Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy 25th ADAPT!!!

(note - just a press release - we're bummed we cant make it to the events, tho may have more historical stuff.

Come to think of it, I *was* at ADAPT's 20th anniversary. I should probably post pics of that tomorrow. But my schedule tomorrow is gonna be tight. I'll work on that.

Washington, D.C.--- 25 years ago, Rev. Wade Blank, and Mike Auberger, Co-Directors of the Atlantis Community, a Denver Center for Independent Living, proclaimed their intent to take their local activism, which used direct action to bring about positive changes in the Denver community, to a national level.

Looking at the rag-tag group of two dozen people with disabilities that had shown up for a protest to make Denver mainline buses accessible, nationally renown organizer Shel Trapp shook his head and said "It will never happen." Yet, over the next 7 years, these three men and that rag tag group, along with dozens more that came to join with them each year, achieved exactly that outcome by forming ADAPT, then known as Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit.

25 years later, over the course of a week, from April 26 to May 2, in Washington, D.C., over 1000 people with disabilities and supporters from all over the country will participate in a variety of events to remember ADAPT's humble beginnings in 1983, celebrate the growth and progress of the disability rights movement during the past 25 years, and set the stage for continuing activism in the years to come.

ADAPT's humble beginnings grew into a national grassroots activist movement that has changed the face of the disability rights movement. ADAPT has been memorialized in photos by Tom Olin taken at ADAPT actions over the years. Olin's photos of ADAPT have appeared in the Smithsonian, are part of the National Civil Rights Museum, and show up continually in national press and media, in scores of books, on posters, and in every corner of the world wide web.

Events occurring during the ADAPT 25 anniversary celebration week include:

* A Sunday, April 27 Fun Run/Roll around Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C. that is open to the public and serves as combination fundraiser and celebration kick-off.. The National Fun Runner/Roller is Marca Bristo, Executive Director of Access Living in Chicago, IL, and one of the founders and former president of the National Council on Independent Living, and Chair of the National Council on Disability during the Clinton Administration.

* Three days of activism throughout the Washington, D.C. area on April 28-30, including the announcement of the 2008" Ten Worst States in the Provision of Home and Community-based Services."

* An April 30 evening showing at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel of "When You Remember Me," a made for TV movie starring Kevin Spacey, Ellen Burstyn and Fred Savage. The film chronicles ADAPT co-founder Wade Blank's work freeing young people with disabilities from a Denver nursing that led into the creation of both Atlantis, and then ADAPT.

* A May 1 daylong celebration at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel that will include multi-room historical exhibits, multi-media presentations, StoryCorps, The Road to Freedom Bus, an anniversary cook-out and an evening retrospective show with live music, and remarks by former Rep Pat Shroeder (CO) and ADAPT activists from around the country.

The public is invited to participate in the Fun Run/Roll on April 27 or sponsor participants (, and to tour the exhibits at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel on May 1.

ADAPT crawled up the Capitol steps in 1990 to help push the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) toward passage when it was dangerously bogged down in Congress. When the ADA passed, lifts on buses were the first change required. ADAPT has assured that over-the-road buses, along with local transit, had to comply with the ADA.

ADAPT is credited with being the reason for the 2005 passage of Money Follows the Person legislation that allows people with disabilities in nursing homes to move back into the community with their funding "following" them to provide services and supports in their own homes. Over the years ADAPT efforts nationally have been largely responsible for the federal government moving to "rebalance" the nation's long-term care funding from being overwhelmingly institutionally biased to a system that will equally support home and community-based services.

ADAPT is currently working for passage of the bi-partisan Community Choice Act (CCA) (S. 799, H.R. 1621), which would completely remove the Medicaid institutional bias and allow people to choose to remain in their own homes with the services and supports they need rather than being forced into nursing homes and other institutions in the first place.

People interested in learning more about ADAPT and/or the 25th Anniversary events can go to the websites above, or call 512-442-0252, or 303-733-9324.

Hockenberry New show on Public Radio

Hi Folks-

John Hockenberry has been a busy guy - He spoke at the MIT museum
earlier this month on human augmentation, completely redid his
website, has a twitter channel ( is raising 4
kids, and he's returning to his roots, starting a national morning
talkshow carried by WGBH and wnyc and others. It starts tomorrow at
like 6 am (no joke, really, who is up at 6 am...and you need to switch
stations if you stream it as there is a second hour from 8-9 (check
out for more detailed info. So why should you

Well, pull up a chair, how long do you have...

John Hockenberry is the damn savior for disability media. (maybe
savior is too strong a word) John Hockenberry is a guest lecturer at
the MIT Media Lab (The only program I'd consider attending in the Ivy
League.) John has won more Emmy's and Peabody's than Bill O'Reilly
(and totally stiffed O'Reilly by not going on his show earlier this
year.) Hockenberry writes (with some prodding) amazingly important
essays on disability rights and definitely supports the activist crips
out there. And besides all of that, He actually sounds like he knows
what he is talking about, even on public radio - that's a good thing.
I can't promise you he'll cover the Adapt 25th anniversary that starts
suspiciously right around the start of his show. Heck, 99% of you will
probably have to catch it online (thank god for winamp and wifi, and
podcasts) But Hockenberry's been at the forefront of new media when
he was hosting Heat in the early 90's (and gave some unknown singer
songwriter, Shawn Colvin, her first national radio spot and had
seminal band Uncle tupelo in his studio, along with Billy Bragg.) Who
knew Uncle Tupelo would break up and form wilco and billy bragg would
record 2 albums with them. It probably had NOTHING to do with
Hockenberry, but hey, it could have. You can actually hear Heat at

Hockenberry had this cool indie film intellectual show called Edgewise
(which was 20, not 10 years ahead of it's time,) and he had some folks
from ADAPT on, and Vic Chesnutt, (sorry, i just realized how warped
say, a NSCIA conference could truly be if Vic ever gets into the Hall
of Fame, if you have no idea who vic is - wikipedia him) He had
Jessica Yu, breathing lessons director, oscar winner, on as well
(altho, it was WAAAY after I got a print interview with her.) and it
was cancelled, and some anonymous dork was asked to spread the rumor
of it's cancellation before people on his crew even knew.

We'll just skip Dateline, tho his ADA special was cool.

But TOMORROW marks a whole new beginning for the ways in which
supposedly people can interact (we aren't talking Sean Hannity passing
George Stephopolis bad questions about Bill Ayers) with an interactive
website - and if that doesnt impress you - he totally redesigned his
blog ( with a couple new videos (tho - you'd
think he's at least have his own youtube channel. sheesh. MIT
Disguished media lecturer who ... nevermind, I'm being elitist.)

And if your on Facebook, there is a un-official fan site called
Takeaway Fans Unite! - word has it Mr. Hockenberry even joined the
group - so you should too. and Heck, add me as a friend.

So Happy 25th Birthday ADAPT. celebrate by watching the Takeaway...

free (and shameless) public relations promotion/ obsessive fan boy
email/ blog courtesy of Mike R.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Medicaid and Power Chair payments...

This landed in my email box with a note to fwd widely, and this does have some real implications to the wider disability community - including folks who do not qualify for medicaid or Medicaret. As indicated below - Many private insurance companies use the Medicare funding numbers to set their own reimbursement rates. Some states (I am not exactly sure of the status in Maine) are changing the requirement for wheelchair lifespans (The normal time that a wheelchair should last from 5 to 7 years,) and that change will very likely also be a change to private insurance. People are already using hand me down chairs or technology to get mobility issues covered. While the wheelchair model isnt really scalable to other forms of DME due to the funding structure of repairs and the way that's figured into the retail cost of the a wheelchair, it's an unsettling proposition.

So if the rising cost of gas isn't an headache enough, one more thing to worry about.



Okay, so what’s the reality concerning your next power wheelchair? What
changes has CMS made this past year and a half? It all began November 15,
2006, but really started Jan 2007, when all power wheelchair payments made
by Medicare were reduced by 27%.

Now starting July 1, 2008 the same power chairs will be reduced again by
19%. This additional payment cut by CMS is from Medicare’s National
Competitive Bidding (NCB) program.


If a consumer received a chair back before these dates a supplier would have been paid, let's say $8,000.00 for example. For a consumer to be given that same chair today the dealer will receive $5,840.00. Okay now, after July 1st because complex rehab was competitively bid - the amount will go down to $4,730.40.

So the BIG question is ... Will a consumer get the same quality chair as your last one? Well...when you look at the cold hard economics is impossible to imagine. Most likely you will be provided with a chair of lesser quality and fewer features because of the dramatically reduced payments. How can a supplier purchase, service and provide to a consumer the same quality chair and features as before with these dramatic reimbursement reductions. Consumers will get a wheelchair but it will not be comparable.

While Medicare went into competitive bidding saying that consumers would receive the same quality products and services, it's not possible. With 2 serious power wheelchair reimbursement cuts since January 2007 amounting to over $3250.00 on a basic $8000.00 chair it’s not likely.

THE DOMINO EFFECT: So who does this affect? Just Medicare, right? NO


It's important to know ....all other insurers mostly base their payments off of the amount that Medicare pays. Which means the dealer will be receiving less that the $4,730.40 from even private insurance companies. Again, consumers will receive products that will not be of the same quality and features as they received previously from Medicare or Private Insurance.

NOW WHAT ABOUT DUAL Medicare and Medicaid?

Are they hurt by this program? YOU BET!

Medicaid is different in each and every state, however; few if any pay the Medicare price and in most cases they can not pay more than the amount that Medicare pays. SO.... Read below where the head of Medicaid policy in Ohio says they will set their payment at about 20 to 25% below the Medicare rate!!!! Now the dealer will receive for the $8,000.00 chair of a year and a half ago a grand total of $3,547.80 as full payment for the item.

Remember the "DUAL " Medi-Medi can not pay nor can the dealer collect money
from that person and must accept this amount as payment in FULL!

Under the Medicare program a consumer (NOT A MEDI-MEDI) can choose to do an upgrade and pay for "deluxe" features and options€.

So what this wonderful program has done is to "Cost Shift" to the consumer for payment if they want to receive the exact chair they have today or, they must accept a much lesser chair.


Wheelchair technology advancements over the past 2 decades have made incredible leaps offering consumers amazing functional features and options allowing them to live a more independent, productive lifestyle. Medicare provides consumers only the features and options that are medically necessary for them “In The Home”. With the 2 new reduced complex rehab payment rates consumers will receive inferior equipment and decreased services than previous wheelchairs. We are at a serious turning point for
the worse. This is criminal. Equally bad is that other third party insurers base their payment off of Medicare. Is it time for you to voice your concern????

NEXT STEPS: What can you do?

(edited as some events have passed)

Support HR 2231,