Docstoc

DRC Newsletter_ Volume 5

Document Sample
DRC Newsletter_ Volume 5 Powered By Docstoc
					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: info@drckansas.org
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 re-
lived 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 http://www.acdl.com/pdfs/ADA3.pdf.
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 G-
0601KSPA17 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: Establish-
ment 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 - http://www.kssos.org/forms/elections/voterregistration.
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 http://www.kssos.org/forms/elections/AV1.pdf (regular
Advance Ballot application) or http://www.kssos.org/forms/
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

				
DOCUMENT INFO