LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, January 29, 2021


CEO Summit Series Concludes with a Look at the Post-Covid-19 Landscape, February 23

CEO Summit Series: 2020–2021 concludes on February 23 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 and final installment today!

Strength & Service Series

Please join the first webinar in our Strength & Services Series in 2021: Feb. 10: 2-2:45pm EST Crisis Fatigue in the Workforce: A Conversation with Dr. Christine Cauffield. People living in the U.S. are grappling with long-term attacks to their psyche. Just in the last year, we have witnessed race-based violence, a global pandemic, mass unemployment, and political and social unrest. What are some of the ways leaders, themselves exhausted, can best support employees suffering from crisis fatigue? Join us for a webinar with Chief Executive Officer of LSF Health Systems, Dr. Christine Cauffield – who has worked with leaders in police, healthcare, child welfare and others to address the impact of mental health in their own organizations. Register here.

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

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 we are continuously updating. Here are recent resources regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines:

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

Paycheck Protection Program Continues in 2021 with New Application Forms and Revised Eligibility Criteria

On Monday, January 11, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal for new loans available under the terms of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020.  Loan applications will be accepted until March 31, 2021.

Community financial institutions, which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries, are now processing applications for entities seeking their first PPP loans (“first draw” loans), and second round loans (“second draw” loans) for entities that have already received and used up initial PPP loans.  Other eligible lenders and borrowers will be able to process and apply for loans shortly. 

First draw loans continue to be available only to entities with 500 or fewer employees, while second draw loans are available only to employers with 300 or fewer employees who can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020, among other criteria. 

For more information on this and other funding opportunities, please consult our continually updated webpage on federal relief funding.

Provider Relief Fund: HHS Continues Distributing Over $24 Billion Phase 3 Funding

On December 16th the Health Resources and Services Administration announced that it has completed review of Phase 3 applications from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) program and will distribute $24.5 billion to over 70,000 providers. Up from the $20 billion originally planned, the addition of another $4.5 billion in funding is being used to satisfy close to 90 percent of each applicant’s reported lost revenues and net change in expenses caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of 2020. Payment distribution begins immediately and continue through January, 2021.

According the its press release: “HHS is providing more than $24 billion in new relief to more than 70,000 healthcare providers, meeting close to 90 percent of the losses they’ve reported from the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of the year,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “With the Provider Relief Fund, we’ve been able to support providers hardest hit by COVID-19, including safety net hospitals, rural providers, and nursing homes, helping ensure they can continue serving their communities during and beyond the pandemic.”

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. We proudly offer digital booklets to recognize this extraordinary work with our Front Line Heroes series. Our Summer and Fall 2020 issues highlight the courageous efforts of our members dating back to March, 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 ( with stories from your organization you would like to see included in our upcoming issues.

Advocacy Update

President Biden continues to issue executive orders and directives as he works to address the COVID-19 pandemic and lay out his health agenda. President Biden yesterday signed an executive order to provide a special enrollment period for health coverage of February 15 to May 15 under the Affordable Care Act, aimed at helping people who have lost employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also issued a directive for HHS to reexamine a policy that allows states to impose work requirements as a condition of Medicaid enrollment for low-income people.  These join his initial directives for federal agencies to use wartime powers to require U.S. companies to make masks and other Personal Protective Equipment, requiring the wearing of masks on federal property, a call to state and local officials to encourage mask wearing and social distancing, and naming a national COVID-19 response coordinator.

Meanwhile, the president's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package outlined two weeks ago, the American Rescue Plan, has begun to meet some resistance particularly in the Senate.  There appears to be consensus around increased coronavirus vaccination funding but not on $1,400 stimulus payments.  Other provisions of the plan include extending and enhancing the unemployment benefit to $400 per week, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, $350 billion in state and local government relief, $15 billion for new grants for small employers separate from the Paycheck Protection Program, $175 billion provided for small business loans and investment, and 100% FMAP for states for the administration of coronavirus vaccines for Medicaid enrollees.

As Congress begins to consider the Biden plan, we at Lutheran Services in America will continue our aggressive call for additional Congressional legislation to support our members’ business and continuity and will update you on our advocacy and how you can take action.

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.


Biden's bipartisan push hits wall on COVID-19 relief bill

President Biden is facing a tough choice just days into his administration on how to pursue coronavirus relief after his $1.9 trillion proposal got a frosty reception from Republicans.

The White House and congressional Democrats are eager to move quickly on another round of COVID-19 aid as the U.S. extends its undesirable streak as the world leader in coronavirus cases.

That means Biden must decide whether to go it alone by trying to pass his bill through the budget reconciliation process, likely with only Democratic support, or try to negotiate a deal with Republicans that would likely be substantially smaller than what he and most Democrats favor, a move that could spark progressive criticism but also increase the odds of being able to claim an early bipartisan victory.

More from The Hill

Biden Pandemic Strategy Puts Focus On People With Disabilities

As President Joe Biden introduces a coordinated federal approach to address the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s turning attention to the virus’ impact on people with disabilities.

Biden laid out a broad 200-page plan and signed a slew of executive orders late last week to increase access to vaccines, require masks in certain settings and implement a host of other moves in the face of a raging pandemic. Among the many changes he announced are several aimed at curtailing the coronavirus’ outsized impact on the disability community.

The White House said “focused guidance” on COVID-19 for people with disabilities will be coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, the administration is promising greater assistance to intermediate care facilities for people with disabilities and increased support for those receiving home- and community-based services.

More from Disability Scoop

COVID Bill Could Finally Fix Wage Discrimination for People With Disabilities

President Joe Biden has framed his pandemic “rescue plan” as critical to addressing the enormous public health and economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but disability advocates hope that one provision in the legislation will finally solve a problem they have fought since far before the crisis.

Buried within the mammoth plan, set to be introduced in Congress this week, is the elimination of a little-known provision in labor law that allows some employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage—sometimes pennies on the dollar. Advocates say that with its inclusion in Biden’s pandemic relief plan, the carveout, which dates back to the 1930s, may soon be history. But as both Republican and Democratic members of Congress voice growing sticker shock over the bill’s $1.9 trillion price tag, some fear that their best chance to end the practice could be thwarted.

More from Daily Beast

Nursing Homes Offer Financial Incentives To Encourage Staff To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Only 30% to 60% of nursing home staff have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a recent survey finds. Some facilities are providing financial incentives to encourage more to get shots.


There are millions of people waiting eagerly, perhaps impatiently, for the chance to be vaccinated. But among those who have already been offered the shot, one group stands out for taking a pass. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Along with doctors and nurses, another high-priority group are those in long-term care facilities. Many report more than 90% of their residents are being vaccinated. But it's a very different story with the workers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. A recent survey of providers found nearly half say, so far, only 30- to 60% of their staff have received a first dose.

KATIE SMITH SLOAN: It was disappointing to actually, you know, sort of see that in black and white.

AUBREY: That's Katie Smith Sloan, president of LeadingAge, a trade group that represents thousands of nonprofit providers.

More from NPR


California: People with Disabilities, Underlying Conditions Concerned By Age-Related Vaccine Plan

Richard Balocco, the president and CEO of Desert Arc, is disappointed to see his clients with disabilities are not a priority in the state’s new vaccine distribution plan.

“It’s just common sense, it’s hard to believe they’ve been left out,” said Balocco.

On Tuesday, Gov. Newsom announced vaccine phases based mainly on occupation have gone away, and vaccines will now be administered by age.

“You need to think of them [people with disabilities] as in the 75 year and older category, they’re a fragile group,” said Balocco.

That includes conditions such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Epilepsy and many others.

Richard considers this group to be very high risk, and he’s worried about their safety as vaccination dates remain uncertain.

But people with disabilities are just one group out of several that are frustrated with the new system. 

More from NBC Palm Springs

In New York Group Homes ‘Elbowed Aside’ As COVID-19 Doses Shifted To Mass-Vaccination Sites

Thousands of individuals with disabilities who live in group home settings have seen their rate of vaccinations for coronavirus dwindle as the state has shifted doses to mass-vaccination sites and expanded the number of individuals eligible for the shots.

Roughly 30 percent of the Capital Region’s group home population — about 11,000 individuals with disabilities and staff members who care for them in a 10-county region — have been vaccinated through the first five weeks of the rollout. But when the state shifted to mass-vaccination sites, including one at the University of Albany, those locations were given in some cases 50 percent or more of a region’s doses.

That strategy has affected those who were in the first — or 1A — phase of vaccinations, because the shift was made in conjunction with adding a second phase of eligible individuals that include anyone 65 or older as well as teachers, police officers, grocery and convenience store workers and other essential workers.

More from Disability Scoop

NC providers used up their COVID vaccine supply, but some aren’t getting more this week

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is guaranteeing providers a minimum number of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the next three weeks after health departments and hospitals across the state complained that pre-planned mass events left them with limited or no shots.

For the next three weeks, 84,000 doses of the state’s expected 120,000 doses will be split among counties based on population, then further divided among providers based on their capacity to use the vaccine, DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said during a Tuesday press conference. The remaining 36,000 doses each week will be used to “balance” vaccine distribution across the state, both geographically and by ensuring that vaccine reaches marginalized communities.

“At this moment, we’re making that shift from that push to get rid of the backlog to this more steady state where we can give our providers some certainty,” Cohen said.

More from The Charlotte Observer

New Jersey launched a vaccine hotline. Four hours later, 58,000 calls had flooded in.

More than 17,000 calls came in to New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline in the first hour it was open on Monday. By noon, that number had increased by 41,000, illustrating the public’s pent-up demand for information about the shots everyone wants but relatively few can get.

Thousands in the state who don’t have computer access or have questions about the vaccination process may be able to more easily access information, but getting an appointment remains difficult. New Jersey is still receiving about 100,000 doses each week, allocated by the federal government, health officials said Monday.

More from The Philadelphia Inquirer

Research & Reports

White people are getting vaccinated at higher rates than Black and Latino Americans

Black and Latino Americans are receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at significantly lower rates than White people -- a disparity that health advocates blame on the federal government and hospitals not prioritizing equitable access.

A CNN analysis of data from 14 states found vaccine coverage is twice as high among White people on average than it is among Black and Latino people. The analysis found that on average, more than 4% of the White population has received a Covid-19 vaccine, about 2.3 times higher than the Black population (1.9% covered) and 2.6 times higher than the Hispanic population (1.8% covered). Black and Latino Americans are already dying of Covid-19 at three times the rate of White people and being hospitalized at a rate four times higher, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are offering up a new estimate of the number of American children with intellectual disability.

More from CNN

The Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights Why Family Caregivers Need to Be Integrated into the Health Care Team and Shows Us How to Make It Happen

There are currently about 53 million family members in the United States providing care to loved ones. These family caregivers might be supporting a parent, a disabled child, or a spouse with a chronic illness by assisting with everyday activities, such as eating, bathing, dressing, driving, and taking medications. These caregivers provide a significant portion of health and support services in the United States to individuals with serious illnesses but are often overlooked by existing health care systems. Family caregivers cannot easily share important clinical or social information with other care providers or receive the necessary information to effectively support their loved ones. Trying to provide care in this environment can be burdensome to family caregivers and detract from more productive work, breeding frustration for all parties, undermining the quality of care provided, increasing unmet care needs, and generating adverse physical and mental health consequences for both caregivers and care recipients.

The authors describe why, in light of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is more critical than ever to integrate family caregivers into patients' health care teams and highlight several solutions for accomplishing this goal.

More from RAND

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

5 Ways Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” Could Help People With Disabilities

The American Relief Plan is the Biden Administration’s first sample of fully-formed policy since its election campaign. From the looks of it, it may also serve as a first test of its approach to the disability community. The initial signs are promising, though with room for improvement. Of course, a proposal isn’t a law, and legislation that actually passes is rarely the same as what was originally proposed.

Still, it’s not too early to take stock of what the American Relief Plan could offer to people with disabilities during these difficult times, and into the future.

More from Forbes

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Winter Meeting (virtual)
1-5 p.m. EST each day
February 3 and 4, 2021


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