LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, December 11, 2020


CEO Summit Series to Tackle Workforce Challenges in Two-part Seminar January 19 & 26

CEO Summit Series: 2020–2021 continues January 19 and 26 with an examination of one of our field’s most pressing concerns: the state of our workforce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Carolyn Cawley will provide insights during our two-part “Workforce: Reimagining Your Most Trusted Assets” seminar about exploring the critical steps CEOs should take now to meet current and future workforce needs, the workforce patterns that are emerging and lessons learned for CEOs in times of extreme global stress, and innovative ways to invest resources based on changing workforce trends. Ms. Cawley will be joined by half a dozen of your peers with first-hand knowledge and experience on how to transform your workforce.

Then on February 23, we conclude this year’s series with a thought-provoking look ahead at the post-pandemic landscape and the realities and opportunities that await. Renowned corporate strategist David Morey returns alongside Advocate Aurora Health president and CEO Jim Skogsbergh for “Looking Forward: Post-pandemic Realities and Opportunities” to review which market forces are here to stay, which innovations we need to adopt, and how adaptations made during disruption can be sustained. Register here for this timely series today!

Free Online Consumer CV19 CheckUp

CV19 CheckUp is an online system developed to help Americans be safer, healthier, and ensure their individual needs are met during the pandemic. CV19 CheckUp asks users to complete an easy, quick, confidential questionnaire. A personalized report is immediately provided, outlining the user’s level of risk and offering recommendations and resources to reduce those risks. CV19 CheckUp employs artificial intelligence and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Share it with your consumers and residents at

Announcing Our COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub

We have heard interest from the Lutheran Services in America network in peer guidance & resources on developing COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Communication plans for your organizations.    In response, Lutheran Services in America has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub which will be updated daily with the latest resources including: 

Please email if your leadership would be interested in a peer forum to discuss current strategies or recommend additional resources.

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.

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 Chris Findlay ( with stories from your organization you would like to see included in our upcoming issues.

Advocacy Update

Congressional leaders suggest adding COVID-19 relief provisions to must-pass spending bill

This week the House of Representatives passed a one-week stop-gap spending bill to keep the government open through December 18th.  The measure is currently on the Senate floor and must be passed before midnight today to avoid a government shutdown.  The one-week extension would allow more time for negotiations on an otherwise stalled COVID-19 relief package.  If Congress does not act before adjournment, COVID-19 relief enacted in the spring, including unemployment benefits and a housing eviction moratorium, will expire at the end of the year.  While negotiations are slowly progressing there remain fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans and Senate Republican leadership and the Trump Administration on what that package should include.  Disagreement centers on state and local government aid, liability protections for businesses related to the virus and the extension of unemployment benefits.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are suggesting that the $908 billion package offered by a bipartisan group of Senators last week should be the base bill for negotiations, while a White House $916 billion proposal offered this week appears to fall short largely due to its lack of continued unemployment benefits.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has offered to forgo both liability protections and state and local government aid to get to a package that both the House and Senate can pass.  All the proposals include extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, however all limit the extension in some way, such as the bi-partisan Senate proposal outline, which limits eligibility to businesses with 300 or fewer employees.  Lutheran Services in America continues to advocate for PPP and additional relief for nonprofits of all sizes.

Today, we ask you to join us in an URGENT FINAL PUSH to send a message to your lawmakers: don't adjourn without passing legislation that includes significant, urgently needed financial relief for nonprofits. Click here for our NEW call to action to tell your members of Congress that you need relief now.

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.


Congress stumbles on a Covid-19 aid package as vaccine approval passes a key hurdle

A key panel charged with evaluating the first coronavirus vaccine candidate in the US raced against the clock on Thursday in the quest to save American lives -- a stark contrast with the dithering, excuses and appalling lack of action on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are struggling to strike a deal to send emergency pandemic relief to millions of Americans and may fail, once again, to avert a government shutdown at midnight.

But the country caught a glimpse of what efficiency and transparency look like during the marathon public hearing Thursday of the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel, whose members were productive, competent and questioned experts directly without grandstanding. For hours, the group sliced through the incredibly complex issues surrounding the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine -- wrestling with ethical and medical questions about who should get the first doses and when -- capping the day with their historic vote urging the FDA to authorize the vaccine for emergency use.effort is underway to better prepare future doctors and other health care professionals to treat people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Members of Congress, meanwhile, notched yet another day with no deal on a desperately needed emergency stimulus package intended to help millions of unemployed Americans who are about to careen off a financial cliff when their benefits expire at the end of this month. More from CNN Politics

New Program Aims To Train Doctors On Developmental Disabilities

A new effort is underway to better prepare future doctors and other health care professionals to treat people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living has allocated $1.75 million over the next five years toward the initiative, which will bring together five universities to study existing trainings and develop materials and standardized practice experiences that can be incorporated into the curriculum for students in medical education.

“Unfortunately many medical schools do not include content about the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities into their curriculum for health care students. This all too often leads to poorer health outcomes,” said Julie Hocker, commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities at the Administration for Community Living. “This grant will work to close this critical gap.”

More from Disability Scoop

Millions Awarded To Expand Access To Disability Housing

With two new initiatives, federal officials are awarding millions of dollars to help improve housing options for people with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said that it’s making $86.85 million available to public housing agencies in more than three dozen states in what are known as Mainstream funding vouchers.

The vouchers are tagged for non-elderly individuals with disabilities who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Separately, HUD said it is also allocating $54.7 million toward 15 organizations in 12 states and Washington, D.C. to fund the development of more rental housing for people with disabilities and to provide rental assistance.

The organizations will use the funds to “create permanent supportive housing models that will be at the forefront of design, service delivery and efficient use of federal resources,” HUD indicated. The agency said that the idea is to provide long-term housing security and facilitate community integration.

More from Disability Scoop

Supreme Court to hear case on Trump's push for Medicaid work requirements

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over the Trump administration’s push for Medicaid work requirements, though the issue could be moot when President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The Trump administration earlier this year had appealed lower court rulings that found the requirements adopted by New Hampshire and Arkansas to be unlawful.

The administration asked the high court in July to reinstate the work requirements, arguing they would allow beneficiaries to transition to other forms of coverage and free up state funding from people who might not need it.

A federal appeals court had ruled in February that the approval of the requirements in Arkansas was “arbitrary and capricious.” The court said the administration did not adequately account for loss of coverage that would stem from the requirements to work or volunteer. The D.C. Circuit reached a similar conclusion in May for New Hampshire. was scrambling.

More from The Hill


New York: Virtual rally sends ‘SOS’ to Cuomo about lack of funding for individuals with developmental disabilities

Thousands of New Yorkers joined a virtually rally Wednesday to urge the state, specifically Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from cutting funding for programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

The Save Our Services virtual rally had speakers from across the state — some parents of children with I/DD; some direct support professionals who care for patients with I/DD; legislators, and others in support of funding for vital services.

“A decade of poor planning coupled with the state’s failure to support those with I/DD and the agencies who cared for them during the COVID pandemic has resulted in nearly $8 billion in lost revenue for the care of our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” one of the speakers said.

Many individuals, families and agencies have been or are on the brink of a major crisis, she said.

The next fiscal year’s budget currently includes a 5% cut for the state Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.

More from

In Minnesota: Lutheran Social Services seeks people to sew masks

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is inviting Minnesotans to sew protective face masks to protect against sneezes and coughs to help safeguard people supported by the organization, employees and volunteers.

“We are so grateful for the masks we have received from the community,” said Julie Wright, director of Church Partnerships and Volunteer Services. “Many more are still needed.”

Wright said that the organization is seeking several thousand protective masks. As an essential provider, Lutheran Social Service supports one in 65 Minnesotans including people with disabilities, youth experiencing homelessness, older Minnesotans, families experiencing job loss and many others with critical needs.

More from Forest Lake Times

Research & Reports

Retention of the health workforce in rural and remote areas: a systematic review

Rural populations across the globe continue to face health, economic and social inequities. A major contributor to pervasive health inequalities in rural and remote areas is a shortage of available, appropriate and motivated health workers. Compounding this, the COVID-19 pandemic’s health, health systems and socio-economic impacts threaten to worsen the health outcomes of the more vulnerable rural populations. 

Owing to partnership and the commitment and contributions of 35 reviewers with expertise in rural health workforce as researchers or practitioners. And to dialogue, notably at the Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Dublin in 2017 and the WONCA World Rural Health Conference in India in 2018. WHO is able to launch a synthesis of recent evidence to see what has worked, and what has not, to attract, develop, recruit and retain health workers in rural and remote areas. 

More from World Health Organization

Psychiatry Is Revealing the Potential — and Pitfalls — of Telehealth

With telemedicine likely to expand in the post-Covid world, health care providers will need to work though some fundamental questions. How can we best scale telecare to the broad population? How will it change the way we gather and analyze health care data? And what new models of care will emerge? Specialties like psychiatry, where the use of telecare has been encompassing more than 40% of patient encounters, can help point the way forward.

Although some Covid restrictions on in-person contact have eased, data suggests telemedicine visits across all specialties remain higher than pre-pandemic baselines. That’s likely because of the convenience and the substantial cost reductions that come from avoiding unnecessary in-person visits and follow-ups. In addition, a large proportion of both consumers and providers of health care have expressed an interest in continuing to employ telemedicine moving forward. But if it is to become a permanent component of health care, we must find the most effective ways to grow it. Below are lessons from the mental health experience in telemedicine that may guide providers moving forward.

More from Harvard Business Review

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

Opinion | Biden must prove himself an ally for people with disabilities

I understand why it means a lot to liberal disability advocates that Biden mentioned us in his speech, but a Biden victory does not automatically equate to a victory for disability advocates. While he may claim to be an ally, nothing he says matters until he passes policies to prove it.

Trump issued an executive order, saying hospitals need to do their best to save abortion survivors-despite the fact they are likely to have severe disabilities. This does something to try and stop the biggest form of ableism there is — not seeing babies with disabilities as worthy of a life. 

Once Biden does something similar, I will believe his victory is something people with disabilities should be celebrating. 

More from The Daily Iowan

Midlands Voices: Make sure testing, vaccinations will meet needs of disabled Nebraskans

It has been 11 months since the U.S. officially declared COVID-19 to be a public health emergency, but Nebraskans with disabilities still are waiting for state officials to develop a comprehensive, effective plan that ensures equitable access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the current pandemic.

Disability Rights Nebraska is a nonprofit organization designated under federal law to serve as the protection and advocacy system for Nebraskans with disabilities. Since near the beginning of the pandemic, we have been conducting remote interviews from border to border, focusing on congregate living facilities such as group homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities. Over and over, we’ve heard loud and clear: “Nebraska had little or no plan for how to ensure people with disabilities would be provided for in an emergency.”

More from Omaha World-Herald

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting (virtual)
Dates 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, 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