LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, February 12, 2021

LSA-DN News

Annual Membership Meeting & Award Ceremony

Lutheran Services in America will hold its Annual Membership Meeting and a NEW awards ceremony on March 24 from 3-3:45 p.m. EDT. Member CEOs will cast votes for two member CEOs for the Lutheran Services in America Board of Directors and approve the FY 2022 budget and dues schedule.

Winners of the first Lutheran Services in America annual awards will be announced at the Annual Membership Meeting:

  • The Innovator Award recognizes a member organization that is pioneering new solutions, technology or business practices to solve complex issues. This member is forward-thinking and extending beyond its own mission to strengthen the Lutheran social ministry network across the country. Ultimately, their breakthrough solutions are designed to lift up the nation’s most vulnerable people and help ensure that all Americans can live abundant lives.
  • The Micah Award recognizes a member organization that is leading the way in its work in addressing justice, mercy and equity. This member’s leadership in race equity, inclusion and diversity is truly inspirational and best exemplifies the spirit of Micah 6:8, “Act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Register here to attend and to submit your award entries for your own organization or a peer Lutheran social ministry organization by completing a short Nomination Form by March 12, 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

March 10: 1-2pm EST - Reading the Tea Leaves — Fortune-telling an Uncertain Future for Senior Services

The senior services landscape is rapidly shifting. Changes to federal and state funding and regulations, priorities for health insurance companies, new clinical care needs, low skilled nursing occupancy rates, and preferences for home care are just some of the forces causing providers to rethink their overall structure and delivery models. Join us as Andy Edeburn, Principal with Premier, Inc. gives an overview of current market trends and offers methods for thinking about the future. 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 www.CV19CheckUp.org.

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 awashington@lutheranservices.org 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. 

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 (CFindlay@lutheranservices.org) with stories from your organization you would like to see included in our upcoming issues.

Advocacy Update

Lacking enough Republican support, Congressional Democrats begin moving President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without them. After passing a budget resolution last week allowing the president's plan to move forward through a process known as "reconciliation," Congressional committees are beginning their work.  Democrats, who control both the Senate and House of Representatives by narrow margins, chose this process because they do not need Republican votes to enact the president's plan.  Congressional committees are now busy considering portions of the plan for which they have jurisdiction.  There appears to be strong interest in narrowly expanding the Patient Protection Program to allow organizations with more than 500 employees to be eligible for PPP as long as employees are spread across multiple locations with no single location having more than 500 employees.  Other provisions include a $15 minimum wage phased-in over five years, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, extension of temporary enhanced unemployment benefits through August 29, 2021, and $1,400 in stimulus checks for individuals earning less than $75,000 annually.  Home and Community-Based Services could see dedicated funding in the form of an enhanced FMAP for states that meet certain requirements, and $480 million in targeted relief, including related to COVID vaccination coordination and outreach.  Finally, states that have not taken the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion for poor adults are incentivized to do so through a temporary, enhanced FMAP.  More information can be found here in our detailed summary.

Join us here in urging lawmakers to retain the elements of this package that help nonprofit front line providers and continue to work toward addressing all our remaining needs. 

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

Vaccine inequity prompts calls for federal response

More than 35 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the country, but it is becoming increasingly clear that vaccinations have not been equitable for communities of color that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Several members of Congress have taken notice of the disparity in the past week, with three sets of the lawmakers urging the Biden administration to address the situation.

Several overarching issues have been identified.

More from The Hill

About 60% of nursing home staff declined Covid vaccines, Walgreens exec says

Many Americans have logged on to websites before sunrise, waited in long lines and driven hours to get Covid vaccines.

Yet in nursing homes, many people have reacted the opposite way to vaccination opportunities: About 60% of employees at long-term care facilities declined the shots, said Rick Gates, Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy and health care. He said about 20% of residents declined the vaccines.

“We were seeing vaccine hesitancy — particularly among those that work in these facilities — that was higher than we expected,” he said at CNBC’s Healthy Returns virtual event on Tuesday.

Walgreens and CVS Health were chosen by the federal government to administer vaccines to residents and staff at thousands of long-term care facilities across the country. Nursing home and assisted living residents were at the top of the priority list, along with health-care workers, because they have had a disproportionate number of Covid-19 outbreaks and deaths.

More from CNBC

House Democrats reject plan to sharply curtail $1,400 stimulus payments in coronavirus relief package

Senior House Democrats on Monday night proposed sending $1,400 stimulus payments to Americans with up to $75,000 in annual income, rejecting an earlier plan under consideration to sharply curtail the benefits.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) released legislation that would send the full stimulus payment to individuals earning $75,000 per year and couples earning $150,000 per year. Congressional Democrats had explored curtailing that benefit to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for married couples, a position embraced by Sen. Joe Manchin III, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia.

The broadening of stimulus payment eligibility among middle-class households is the latest sign that Democrats are moving ahead without Republican support on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package, which would also extend unemployment benefits, send hundreds of billions of dollars to schools and local governments, and strengthen vaccine delivery and health care. Even as the Senate proceeds this week with former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, the House Ways and Means Committee and other panels will be working to finalize and vote on the coronavirus legislation.

More from The Washington Post

Biden moving to withdraw Trump-approved Medicaid work rules

The Biden administration on Friday will notify states it plans to revoke Medicaid work requirements, starting the process of dismantling one of the Trump administration's signature health policies.

The move is one of several steps that Biden’s health department is expected to take this week to unravel the contentious work rules long criticized by Democrats, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.

The documents — which were labeled “close hold” — do not make clear how quickly Biden will cut off work rules the previous administration approved in a number of states, which for the first time were allowed to mandate that some people work or volunteer as a condition of enrollment in the low-income health care program.

Health officials are also preparing to withdraw the Trump administration’s 2018 letter that first announced the work requirements policy, and rescind a separate letter from earlier this year aimed at making it more difficult for the incoming Biden administration to quickly overturn the policy.

More from Politico

COVID-19 Year Is Especially Hard On Students With Special Needs

The past year has robbed many Americans of their lives, but it’s also robbed many children with special needs like Jaiden Rodgers of the education they should have received.

Jaiden, 6, who has speech and cognitive difficulties, has received most of his classes virtually since last March because of schools being closed for in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been a frustrating year for his mother, Laurel Farrar, as she’s watched Jaiden regress while learning at their home in Chatham County near Chapel Hill.

“I can’t think of a single thing he’s learned this year,” Farrar said in an interview with The News & Observer. “It’s like he’s lost rather than gained.”

Farrar’s experiences in the Chatham County school system aren’t unique. Families of special education students across North Carolina and the U.S. have been vocal about how pandemic-related school closures are setting their children back.

Under federal law, students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education. These students have an individualized education program (IEP) that lays out accommodations that schools will make to help them learn.

More from Disability Scoop

Biden admin asks SCOTUS to uphold Obamacare, reversing Trump support for lawsuit

The Biden administration is withdrawing the federal government's support for a challenge to Obamacare, telling the Supreme Court that the law should remain on the books.

The move by the Justice Department follows speculation on whether Biden would try to withdraw from the high-profile red state lawsuit — fully supported by the Trump administration — to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.

"Following the change in Administration, the Department of Justice has reconsidered the government’s position in these cases," Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler wrote to the court on Wednesday. The U.S. government, he wrote, "no longer adheres to the conclusions in the previously filed brief of the federal respondents."

More from Politico

State

California: 'We're Not Castaways' — Caregivers Of People With Disabilities Struggle To Get Vaccinated

One group of people eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines now are parents and caregivers of people with disabilities — but some are being turned away from immunization sites because of confusion caused by piecemeal communication from health departments.

Oscar Madrigal is one of those caregivers. As the vaccination effort began, he hoped he'd be prioritized. Two of his children are on the Autism spectrum and his younger son requires almost constant care.

Madrigal didn't have long to wait. Last month, the California Department of Developmental Services issued a letter stating that parents like him are considered health workers and immediately qualify for the vaccine.

More from LA ist

Minnesota falling behind in equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccine

Minnesota has strayed from its commitment to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to communities that are among the highest risk for severe disease and death, according to three members of the state's vaccine allocation advisory panel.

They are joined by 350 clinicians, researchers and organizations that sent a letter to state officials this week raising concerns that the state has not prioritized vaccines for Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian Minnesotans.

Minnesota's racial and ethnic minorities are dying at rates two to four times higher than the white population, according to data compiled by the Minnesota Department of Health. For hospitalizations, rates are three to five times higher.

Critics of the state's COVID-19 vaccination policy acknowledge that the limited supply of doses forces officials to make difficult decisions. The Department of Health has often turned to outside advisers who help guide the ethical allocation of scarce public health resources.

More from Star Tribune

Feds rolling out COVID-19 vaccine to Nebraska pharmacies as hospitalizations decline

Gov. Pete Ricketts gave an update Wednesday morning on Nebraska’s COVID-19 response, noting developments in the federal pharmacy program as health districts around the state work to continue the Phase 1B rollout amid the continual decline of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Ricketts wore a mask to and during his news conference Wednesday morning in accordance with Nebraska DHMs, as he was exposed to COVID-19 about 10 days ago. He said he would continue to “mask up” until Saturday night.

The governor reported Wednesday that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Nebraska continue to decline. The state is reporting 240 COVID-19 hospitalizations, amounting to 7% of the state’s hospital capacity, he said, adding that 34% of hospital beds were available, and 80% of the state’s ventilators were available. The Nebraska COVID-19 dashboard was also showing that 37% of ICU beds were available across the state.

Ricketts also encouraged Nebraskans to follow social distancing guidelines, pay attention to possible symptoms, and to get tested through Test Nebraska anytime for any reason.

More from NBC 6 News

Research & Reports

How each U.S. state is doing when it comes to COVID vaccine distribution

The pandemic has given Americans much to process this week. There are reasons for concern, like the continued spread of more contagious and potentially more deadly coronavirus variants around the country; data from the CDC, which endorsed double-masking today, shows variant cases have so far been identified in 34 states.  

And reasons for hope, like the downward trend in new COVID cases—yesterday marked the first time since Nov. 2 that the US recorded fewer than 100,000 new daily infections for three days in a row—as well as the steadily increasing number of Americans vaccinated against COVID.

More from Fortune

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

If We Want to Defeat Covid, We Need to Boost Medicaid

Of all the tools the government has to combat Covid-19, Medicaid is arguably one of the most important. Medicaid provides health insurance for millions of Americans in low-paid service jobs, the essential workers who are among those most vulnerable to contracting and spreading the virus. Medicaid also pays the bills for millions of nursing home residents, whose lives are most at risk, and provides a critical link to primary care physicians for millions more families who will need to be vaccinated in coming months.

But if Medicaid is more important now than ever, it is also at its most vulnerable. Medicaid is inherently countercyclical — its enrollment and spending increase during economic downturns. Unfortunately, economic recessions are also when state revenues decrease, meaning that just when it’s needed most, states may be forced to slash Medicaid spending.

More from Politico

Opinion: 60 Black Health Experts Urge Black Americans to Get Vaccinated

Our country is facing a public health crisis on a level not experienced for more than 100 years. It should be reasonable to expect that all citizens can rely on their government and health institutions to protect them. But for many Black Americans, trust in the government does not come easily.

Far too often, our health has been ignored and even abused in the name of science. It is no surprise that polls indicate Black Americans are far less likely than other groups to intend to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

We are among 60 Black members of the National Academy of Medicine, the premier health science organization in the United States. Together we are scientists, doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and public health experts. We feel compelled to make the case that all Black Americans should get vaccinated to protect themselves from a pandemic that has disproportionately killed them at a rate 1.5 times as high as white Americans in cases in which race is known — a rate that is most likely very conservative.

More from The New York Times

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2021 Spring Meeting (virtual)
April date TBA

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