LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, September 11, 2020


Registration for CEO Summit Series: 2020–2021 Now Open

CEO Summit is going virtual this year, and while we will miss seeing you in person, our new format offers the opportunity for additional CEOs to participate nationwide, and for us to engage an even broader, strong lineup of thought leaders. With your direct feedback, we’ve developed a series of four virtual leadership seminars designed to strengthen, inspire and enrich leaders across our network with a focus on emerging stronger.

Renowned corporate strategist and advisor to Fortune 500 executives David Morey returns this year to kick off the series on September 24 to discuss how CEOs can lead effectively through crises. Then on November 10, Dr. Garth Graham, vice president and chief community health officer at CVS Health, will guide us through some of the most innovative partnerships in the health and human services sector. In 2021, Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, will examine the broader trends of the workforce and its recovery. Carolyn will be followed shortly thereafter by Advocate Aurora Health president and CEO Jim Skogsbergh and others to share their visions for 2022 and beyond.

Join us in crafting the answers to the biggest questions now facing our entire network. Register for this timely series today!

Nonprofit Times Executive Session: Reimagining and Rebuilding America's Charitable Sector

Lutheran Services in America President and CEO Charlotte Haberaecker will join other national nonprofit leaders in September 14th (2pm eastern) Nonprofit Times Executive Session, “Strategies for Reimagining and Rebuilding America’s Charitable Sector.” This important discussion will focus on elements every executive needs to have top of mind during this unprecedented time. To register for this timely discussion, visit here.

Provider Relief Fund Money Still Available With Deadline Extended to September 13th

On July 31, 2020, HHS announced that certain Medicare providers would be given another opportunity to receive additional Provider Relief Fund payments. These are providers who previously missed the June 3, 2020 deadline to apply for additional funding equal to 2 percent of their total patient care revenue from the $20 billion portion of the $50 billion Phase 1 General Distribution, including many Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and dental providers with low Medicare revenues. In addition, certain providers who experienced a change in ownership, making them previously ineligible for Phase 1 funding, will also be given an opportunity to apply for financial relief. As of August 10th, these eligible providers may now submit their application for possible funds by September 13th. This deadline aligns with the extended deadline for other eligible Phase 2 providers, such as Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, CHIP, and dental providers.

The Lutheran Services in America Strength & Service Series

Upcoming Series Webinars

Becoming an Antiracist Organization
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Time: 1:00-2:00 EDT

Hear from three peer leaders as they continue addressing their organization’s role in systemic racism, explore efforts to engage community partners to dismantle racism, and discuss the importance in recognizing and naming the pain that racism causes.  Join Damyn Kelly, President and CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New York, Michael Bertrand, President and CEO & Beverly Jones, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois and Paulo Pina, Pediatric Medical Director, Assistant Clinical Professor, NYU Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine, Family Health Centers at NYU Langone.  For more information and to register click here.

Engagement Technology — What Happens When You Pair Technology and Creative Leadership
Date: Thursday, October 29, 2020
Time: 1–2 p.m. EDT

The COVID-19 crisis has brought to the forefront the importance of staying connected, and the consequences of being isolated. Come see how the pairing of technology and creative leadership can lead to successful outcomes and improve the quality of life for everyone involved. Hosted by Jack York, President and CEO of iN2L, Dave Gehm, President and CEO of Wellspring Lutheran Services, and Kevin McFeely, President and CEO of Tacoma Lutheran, will share their own experiences and expertise on creative ways they have kept their residents, families and staff connected and engaged through the pandemic. For more information and to register click here.

Honoring Our Front Line Heroes

Lutheran Services in America is proud to honor the incredibly brave front line workers serving during this historic time in our national network. This week we are launching a new digital booklet that offers every inspiring entry to date in our Front Line Heroes series. Our Summer 2020 issue highlights the courageous efforts of our members dating back to March, and is just the first collection in what will be a continuing campaign to lift up the impact our members are making on their communities across the country. You can find the summer issue 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 Caitlyn Gudmundsen ( with stories from your organization you would like to see included in our upcoming issues.

Millions of Individuals Have Yet to Claim Their CARES Act Stimulus Payments

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), many people have not yet received their stimulus payment (Economic Impact Payment or EIP) available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the COVID-19 legislation Congress enacted in March.  Millions of individuals who do not normally file income taxes are entitled to this payment, and to receive it they must enter their information into the IRS Non-Filers Tool by October 15, 2020.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just released the guide Helping Consumers Claim the Economic Impact Payment: A guide for intermediary organizations. The guide is free and contains step-by-step information for direct service and community organizations frontline staff on how to: discuss the EIP with clients, determine if clients need to take action, and support clients with what to expect and how to troubleshoot common issues or address scenarios such as not having a permanent address. If you have questions about the guide, contact

Advocacy Update

U.S. Senate COVID-19 Relief Bill Fails to Garner Enough Support to Move Negotiations Forward

With the Senate reconvening this week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved a pared-down COVID-19 relief bill to the floor yesterday for a vote, but the measure did not receive the 60 votes it needed to shut off further debate to gain final Senate passage. 52 Republicans voted for a modest package of small business relief, $300 enhanced unemployment benefits and liability protections, among other provisions, while Rand Paul (R-KY) joined 46 Democrats in opposition. The vote leaves future COVID-19 relief in limbo, most likely until after the November election, as it marks a line of clear disagreement between Senate and House leadership on how to move forward. The House of Representatives passed a much more robust $3 trillion package in May. We continue to urge that the legislation address needs most important to health and human services nonprofits or our country’s most vulnerable people as outlined in our key priorities, including forgivable loans for nonprofits of all sizes and additional targeted financial resources for nonprofit front line health and human services providers. We ask that you continue to make our voices heard as negotiations continue. Please join us in sending a message to your Senators by clicking here to use our advocacy tool.

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.


COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Could Leave People With Disabilities Behind

With plans now in the works for distributing a coronavirus vaccine, there are worries that despite the high risk they face, people with developmental disabilities may not be given priority.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has the whole world waiting for a vaccine, but whenever one does become available, there won’t immediately be enough of it for everyone all at once. As a result, government officials are working to establish a pecking order.

Earlier this month, a committee from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued a preliminary framework outlining how a COVID-19 vaccine might be allocated. The committee formed at the request of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to issue a final report this fall, which is intended to help inform federal decision-making on a vaccine.

More from Disability Scoop

Charities scramble to plug revenue holes during pandemic

With the coronavirus recession straining household budgets, charities are feeling the pinch as Americans conserve cash.

Charity organizations have lost billions in revenue during the pandemic, making the sector one of many to seek support from Congress at a time when negotiations over another COVID-19 relief package show little sign of a breakthrough.

Traditional methods of fundraising for charities — concerts, festivals and galas — have all been canceled or significantly scaled back due to public health concerns. Nonprofits and charitable organizations are now looking ahead to the holiday giving season in hopes of donations to make up for shortfalls over much of the year.

More from The Hill

Democrats block slimmed-down GOP coronavirus relief bill as hopes fade for any more congressional support

Democrats blocked a pared-down GOP coronavirus relief bill in a bitterly disputed Senate vote Thursday, leaving the two parties without a clear path forward to approve new economic stimulus before the November elections.

The vote was 52-47, far short of the 60 votes that would have been needed for the measure to advance. Democrats were united in opposing the legislation; all Republicans voted in favor except Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), wrangling a majority of the Senate behind the legislation constituted a measure of success, after months when Senate Republicans have been hopelessly divided. But next steps — if any — toward the kind of bipartisan deal that would be needed to actually pass a bill to provide new assistance were unclear.

More from The Washington Post


Huge budget cuts could hurt people with mental illness, disabilities most, Pennsylvania providers fear

Eight years ago, as the state was still recovering from the fallout of a severe economic recession, lawmakers in Harrisburg cut $84 million that counties used to fund programs for people with intellectual disabilities, mental health challenges, and other needs.

At the time, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration said the state faced a more than $700 million shortfall and that funding for counties was one of the few areas where its hands weren’t tied by federal mandates.

That money was never restored. And in January, county officials urged lawmakers to provide a $42 million increase for mental health services as a downpayment for a sustainable approach, with a 3% annual increase.

Then the coronavirus arrived.

More from WHYY

Roommate program hopes to improve caregiving for people with disabilities in Minnesota

Blake Elliott, an entrepreneur in the Medicaid-funded home-services business for the disabled, is gaining traction with a year-old program designed to cut government cost while increasing value for clients and underpaid caregivers.

Elliott, 39, was a rental-property owner when he started Bridges, which provides group homes and services for the developmentally disabled. He became interested in such services after his younger brother suffered traumatic brain and other injuries in a 2003 car crash.

There were no group homes in Melrose, Minn., where the family lived. And Elliott saw how his brother fared better at home with their parents, in a nurturing, familiar environment, rather than a nursing home.

More from Star Tribune

Connecticut nonprofits cutting staff, services in pandemic as revenue from services plunges despite uptick in contributions

Despite an uptick in individual contributions aided by the surging stock market, Connecticut nonprofit leaders say huge losses in fee-for-service revenue during the coronavirus pandemic have led to reductions in staffing, loss of access for needy residents and — in some cases — programs shutting down entirely.

In many cases, Connecticut community nonprofits are “still struggling to get through this crisis,” said Gian-Carl Casa, president and CEO of The Allliance, an organization representing hundreds of nonprofits.

More from Hartford Courant

Are these new Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority armrests an aid for people with disabilities, or a hostile act against the homeless?

New armrests that MBTA officials say will improve seating on platforms for the elderly and disabled have generated a backlash among some riders, who accused the agency of making it harder for the homeless to use the stations as a refuge. At issue is a new design for benches inside stations that include black metal armrests. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said the armrests will make it easier for passengers who need assistance, such as the elderly and those with disabilities, to get on and off the benches, and were designed in consultation with the T’s accessibility department.

More from Boston Globe

Research & Reports

For job seekers with disabilities, soft skills don’t impress in early interviews

new study by Rutgers University researchers finds that job candidates with disabilities are more likely to make a positive first impression on prospective employers when they promote technical skills rather than soft skills, such as their ability to lead others.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Conflict Management, contrast this with the results for candidates without disabilities who were positively evaluated when they highlighted either hard or soft skills during initial job interviews.

More from Rutgers

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

People with disabilities, families, workers suffer as Congress adjourns

For the nearly 600,000 people with disabilities receiving services in Massachusetts, their families and the essential workers who support them across our state, the pandemic is uniquely catastrophic and the future, uncertain. During a time when it feels like so much is out of our control, we look to those who can do something — to act now — before it’s too late. More from Boston Herald

How Many of These 68,000 Deaths Could Have Been Avoided?

Jose Velasquez, a 79-year-old father from Bexar County, Texas, tested positive for the coronavirus on March 26 and died on April 17. During those weeks, the staff at the nursing home where he lived assured his family that he showed no symptoms of Covid-19 and, according to a lawsuit filed by his children, failed to ensure that he received proper medical care. The staff did not transfer him to a hospital as he deteriorated or even warn his family that he was sick, according to the suit. Mr. Velasquez’s family says that just hours before he died, the staff at the home reported he was “doing fine.” More from The New York Times

Alabama, America’s most religious state, and Medicaid expansion

A recent column on Southern States and Medicaid expansion in Modern Healthcare magazine, an industry standard bearer, was highly informative

As it pointed out, 8 of the 12 states which have yet to expand Medicaid to cover more of the poor are in the South. They are Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida (Only Florida and Mississippi provide for a referendum on the issue, which will almost certainly pass with a majority in every one of these states).

I find it incredibly hypocritical that the Legislatures and governors in each of these states have not already expanded Medicaid. After all, the South and Southwest are the most religious areas of the nation.

More from

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting
February 3–4, 2021
Details TBD


For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Doug Walter 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

Mary Mulliet
DN Treasurer
Vice President of Community Services, Samaritas

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