DRC Newsletter_ Volume 5

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					DRC Newsletter, Volume 5 September 2006 DRC Wants Your Input on 2007 Priorities The Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRC) WANTS YOU ... to fill out the enclosed survey and provide your input on its proposed 2007 Priorities. The DRC Priorities are extremely important. They directly impact the cases DRC will accept and the types of advocacy that DRC will provide. This special edition newsletter highlights some of DRC’s proposed 2007 priorities and provides real-life case examples that illustrate how the priority impacts the lives of Kansans with disabilities. The enclosed survey outlines DRC’s proposed priorities and asks for your input to rank the relative importance of each. Also, please rank the importance of DRC’s different advocacy services (direct representation, public policy advocacy and trainings). Last year DRC focused more resources on direct representation. The result was DRC more than tripled the number of Kansans served with its legally-based advocacy. The survey results will be used by the DRC Board to adopt the final 2007 Priorities. Please return your survey no later than October 9, 2006, in the enclosed postage paid envelope. DRC staff in Sept. 2005 at their new downtown Topeka location New DRC Employee Spotlight Annett Bynum, MSW Disability Rights Advocate Annett brings over 20 years experience working with a diverse group of people who have mental and/or physical disabilities. Annett graduated from Washburn University with her Bachelor of Arts’ degree in Social Work and graduated from University of Kansas with her Masters in Social Work. Annett volunteered as the disaster mental health coordinator for the American Red Cross for over 8 years. Prior to coming to DRC Annett worked on the Behavioral Health Unit as a nursing assistant for the Colmery O’Neil

Veterans Administration Medical Center, and Kansas Television Washburn University (KTWU) as a Ready to Learn Trainer. Annett is a retired member of the Army Reserves. Phone (Voice/TDD): 785-273-9661 or 877-776-1541 (toll free) FAX: 785-273-9414 E-mail: Disability Rights Center of Kansas 635 SW Harrison Ave. Topeka, KS 66603 Governor Sebelius Signs Abuse Unit Into Law Governor Sebelius signed HB 2105 into law on May 15, 2006. HB 2105 establishes a designated Unit in the Kansas Attorney General’s office to investigate and prosecute abuse, neglect and exploitation of Kansans. What The Unit Will Do: HB 2105 accomplishes several important goals related to the reporting, investigation and prosecuting (criminal and civil prosecution) of abuse, neglect and exploitation. 1. HB 2105 formally establishes the Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Persons Unit in the Kansas Attorney General’s office (KSAG). 2. HB 2105 establishes that the departments of social and rehabilitation services (SRS), department on aging (KDOA) and department of health and environment (KDHE) must make all reports and associated records of abuse, neglect and exploitation available to the newly established Unit. 3. In cases where SRS, KDOA or KDHE confirms that an individual has been abused, neglected or exploited the state agencies are required by HB 2105 to automatically forward all of the related documents to the Unit. 4. In cases where SRS, KDOA or KDHE are denied the ability to conduct a full and complete investigation the agencies are required to notify the unit in the KSAG’s office. 5. HB 2105 empowers the KSAG to offer a grant to contract with an outside agency or organization to conduct investigations and litigation on behalf of victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. 6. HB 2105 gives the KSAG the ability to share reports and records of abuse, neglect or exploitation with any third party. The Unit is a huge step forward in the state’s ability to bring perpetrators of abuse, neglect and exploitation to justice. DRC is currently representing 26 people

who have experienced some form of abuse, neglect or exploitation. The Unit envisioned and designed in HB 2105 will provide that same opportunity to even more Kansans with disabilities. Two Advocates that Made it Happen Lynn and Nancy have been heard on the radio, written about in newspapers, interviewed for television and shared their stories numerous times in the past several months advocating for effective reforms in how reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation are handled. Nancy, a former resident of the Kaufman Treatment Center, was the first consumer to report the abuses being perpetrated by Mr. Kaufman under the guise of therapy. Her reports were written off as “delusions” of a person with significant mental illness. Lynn also resided at one of the Kaufman houses. Both women experienced first hand the sick and twisted therapies offered by Arlan and Linda Kaufman. Because of their experiences, and the experiences of their friends who resided there, Nancy and Lynn volunteered to advocate for the changes they believe are necessary to improve the state’s response to reports of abuse. Both Nancy and Lynn publicly relived very personal and painful experiences in an effort to push for real reform. They were befriended by legislators, advocates and many of the legislator’s secretaries as they became statehouse regulars. As they soon learned, the legislative process is long and difficult. But, in the end their efforts paid off. Nancy and Lynn put the real face on the long term affects of abuse and neglect. DRC congratulates them on their advocacy to improve the states ability to address wrongs perpetrated on people with disabilities who experience abuse, neglect and exploitation. Against all odds and at great personal sacrifice they stood up, were heard and made a real difference. Governor Sebelius with representatives from DRC and KSAG on May 15, 2006. DRC Executive Director Rocky Nichols presents an award to Lynn and Nancy for their work. 2 DRC Newsletter September 2006 Health Care Providers and Your Right to Effective Communication DRC receives many calls from individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and whom are interested in learning more about their right to “effective communication” under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Most frequently, callers want to become better informed about how they can effectively advocate for the provision of sign language interpreters by their

health care providers The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. More specifically, Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination in public accommodations. A place of public accommodation includes the professional offices of health care providers. The administrative regulations implementing Title III of the ADA provide the following general rule: “A public accommodation shall take those steps that may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that taking those steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered or would result in an undue burden, e.g., significant difficulty or expense.” (28 C.F.R. § 36.303(a) (emphasis added)). The term “auxiliary aids and services” includes sign language interpreters. (28 C.F.R. § 36.303(b)). The regulation provides that “[a] public accommodation shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services when necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.” (28 C.F.R. § 36.303(c) (emphasis added)). A physician’s office, a medical clinic or other health care facility (medical facilities) are places of public accommodation. (42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(F)). The regulations make it clear that health care providers are required to provide interpreters to ensure “effective communication.” However, this does not mean that a health care provider must furnish a sign language interpreter in every circumstance. In general, a health care professional is required to provide a sign language interpreter when it is necessary to ensure effective communication between the provider and consumer. Additionally, the consumer must request the sign language services. It is important to remember that the ADA applies to all health care providers, not just your primary care doctor. For example, a dentist is required to follow the ADA as well. Although a person in a nursing home or psychiatric hospital may not be entitled to a sign language interpreter 24-hours a day, he/she does have the right to a sign language interpreter when it is necessary to effectively communicate with health care personnel. When is an interpreter necessary to ensure effective communication? The answer to this question depends upon the nature of your visit with the health care professional. If, for example, you visit the doctor’s office to have a simple blood test, an interpreter may not be necessary. However, if the purpose of your visit is to discuss treatment options for a serious illness, then an interpreter would most likely be necessary. The Arizona Center for Disability Law, the Arizona Protection and Advocacy

System published a very helpful booklet called “The Duty of Health Care Professionals to Provide Sign Language Interpreters”. This publication can be read or downloaded from the internet at Law Enforcement & Effective Communication DRC has also received a number of inquiries from individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and who have had negative experiences with city police officers. Based on anecdotal data from our clients, police officers routinely fail to enlist a sign language interpreter when communicating with an individual who is deaf and hard of hearing. Although police officers are not legally required to employ a sign language interpreter in every circumstance, complex communication certainly benefits from the presence of an interpreter. DRC has been contacted by several individuals who were interviewed by city police officers after an automobile accident without an interpreter. Our clients were understandably upset that their accounting of their involvement in the accident was not accurately recorded. If you are ever interviewed by a police officer, please remember to request a sign language interpreter. The following federal funding partners shared in the entire cost of producing this brochure: The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (grants G0601KSPA17 and G-0503KSVOTP); the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (grant SMX209700-06); the Rehabilitation Services Administration (grants H240A060017, H343A060017, and H161A060013), the Social Security Administration (grant 17-B-20019-7-02); and Health & Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (grant 1X82MC050046-01-00). DRC is the Protection and Advocacy System for Kansas. These contents are solely the responsibility of DRC and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. September 2006 DRC Newsletter 3 Kansas State Department of Education Advances Regulations Restricting Use of Seclusion and Restraint In the coming monthes, the Kansas Board of Education is scheduled to get its first look at proposed regulations that limit the use of seclusion rooms and physical and mechanical restraints in public schools. The proposed regulations are the result of a lengthy process of gathering input from stakeholders, initial drafts and the process of compromise from all sides to

develop rules everybody can accept. After three days of hearings, the Senate Education Committee in a unanimous motion directed KSDE to “develop policies, rules and/or regulations about the usage of restraint and seclusion rooms, the appropriate use of restraint seclusion time-out rooms, the physical characteristics of such rooms, and appropriate training of teachers.” KSDE then set out to draft regulations that met the requirements of the senate Committee and included every opportunity for interested parties to influence the final product. After lots of meetings, input and healthy discussion and debate, KSDE finalized a draft of the proposed regulations to be presented to the State Board at its July 11 and 12, 2006 meeting in Topeka. DRC is confident that as proposed the draft regulations will accomplish many of the goals of the advocates that introduced SB 241, co-authored by DRC and the Kansas Attorney General. First and foremost, the regulations would ensure that “each child with a disability shall have the right to be free from the unreasonable, unsafe, or unwarranted use of seclusion rooms” or “restraint.” In their current form, the regulations will: • Limit the use of seclusion rooms to situations when: o A student’s behavior constitutes an imminent risk of harm to him / her self or others; or o A student’s IEP or behavior intervention plan specifically identifies use of seclusion room including the location of the room, how often, reasons for its use, length of time a student will be in the room and when its use will be reviewed for effectiveness. • Clearly define the size and characteristics of seclusion rooms. • Limit the use of physical restraint to situations when the student’s behavior constitutes an imminent risk of harm to him / her self or others. • School employees who use physical restraint must be trained in the most appropriate methods of restraint in order to ensure the safety of the student being restrained • The proposed seclusion and restraint regulations do not prohibit the use of all seclusion rooms or physical restraint, nor do the regulations prevent schools from adressing problem behaviors. • The proposed regulations do prohibit the use of mechanical restraints except for those purposes ordered by a licensed professional for protective or stabilizing the individual, e.g., seatbelts. • Exempts law enforcement

officers, campus police officers or school security officers from the prohibition against use of mechanical restraints when a device is used to carry out law enforcement duties. • Requires that parents be notified in a timely fashion of incidents that cause their child to be placed in a seclusion room or be physically restrained. KSDE deserves lots of credit for facilitating a process that resulted in draft regulations that clearly have the best interest of students at their core. A special thank you to all of the advocates who participated in designing the original legislative proposal and in the various KSDE regulations workgroups: DRC, Families Together, Keys for Networking, Topeka Independent Living Resource Center, Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living, Interhab, Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas, and Association of Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc. Advocates must remain vigilant to ensure that the final regulations that will be authorized by the State Board, Kansas Attorney General and Kansas Legislature meet the needs of Kansas students with disabilities who are subjected to the use of seclusion and restraint. If you support these rules and regulations and are interested in providing testimony or letters to the Kansas Board of Education, please call DRC and ask for either Rocky Nichols or Catherine E. Johnson. Seclusion room used in Kansas. 4 DRC Newsletter September 2006 2006 Policy Update of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas 1. HB 2105/2306/SB 239: Establishment of the Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Investigation and Prosecution Unit (DRC Bills) After lots of discussion and advocacy, both houses unanimously passed the Senate substitute for HB 2105 and sent it to the Governor for her approval. HB 2105 was born out of HB 2306 and SB 239. Governor Sebelius signed 2105 into law on May 15, 2006. (See page 2 to learn what HB 2105 accomplishes) The Legislature’s Omnibus Bill also includes funding for the Unit established in HB 2105. The Legislature included $122,000 for the current fiscal year (FY 2006 ending June 30th) and $228,000 for SFY 2007. The funding will empower the Attorney General (KSAG) to do three basic things: A. Establish the Unit by allowing the KSAG to hire an attorney, investigator

and support staff. B. To provide a grant contract with a third party for ANE investigation and civil litigation. C. Hire an inspector general to assess problems in the Kansas Medicaid Program (full time beginning January 1, 2007). 2. HB 2307 / SB 240: Prohibiting Conflicts of Interest for Non-Family Guardians and Providing Due Process Rights for Persons with Disabilities Under Guardianship when Guardian Wants to Withhold or Withdraw Medical Care (DRC Bills) HB 2307 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee during the 2005 Legislature with the Bill being referred to the Judicial Council for review and recommendations. The withhold/withdraw provisions were subsequently used (modified somewhat) in a substitute Bill (SB 92) which passed the House by an overwhelming margin in 2005. SB 92 was then buried in the Senate. The Senate’s companion Bill, SB 240, was heard in Senate Judiciary on March 13, 2006. The Chairman restricted testimony to only the issues of conflict of interest. Although there appears to be widespread support for the limiting conflicts of interest of guardians, the Senate committee did not work the Bill and so it died in committee again in the 2006 session. 3. HB 2884: Prohibiting Conflicts of Interest for Non-Family Guardians and Providing Due Process Rights for Persons with Disabilities Under Guardianship when Guardian Wants to Withhold or Withdraw Medical Care (DRC Bill) HB 2884 is a Bill that was drafted to replace HB 2307. Originally it was to be referred to House Federal & State Affairs with the promise it would be heard. However, it was mistakenly referred to house judiciary where the Committee Chairman refused to hear or take action on the Bill. 4. HB 2849: Providing Due Process Rights for Persons with Disabilities Under Guardianship when Guardian Wants to Withhold or Withdraw Medical Care (Rep. Kinzer Bill) HB 2849 was crafted by Representative

Lance Kinzer. Rep. Kinzer is very interested in the end of life debate and served on the Judicial Council Advisory Committee that reviewed those provisions of HB 2307. The Bill died in Committee. 5. HB 2712: Eliminates Automatic IEP Team Meeting When “Substantial” Change in Placement or “Material” change in Services (KSAB/Rep. Storm Bill) Kansas law currently requires full discussion and written consent of the parent before a major change can be made. The Bill proposed that major educational placements could be made by agreement between any school representative and the parent by email, fax, phone or face to face communication. This erodes parental rights and opens the door to parental coercion, abuse and poor educational planning, placement and services. DRC has worked with a coalition of educational advocates to stop the Bill in the Senate. The Bill had passed the House and died in the Senate Committee. 6. SB 469: Behavorial Sciences Regulatory Board Bill That Creates New Class of Licensees Based on Disability (BSRB Bill) DRC supports the BSRB’s need to discipline its licensees. DRC opposes the focus on disability as its basis for diversion. In cooperation with the Kansas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (KNASW) and the BSRB (to a lesser degree) DRC worked to propose amended language to focus on the provider’s behavior, not disabilities (if any). KNASW proposed amendments that were accepted by the BSRB and the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare passed the Bill out. The House Health and Human Services Committee heard the Bill but did not take action due to DRC’s concerns. 7. SB 221: Criminalizes the Mental Illness of Persons Involuntarily Committed to a State Psychiatric Hospital (Sen. Journey Bill) (continued next page) September 2006 DRC Newsletter 5 The Bill would:

• Make it illegal for any person who was involuntarily committed to a treatment facility to possess or purchase a firearm, and • Make it illegal for anyone to sell a firearm to a person who was involuntarily committed to a treatment facility, and • Require the District Courts to provide the name of every person who is involuntarily committed to a treatment facility since 1998 and into the future to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for entry into the National Criminal Information Center database, and • Require the person who was involuntarily committed for treatment to go back to the Court to have their rights restored. Although SB 221 was not passed by the house in its proposed form, components were included in a final technical clean-up bill (HB 2118) at the very end of the session. HB 2118 included the provisions of SB 221 in its passage. 2006 Policy Update of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas (continued from page 5) DRC’s Proposed 2007 Case Priorities Fill out the enclosed survey to show your input on these case Priorities. Note: the enclosure details areas of special focus for DRC legal and advocacy representation and two other Priorities that are for policy and outreach work only. 1. Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation - disability rights advocacy, including monitoring and investigations, for individuals who are at risk of, or have experienced abuse, neglect or exploitation. 2. Guardianship – disability rights advocacy for individuals to pursue alternatives to guardianship / conservatorship or to end it when no longer necessary. 3. Community Services & Health Care - disability rights advocacy for consumer access to community-based services (Medicaid, Medicare, mental health services, long-term care, and home and community based services). 4. Community Integration - disability rights advocacy to assist individuals residing in institutions and other restrictive settings to defend their right to access appropriate services and supports in the most integrated setting. 5. Accessibility – disability rights advocacy to remove barriers which prevent access to state/local government services and places of public accommodation. 6. Special Education - disability rights advocacy for students with disabilities to enforce and protect their rights to special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), through mediation, due process and collaboration with other special education advocacy

organizations. 7. Fair Housing - disability rights advocacy for individuals whose rights under the Fair Housing Amendments Act or the Rehabilitation Act have been violated. 8. Assistive Technology - disability rights advocacy for individuals to acquire or maintain devices or services that empower them to be successful in employment, education, community life and independent living. 9. Employment - disability rights advocacy for beneficiaries of SSDI or recipients of SSI who are experiencing barriers to employment. 10. Rehabilitation Act – disability rights advocacy for people with disabilities who have a right to services under the federal Rehabilitation Act. DRC’s goal is to make each newsletter understandable by and useful to the general public. Please forward any suggestions for improvement to DRC. The newsletter is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Please contact an attorney for advice or assistance based on your particular situation. 6 DRC Newsletter September 2006 Lynn Kohr and Nancy Jensen Receive National Recognition For Their Work in The Kaufman House Legislation On August 23, 2006, Lynn Kohr and Nancy Jensen were honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Center for Mental Health Services for their tireless efforts in providing a voice for the former residents of the Kaufman House and for their work in association with the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, which propelled the Kansas Legislature to pass HB 2105, which ensures that others not suffer the same abuse and mistreatment as the Kaufman House survivors, with Consumer Leadership Voice Awards. The VOICE Awards recognize writers and producers of television, radio and film who give a voice to people with mental health problems. The Voice Awards also recognize the pertinacious efforts of mental health consumer leaders and advocates. The annual Voice Awards are a part of the National Anti-Stigma Campaign, to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. After conducting a nationwide search for applicants, five consumers were selected as recipients for the

VOICE Awards. Two of these five honored individuals are Kansans. The VOICE Awards Ceremony was held in Los Angeles, California at the Skirball Cultural Center. Academy Award-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway served as an inspirational host for the ceremony. Other consumer award winners nominated for their work in raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues around the country were Sandra McQueen-Baker, Gayathri Ramprasad and Doug DeVoe. Lynn and Nancy were recognized for their roles in the Kaufman House trial, and for their efforts in helping pass a bill in the Kansas State legislature to ensure that victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation have access to civil and criminal prosecution and investigation to obtain justice. Both women worked with the Disability Rights Center personnel to help substantiate the case against the Kaufmans. Because of their experiences in the Kaufman House, and the experiences of their friends whom resided there, Nancy and Lynn volunteered to advocate for the changes they believed were necessary to improve the state’s response to reports of abuse. Both Nancy and Lynn publicly re-lived very personal and painful experiences in an effort to push for real reform. In this process, they were befriended by legislators, advocates and many of the legislator’s secretaries as they became statehouse regulars. Nancy and Lynn’s goals at the start of the legislative session were to make sure that the now successful model of closing the Kaufman House was replicated and continued, and to ensure the legislature funded the effort so that such efforts could be continued. Their overarching goal was for KSAG and DRC to have access to all of the reports of abuse in order to pursue abusers and protect victims along with the funding necessary to do the work. After three months of difficult and emotionally exhausting work, Lynn and Nancy saw the success of their efforts when HB 2105 passed in both houses of the legislature and when the final budget bill of the session was sent to the Governor with the necessary funding included. DRC was honored by our role in assisting Lynn and Nancy in finding their voices and in helping turn their horrific experiences in the Kaufman House, into a life-altering experience with the passing of HB 2105.

Nancy Jensen and Lynn Kohr with DRC Executive Director Rocky Nichols at the Voice Awards in California. Host Mariel Hemingway with Nancy Jensen and Lynn Kohr at the SAMHSA Voice Awards September 2006 DRC Newsletter 7 2006 Is An Election Year Among the Disability Rights Center’s many programs to protect and advocate for the legal and civil rights of Kansans with disabilities is the PAVA program. PAVA – Protection And Advocacy For Voting Access – is a program established under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). HAVA increased the burden on states to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to voting as all other Americans. HAVA requires the states to implement the use of accessible digital recording equipment that enable voters with disabilities to cast an independent and private ballot. It also requires the states to comply with other federal laws that impact Voters who have disabilities, including the National Voter Registration Act, The Voting Rights Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. As a benefit to complying with the various laws, and as a way to ensure that HAVA was fully implemented Congress appropriated millions of dollars to grant to the states. All Kansans will, for the first time, have the option to vote using an electronic touch screen voting system during the elections this year. More importantly, most voters with disabilities will be able to vote without assistance using the old paper ballots – “independently and privately.” Each county election official selected a voting system they thought would best work in their county. The majority of counties (75) chose the Opti Scan, a touch screen machine that prints out an optical scan ballot. If you were previously registered but have moved, changed your name or not voted in the last several federal elections you must re-register. If you are considered a first time voter in your county you will also need to provide identification when you register. The bottom line? You can’t vote if you haven’t registered. You can request a Voter Registration Application from your County Election Officer or go online to download one - pdf. The election timeline is as follows: Election Timelines General Election: October 18, 2006: Advanced voting begins October 23, 2006: Last day to register to vote in general election November 6, 2006: Advanced voting closes November 7, 2006: GENERAL ELECTION DAY - Advance voting ballots must be received in office of County Election Officer by close of polls Advance voting, or voting by mail begins on July 11th (primary election) and again on October 18th (general election). If you prefer to vote by mail (in some counties you can advance vote in person too) you must “apply” for an Advance allot. Voters with disabilities can apply for Permanent Advance Ballot status which ensures that you will receive your ballot automatically at each election as long as you do not

move. You can get the Advance Ballot applications online at (regular Advance Ballot application) or Elections/AV2.pdf (Permanent Advance Ballot application). Other Issues: All polling locations are required to be physically accessible to persons with disabilities on the day of the election. If there is any question about your qualifications to vote you must be offered a Provisional ballot. You have the right to have a person that you choose assist you in casting your ballot. And, you have the right to contact DRC for assistance if your right to vote is violated. 785-273-9661 (Voice/TDD) or 877-776-1541 (toll free). A Voter Registration Card is included with the DRC newsletter for your use. VOTE! 8 DRC Newsletter September 2006 Disability Rights Center of Kansas YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE At Home or At the Polls! 25 million Americans with disabilities don’t vote. As a group, persons with disabilities have more collective power when we all vote! You can’t vote if you’re not registered. Register today! KNOW YOUR RIGHTS UNDER VOTING LAWS Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and Kansas Law grant you these rights: • All polling places must be accessible to voters with disabilities on the day of an election either by permanent or temporary means. • Registered Voters can choose to vote at their polling place or in the privacy of their own home (see enclosed applications for advanced ballots). It’s your choice where you vote. • Voters with disabilities may use whatever method you normally use to sign your name including directing another person to sign your name for you. • Assistance in completing your ballot can be provided by a person that you choose. • Voters with disabilities may choose to use “curb side” voting to accommodate your disability. Please note, poll workers can not require persons with disabilities to vote at the curbside. Discrimination is Prohibited Federal Law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the voting process. Regardless of whether you vote at a polling place, or by advance ballot, you have the right to access your polling place. Report Discrimination If you believe that you or someone you know experienced a violation of your legal right to vote, please contact Disability Rights Center of Kansas at 1-877-776-1541. September 2006 DRC Newsletter 9

DRC Investigates Nursing Facility For Mental Health DRC has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of a man who is a former resident of Indian Trails Mental Health Living Center (now called Providence Living Center). The case is called M.F. vs. Indian Trails Mental Health Living Center and Providence Living Center and in it MF alleges that Indian Trails Mental Health Living Center failed to protect him from abuse. M.F. requested that DRC assist him to file his lawsuit after he was raped and sodomized by another resident at the Nursing Facility for Mental Health (NFMH). M.F. is a man diagnosed with schizophrenia and had resided at Indian Trails for approximately 12 years when in July, 2004, he was raped by M.M., another male resident of Indian Trails. According to records, M.M. was admitted to Indian Trails even though the management knew that he had a more than 30 year institutional history of sexually assaulting other men. M.M. had spent most of the prior 40 years residing at Larned State Hospital. The records show that before accepting M.M. as an Indian Trails’ resident, Indian Trails was fully informed by Larned State Hospital of M.M.’s sexual predatory behaviors. Indian Trails knew that at Larned State Hospital, M.M. preyed upon other, more vulnerable male peers and was required to be closely monitored and supervised. It was about 6 months after moving into Indian Trails that M.M. raped and sodomized M.F. Although they had been told of M.M.’s predatory behaviors Indian Trails took no special precautions to monitor or control him. Records also indicate that no effort was made by Indian Trails to inform the other residents or their guardians of M.M.’s sexual predatory behavior. M.F. is suing Indian Trails because they did nothing to protect him and the other residents from M.M. DRC first became aware of the rape of M.F. during a regular review of the 181 page Kansas Department of Aging facility licensing survey report dated September 21, 2004. These are three of the stated findings of the KDOA surveyors: “Assistant Director of Nursing stated when there is no injury we do not do an investigation – for example a resident hits another resident and there is no injury – we do not investigate that or call it in. It’s been that way for a long time.” “The facility admitted M.M. with identified needs and behavior issues. M.M. raped a lower functioning peer. The facility failed to ensure M.F. the right to be free from sexual abuse.” “On 8/02/04 and 8/03/04 Surveyor reviewed the medical record of M.M. The record contained extensive information provided by residents previous placement describing long standing issues with behaviors – tendency toward inappropriate sexual behavior with low functioning male peers (this over a 30 year span), impulsive sexual behaviors, claims of rape and killing, threats to staff, and others indicating poor social skills.” DRC filed M.F.’s lawsuit against Indian Trails Mental Health Living Center and its successor corporation, Providence Living Center in Shawnee County District Court. The case is pending and is set for trial in the fall of 2007. Each year DRC surveys consumers, stakeholders and key policy

makers to assist in the setting of service priorities for the coming years. In recent years, issues of abuse, neglect and exploitation has been the top recommended priority from those who provide input during that process. As a result, DRC has determined that its first priority is to redress wrongs by individuals or providers that abuse, neglect or exploit persons with disabilities. As a part of this priority DRC has implemented a system to more closely monitor NFMH. The story above is just one example one of several dozen cases DRC is pursuing involving abuse. The Protection and Advocacy System for Kansas

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