Maine citizens who are registered to vote may use the online free service to request an absentee ballot for the June 9, 2020 State Primary Election. Ballots must be received no later than 8:00 pm on Election Day.
For information on how to request an absentee ballot in Maine CLICK HERE!
Dear Friends of Students with Disabilities,
The covid-19 "Package 3" bill now being developed in DC has a number of good things. But a preliminary Senate Republican version of that bill also had a very bad thing. It would have allowed protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to be waived. (Apparently school districts were complaining about how difficult it would be to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities during the crisis--i guess districts thought that only students without disabilities should have the right to a public education.)
The good news: Disability advocates successfully pushed back against the proposal to immediately "waive" IDEA. That terrible idea is no longer in the bill.
The bad news: The Senate Republican version of the bill still directs Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to report to Congress within 30 days recommendations to waive parts of IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These are the federal laws that guarantee a "free appropriate public education"!
Please contact Sen Collins and Sen King to ask them not to support any changes to IDEA or any changes to the Rehabilitation Act. Students with disabilities should have the same right to an education as students without disabilities. During the covid crisis, students with disabilities are already impacted at least as much as students without disabilities.
Please suggest that, instead of reducing the right of students with disabilities, federal law should give more support (including $$$) to schools in order to help them meet the needs of students with disabilities.
Maine Disability Alerts - supplemental addresses wages, partially addresses 29 wait list. More work to do in upcoming special session
Dear Friends of Mainers with Disabilities,
The legislature has passed an amended supplemental budget, pared way way down due to the covid-19 emergency. A couple of issues of interest to the disability community (dollar figures refer to general fund amounts):
The means that LD 1984 (the wait list bill) will be carried over. (That bill has been amended by the HHS committee to clear the 29 wait list, take some people off the 21 wait list, and temporarily raise the per-person expenditure limit in Section 29.)
So we will have to return to the wait list issue whenever the legislature convenes for the special session.
The Governor has issued a press release that ends by saying "she intends to call the Legislature back for a Special Session as soon as is safe and prudent and that it is her strong preference that during such a session priority attention be given to only the most pressing matters." She said the same in item 2-2 in the same senate calendar supplement referenced above.
It will be up to the disability community to ensure that the legislature recognizes the unfinished business on wait lists as such a most pressing matter.
Thank you for your work to date. May you and everyone you care about stay safe and healthy throughout the covid-19 crisis and into the future.
DHHS-OADS: Frequently Asked Questions and Resources Regarding COVID-19 for Agencies and Others Providing Supports to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), Autism and Brain Injury
Frequently Asked Questions and Resources Regarding COVID-19 for Agencies and Others Providing Supports to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), Autism and Brain Injury
Last Updated: March 17, 2020
Prioritization for Treatment
1. Will people with disabilities be given lower priority for treatment at hospitals?
No. Regulations require hospitals to conduct medical screening evaluations and admit, stabilize and discharge, or transfer based on the medical condition, need for treatment, and capacity to treat. A denial or restriction of treatment based on disability is a violation of the regulations.
Providing Education and Direct Supports to Individuals with IDD, Autism or Brain Injury
2. Is there a recommended screening protocol that agencies should implement for consumers/agency staff or family members prior to face to face visits?
Yes. Guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for home health agencies includes screening questions and actions: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-18-hha.pdf
The guidance addresses screening of staff, members/patients and visitors. You should implement a screening practice immediately if you have not already done so.
If this is a CMS certified ICF/IID facility they should be following the same guidance as LTC which can be found at: https://www.cms.gov/medicareprovider-enrollment-and-certificationsurveycertificationgeninfopolicy-and/guidance-infection-control-and-prevention-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-nursing-homes-revised
3. Is there any specific guidance for Case Managers to replace face to face visits?
Case managers/care coordinators can conduct assessments or other visits telephonically or by other remote technology to protect health and safety. We recommend that agencies follow their own protocols and telehealth/HIPPA compliant meeting policies which should be implemented at this time.
4. What is the best practice when encouraging a consumer who may be non-compliant with self-quarantine or isolation?
Education about COVID-19, which should be underway now, may help lessen the likelihood that a person receiving services will be non-compliant with good hygiene and home isolation precautions. Oregon has developed a video that can help explain COVID-19 to persons with IDD: https://youtu.be/MJ8eeC-tVD4
Maine’s self-advocacy group Speaking Up for Us (SUFU) is developing plain language materials and has offered to share those as they’re ready. We will provide links as we receive them.
Consider and prepare now what may be needed in homes to help individuals with IDD be comfortable, should there be a need for them to remain in their homes for an extended period.
If a person is non-compliant with home isolation precautions or it is anticipated that this may be the case, the caregiver should consult with the person’s healthcare provider.
The caregiver should follow guidance from CDC about recommended precautions for caregivers in a nonhealthcare setting. These can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions
5. Can you provide guidance on staff from different agencies/homes congregating for training? Is Zoom training recommended?
On 3/15/2020, Governor Mills declared a state of emergency and asked that group gatherings of 50 or more attendees be postponed. Community agencies should consider reducing in-person gatherings to aid in social distancing. This is a good time to begin replacing in-person training with Zoom or other remote learning platforms. Requirements for in-person training can be met using remote technology for as long as the COVID-19 emergency continues.
6. Decisions made by one agency may impact another agency (e.g., a community supports provider suspending a particular group program which may impact the need for staffing at the residential agency). How should providers coordinate decisions?
Providers should notify other impacted agencies when they are considering decisions that may impact those other agencies. Agencies should be creative as needed in developing short-term solutions, such as sharing staff, that will ensure the health and safety of people served. OADS is exploring options for an electronic bulletin board or other tool for sharing information, but agencies should reach out to other agencies as needed to coordinate their actions.
7. Is it OK to reach out to families and guardians to assess what supports they may be able to provide if needed?
Absolutely. Some families and guardians may be willing, for example, to have their family member temporarily move to their home, but this is a conversation that should be happening now. Please reach out to assess how each family member or guardian can help.
8. What is the guidance for people at higher risk and special populations?
Guidance for people at higher risk and special populations can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/index.html. At this time, people at higher risk are older persons and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. Intellectual disability by itself has not been identified as a risk factor, but many people with intellectual disabilities do have severe underlying health conditions, placing them at greater risk.
9. Exactly what are the expectations for group homes in the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case of a resident or staff? Is the group home operator expected to manage the residents and staff?
Group homes and other service providers are expected to manage situations as they arise, in accordance with CDC guidance. This includes giving and enforcing clear guidance to their staff to stay home and call their doctors if they experience symptoms. In urgent situations, agencies may need to employ temporary staff who have not completed the normal pre-service training. In these situations, the agency should take whatever actions necessary to protect the health and safety of the people in its care. The decisions—and costs if relevant- should be documented as they are undertaken.
Agencies that have not already done so should review and update their plans for continuity of operations in the event of an emergency or disaster. Agencies that have recently reviewed their plans report that they needed updating for a potential pandemic, as they were focused more on natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods.
If a person has symptoms of COVID-19, they should call their healthcare professional. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
For information about recommended precautions for caregivers in a nonhealthcare setting, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions
Home care of people not requiring hospitalization https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-home-care.html
Role of the Direct Support Professional (DSP) and the Coronavirus (3/11/20): http://bit.ly/3aPBQBh
10. Where can I turn if I think someone is at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation during this period?
You should do the same thing you would do during any other period: submit a report to Adult Protective Services at 1-800-624-8404 or https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aps-guardianship/report.html. Certified ICF/ID facilities also need to follow all other state and federal regulations that apply.
OADS Policy Questions/Considerations
11. Will the amount of time that a family/consumer has to accept an offer of Section 21 services be extended in a health emergency?
OADS will not withdraw funded offers as long as we have information that there may be a health emergency and we are aware that the family/consumer is moving ahead with the process as soon as feasible. If you require more time to exercise a Section 21 offer, please notify your case manager.
12. Will there be any negative repercussions from OADS if the agency and guardian(s) decide to keep a person home from day programs that have large congregate settings?
The agency staff should speak to the person and the case manager about possibly choosing individualized community options if available. OADs expects agencies to make decisions based on their own polices and to keep the health and safety of the individuals they are serving first and foremost when making these decisions.
13. If Agencies are implementing the CDC guidance re: older adults & those with health conditions should stay in their homes, avoid large crowds, etc. do we need approval from OADS as this violates the Community Rule?
OADs expects agencies to follow CDC guidance and make the best decisions they can based on the health and safety of the individuals they are serving. As long as participating in community events does not violate federal, state or local public health guidance, the provider should help the individual make an informed decision regarding their level of participation in the community, but DHHS recognizes that staffing constraints and other operational needs may make it impossible for agencies to fully support individualized choices.
14. Will there be any unique communication protocols if an agency needs to close a home?
If individuals need to be moved to a different home, the provider should document the need, including that the consumer and/or guardian has been notified and call OADS’ Clinical Review Team to submit the request.
15. How will OADS communicate with IDD stakeholders going forward?
This document will be updated as guidance changes and more questions are answered. OADS will also have weekly open stakeholder calls to provide updates and hear directly from all stakeholders. (As with the CDC calls, these are not intended for the press.) The CDC should still be considered the best resource for current information about COVID-19 in Maine, and for current guidance on best practices. OADS will post this document and other IDD-related guidance on its website.
If you have questions that you would like addressed on these calls, or questions in general during this time, please use the OADS@Maine.gov e-mail address and put “COVID-19” in the subject line. This mail box is checked throughout the day and questions are forwarded to the appropriate staff person for a response. In between calls, as updates occur that we feel should be shared sooner, we will send e-mails through our list-serve.
Registration Closes Next Week!
MACSP's Spring Conference
Is Your Compliance
House In Order?
Tuesday, March 24th, 2020
Workplace Safety - OSHA
Representatives from the Federal Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration will present on topics that include:
Dave McGuan, CSP: Dave’s education includes a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is a Certified Safety Professional with 37 years of experience in the occupational safety and health field. Eighteen of those years were in the Pulp and Paper Industry, and the remainder with the Federal Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He is currently the Area Director managing operations in OSHA’s two offices located in Maine.
Nancy Keune, CSHO, IH: Nancy’s education includes a BA in International Business & Economics and Biology. She has worked for Walt Disney World, Johnson & Johnson, and state crime laboratories of Ohio and Maine. She has worked for the last five years as an industrial hygienist for the Federal Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Maine and conducted inspections and employee personal sampling for various hazardous chemicals including silica, asbestos, and lead. Nancy recently worked to create an Alliance between OSHA, SafetyWorks! and the Maine School of Masonry focusing on silica, respiratory protection and hazard communication.
Le Club Calumet
334 West River Road
$99 for MACSP members
$125 Non-MACSP members
continental breakfast and lunch!
State Fire Marshal
Workplace Safety - OSHA
Department of Labor
Target Audience: Compliance Officers, Supervisors, Program and Executive Managers, Maintenance, Human Resources, Payroll Staff
Room Block at Senator Inn (call and ask for the MACSP rate of $79)
This event would not be possible without the kindness of our sponsors. Thank you.
Forwarded Action Alert – Maine Disability Alerts: LD 1984 "An Act To Eliminate Waiting Lists for Home and Community-based Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Brain Injury and Other Related Conditions"
Dear Friends of Mainers with Disabilities,
Thank you to everyone who's been active on LD 1984, "An Act To Eliminate Waiting Lists for Home and Community-based Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Brain Injury and Other Related Conditions".
The Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee had a work session on LD 1984, where it voted unanimously to amend the waitlist bill to do the following:
The bill will eventually head to the Special Appropriations Table, where the Appropriations Committee will have decide whether to fund it, and if so for how much.
Additionally, the HHS committee will report back to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee on Tuesday (today) about their funding priorities.
If you think that the waitlists should be addressed as a priority in this Legislative Session, then you may consider taking action by reaching out to members of the HHS Committee to show your support for this bill; here are some messages to consider:
You can contact Members of the HHS Committee via the email addresses below:
Thank you for taking action!
Please visit our site to learn more about our Supported Housing programs for adults with additional needs with a developmental and/or intellectual disability in South Portland, Maine and the Greater Boston area.
We have openings in both states and would love to give you a tour of this unique home-ownership program or answer any questions.
The video features some of our residents, family members, and staff and gives a peek into the lives of the residents both at home and at work.
PLEASE share with families or those who support individuals with ID/DD who may have an interest in learning about us.
Maine inquiries: Mary Chris Semrow, Consultant to Families and a Parent of a resident at 20 E Street in South Portland
Massachusetts inquiries: Michael Caballero firstname.lastname@example.org 617-277-1805 ext 103
Office of MaineCare Services Notice of Statewide Transition Plan (STP) for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Settings
Notice of Statewide Transition Plan (STP) for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Settings
AGENCY: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of MaineCare Services
RULE TITLE OR SUBJECT: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published regulations that define the settings in which it is permissible for states to pay for Medicaid HCBS services. The Statewide Transition Plan is required as part of ensuring Maine comes into full compliance with the federal regulations.
This initial STP describes the state’s overall strategies, processes, and resources it will deploy to complete all efforts necessary to come into full compliance with the federal regulations by the end of the transition period afforded to the state. The STP is intended to serve as the state’s roadmap for implementing the federal HCBS rule and outlines a detailed work plan and timeline for ensuring that all settings in which HCBS services are provided comply with the new standards by March 2022.
WAIVERS: The following waivers are subject to the new federal and state requirements within CMS 2249-F/CMS 2296-F:
The revised Maine HCBS Statewide Transition Plan will be submitted to CMS in April 2020 and will be effective upon CMS approval.
For the aspects of the rule that apply to HCBS settings, states have until March 2022 to ensure alignment of the state’s policies, programs, and provider settings with the federal settings criteria. States must submit a Statewide Transition Plan (STP) that describes the state’s overall strategies, processes, and resources it will deploy to complete all implementation efforts by the end of the transition period. The STP is also intended to serve as the state’s roadmap for implementing the federal HCBS rule with fidelity and outlines a detailed work plan and timeline for ensuring that all settings in which HCBS services are provided comply with the new standards by March 2022. The State of Maine is deeply committed to implementing the federal HCBS requirements with fidelity, and is using the rule as a catalyst for implementing other improvements to policy, payment, and practice associated with Medicaid-funded HCBS in an effort to improve access to and quality of HCBS services and options throughout the state. As such, the state has been working with stakeholders on several additional systems change efforts that complement the vision of the federal HCBS rule.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: 42 CFR 441.301(c)(6)
Date: March 12, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: DHHS, 109 Capitol Street, Room A/B, Augusta, ME 04333
The Department requests that any interested party requiring special arrangements to attend the hearing contact the agency person listed below before March 6, 2020.
The Department welcomes public comments on the Maine HCBS Statewide Transition Plan.
Comments may be submitted:
In writing to the agency contact person listed below; or
AGENCY CONTACT PERSON: Thomas Leet
AGENCY NAME: Office of MaineCare Services
ADDRESS: 109 Capitol Street, 11 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
PHONE: (207) 624-4068 FAX: (207) 287- 1864
TTY: Maine relay 711 (deaf or Hard of Hearing)
We continue to add amazing films featuring people with IDD to our Sproutflix catalogue. If you would like to view the latest additions: http://sproutflix.org/new-additions-2020/ - Enjoy!
The Sprout Film Festival will be taking place in:
Batavia, NY on Saturday, March 7th (Arc of Genesee Orleans)
Tempe, AZ on Friday, April 3rd (Arc of Arizona)
Boise, ID on Tuesday, April 28th (Arc of Idaho)
Pittsfield, MA on Sunday, May 9th (Berkshire County Arc)
Our 2020 brochure of vacations for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) has been mailed out. We also have a virtual version of the brochure if you would like to check it out: https://gosprout.org/vacation-programs/2020brochure/
Registration for the 3rd Annual Free Parent and Youth Conference, sponsored by Maine Parent Federation and GEAR Parent Network, is now open.
The conference will be held on Saturday, March 14th, 2020 9:00 am - 4:00 pm at the Governor Hill Mansion, 136 State Street, Augusta.
This year’s conference topic is Peer Support – It Takes a Village!
Come and learn about parent and youth peer supports and how you can benefit from receiving these free services available in our state! Also learn how parents and youth can become peer mentors themselves.
We will also have a very inspirational special guest speaker, 21 year old Self-Advocate Jake Shumbo. Jake’s message of “Different Ability” versus “Disability” inspires his audiences to look beyond labels and how despite your ability you can be the leader of your own destiny.
Youth track is for youth ages 14+ will occur at same time as Parent Track workshops/panels.
Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.
I have attached both the flyer for advertising as well as the agenda of the days events. Please feel free to share both as much as possible.
Click this link to register: https://crisisandcounseling.org/peersupportconf/