LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, May 28, 2021

LSA-DN News

Application Forms and Extended Deadline for Paycheck Protection Program and Further Expanded Eligibility for Second Draw Loans

Thanks in part to advocacy from our network and the broader nonprofit community, President Biden signed into law the PPP Extension Act, which extends the deadline for Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan applications to May 31.  The program had been set to expire on March 31. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has also released the NEW application forms Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers must submit to apply for first-time loans or “second draw” loans, as well as indicating expanded eligibility for those second draw loans.

First Draw loan information

  • Loans are now available for nonprofit organizations:
    • with fewer than 500 employees total who have not already received funding
    • with 500 or more employees across multiple locations, but with no more than 500 employees at a single one of those locations. This group of nonprofits only became eligible to apply when the American Rescue Plan became law on March 11, 2021.

Second Draw loan information

  • Loans are now available for nonprofit organizations that:
    • have already received and spent an initial PPP loan AND
    • can demonstrate a 25% reduction in gross receipts AND
    • have one location with fewer than 300 employees, OR more than 300 employees across multiple locations BUT NO MORE THAN 300 IN ANY ONE LOCATION (this is new information per the updated application form for this type of loan).
  • Application form

More information is available on our website and on the SBA website, and from your lender.

Our COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub

Lutheran Services in America network in peer guidance & resources on developing COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Communication plans for your organizations.    Lutheran Services in America has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub, which we are continuously updating, to assist with vaccine distribution and communications plans of our member organizations. Check out these latest resources including:

If you have any resources or strategies your organization would recommend to increase access and reduce barriers to the COVID-19 Vaccine, please share with with us at awashington@lutheranservices.org.

Honoring Our Frontline Heroes — New Winter Issue Now Available

Lutheran Services in America is proud to honor the incredibly brave frontline workers serving during this historic time in our national network. We proudly offer digital booklets to recognize this extraordinary work with our Frontline Heroes series, and a new Winter issue has just been released, joining Summer and Fall 2020 issues that highlight the courageous efforts of our members dating back to March of last year, as part of a continuing campaign to lift up the impact our members are making on their communities across the country. You can find these issues and an overview video on our new Front Line Heroes page. Please feel free to share these resources on your own social media pages, and to email Chris Findlay (CFindlay@lutheranservices.org) with stories from your organization you would like to see included in our upcoming issues.

Advocacy Update

President Biden and Senate Republicans are inching toward agreement on an infrastructure package.  Last Saturday in behind-the-scenes, high-level negotiations, Mr. Biden floated a pared down version of his American Jobs Plan, reducing its price tag from $2.3 to $1.7 trillion.  Yesterday, a group of key Senate Republicans negotiating with the White House offered a $928 billion counteroffer, significantly increasing their initial $568 billion proposal.  While only outlines of proposals have been made public, the president appears willing to negotiate on items related to broadband, research and development and small business.  The major $400 billion investment in home and community-based services (HCBS) for aging adults and persons with disabilities remains in place and does not appear to be part of the compromise.  A fundamental area of disagreement remains how the package will be paid for.  President Biden supports raising the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28%.  Republicans are saying raising the rate is nonnegotiable and instead seek a pay-for through unused funds from previous COVID-19 packages enacted since the beginning of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed by a 55-44 vote President Biden’s nominee, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  With her confirmation, the agency will now be able to move forward with a number of initiatives related to the Medicaid Program.

Lutheran Services in America has been advocating in support of key provisions of the American Jobs Plan, particularly the $400 billion HCBS investment, a provision for $213 billion for affordable housing and homelessness services and is urging the inclusion of the WORK NOW Act legislation (S. 740) to provide nonprofit health and human services organizations funding to pay wages, salaries, and benefits to retain staff and meet services’ demand.  Please join us in this effort through our advocacy alert calling for inclusion of these key initiatives in the package.

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 sdobson@lutheranservices.org or dwalter@lutheranservices.org with any related questions you have.

National

As Paycheck Protection Program Runs Dry, Desperation Grows

The government’s $788 billion relief effort for small businesses ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program, is ending as it began, with the initiative’s final days mired in chaos and confusion.

Millions of applicants are seeking money from the scant handful of lenders still making the government-backed loans. Hundreds of thousands of people are stuck in limbo, waiting to find out if their approved loans — some of which have been stalled for months because of errors or glitches — will be funded. Lenders are overwhelmed, and borrowers are panicking.

“Some of our lenders have been getting death threats,” said Toby Scammell, the chief executive of Womply, a loan facilitator that has nearly 1.6 million applications awaiting funding. “There’s a lot of angry, scared people who were really counting on this program and are afraid of being shut out.” More funding seems unlikely. Congress twice extended the program in December and March, anteing up nearly $300 billion total in new aid, but there is little indication that it will do so again. More from The New York Times

Senate confirms Biden pick to lead Medicare, Medicaid office

The Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm President Biden’s pick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, who will be the first Black woman to hold the key health policy position. 

In a 55-44 vote, the upper chamber approved Brooks-LaSure as the CMS administrator, where she will oversee the Biden administration’s goals of expanding the Affordable Care Act. 

Her confirmation brings another Obama-era official into Biden’s administration; Brooks-LaSure served in the former president’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in implementing the Affordable Care Act.     Five Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting Brooks-LaSure’s confirmation: Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). 

More from The Hill

Medicaid expansion fight resurfaces in states

New federal incentives to expand Medicaid coverage do not appear to be enough to convince 12 holdout states to broaden eligibility, leaving lawmakers and advocates weighing their next steps.

Under the 2010 health care law, states can expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs for individuals who do not earn enough to qualify for marketplace insurance subsidies, with the federal government taking on most of the costs.

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 law enacted in March offers states an additional incentive to expand during the pandemic, with a temporary boost in the federal contribution. This builds on a different COVID-19 law, which temporarily increased Medicaid reimbursements by 6.2 percentage points for all states and territories that maintained coverage during the public health emergency.

Andrew S. Kelly, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences at California State University, East Bay, said the new incentive is an interesting idea but he did not think it would be enough to change the outcome in states that have held out.

More from Roll Call

Congress Urged To Increase Spending On Autism

Dozens of members of Congress are calling for the federal government to significantly ramp up its investment in autism-related activities by spending an additional $150 million on the developmental disorder.

The bipartisan request comes in a recent letter to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. The 90 members who signed the correspondence are hoping to see the additional funds included in appropriations for a handful of federal agencies for the next fiscal year, which starts in October.

The lawmakers said the extra spending would help make good on recommendations from the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a panel of government officials and autism stakeholders charged with advising the secretary of health and human services and coordinating federal activities related to the developmental disability.

More from Disability Scoop

State

Wisconsin Republicans quickly kill Medicaid expansion

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature on Tuesday convened and within seconds ended a special session called by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to expand Medicaid, dashing chances for the state to receive a one-time bonus of $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding.

The Senate and Assembly gaveled in and adjourned the special session in mostly empty chambers with only a handful of lawmakers in attendance.

The Assembly session lasted all of about 40 seconds, while the Senate was done in less than 10 seconds. There was no debate, let alone any votes taken, on the bill Evers called on the Legislature to pass. It marked the latest in a long line of defeats for Democrats on the issue.

Democrats have for years advocated in vain to expand eligibility for the state’s Medicaid program known as BadgerCare Plus. This time, with the $1 billion in federal stimulus money at play, Democrats said it made no sense not to join 38 other states in accepting expansion.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said rejecting Medicaid expansion was “absurd” and that no private business would make the same decision with so much federal money on the table.

More from AP News

Lawsuit filed to force Medicaid expansion in Missouri

The fight over Medicaid expansion in Missouri has moved from the state Capitol to the Cole County Courthouse.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court aims to require the state to expand its Medicaid program in accordance with the constitutional amendment 53% of voters supported last August.

Lawmakers left Jefferson City last week without funding the program, which would provide health care services to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty limit.

Opponents of the expansion in the Republican-dominated Legislature argued proponents should have included a funding mechanism in their ballot language.

The House and Senate didn’t include the funding, though Gov. Mike Parson’s proposed budget in January set aside $120 million for the expansion.

More from St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Bill Passes New Jersey Legislature Giving Special Ed Students An Added Year Of Education Eligibility

There has been a successful push to extend special education in New Jersey, after more than a year of learning lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke recently with families who said the move is crucial and hope Gov. Phil Murphy will sign it into law in time for the start of the next school year. “I don’t call it an additional year. I call it a replacement year,” parent Laura Colnes said.

For special needs students like Colnes’ 21-year-old autistic son, Sammy, remote learning just doesn’t work.

“They can’t practice community skills in the kitchen. They can’t practice job skills in the dining room. They have to be out in the community,” Colnes said.

More from CBSN New York

Research & Reports

Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups May Perceive Different Barriers to Healthcare than Their White Peers

Access to healthcare is an important factor for individuals to have positive health outcomes and to maintain a positive health status. It is, therefore, important to minimize barriers to healthcare access, real or perceived. Prior research has also suggested that there are persistent health disparities between individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups and white Americans. The research suggests the disparities may be related to mistrust of healthcare providers and the healthcare system among Black and Latinx individuals, due in part to prior history of discrimination, medical injustices (e.g. Tuskegee Experiment), and negative perception of the medical industry. Among the Latinx community, barriers and sources of mistrust include lack of language translation services and concerns about immigration status.

Based on past research, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), in particular, may face significant barriers to healthcare access. Examples of barriers they encounter may include unaffordable cost, lack of providers trained in the healthcare needs of people with IDD, and long waiting times for appointments due, in part, to that lack of trained providers.  Additional barriers to healthcare access may exist for individuals in ethnic and racial minority groups with IDD. However, there’s no known prior research done to investigate barriers to healthcare access in this specific population. In a recent NIDILRR-funded study, researchers looked at healthcare data for individuals with IDD living in the community. The researchers wanted to know whether people with IDD who were Latinx, White (Non-Latinx), and Black (Non-Latinx) experienced different barriers to healthcare access.

More from Research in Focus: A Weekly Digest of New Research from the NIDILRR

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

There’s a workforce crisis in human services that funding alone can’t fix | Opinion

By Marian Baldini

Human services providers for individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) diagnoses are floundering across the United States, including Pennsylvania. They can’t afford to keep the people most vital to their success — those working direct support positions.

The pandemic has only magnified a crisis this industry has tried to look away from for years, and now it’s standing right on our doorsteps.

According to ANCOR (a leading human services advocacy organization), the average direct support professionals (DSPs) turnover rate for human services providers per state in 2020 exceeded 50 percent, in large part due to a median hourly wage for DSPs of just $12.09.

How can we hire quality staff to support the individuals in our programs if we can’t offer them a living wage, let alone a quality rate?

KenCrest, like many providers across the country, has met with families of those our organization supports in group homes regarding concerns they’ve had for their loved ones. Almost all of the issues were connected to workforce shortages.

More from Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Workforce in crisis: Chronic underfunding puts disability services at a tipping point | Opinion

In 2018 Delaware passed the McNesby Act, which was a first-in-the-country piece of legislation requiring the state to fully fund intellectual and developmental disabilities services. Yet the I/DD service system is failing. It is chronically underfunded and in the midst of a workforce crisis.

Service providers, who are contracted partners with the State of Delaware, have been forced to cut positions and offer wages to direct support professionals that are not reflective of their skill and the service they provide. The pandemic has only exacerbated this workforce calamity, increasing the turnover rate for direct care positions across the state to nearly 50% in 2020. This crisis is negatively impacting access and quality of services for people with disabilities.

The Ability Network of Delaware (A.N.D.), the statewide disability provider association, recently launched a successful petition to fully fund I/DD services. The petition advocates for the fulfillment of the McNesby Act, which unanimously passed in the 2018 General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. John Carney that same year. To date that promise has not been fulfilled.

More from delaware online

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Summer Meeting (virtual)
August 5, 2021
1:00-5:00 p.m. Eastern

Groups

For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Doug Walter at dwalter@lutheranservices.org.

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

Keep in Touch

Lisa Morgan
DN Convener
Chief Operating Officer, enCircle

Myra Griffie
Interim DN Treasurer
Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Services Carolinas

Doug Walter
Director of Policy and Advocacy, Disability Network, Lutheran Services in America