LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, March 6, 2020


Register for the LSA-DN Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.

It's time to register for the LSA-DN Spring Meeting from April 22-24, 2020 in Washington, DC. We will gather together at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, to learn about the most pressing policy issues leading into the 2020 elections. 

We have reserved a courtesy block of rooms at the Fairfax Hotel on Embassy Row. Rooms will be between $269 and $289 a night. Because April is prime tourist season in Washington, DC, you will need to book your room no later than March 6, 2020 to guarantee the group rate. 

Our group will also be doing visits to Capitol Hill on April 22, starting at around 8:30am. If you wish to do Hill visits, we suggest that you plan to fly in the night of April 21. If your organization is planning to do Hill visits, please reach out to Dania by March 20 and let her know the number of people who will be coming from your organization. 

Questions? Please e-mail Dania Douglas at

New Medicaid Waivers Threaten Healthcare Coverage For Millions

On January 30 CMS Administrator Seema Verma of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a plan that would allow states to use the Medicaid waiver process to fundamentally alter Medicaid as we know it. The CMS proposal would make sweeping, detrimental changes in eligibility, health benefits, drug coverage, and premium costs for people who now receive Medicaid healthcare coverage as part of the program’s expansion which occurred under the Affordable Care Act.

More from Lutheran Services in America


To Address DSP Shortage, Lawmakers Want Nationwide Head Count

The federal government would track the number of direct support professionals for the first time ever under a new proposal designed to help address a shortage of workers to assist people with disabilities.

A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Monday would change the way that the government categorizes direct support professionals.

More from Disability Scoop

FDA bans electrical shock devices used on people with developmental disabilities

Electrical shock devices meant to interrupt self-injurious or aggressive behavior have been banned by federal officials in a rare move.

The only facility known to use these devices in the US is the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, according to the FDA. The school, based in Canton, Massachusetts, is for people age 5 to adults with behavior issues and intellectual disabilities. The FDA estimates 45 to 50 individuals are exposed to devices there.

More from CNN


Minnesota advocates seek to abolish subminimum wages for people with disabilities

Minnesota would become the fourth state in the nation to prohibit employers from paying people with disabilities less than the state’s minimum wage, under a proposed measure that would phase out the decades-old practice by 2024.

The legislation, which passed a state House committee this week, would force dramatic changes at approximately 100 centers across the state, known as sheltered workshops, that benefit from a loophole in federal labor law that allows them to pay people with disabilities based on their productivity, rather than a fixed hourly rate. In many cases, their pay amounts to just cents an hour for basic tasks, such as packaging merchandise, scrubbing toilets and shredding paper.

More from Star Tribune

Justice Department finds Maine in violation of law for limiting disability services

The U.S. Department of Justice has determined that Maine has been violating federal law for years by not providing a man who has several disabilities and medical conditions with the help he needs in his home to go about his daily life, in a finding that could have ramifications for many more people with disabilities.

The state must grant him the services he is eligible for, and protect the civil rights of other people with disabilities who need support services, or else potentially face a lawsuit, according to a Feb. 10 letter from the Justice Department to the Maine attorney general’s office.

More from CBS 13 WGME

Research & Reports

During A Pandemic, States’ Patchwork Of Crisis Strategies Could Mean Uneven Care

A possible coronavirus pandemic could overwhelm the nation’s hospitals and force doctors into difficult decisions about how to allocate limited resources. Yet, experts say, only a handful of states have done the work necessary to prepare for such worst-case scenarios.

How would hospitals handle overflowing emergency rooms? What would doctors do if they ran out of medicines or ventilators? How would they decide who gets prioritized if they can’t treat everyone?

More from Kaiser Family Foundation

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

With many illnesses, older adults and people with disabilities face higher risks of contracting the disease and/or experiencing complications, particularly if they also have chronic medical conditions. Consequently, there often are additional prevention and treatment recommendations for these populations. That currently is not the case for COVID-19.

If specific guidance for older adults and people with disabilities is issued, ACL will post it on this page and share it through the ACL Updates email service.  In addition, ACL recommends that everyone follow the guidance issued by state and local health departments, and watch the CDC website for the latest national information. 

More from Administration for Community Living

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2020 Spring Meeting
April 22-24, 2020
Washington, D.C.

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