LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, March 13, 2020


TAKE ACTION NOW: Support Access to DSPs During Hospital Stays

Both the House and Senate recently introduced legislation that would help ensure that people with disabilities have access to trained staff known as Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) during a short-term hospital stay. DSPs play an important role for people with disabilities during an acute hospital stay, helping to facilitate communication and improve health outcomes. Currently, states are prohibited from reimbursing DSPs for services provided under a 1915 (c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver. Currently, the bulk of HCBS disability services in America are funded through 1915 (c) waivers. This legislation would remove these restrictions, allowing DSPs to be reimbursed for these services during acute hospital stays, improving quality of life for people with disabilities and their families during a difficult time. Take action now and tell your member of Congress to support this critically important legislation.


5 Things To Know About Coronavirus And People With Disabilities

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has everyone spooked, and hopefully, taking steps to control the outbreak and prepare to get through whatever may come of it. But one group faces additional risks and consequences, as well as anxieties: people with disabilities and or chronic illnesses.

More from Forbes

Feds Weigh In On Special Ed, Medicaid Concerns Over Coronavirus

As coronavirus spreads across the U.S., federal officials are clarifying how schools and state Medicaid agencies should address the needs of those with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services each issued question-and-answer documents Thursday detailing how to continue serving students with disabilities and those receiving home- and community-based services, respectively.

More from Disability Scoop


With Self-Direction, People With Disabilities Gain Control

A decade ago, Lori Sabby-Lemke was working two jobs while caring alone for her teenage son Dustin, who was born with a severe form of cerebral palsy.

She was tired, lonely and broke.

Dustin’s only means of mobility — a rusted, wheelchair-accessible minivan with holes in the floorboards — sat idle in the weeds outside her mobile home because she had no money to fix it. Worse, her insurance company repeatedly denied requests for more supports to care for Dustin at home.

More from Disability Scoop

UW-Whitewater program for students with intellectual disabilities a first in state

They act like college students because they are college students.

They scroll through their phones at a coffee shop, go to the gym to work out and grind through classes they would rather not take but are required for graduation.

But they are a new kind of college student.

In September, UW-Whitewater launched its Learning Is For Everyone or LIFE program. All of the eight students in the two-year program have some degree of intellectual disability.

More from GazetteXtra

Research & Reports

New research shows role-playing disability promotes distress, discomfort and disinterest

Professionals in the fields of education and rehabilitation psychology have long used disability simulations to try to promote understanding and improve attitudes about persons with disabilities. To simulate blindness, for instance, participants might complete tasks while wearing blindfolds or goggles. Others use earplugs to mimic deafness. Others may navigate indoor and outdoor areas in a wheelchair. The idea is to boost empathy by giving people perspective on what it is like to have a disability.

More from Kaiser Family Foundation

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

After FDA Ban On Shock Devices, Advocates Seek Public Apology, Reparations

When I was sworn in as an attorney in 2019, the leaders from my local chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers welcomed me to the profession and I enthusiastically signed up to join their organization. I wanted to become more involved in the events the group put on, so I filled out a committee preference form to hopefully lead our chapter towards greater disability inclusion. I’m autistic, and I regularly notice a lack of openly disabled lawyers like me. It’s a passion of mine to help design a world that is more welcoming, stigma-free, and accepting of disability and neurodiversity (the range of differences in brain function), so I ranked the diversity and inclusion committee as my first choice for service.

More from Disability Scoop

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