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Breaking News Ticker  |  Yahoo Full Coverage on disabilities

News Alerts from Bazelon.org

Wisconsin "Death With Dignity" Bill Slated For May
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

MADISON, WI, APRIL 26, 2005-- Two Wisconsin lawmakers plan to reintroduce legislation next month to make doctor-assisted suicide legal in the state, according to a recent news story on WMTV.

State Senator Fred Risser, from Madison, said he and fellow Democrat Representative Frank Boyle of Superior felt people were ready for the measure following Terri Schiavo's death. Risser, who has introduced similar legislation every session over the past 10 years, said people were worried that they don't have enough control over how they die.

Risser said the "Death with Dignity Act", which was modeled after the one that Oregon voters approved in 1997, would have safeguards in place to protect vulnerable people. NBC15 explained that under the measure, people would have to be 18 years of age and deemed 'mentally competent' and terminally ill by two separate doctors. Then the person would have to give both an oral and a written request signed by three witnesses, before a physician could prescribe a fatal drug.

Senator Carol Roessler, a Republican from Oshkosh, said the measure would likely not be passed, because, as Chairperson of the committee reviewing the bill, she has no intention of bringing up the measure for a hearing, let alone a vote.

Many disability rights groups oppose measures to legalize assisted suicide and other forms of euthanasia, or 'mercy killing'. Among other things, they note that in places where such practices are legal, safeguards are routinely ignored. For example, a recent survey of doctors in Belgium -- where assisted suicide is legal for adults but not for children -- revealed that nearly half of the babies that died during their first year did so at the hands of their doctors.

Related: "Lawmakers Plan to Reintroduce 'Death with Dignity Act'" (WMTV)

Skate Park Town's 3rd Access Blunder
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

MARSHFIELD, MA, APRIL 20, 2005-- The small Cape Cod town of Marshfield has a brand new skate park.

By most accounts it's quite the attraction, with a playground and a 400-seat amphitheater for plays, concerts, and movies.

It's a great place to socialize or attend events.

Great, that is, unless if you use a wheelchair.

State officials recently notified the city that their new $150,000 skate park is not wheelchair accessible, and could cost up to $75,000 to make it so. The state could impose a $1,000 fine for each day the park is not accessible past a September 1 deadline.

"I find this very disconcerting,'' said state Architectural Access Board member and director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability Myra Berloff.

"(The park) seems to be a lovely place. It's a place where the community gathers," she told the Patriot Ledger. "I understand that these are errors, but I am inclined to say that until it is open to everyone, it is open to no one.''

This is the third time in two years that Marshfield has had to deal with fines or added costs for constructing a public recreational facility -- mostly with volunteer labor -- while failing to consider accessibility.

"Skate park takes tumble over access: Handicap issues could cost town" (Patriot Ledger)
"Skate park told comply or close" (Patriot Ledger)

Boyle Court Nomination Spells Disaster for Disability Rights
WASHINGTON, DC, APRIL 29, 2005-- The Senate Judiciary Committee will soon vote on the confirmation of controversial judicial nominee Terrence Boyle to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. It has promised swift action on former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor's nomination to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Both have long and disturbing records on disability rights and other important civil rights concerns.

Boyle has been nominated to a lifetime position on the federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit -- deciding cases from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

Boyle, considered a protege of former Senator Jesse Helms, is the third Bush Appeals Court nominee with a horrendous record on disability rights. Appointed to the federal bench by Reagan nearly 21 years ago, Boyle has decided between 11,000 and 12,000 district court cases, repeatedly promoting "states' rights" at the expense of individuals' federally protected civil rights, say critics. "The 4th Circuit -- the very court to which Terrence Boyle has been nominated -- has repeatedly reversed Boyle's decisions because of "plain error" and other fundamental legal mistakes." (Read the Bazelon Center's analysis of Judge Boyle's disability rights record. )

Boyle has consistently ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act is, in effect, unconstitutional. "Many of his decisions are based on radical interpretations of disability rights laws, which are often completely inconsistent with basic disability law as interpreted by other courts and federal enforcement agencies," says the Bazelon Center. Among his many bizarre rulings, Boyle has said that Congress had no authority to make Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act applicable to the state and that it had no power to apply the ADA to state prisons. He has consistently ruled against disabled people's claims for reasonable accommodation. "Although framed in terms of addressing discrimination, the Act's operative remedial provisions demand not equal treatment, but special treatment...," he ruled in one case.

Boyle is the latest in a string of anti disability-rights judges Bush has nominated to the federal bench. He joins William Pryor, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta, and Jeffrey Sutton, whose nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati was confirmed in 2003, as anti-rights cronies who are being being elevated to positions that will significantly affect the civil rights of people with disabilities.

As Alabama Attorney General, William Pryor hired Jeffrey Sutton to argue against the ADA in the 2001 Garrett Supreme Court case. Pryor argued in Garrett that the protections of the ADA were "not needed" to remedy discrimination by states against people with disabilities. This decision prevents persons with disabilities from collecting monetary damages from state employers. Most significantly, it has resulted in fewer attorneys being willing to represent individuals in ADA cases against state employers.

Pryor said he was "proud" of his role in "protecting the hard-earned dollars of Alabama taxpayers when Congress imposes illegal mandates on our state."

On March 22,The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Sen. Edward Kennedy's challenge to President Bush's recess appointment of Pryor to a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is set to expire at the end of the year. Pryor's nomination has not yet been confirmed by the Senate.

Inaccessible Highway Call Boxes Prompt Suit by Deaf
CONCORD, CA, APRIL 15 2005-- Victoria Munoz and Daniel Arellanes were traveling along Highway 242 in Concord, California when a car wheel came careening off the median barrier. It smashed into their car. Munoz and Arellanes are both Deaf. The nearby emergency call box had no TTY.

Arellanes, Munoz and the California Association of the Deaf are suing the state for failing to equip emergency boxes with TTYs for Deaf motorists to use.

Read story.

Diverse Opinions Surround Terri Schiavo's Death
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

PINELLAS PARK, FL, APRIL 13, 2005-- It's been two weeks since Terri Schiavo died.

Aside from the debate over which political party or religious groups 'won' and which 'lost', most of the media focus has been on dozens of initiatives around the country that have been launched regarding "living wills", "advanced directives", "do not resuscitate orders", and so forth.

It would appear that Terri's legacy will primarily be that of reinforcing in the public consciousness that it is important to have your 'end of life' wishes communicated to the right people, just in case you end up like Terri -- with your life at the mercy of others.

Many disability rights advocates had hoped that Terri's life would be spared, but that if she died her legacy would be that of making the public conscious of the fact that thousands of people identify with Terri, in that judgments regarding their 'quality of life' are routinely made by other people, and that those judgments at times aren't aligned with their own wishes.

The issues surrounding Terri's death, the legal battles that raged to the end, the advocacy groups on both sides of the issue are very complicated and exist on so many levels.

In the past two weeks, I have found dozens of articles that link Terri's name with such subjects as gun control and air pollution, but that do not even mention her death in terms of disability.

WorldNetDaily has issued a correction to an April 2 story in which it had reported that CBS TV was rushing to produce a movie about Terri Schiavo for the May rating sweeps. The story apparently had been based on an Internet hoax -- as an April Fool's Day joke.

Related articles and opinion pieces on Terri Schiavo:
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

Detroit Transit System Is Getting Back At Riders Over Lawsuit, Attorney
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

DETROIT, APRIL 12, 2005-- An attorney who sued the city of Detroit last summer over accessibility problems in its transit system has accused the city of retaliating against riders with disabilities.

Richard Bernstein told the Oakland Press that the Detroit Department of Transportation has started a policy under which paratransit passengers earn a 'no show' if they fail to get on the MetroLift vehicle at their pickup time. Those who violate the policy three times in a 30-day period will be banned from the service for a month.

Bernstein said it is the drivers who are not showing up, but are marking the rider as a 'no show' anyway.

"This is pure retaliation," he said.

Last month, the U.S. Justice Department joined the suit with Bernstein, who is representing five Detroit area transit riders with disabilities. Those riders accused DDOT of having approximately 120 buses with malfunctioning lifts, causing them to repeatedly wait 30 minutes or longer for a bus with a working lift.

The city has already lost $1 million each month since January for not complying with federal law.

Related: "Attorney: Detroit's retaliating against disabled" by 'Voices of Disability' writer Jerry Wolffe (Oakland Press)

CA Assisted Suicide Bill Moves Along
SACRAMENTO, CA, APRIL 13 2005-- A bill that would make California the second state in the nation (after Oregon) to permit physician-assisted suicide cleared cleared the California Assembly Judiciary Committee by a 5-3 vote yesterday, after more than a dozen hours of testimony. The bill, the Compassionate Choices Act, now moves to the Appropriations Committee, after which it will be voted on in the Caifornia Assembly, and then move to the California Senate for action.

Supporters say the law will give people with no more than six months to live "the choice to end their lives with a self-administered drug prescribed by a physician." Opponents, including disability rights groups and the California Medical Association, warn it will lead to killing people who do not want to die. The groups have formed a coalition, Californians Against Assisted Suicide (http://www.ca-aas.com/).

In an article posted yesterday on the BeyondChron website, which bills itself as "San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily," the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund's Marilyn Golden explained "why progressives should oppose the legalization of assisted suicide," pointing out "the deadly mix between assisted suicide and profit-driven managed health care.

"Again and again, health maintenance organizations and managed care bureaucracies have overruled physicians' treatment decisions, sometimes hastening patients' deaths," she writes. "The cost of the lethal medication generally used for assisted suicide is about $35 to $50, far cheaper than the cost of treatment for most long-term medical conditions. The incentive to save money by denying treatment already poses a significant danger. This danger would be far greater if assisted suicide is legal. Though the bill would prohibit insurance companies from coercing patients, direct coercion is not necessary. If patients with limited finances are denied other treatment options, they are, in effect, being steered toward assisted death." Read Golden's full article), and read her longer article on the dangers of assisted suicide at http://dredf.org/assistedsuicide.html
Other links:
Commentary by Dr. Herbert Hendin of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Testimony by Dr. Gregg Hamilton, Physicians for Compassionate Care
Analysis of the first six years of Oregon's assisted suicide law by the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Vince Wetzel, Communications Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, urges readers to read coverage in the following papers and send letters to the editor (under 200 words) "to educate on the possible impact on people with disabilities."

Read coverage from:
San Francisco Chronicle
The Sacramento Bee
The Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Daily News
The San Jose Mercury News.

More Than 3,000 Leave Texas Nursing Homes Under New Law
AUSTIN, TX, APRIL 13 2005-- Last year over 3,000 Texans who had been in nursing homes in the state opted to move out. They could use Medicaid money to get assistance in their own homes, thanks to the bill called "Rider 28" which the Texas legislature passed in late 2003. A "Money Follows the Person" bill much like that being pushed by ADAPT nationwide, its passage let people's Medicaid funds "follow" them -- and instead of the funds paying for them to live in nursing homes, the Medicaid funds were shifted to the community. (It's no coincidence that Texas, the home of national ADAPT, would be one of the first states to pass such a law.)

Attorney Steve Gold has been covering this in his Disability Odyssey email newsletters. (Read his article on Texas's first year under the program.)

Texas could be a model for the nation. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have urged states "to institute their version of 'Money Follows the Person,'" says Gold, who adds that "the Texas experience could help you in your state."

Barbara McKee, who has a disablity column in the Albuquerque Tribune, wrote about Gold's report in a recent column. Thirty five percent of the 3,200 people who moved out of nursing homes, she reports, were under age 65.

Nearly all of the people who moved out of nursing homes chose to receive Medicaid waiver services to pay for personal care assistants and other in-home support. Forty-three percent chose to live with their families; 32 percent decided to live in "alternative living/residential care"; and 106 resided with other people who were in a Medicaid waiver program, usually in group homes.

"Surprisingly, only 20 percent opted to live alone. I thought the number would be higher, but finding reliable in-home care is difficult because of the low wages and lack of health benefits offered by home health agencies," she wrote.

An Inclusion Daily story, below, shows that people with mental disabilities are facing a harder road in Texas.

Leave it to Texans: Diverting Medicaid funds from nursing homes is the way to go (Albuquerque Tribune)
Texas 'Money Follows the Person': One State's Result (The Disability Odyssey)

Texas Commission: No Closures Any Time Soon
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

AUSTIN, TX, APRIL 7, 2005-- Texas should not consolidate or close institutions housing people with mental disabilities any time in the near future because it would not save the state money in the short-run, a state panel has concluded.

The "Rider 55" study released by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission last week found it would cost the state more up front than it would initially save to close one of 12 state schools or one of 11 psychiatric facilities.

The state would not see a cost savings by closing one or more state schools until between five and seven years in the future, the report projected, while the savings from closing a psychiatric hospital would not materialize for up to 20 years.

"It is certainly 'feasible' for the state to close a state school or state hospital since several facilities have low barriers to closure and sufficient beds could be found for clients in other state facilities," the study's authors concluded. "The study did not reveal any short-term cost savings to be achieved through closure; many negative impacts on client services were documented. It is not advisable to close any state facility until long-term policy is established, and clinical and cost goals are articulated."

Advocates for community living expressed disappointment in the study, particularly because -- in spite of 18 months of public testimony and input -- the panel chose to focus on money.

"What about the people who have to live there?" Susan Eason, executive director of the Arc of the Capital Area told the Austin American-Statesman. "What do they think and feel? This is all a numbers game."

"State schools and psychiatric hospitals to stay open" (Austin American-Statesman)
"Rider 55 Study of State Schools, Hospitals" (Texas Health and Human Services Commission)

Bill Expected To Prevent Future Group Home Slavery Problems
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

TOPEKA, KS, APRIL 6, 2005-- Senate Bill 116 could be an important way for the state to avoid high-profile abuses cases like the one that hit the news last fall.

In October, federal agents arrested group home owners Arlan Kaufman, 68, and his wife, Linda, 61, and charged them with involuntary servitude. The couple had been under investigation related to charges that they had forced residents with mental illness at their Newton group home to perform tasks for them. Neighbors had reported that some residents were forced to work in the nude as punishment.

Forcing people to work against their will is illegal under Kansas law and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Those who violate the law can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

The Kaufmans managed to avoid monitoring by the state because current law does not require group homes with less than five people to be licensed.

SB 116 would require any group home with two or more residents to be licensed with the state. It also would give the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services the authority to shut down homes that failed to follow the law.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius is expected to sign the bill.

"This closes all the loopholes to prevent future Kaufman-type cases from cropping up," Rocky Nichols, director of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, told the Associated Press.

Related: "Group Home Operators Jailed On Slavery Charges" -- October 27, 2004 (Inclusion Daily Express)

Ms. Wheelchair Suits Prompt WI Businesses To Address Access Problems
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

APPLETON, WI, APRIL 5, 2005-- Efforts by a former Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin to make businesses in the Appleton area accessible to people with disabilities are paying off.

Last week, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported that 13 businesses have agreed to make changes to their premises in order to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.

Gina Hackel sued 26 local businesses in January, just as her Ms. Wheelchair reign ended. In the suits, Hackel claimed that she found 16 violations to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act in just one floral shop.

Bob Shumaker, an attorney representing twelve of the businesses, said that the defendants agreed to choose their own qualified ADA consultant to advise them on how to comply with the federal laws. Instead of an out-of-state firm, they decided on Options for Independent Living, Inc., a Green Bay non-profit.

"Rather than choosing someone who might be favorable to them, (my clients) chose the best advocate for disabled people in northeast Wisconsin and they want him to give an honest and a fair and a complete evaluation of their facilities," Shumaker told the Press-Gazette.

Hackel's attorney, Gene Zweben, said his client was glad the businesses were going to take responsibility for improving the access problems, but was disappointed that it took a lawsuit for them to follow the federal anti-discrimination law.

"Ms. Hackel had been trying to contact local businesses for years and had gotten no relief," Zweben said. "Notice didn't work in the past . . . and after we filed these lawsuits, they did become compliant very quickly."

Hackel will receive no money under the agreement, but businesses could be asked to pay her attorney's fees.

"Disability-access lawsuit settled" (Green Bay Press-Gazette)
Ms. Wheelchair Sues Businesses Over Access Barriers -- D. R. Nation, January 2005 (Inclusion Daily Express)

Senate Committee Hears Testimony On Issues Raised In Wake Of Schiavo Case
WASHINGTON, DC, APRIL 6, 2005-- "I am Rud Turnbull, the father of Jay Turnbull, a 37-year old man with significant mental retardation (measured IQ of approximately 40, mental age of approximately 6), rapid cycling bi-polar illness, autism... " So began the testimony of attorney Rud Turnbull, Co-Director of the University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability before members of the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday at a hearing originally scheduled for Mar. 28. READ STORY.

Society Should Think about Cost of Keeping People Like Schiavo Alive, Says Columnist
NEW YORK, APRIL 6, 2005-- Terri Schiavo's "protracted death" should "spark some serious thinking about... the cost of keeping people like Schiavo, and those near death, alive," writes New York Post columnist Adam Brodsky in today's paper.

"The public costs here are mind-boggling," he continued. "That's partly because New Yorkers are so compassionate, health-care unions so powerful and government so generous with other people's money.....Let's face it: Keeping people alive -- and providing for much, if not all, of their long-term care -- takes a huge economic toll." Read the entire column at http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/43933.htm

Lawyer Asks For Class-Action Status In Nebraska Institution Abuse Suit
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

LINCOLN, NE, APRIL 4, 2005-- A lawyer representing 16 women who claimed to have been sexually abused or assaulted while patients in Nebraska's psychiatric institutions has asked a federal court to turn the case into a class-action lawsuit.

Bruce G. Mason made the request in March after he reviewed state records showing that more than 100 women have been physically assaulted, raped, sexually assaulted, harassed or exploited from 2000 to 2004 while housed at Norfolk Regional Center, Lincoln Regional Center and Hastings Regional Center.

"There isn't any sense that they're dealing with this," Mason told the Omaha World-Herald. "It's simply the dirty little secret of institutions."

Mason filed the civil rights suit in 2002 after former patients at Lincoln Regional Center alleged that an employee sexually assaulted them. Mason claims that the state has violated its own promise to provide better supervision of patients as part of an agreement to settle a 1995 lawsuit. Four women had sued the state after they accused a Hastings staff member of raping them.

Related: "Hundreds of sexual assaults at state mental hospitals, lawyer says" (Omaha World-Herald)

Judge To Decide If Indiana Transport Suit Will Continue
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.


The Everybody Counts Center for Independent Living should learn soon if their 7-year-old class-action lawsuit against the state's transportation system will move forward.

Everybody Counts and eight Merrillville residents with disabilities filed the suit in 1998, claiming the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, three Northwest Indiana municipalities, and three transportation providers discriminated against them in violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Attorneys for both sides gave two hours of arguments before U.S. District Judge Philip Simon on March 24.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the plaintiffs are seeking unspecified monetary damages for multiple violations of the federal law. They claim that transportation providers have denied them access, have picked people up late, engaged in unsafe practices, and failed to provide adequate driver training and drug screening.

Steven M. Siros, representing Everybody Counts, said the transportation for people with disabilities "is broken". He blamed the state and regional transportation agencies for not properly overseeing local transit networks.

Thomas Fisher, the attorney representing Indiana, argued that the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not allow individuals to sue states for damages. Fisher went on to say that while the local system might have had problems, the state had not violated anyone's rights.

An Internet posting by Everybody Counts noted that nearly three dozen people, most in wheelchairs, attended Thursday's hearing.

A March 10 Everybody Counts press release noted that the U.S. Department of Justice is backing the CIL in the case.

"After the Lane decision in Tennessee, they say they are looking for cases with sufficient merit to win should they go all the way to the Supreme Court," the statement read. "This case was selected for that battle."

Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Lane case that states must follow Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act -- which guarantees accessibility of public facilities and services -- when it comes to the courts, or face lawsuits from individuals. That decision was focused, however, on Congress' authority to order states to make sure citizens with disabilities are not denied their rights to equal access to the court system as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The case did not address general accessibility issues beyond access to the legal system.

Not Crip Enough For The Title?
APPLETON, WI, APRIL 6, 2005--Since Janeal Lee was been stripped of her "Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin" title after her photo appeared in a local newspaper showing her standing next to her scooter, amidst the high-school students she teaches, the story has grown into a national embarrassment -- after runner-up Michelle Kearney refused the title -- and Lee's sister, Sharon Spring, 26, says she's giving up her crown of Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota. In her resignation letter, she wrote that "I no longer feel comfortable supporting an organization that... chooses to perpetuate stereotypes and requests its participants to hide their abilities while in public."

National media have now discovered the story, and it's all over the news.

"First, it brought back bad memories of me having to deal with the board of directors. Second, it infuriated me that this would be happening to Janeal," said Christina Gilmore, Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin 1998 and Ms. Wheelchair America 1999, who lives in Oklahoma City, and who talked to Appleton, WI Post Crescent reporter J.E. Espino.

"Who is to say who is more disabled and less disabled than another person?" Kearney said, explaining why she rejected the title. "Had I accepted (the crown), it's as if I had been saying I'm OK with the decision," she said. "I thought they educated and advocated about disabilities."

The move to remove Ms. Lee was led by last year's Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin, Gina Hackel. Hackel made news recently when she sued 25 local businesses in February for failing to comply with federal accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (More about Hackel's suits.)

Ms. Wheelchair contestants must "be seen in the public using their wheelchairs or scooters,'' Judy Hoit, Ms. Wheelchair America's treasurer, told reporters. "Otherwise you've got women who are in their wheelchairs all the time and they get offended if they see someone standing up. We can't have title holders out there walking when they're seen in the public.'

Cinda Hughes, an Oklahoma City woman who was Ms. Wheelchair America in 2004, told reporters she had been irritated during her reign with directions from pagent officials. Pageant director Pat O'Bryant had told Hughes "not to eat at public events because her disability forces her to pick up food with her mouth."

"She told me that my eating with my mouth could be disturbing to the audience," Hughes told a reporter. "I took great exception to that. We should be trying to dispel stereotypes and broaden perceptions."

"Wheelchair pageant controversy triggers debate on definition of disability" (Chicago Tribune).

Study: Power Chairs And Scooters Save Medicare Money
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express International Disability Rights News Service.

BRYAN, TEXAS, APRIL 1, 2005-- The federal government can save a lot more money in the long run than previously reported when it provides power wheelchairs or scooters to people who have disabilities that affect their mobility, a new study has revealed.

According to the economics consulting firm RRC, Inc. an analysis of data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed that Medicare saved up to $8,760 over a recent three-year period by providing a power wheelchair or scooter to a single individual.

The number represents a 65 percent increase in potential savings over another analysis published over a year ago.

"We determined the savings for those receiving power vehicles were due to lower Medicare expenditures for inpatient hospitalization, home health care, skilled nursing facilities, and carrier costs," said Dr. Donald House, an economist who co-authored the study. "These are the same types of expenditures in which savings were identified in our first study."

"Press release: Research Reveals That Power Wheelchairs Provide Even Greater Savings to Medicare" (PRNewswire)
RRC, Inc. Economic Consultants

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