borrowing a phrase from Dr. Martin Luther King, whose memorial is being dedicated Sunday in Washington, D.C.

Wigginton, Perez and a panel of other civil rights experts also spoke Thursday morning in East St. Louis.

During his Edwardsville appearance, Perez said he noted a curious comment on the website of a media outlet that covered the East St. Louis event.

"All this will do is stir people up," the commenter said.

Perez said matters already are stirred up, because racism, hatred and intolerance are alive and well today, as they were during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

"I would respectfully tell the commenter that things are already stirred up, and we are steering into headwinds of intolerance," Perez said.

He said he often is asked why the Justice Department needs a Civil Rights Division. He listed a number of recent cases to underscore his point.

There was a native American who was attacked and had the letters KKK and a swastika burned into her skin. One of the attackers had received a cellphone message from his son, which ended in the words, "White power!"

"The cancer of the soul is being passed on," Perez said.

He told about cases involving African-Americans being run over by a truck, mosques being burned, threats over the Internet, cases of "redlining" in which black people can't get a housing loan in certain neighborhoods and cases in which landlords brag about the fact that they don't rent to black people.

"This is the United States of America in 2011," he said repeatedly.

He said America should be proud of its progress, but there are underlying problems that lead to the more spectacular cases that his department prosecutes. Some school districts still don't offer equal opportunity for advanced courses to black students, Perez said.

"Our docket of civil rights education cases is still growing," he said.

There also is an expanding docket of cases involving school bullying of students who are somehow different from others, as well as an increasing number of cases involving human trafficking, he said.

"I never thought I would have to talk about the issue of modern-day slavery," he said.

People with mental illness often are an ignored group of people with disabilities, Perez noted. They often end up in jail because there is no community support for them.

"The largest mental health facility in America is the Los Angeles City Jail," he said.

He said the cases involving longstanding concerns, such as voting rights and equal employment opportunity, are increasing.

The country needs to attack these problems before they blossom into noteworthy court cases, Perez said.

"We come in and clean up after train wrecks. I don't want to come in and clean up wrecks. We can't prosecute our way out of these challenges," Perez said. "We should not be confused that we should declare victory and go home."

The job of creating dialogue and settling disputes before they explode into criminal and civil cases falls to people such as Becky Monroe, acting director of the Justice Department's Community Relations Service.

Monroe came with Perez and told the audience that she and her staff are anxious to come into local communities to solve problems of civil rights.

"We are the peacemakers," Monroe said. "We sit down at the table and reason."

She said members of her staff come into communities after a successful prosecution and try to make sure the same problem does not arise again.

"We are not going to investigate civil rights issues by sitting in Washington, D.C.," she said.

# Article Aource: The Telegraph By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT August 25, 2011

Read more: http://www.thetelegraph.com/articles/rights-58480-civil-cases.html#ixzz1W8m4M7eX

El Valor : Chicago : Supporting People with Disabilities : info, resources...

Supporting People with Disabilities

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YouTube; Uploaded by VIVELOHOY on May 27, 2010

Program Highlights

El Valor received an “Exemplary Status” designation from the International Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities for its high quality programs for persons with disabilities.
El Valor works with more than 1,000 individuals with disabilities and their families from diverse communities

The goal of the Adult Programs is to provide opportunities and choices for people with disabilities and their families; to be a part of a community that embraces diversity and supports individuals to reach their full potential.


EMPLOYMENT PLACEMENT PROGRAMS help individuals with special needs by training and assisting them with many employment opportunities.
RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY HOUSING encourages independent living for individuals with disabilities. Through this program, they learn the necessary life skills that will help them grow and participate in community life.
ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY PROGRAMS work with individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury through specialized case management services and links them to critically needed support services.
RESPITE PROGRAMS provide home services to allow the caregiver time to address additional responsibilities. 275 families rely on this program; 200 more are on the waiting list.
DEVELOPMENTAL TRAINING is for adults that live with more severe physical and developmental challenges providing training in communication, socialization, life-enrichment, recreational and vocational skills.
ENTREPRENUERIAL SKILLS are developed as participants create beautiful pieces of art often displayed at mainstream business and events such as Barney's of New York and El Valor's Don Quixote Dinner.

For further information, please contact Hector Izaguirre at hector.izaguirre@elvalor.net or at 312.997.2030 xt231.

In the United States, Latinos with disabilities are not participating in vocational rehabilitation
programs at levels proportionate to their representation in the population overall. Scholars
have attributed this to a number of factors including differing attitudes and beliefs about
concepts such as “disability,” “independence” and “success.” Researchers also have explained
disabled Latinos’ lower levels of successful vocational outcomes by pointing to a rehabilitation
system that does not fit the realities of many people from marginalized racial and ethnic backgrounds. TRUE INCLUSION needs to be increased.

As more baby-boomers age, the greater need there will be to increase home-based care services.

Supporting PEOPLE with Disabilities:

Intake and Referral
Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation
Vocational Development
Supported Employment
Job Placement
Lifestyle Enrichment - Art, Horticulture, Food & Nutrition, Sports & Recreation
Community Residence Services
Acquired Brain Injury Initiative
Advocacy & Public Policy
Family Support & Respite Care
Home-Based Care

For more information about our Programs for People with Disabilities, please call or visit El Valor's main office:

El Valor
1850 W. 21st Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Phone: (312) 666-4511
TDD: (312) 666-3361
Fax: (312) 666-6677

For El Valor visit: http://www.elvalor.org/