LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, December 6, 2019


Cody Lewton: Iowa caregivers provide life-changing support

*Opinion piece by LSA-DN Member Cody Lewton of Lutheran Services in Iowa

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to celebrate the Iowans who are providing compassionate support to a loved one with significant health needs.

About 15 percent of U.S. adults are in a caregiving role for another adult. At Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI), I see the life-changing difference these caregivers make for the individuals they support.

More from Ames Tribune

Rockford couple donates $1 million to improve spiritual lives of those with disabilities

A charitable foundation run by a Rockford couple has donated $1 million to improve the spiritual lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Rev. Mark and Kathy Helge made the donation to Mosaic in September. Mosaic was founded in Nebraska in 1913. A Rockford chapter, established in 2002, serves nearly 80 people.

More from RRStar

Register Now for the LSA-DN Winter Meeting

Take a break from winter and join your colleagues for an invigorating meeting in sunny Florida from January 29-January 31, 2020. Our winter meeting will focus on data, outcomes, and building and sustaining a direct service workforce in a challenging Medicaid landscape. We look forward to welcoming dynamic speakers including Kezia Scales of PHI and Joe Macbeth of the National Association of Direct Service Providers. Register now. 

Click here to make reservations at One Ocean Resort and Spa

*Note If you are attending CEO Summit, you should register for your hotel room through the CEO Summit link. See article below. 

More from Lutheran Services of America

Register Now for Lutheran Services in America CEO Summit

Join us January 26–29 in Atlantic Beach, Florida, for the Lutheran Services in America CEO Summit 2020, where we’ll explore concrete ways successful CEOs are designing the future so their organizations can grow, thrive and respond to evolving needs.

* Note CEO Summit will be followed immediately by our LSA-DN Winter Meeting. If you are attending both CEO Summit and the DN Winter Meeting, you should be able to extend your hotel reservation through the CEO Summit Link. If you have any problems with this, please alert Dania Douglas at

More from Lutheran Services of America


Medicaid initiatives that push long-term home, community care over nursing homes could end this year

Funding deadlines are nearing for two initiatives that encourage Medicaid beneficiaries to use long-term home and community care, according to two Kaiser Family Foundation reports. 

The short-term funding extension for Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program and the spousal impoverishment provision under the Affordable Care Act are both set to expire Dec. 31.

States receive enhanced federal matching funds to help seniors and people with disabilities move from institutions to the community through the MFP program, one report explained

More from McKnight's Long Term Care News

The Health 202: Oregon seized kids from low-IQ parents. The federal government wants to avoid future discrimination.

Federal regulators are requiring Oregon to ensure its child welfare workers don’t discriminate against parents with disabilities, after the state lost its bid to take away the children of a low-IQ couple in a high-profile court battle.

This morning, the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services will announce an agreement with Oregon for the state to develop a system for ensuring its employees comply with federal law banning discrimination based on someone’s disability, whether it's physical or intellectual. 

More from The Washington Post


Tennessee becomes new front in fight to overhaul Medicaid

Tennessee is the latest battleground for the Trump administration as it tries to implement drastic, conservative changes to Medicaid. 

While some red states have begun pushing back from imposing work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries in the face of lawsuits, Tennessee is forging ahead with an even more controversial proposal.

“Work requirements were a blunt instrument swung too widely,” said Tom Miller, a health policy expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

More from The Hill

State has placed most of 67 disabled adults affected by Medicaid contract termination

Health officials have relocated 49 of 67 disabled adults who were affected by the state’s decision to terminate a Medicaid contract with a Biddeford-based community service provider that failed to correct deficiencies after one of its clients died in August.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Jackie Farwell said Monday that most former clients of Residential and Community Support Services have stayed in southern Maine.

More from The Press Herald

Research & Reports

Investigation Finds Significant Barriers To Pursuing IDEA Disputes

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides parents certain options if they’re unsatisfied with the education that their children with disabilities are receiving, but government investigators say only some families are able to take advantage.

Race and income level are playing a significant role in whether families pursue due process or take other steps toward dispute resolution allowed under federal special education law, the Government Accountability Office found.

More from Disability Scoop

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

Kids With Disabilities Have a Right to Outdoor Field Trips

The benefits kids reap from nature are well documented, which is part of the reason school field trips often involve excursions into the Great Outdoors. Children with disabilities, however, sometimes get left behind. 

Ryan Neighbors is a Kentucky 10-year-old with spina bifida who uses a wheelchair. She didn’t want to miss out on her class field trip to a state park, but the terrain was going to make it difficult for her to participate. So a teacher volunteered to carry her, and that story went viral—all the way to the Today show, on which Ryan, her mother, and the teacher shared their story, emphasizing the importance of inclusion and celebrating the teacher’s generosity.

But kids with disabilities should be able to join their peers on field trips, such extraordinary acts of kindness notwithstanding. 

More from Sierra Club Magazine

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