LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, September 20, 2019


Administration’s Medicaid Proposal Raises Hurdles to Accessible, Affordable Health Care

As non-profit providers of services to all Medicaid constituents—children, youth and families, seniors, and people with disabilities—the 300 Lutheran social ministry organizations that make up the Lutheran Services in America network recognize the importance of Medicaid in providing high-quality health coverage to millions of Americans. That is why Lutheran Services in America has been leading the charge to preserve and protect Medicaid, rejecting any legislative proposal to cut, cap, or block grant the program.

This work has continued as the executive branch has recently been expanding the avenues states have to modify their Medicaid programs via the “1115 waiver” process. These waivers enable states to operate their programs in ways which would not normally be allowed under federal law. 

More from Lutheran Services in America

Webinar Series: Accreditation

Lutheran Services in America has begun a fall webinar series on accreditation featuring all three major accreditation organizations. The first webinar with the Council on Accreditation occurred on Tuesday, August 27, while the second with the Joint Commission occurred on Tuesday, September 17. A calendar invitation to the final webinar is linked below. Click to add it to your Outlook calendar.

If your organization is not currently accredited, or if you are interested in exploring your accreditation options, join us for this webinar.

Please contact Sheila Weber at or 202-499-5824 if you have any questions.

More from Lutheran Services in America


Trump Administration Drops Appeal Of Special Ed Suit

The Trump administration is giving up on its long-running effort to delay an Obama-era rule designed to keep certain students from being wrongly placed in special education.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion late last week to dismiss its appeal of a federal lawsuit over the “Equity in IDEA” regulations.

More from Disability Scoop

Feds Issue Guidance On Postsecondary Programs For Students With Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education is weighing in after confusion forced some students with disabilities to withdraw from or forgo applying to postsecondary programs.

The federal agency issued a question-and-answer guide this week specifying that both vocational rehabilitation and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds can be used to cover the cost of dual enrollment, comprehensive transition programs and other postsecondary offerings for people with disabilities.

More from Disability Scoop


Parents of disabled children plead with lawmakers to restore aid

Emotions and frustrations ran high as dozens of parents pleaded with lawmakers to save their disabled children's health care.

"This is literally life or death," said Melanie Kirk.

Her 13-year-old son, Logan, has a rare lung disorder that affected his brain. Kirk told lawmakers on the Legislature's Health and Human Services committee Friday a recent change by the state will strip her son of the Medicaid assistance he needs.

More from KETV Omaha

Tennessee's Medicaid block grant: How the TennCare plan is supposed to work

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Tuesday released detailed plans to ask the Trump administration to transform how it funds TennCare, one of the largest, most expensive and most important government programs in the state.

The governor’s plan has the potential to impact about 1.4 million Tennesseans – mostly poor families and children – who rely on the state for health insurance.

More from Tennessean

Research & Reports

nTIDE August 2019 Jobs Report: Tight labor market benefits Americans with disabilities

Economic indicators rose again in August, with Americans with disabilities outpacing the gains of people without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). This was welcome news for celebrating Labor Day, and the many contributions of American workers, including people with disabilities.

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report released Friday, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 30.2 percent in August 2018 to 32 percent in August 2019 (up 6 percent or 1.8 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio also increased from 73.8 percent in August 2018 to 74.6 percent in August 2019 (up 1.1 percent or 0.8 percentage points). The employment-to-population ratio is the percentage of the population that is working.

More from the Kessler Foundation

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

Equal Access: Dining while disabled

For nondisabled people, it’s easy to take a glance at a Yelp review that says, “Wheelchair Accessible: Yes,” and assume that means a restaurant is fully accessible to everyone. But that belies the many nuances of living with a disability: Not everyone uses a wheelchair, for one. For example, access for a blind person might mean a website that’s parseable by a screen reader — an accommodation that has only just become mandatory in San Francisco

More from the San Francisco Chronicle

Congress broke a promise to properly fund a law protecting students with disabilities. Here are the serious consequences.

In January 2017, Betsy DeVos, who was soon to become President Trump’s education secretary, appeared before Congress at her confirmation hearing and displayed ignorance about a key federal law aimed at protecting students with disabilities.

The law is the Individuals With Disabilities Act, known as IDEA, and DeVos appeared not to realize it is a federal law that all states must follow.

During conversations about it, first with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and later with Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), DeVos repeatedly said it was up to the states to decide whether to follow the law. Hassan at one point told her that IDEA is a federal civil rights law and asked DeVos: “So were you unaware when I just asked you about the IDEA that it was a federal law?”

More from the Washington Post

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2020 Winter Meeting
January 26-29, 2020
Atlantic Beach, Florida

LSA-DN 2020 Summer Meeting
August 5-7, 2020
Cincinnati, Ohio


For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Dania Douglas at

  • Policy & Advocacy Team
  • Culture and Engagement Workgroup
  • Administrative Cost Survey Working Group

Keep in Touch

Bill Kallestad

Lisa Morgan

Dania Douglas 
Director of Public Policy
LSA Disability Network
Lutheran Services in America