LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, April 24, 2020


April 24th Update

Many thanks to the dozens of LSA-DN members who participated in our April 23rd virtual LSA-DN Spring Meeting. We were honored to see and hear you, particularly given the additional work and challenges you’re faced with during the COVID-19 crisis. Sincere thanks to Lisa Morgan of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia for her efforts as Interim Moderator, and to Rita Wiersma for her efforts tied to LSA-DN’s FY 2021 Budget. (Both the budget and minutes from our Winter 2020 meeting were approved by the group.)

The thoughts, experiences and suggestions which LSA-DN members offered throughout Our April 23rd Spring Meeting will prove invaluable in the weeks and months to come, as we continue our aggressive advocacy efforts with lawmakers and their teams to secure the financial relief, support and resources you need during this time. While notable progress already has been made – including last night’s passage of the $484B Coronavirus Economic Response Aid Package – we know we have so much more to achieve in the days ahead. Your action in our advocacy efforts is invaluable, and goes to show what can be done when we unify our voices. 

Regarding our LSA-DN Summer 2020 Meeting (August 5-7), we will focus on addressing new challenges that have arisen, building on our collective COVID-19 advocacy efforts. As you can imagine, location details for our Summer Meeting are in flux at this time, but we will be in touch with LSA-DN members about suggestions for the meeting in the weeks to come. In the meantime, thank you so very much for all that you do every single day, for so many people. Your work, your skills and your expertise are needed now more than ever before, and continue to make all the difference. 

A final note for your awareness is we continue preliminary interviews for LSA-DN’s Director of Public Policy and Advocacy position, and have begun conversations with several promising candidates. Sincere thanks for your patience in the meantime.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out me at or (202) 499-5846, or Sarah Dobson at, (202) 499-5832.

Many thanks,

Jen Beltz
VP, External Affairs 

Coronavirus Resources

Across the United States, Lutheran Services in America’s members are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing services to some of the nation’s most vulnerable people including, of course, people with disabilities. You well know that given the depth and breadth of the pandemic, it is challenging to find resources, protective equipment, and available staff to respond to all those in need.

To this end, and in efforts to keep you informed on timely, related resources, we have compiled a list of news and resources you may find helpful. In particular, we are tracking philanthropic and federal funding opportunities and requirements for our members and compiling a list of upcoming webinars, meetings, and events. Be sure to check out these pages and feel free to reach out to us with any related questions you have.


Stimulus Checks Now Automatic For People On SSI

Under pressure from advocates and lawmakers, federal officials now say that people with disabilities will no longer need to take any extra steps to receive their economic stimulus payments.

The U.S. Department of Treasury said Wednesday that Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries who qualify will receive automatic cash payments by early May.

More from Disability Scoop

Feds Urged To Prevent COVID-19 Disability Discrimination

The Trump administration is being pushed to ensure that people with disabilities aren’t illegally denied health care during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 400 organizations are calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue additional guidance outlining how federal anti-discrimination laws apply in the event that medical care must be rationed.

More from Disability Scoop

Group homes for disabled adults grapple with the spread of coronavirus

The death of a disabled man at a Montgomery County group home highlights advocates' worst fears. 

More from The Washington Post


‘It’s Hit Our Front Door’: Homes for the Disabled See a Surge of Covid-19

The call came on March 24. Bob McGuire, the executive director of CP Nassau, a nonprofit group that cares for the developmentally disabled, received a report from a four-story, colonnaded building in Bayville, N.Y., that houses several dozen residents with severe disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy to autism. For many of them, discussions of social distancing or hand washing are moot.

More from New York Times

As Medicaid providers struggle to survive, Virginia proposes a 'lifeline'

Buried in the more than 180 proposed amendments to the state budget that the General Assembly will consider Wednesday are two simple requests that could rescue programs that enabled disabled Virginians to live outside of state institutions.

Gov. Ralph Northam has quietly asked the legislature for temporary state authority to relax requirements for organizations that provide home and community-based services through Medicaid to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

More from

Research & Reports

Fact Sheet on Telehealth and Medicaid during COVID-19

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) define telehealth as the use of telecommunications and information technology to provide access to health assessment, diagnosis, intervention, consultation, supervision, and information across distances. States have broad authority to decide how to cover telehealth for the delivery of Medicaid-covered services, including the methods of communication, such as telephonic, video technology commonly available on smartphones and other devices. Consequently, telehealth reimbursement policies in Medicaid vary from state to state. If the State Medicaid program has managed care, telehealth reimbursement can also vary from plan to plan. This fact sheet explores ways that state Medicaid programs can expand telehealth, while protecting patient rights, including privacy and consent.

More from National Health Law Program

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

Don’t deny ventilators to disabled patients

When health-care systems become strained in the coming weeks, there won’t be enough ventilators to go around. The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services warns that doctors cannot use disability-based distinctions to decide who gets access to one: “Persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgments about a person’s relative ‘worth’ based on the presence or absence of disabilities.”

More from the Washington Post

Upcoming Events

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

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting
February 24-26, 2021
Tampa, Florida


For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Jen Beltz at

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

Keep in Touch

Bill Kallestad

Lisa Morgan

Jen Beltz 
VP of External Affairs
Lutheran Services in America