LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, October 2, 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 returned this year and kicked off the series on September 24 by discussing how CEOs can lead effectively through crises. 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!

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 Heros

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.

HHS Announces $20 billion in New Phase 3 Provider Relief Funding

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing $20 billion in New Phase 3 Provider Relief funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments. Providers can begin applying for funds on Monday, October 5, 2020.

HHS is making a large number of providers eligible for Phase 3 General Distribution funding, including providers who previously received, rejected or accepted a General Distribution Provider Relief Fund payment. Providers that have already received payments of approximately 2% of annual revenue from patient care may submit more information to become eligible for an additional payment.

CMS Announces $165 million in New Funding for Money Follows the Person Demonstration Programs

On September 23rd the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the availability of up to $165 million in supplemental funding to states currently operating Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration programs. This funding is being provided to help state Medicaid programs jump-start efforts to transition individuals with disabilities and older adults from institutions and nursing facilities to home and community-based settings of their choosing. According to CMS, this action delivers on the Administration’s commitment to transform Medicaid by fostering increased state flexibility and innovation and to ensure safety and quality for beneficiaries.

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

COVID-19 relief bill looking unlikely until after the November election

The House of Representatives narrowly passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill yesterday, dubbed HEROES 2.0, a pared down version of the larger HEROES package it passed in May, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly indicated that the measure is a nonstarter in the Senate. HEROES 2.0 includes a new round of the Paycheck Protection Program, $1,200 stimulus checks, extended $600 weekly unemployment benefits, as well as state and local government and school and childcare relief. While Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remain in talks, fundamental differences remain with the Senate concerning provider liability protection, state and local government funding and the overall cost of the package. The Senate considered but failed to advance a much more modest package on September 10th. The House is expected to adjourn today, leaving passage in limbo until after the November election.

Join Us in Urging Lawmakers to Provide Additional Nonprofit Relief NOW by clicking here.

Congress is scheduled to adjourn by early October and not to return until after the election—but lawmakers have still not passed an additional COVID-19 relief package that addresses the ongoing needs most important to our members, as outlined in our key priorities. We are asking lawmakers to address the urgent remaining needs of nonprofit health and human services providers NOW. Your participation will be vital: join us again in writing to your lawmakers.

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.


Vote-by-mail applications in 43 states are not accessible to people with disabilities, possibly disenfranchising millions of voters

As millions of voters gear up to mail in their ballots for the upcoming presidential election, a new report found that vote-by-mail applications in 43 states are inaccessible to people with disabilities.

Deque Systems, a software company focused on web and mobile accessibility solutions, said in its report how the lack of accessibility across these ballots could disenfranchise the millions of voters who have disabilities. CEO Preety Kumar said despite the rise in mail-in ballots for voters during the coronavirus pandemic, the process to apply for one in many states "will be difficult or impossible for many people with disabilities."

More from Business Insider

Federal Autism Committee Goes Dark

A long-established federal autism advisory committee charged with coordinating the government’s activities related to the developmental disorder has been defunct for the last year.

Every member of the panel known as the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, or IACC, saw their term expire at the end of last September. To date, no new members have been appointed.

The committee comprised of federal officials and members of the autism community last met in July 2019. Nominations for new members were being accepted between Nov. 19, 2019 and Feb. 21, 2020.

Typically, new members would have been appointed in March so that they could be seated in time for Autism Awareness Month in April, according to Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation who has served three terms as a member of the IACC off and on between 2007 and 2019.

This year, however, Singer believes the selection process was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More from Disability Scoop

U.S. Stimulus Talks in Limbo After Vote on Democrat-Only Plan

U.S. stimulus talks remain on life support after the House passed a Democrat-only $2.2 trillion package that did nothing to bridge the gap with Republicans. The 214-207 vote, which garnered no GOP support, followed the most concerted talks between the top negotiators since early August. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday evening that she would review documents that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin had sent her to determine where to go next. How the talks might be affected by President Donald Trump’s announcement early Friday that he had tested positive for Covid-19 is uncertain. The Treasury said Friday morning that Mnuchin tested negative. He’s been advised that he need not quarantine, based on limited contact with Trump, according to a person familiar with the matter. More from Bloomberg Quint

What's at stake if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare

Just one week after the Nov. 3 elections, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a lawsuit backed by President Trump that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose confirmation would shift the balance of the court significantly to the right, has put the 2010 law in greater danger.

While the ACA's fate is still uncertain — many legal experts in both parties think the lawsuit’s arguments are so weak that even conservative justices would uphold the law — the consequences of it being struck down would reverberate through almost every corner of the health care system.

More from The Hill


'It's a huge relief': Long-awaited Medicaid expansion begins this week in Nebraska

It’s taken six years of legislative battles, a statewide petition drive, a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling, a successful ballot measure and nearly two years of preparation to get to this point.

Now only a few days remain before thousands of low-income Nebraskans can start getting health care through an expanded Medicaid program.

More from Omaha World-Herald

California: Children Missing Out On Developmental Services Because Of Labyrinth System

As Karla Garcia of San Francisco watched her third child grow, she had a feeling something was different. At 4 months old, Brianna still couldn’t keep her head steady or lift it up when she was on her stomach, a milestone babies typically reach by 2 months old. She also didn’t hold her mother’s gaze or look intently at other familiar faces. That’s something babies normally do within their first month of life.

But when Garcia raised her concerns with Brianna’s pediatrician, the doctor said it was too soon to tell whether or not her daughter’s development was normal. It would take Garcia another year and a half of persistently demanding answers and seeking help before Brianna finally received an official diagnosis: She had a genetic, neurological disorder called Rett’s Syndrome, which can result in developmental delays and numerous health problems.

Garcia is not alone. In California, parents who suspect their child has a developmental delay often wait months or even years to get a formal diagnosis and to obtain services, according to research by the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy. By the time these children receive treatment — which is often contingent upon getting a diagnosis — they may have missed out on a critical window of time during which interventions for disorders such as autism or Rett’s Syndrome can be most effective. These delays have likely become more acute during the pandemic, as families are less likely to be visiting doctors for check-ups and children aren’t interacting as much with early childhood professionals who can spot signs of developmental challenges, experts with the First 5 Center said.

More from Disability Scoop

Research & Reports

Just Released: National Inventory of Self-Directed Long-Term Services and Supports Programs

The research team from Applied Self-Direction (ASD) conducted a National Inventory (Inventory) of publicly funded self-directed long-term services and supports (LTSS) programs in the United States to support the development of the AARP 2020 State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports. This Inventory builds on the 2011, 2013, and 2016 Inventories conducted by the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services at Boston College, the predecessor organization to ASD, and reflects the impact of changes in federal policy designed to promote growth of self-directed LTSS as well as the ever-changing landscape of state Medicaid programs across the country. At the request of AARP, this Inventory also examines the extent to which self-directed LTSS programs support family caregivers by allowing them to be paid workers and by offering respite services available to family caregivers. 

More from AARP Public Policy Institute

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

How Advances In Customer Service Can Take Telehealth To The Next Level

As the consumerization of healthcare puts greater focus on the patient experience, patients will continue to demand frequent and convenient interactions with their health care provider. For this reason, telehealth is quickly becoming mainstream, with telehealth interactions expected to top one billion by the end of 2020. Even beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is expected to have staying power.  In fact, one recent survey found that more than half of respondents would continue using telehealth services after the pandemic ended, because they like the convenience it offers. More from Forbes

3 Things That Influence How Disabled People Think About Their Disabilities

Issues arise nearly every day that highlight not just the unity of need and ambition among the whole disability community, but the many differences among people with disabilities individually. Why do some disabled people think about their disabilities one way, and others another? Why do some of us try to be unfailingly gracious and patient, while others are frank, assertive, or even abrasive? Why do some of us focus mostly on self-improvement and achieving personal goals, while others of us are all about advocacy and social change? Why are some disabled perceived as sunny, optimistic, and "can do," while others have a reputation as angry, bitter, and pessimistic? More from Forbes

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