LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Thursday, July 2, 2020


The Lutheran Services in America "Strength & Service Series"

Lutheran Services in America is taking full and active advantage of the virtual space to help our member organizations nationwide stay in the know on new and evolving practices and resources — curating a broad lineup of topics and subject matter expertise. This month we are pleased to launch our continuing virtual program, the Strength & Service Series. Strength & Service is an ongoing, interactive, virtual gathering of the best minds in our space, laser-focused on examining and tackling the unintended consequences and uncertainties in today’s climate — all with the goal of helping move your organization forward.

By drawing on the expertise of external influencers and our member organizations’ own vital lessons learned, we’re able to share tailored content and facilitate deeper connections to help meet your unique needs during this historic moment. The combination of our broad array of providers and central thought leaders in our space will make for truly symbiotic, interactive dialogue in a safe and trusting space — exactly when we all need it the most. We view these timely virtual convenings as critical to your organizations, to the many people you serve and to the future of Lutheran social ministry in America as a whole.

Upcoming Series Webinars

  • July 23, 12–1 p.m. EDT: Impact of COVID-19 on Employer Health Care Costs by global advisory firm, Willis Towers Watson. In 2021 employers like you could be facing increased medical costs of between 4% and a whopping 10% for employees, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Given this increasingly challenging climate, Jeff Thiemann, President & CEO of Portico Benefit Services, will host a dynamic interactive session with experts from Willis Towers Watson who will explore the challenging landscape of increasing dependent coverage, delayed elective surgeries and other key trends on short- and longer-term employer health care costs – all of which may greatly affect your bottom line. Register here.
  • July 28, 1–3 p.m. EDT: Workshop on the Path to Become More Racially Aware Leaders—Foundational Elements for the Journey. Professional diversity coach Marion Hodges Biglan will lead a workshop where participants will learn and reflect on their connection to some foundational concepts about racism that will be essential on their journey to become more racially aware and impactful leaders. Register here.

Advocacy Update

Congress Moves to Extend Filing Deadline for PPP, President Expected to Sign into Law

On Wednesday, the House passed by unanimous consent S. 4116, a bill to extend the filing deadline for Paycheck Protection Program loans, hours before the existing deadline for the Small Business Administration to stop accepting applications for the forgivable loan program.  The Senate also passed the measure by unanimous consent the previous day, and while the President must still sign the bill in order for it to become law, that is expected to happen shortly.  Under the terms of the bill, the deadline for applying for PPP loans (for which businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible) would be extended until Aug. 8.

Oklahoma Voters Approve Medicaid Expansion

Voters in Oklahoma on Tuesday approved with 50.5% support a ballot measure extending Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of low-income adults.  Oklahoma, with the nation’s second-highest uninsured rate, had been one of just 14 states that hadn't expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  By adding Medicaid expansion to Oklahoma’s constitution, the newly-passed measure may prevent Gov. Kevin Stitt from implementing his plan, if approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to add per capita caps and work requirements to the state’s Medicaid program. Lutheran Services in America has submitted comments in opposition to these proposed changes, given their likelihood to reduce patients’ access to critical benefits and services and add administrative and financial barriers to the program that would undoubtedly lead to coverage losses.

Recently Introduced Legislation Would Support PPE Purchase, Child Care

Two bills which are attracting increasing numbers of co-sponsors would support the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the provision of child care. H.R. 7216, introduced by Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), would provide tax credits to small businesses and nonprofits purchasing PPE. Promising efforts are underway to ensure the tax credits would be available to nonprofits with 500 employees or more. The second measure, the “Child Care is Essential Act,” would provide $50 billion to a Child Care Stabilization Fund, within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant program, to be awarded to child care providers during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The money would be used to help stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate, thus providing workers the child care they need to return to or remain in their jobs.

Coronavirus Resources

Lutheran Services in America has compiled a list of COVID-19 news and resources that is regularly updated. 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 or with any related questions you have. 


ADA Turns 30: Time to End the Institutionalization of People with Disabilities

This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA—a comprehensive civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment and in access to government services and public accommodations—into law. In his signing statement that day, the president described the ADA as signaling “the end to the unjustified segregation and exclusion of persons with disabilities from the mainstream of American life.”

More from The Legal Intelligence

Nearly 30 years after the ADA, the nation's transit agencies report success and shortfalls

Scott Crawford hasn’t driven a car in 20 years.

A retired clinical neuropsychologist, Crawford relocated from Miami to his hometown of Jackson, Miss., in 2006, seven years after developing primary progressive multiple sclerosis. When his illness put him in a wheelchair, the bus became his lifeline — that is, when it didn’t leave him behind, which happened often and sometimes still does.

“Many of our buses were decades old with nonfunctioning wheelchair lifts, so I was frequently being left on the side of the road,” said Crawford, 54.

More from The Washington Post

U.S.T.A Reinstates U.S. Open Wheelchair Tournament

After an outcry from players, the United States Tennis Association has restored the wheelchair tennis competition to the 2020 United States Open.

In the initial plans for the tournament announced last week, the wheelchair events, mixed doubles and the junior and legends events had been eliminated. Part of the reasoning for the cuts was the need to limit how many people would be at the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to protect competitors against the coronavirus. The U.S. Open is scheduled to begin as originally planned on Aug. 31, but without spectators and with strict health measures because of the pandemic.

More from The New York Times


Who Gets Lifesaving Care? Tennessee Changes Rules After Federal Complaint

Health officials on Friday announced sweeping changes to guidelines in Tennessee on who would get lifesaving treatments, and who would not, if resources fell dramatically short during a medical crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.

The action came after disability groups filed a federal civil rights complaint, arguing that key features of the plan were discriminatory. Multiple states and hospitals have adopted similar rules on rationing care, raising questions about whether change is afoot elsewhere.

More from The New York Times

Loudoun schools will offer part-time in-person or full-time virtual learning

Parents in Loudoun County face a choice for the fall: They can either send their students to bricks-and-mortar school for a portion of every week, or they can keep their children at home for full-time distance learning as the school district responds to the upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Loudoun County School Board voted by a slim margin to endorse the two-track plan at a contentious, marathon virtual meeting Monday that began at 4 p.m. and lasted past midnight. The strategy marks a significant update to a tentative set of guidelines, released by the superintendent in mid-June, that envisioned all students attending school in person for two days each week and did not give the option of 100 percent virtual school.

More from The Washington Post

Judge Sides With Disney in Case of Autistic Accommodation

A judge has sided with Walt Disney World in ruling that the theme park resort wasn't being unreasonable when it refused to give unlimited front-of-the-line passes to an autistic man whose mother said in court papers the accommodation should have been made under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

U.S. District Judge Anne Conway ruled last week that it was unreasonable to give Donna Lorman's son such access, saying it was ripe for abuse.

More from The New York Times

Research & Reports

COVID-19 outcomes among people with intellectual and developmental disability living in residential group homes in New York State

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.

To describe COVID-19 outcomes among people with IDD living in residential groups homes in the state of New York and the general population of New York State.

More from Disability and Health Journal

Developmental Disabilities Linked to Greater Pediatric Asthma Risk

Risk of developing asthma appears to be greater in US children with developmental disabilities or delays, according to new findings from a team of Texas-based investigators. In a population-based, cross-sectional assessment of 71,000-plus families from the 2016-17 National Survey of Children’s Health, investigators observed associations between disabilities including ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and increased risk of pediatric asthma.

More from HCP Live

Kessler survey shows education paves the way to employment for youth with disabilities

On a June 24 webinar, titled, "The ADA Generation: A Dialogue with Recent College Graduates with Disabilities," experts in employment and disability engaged with three young professionals to relate the results of a new national survey to the real-world experiences of recent college graduates with disabilities. The survey, commissioned by Kessler Foundation and implemented by the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD), commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and explores its impact on the first generation to come of age since the ADA's passage in 1990.

More from EurekAlert

Like Working at Home? It Could Become Permanent

While remote working has been a trend over recent years, battling COVID-19 has sent workers, who can do their jobs remotely, home.

Will these workers remain at home once the restrictions are lifted? A Gartner, Inc. survey of 317 CFOs and finance leaders on March 30, 2020, revealed that 74% will move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19.

More from Industry Week

Most Americans With Disabilities Struggle To Find Accessible Homes

Apartment hunting is stressful. But for Alex Ghenis, finding a place to live after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, was like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The 32-year-old disability rights consultant, who suffered a spinal cord injury in 2004, uses a power chair. He needs an elevator building or a ground-floor apartment with hardwood floors, automatic door openers and a roll-in shower. But non-student housing is scarce in Berkeley and much of the city’s housing is old. Ghenis’ situation isn’t unique: Research suggests there’s a huge gap between the availability of accessible homes and the number of people who need them.

More from OZY

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

As you consider how to reopen your business, please consider the well-being of people with disabilities

As the death toll of COVID-19 moves past 125,000 American lives lost, we have analyzed how the virus has impacted countless groups. News and online chatter has examined the health and economic impacts on seniors, people of color, youth and babies, coastal states and small business owners.

We have debated the effects of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on every age group. We have looked at the importance of whether people live in bustling cities where they primarily travel in enclosed subways or trains and other cities where people live in wide-open spaces like beaches, ranches and large plots of land.

Even now as the country pursues a painstaking and emotionally charged process of reopening, arguments from both sides center on the risk as it relates to impacting specific groups, states, industries and businesses.

Yet there is one group that actually has people from every subgroup out there and transcends race, ethnicity, gender, geography and beyond. This group covers every age group and socioeconomic status and is the only minority group any of us can become a part of in a heartbeat.

More from The San Diego Union-Tribune

Investing in Home and Community-Based Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic and Future Disasters

During the COVID-19 crisis, one of the most dangerous places to live or work is a crowded living facility—whether it be a nursing home, a group home, an institution, or a prison. Due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), living wages, medical care, and sanitary living conditions, such settings have experienced staggering death tolls and infection rates. It is becoming increasingly evident that funding is needed to expand life-sustaining home and community-based services (HCBS) as an alternative to congregate care facilities, as this is not only a civil right but also imperative to ensure residents’ safety and contain the virus. Moreover, increased funding is necessary to protect workers who are providing direct support to seniors and people with disabilities. More from Center for American Progress

Good Reasons Why States Haven't Yet Spent All Coronavirus Relief Funds

Some wrongly argue that federal policymakers should “wait and see” before giving states more fiscal aid to help address their huge, recession-driven revenue shortfalls, in part because they haven’t spent all the aid they’ve received so far. States, however, have good reasons not to spend all of that aid just yet. And, in any case, they’ll need far more to address their extraordinary shortfalls and avoid further layoffs and other cuts that would hamper an economic recovery.

Business closures and lost income and jobs — including some 1.5 million furloughs and layoffs of state and local workers — have severely shrunk states’ sales and income tax revenues. All 39 states (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) that have released new revenue projections are reporting shortfalls, generally very large ones. Nationwide, we estimate, these shortfalls total about $615 billion over the next three fiscal years, not including the added costs of fighting COVID-19. More from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Harmful State Cuts Loom Without More Federal Aid

As COVID-19’s health and economic impacts intensify, creating huge state budget shortfalls, states and local governments are laying off workers and slashing support for schools and other services, harming working families — especially in communities of color — and delaying the economy’s recovery. These cuts will be just the tip of the iceberg if the federal government doesn’t provide more fiscal aid for states and localities. More from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Lutheran Services in America's Front Line Heroes

Each day, Lutheran Services in America posts a story about heroes working on the front lines. Those posts are meant to celebrate the extraordinary work of Lutheran social ministries, and elevate the commitment to serving communities throughout crises. Read front line hero stories here.

To submit stories front line hero stories, email Caitlyn Gudmudsen at

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2020 Summer Meeting
August 5-6, 2020
Agenda for what will be our virtual summer meeting due to COVID-19 concerns to be shared shortly

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting
February 24-26, 2021
Details TBD


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

Lisa Morgan
DN Convener
Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia

Rita Wiersma
DN Treasurer
Chief Executive Officer, Accord

Jen Beltz 
VP, External Affairs, Lutheran Services in America