Thursday, December 19, 2013

Protest set Sunday for veteran booted from Pulaski Club because of service dog

Thanks to Diane Lederman, The Republican we have this news:

 EASTHAMPTON – On Thanksgiving night, veteran Gary Houle Jr. said he went to the Pulaski Club to meet a friend but was tossed out because of his service dog Princess. Now he and his father, Gary Houle Sr., are organizing a protest against the club Sunday, claiming the younger Houle was discriminated against in violation of federal law. Club officials won’t comment. Scott Vishaway, club vice president, was bartending that night. He could not be reached for comment. But club manager Stanley Kuchyt contacted Vishaway and said that a lawyer would release a statement Thursday. He said until a call, no one had asked to hear the club’s side of the story. Houle admits that he lost it after he was told he had to leave. Houle said his father plays in a pool league at the club, so on Thanksgiving night he decided to meet his friend. He said he doesn’t drink anymore but was going to play Keno and have a soda. He said the waitress told him dogs weren’t allowed, and he explained she was a service dog. She called to Vishaway who came over, and Houle explained to him that Princess was his service dog. Vishaway allegedly asked him for certification, and Houle said he didn’t need to show it, but then agreed. But that wasn’t enough, Houle said and Vishaway allegedly “got more aggressive,” he said and started harassing him. Houle said Vishaway then told him he didn’t have the appropriate harness for the dog. “I started to flip out,” Houle said. He was wearing his camouflage pants, a combat unit sweatshirt and combat uniform bandana. His dog was wearing an Army harness. He said that Vishaway was disrespecting him as a disabled veteran. Houle, 43, said he enlisted in 2008 because “I wanted to do my part.” He served a tour in Iraq and then was injured in Afghanistan in 2011. He was medically discharged in April of this year, he said. His bullmastiff became certified as a service dog Nov. 1, he said. “I have hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, PTSD,” he said. “She keeps an eye an one my surroundings. I can’t go out without her.” He said he wants to make people aware of what happened. “There’s a lot of soldiers coming back with animals," he said. "It’s not right. They should be treated as if they had a wheelchair or any other disabled person, not disrespected like that.” “It’s not right,” said Gary Houle Sr., who was not there that night but has since been putting up posters and alerting veterans groups and the community bout the Sunday protest. “This guy’s been through quite a bit. They shouldn’t do that to someone who’s been there.” He said protesters will gather on Franklin Street and walk to the club at noon. The club meanwhile has a posting on its Facebook page for Veterans Day thanking veterans for service as well as a marking of Pearl Harbor Day Dec. 7. The club that was started to help Polish immigrants celebrated its centennial last year. ....................

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stop The Medicare Therapy Cap

Some folks may not realize there is serious, harmful, bias against certain disabilities. Nowhere is this bias more devastating that within Medicare. Can you imagine Medicare capping Chemo at $1900 yearly? Or capping Dialysis, or treatment of Diabetes? Yet medicare continues to cap Physical Therapy needed for pain due to serious disabilities such as degenerative disk disease, Rhumatoid Arthritis, Lupis, Osteoarthritis, Fibro Parkinsons, Cerable Palsy. etc, etc etc. Back in Jan 2011, a courageous disabled senior living in VT, Glenda Jimmo brought a lawsuit against the Obama Administration's sibilies, for allowing Medicare to deny Physical Therapy to those who needed is based on Medicar's outrageous "failure to improve standard." The lawsuit was won, as a class action, but few people know about it, and providers have not yet been informed by Medicare (gee, are they dragging their feet?) even tho folks who had to pay for denied medicare coverage can file claimes back to January 2011 for reinimbursement. The outcome means that patients with disabilities and chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, who in the past were unable to get access to care, should benefit. The changes will apply to the traditional Medicare program and to private Medicare Advantage plans. They apply to people 65 and older, as well as to people under 65 who qualify for Medicare because of disabilities. .............................................................. Plaintiffs argued that Medicare has allowed the contractors that process its claims to use a so-called “improvement” standard over the last few decades. To the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the many other organizations, like the Parkinson’s Foundation, that joined the lawsuit, that standard allowed for cutting off physical, occupational and speech therapy and some inpatient skilled nursing services for patients who had plateaued. Medicare is supposed to pay for reasonable treatment prescribed by a physician for any illness or injury. For the home care patients that this settlement is thought to affect the most, a doctor must have certified that a patient is homebound and must have prescribed treatment that only a skilled practitioner can provide. (The “skilled practitioner” rule keeps Medicare from paying for assistance with everyday activities like bathing and dressing.) Providers will still have to document that the services provided are “reasonable and necessary” for the diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition. They will also have to justify why skilled care is required. But it appears that the focus on the skills needed to provide care rather than the need for improvement will expand the number of Medicare beneficiaries eligible for post-acute care services. The Parkinson’s Action Network was instrumental in arguing that for patients with degenerative diseases, holding steady or degenerating more slowly than one might otherwise is often the definition of success. Others argued that payment practices led to physicians changing their practice patterns, as doctors decided prescribing treatment that would not be covered would be pointless. The settlement specifies that skilled care can qualify for Medicare coverage even if it merely serves to maintain someone’s current condition or prevents or slows further deterioration. Certain patients who have had claims rejected will be able to resubmit them. Various patient advocacy groups have expressed hope that Medicare will soon pay for many forms of therapy that it has not covered previously. One example cited is cerebral palsy patients, for whom physical therapy to maintain muscle mass is one possibility. For multiple sclerosis patients, there may be more approval for treatments for spasticity and gait training to prevent falls. ................................................. Problems and question remain Two big remaining questions that patient advocates are still asking are how many people may benefit from the clarification of the regulations, and how quickly. A separate issue is that Medicare does have individual annual limits in certain areas; this settlement will not affect those benefit limits. YEP, Medicare plans to deny PT based on its hard cap of $1900 for 2014! Call your elected Congressmen and women and ask for a full repeal of the PT CAP. Elizabeth Warren: 1 202 224 4543; Markey: 1 202 224 2742

ADAPT! People Are Dying! Shame On You!

I am new to ADAPT. I am not an activist, per se, but I genuinely appreciate the sacrifices that ADAPT members have made over the years. At yesterdays meeting of Mass ADAPT we learned that National ADAPT has recognized us as a chapter. Hooray! Let Mass ADAPT action begin! Shown on: Flash Mob action! YES!!!! You go ADAPT!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

If Only The MBTA Would Train Bus Drivers To Defend Disabled From Bullying

Published on Jun 14, 2012 A female passenger got kicked off the bus by her fellow passengers in New Taipei City after making a scene and accusing a guide dog of being "too stinky." The female passenger was so out of line, a high school student stepped up and asked passengers to vote. All the passengers voted against the woman who eventually made a shameful exit. The MBTA should be ashamed for allowing other passengers to bully service dogs and disabled.

Veolia Bus Driver Tells Blind Man With Guide Dog To Get Off Bus

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A UNCG student says he was asked to get off of a city bus because the bus driver was not sure if his service dog was allowed. John Dyson rides the city's Higher Education Area Transit, or HEAT buses daily. He lost his vision because of a genetic disorder and uses a guide dog to help him get around. Sunday, he boarded a HEAT bus like he did countless times before, but unlike ever before, he says he was asked to get off. "I felt humiliated, I felt embarrassed, like I was being singled out because I have a service animal," explained Dyson. He added, "[The driver] said 'No you can't get on the bus, I need to talk to call my supervisor' and I said 'Well according to the [Americans with Disabilities Act], this dog is a service animal, and his allowed anywhere I am'." Kevin Elwood with the Greensboro Transit Authority says the new driver was not sure of the law. "If there is a question, we just ask, 'Is this a service animal?' and if they say 'yes' then they are allowed to board," explained Elwood. Instead of following that procedure, the driver called security and his supervisor. "I find it kind of lacking that a new employee, even a new employee wouldn't have a basic understanding or appreciation of the situation," said Bruce Pomeroy, Chair, Greensboro Mayor's Committee for Person's with Disabilities. Pomeroy is also the Director of The Office of Accessibility Resources and Services at UNCG. Dyson met with him Monday to tell him about his experience with HEAT. Pomeroy called GTA to offer sensitivity training, but Elwood said the drivers already receive that. "[The driver] has been on the job for 90 days so yes he should have known," said Elwood. "We felt that if he followed those procedures, then none of this would have happened." Now, Dyson wants to make sure an incident like this never happens again. "If this becomes a teaching moment and someone else in my position doesn't have to go through this, then all this has been worth it," he said. GTA is investigating this and they say this an isolated incident. But because of what happened to Dyson, they're reminding all of their drivers about the rules and procedures regarding service animals. The driver, like all other GTA drivers, is a contract employee hired by the company Veolia Transportation. WFMY News 2 reached out to them and they said after reviewing the investigation, they will determine if the driver needs more training. If they find he does, he will receive that training immediately. WFMY News 2

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hidden Disabilities: Hypermobility

here is my first post on Hidden Disabilities, so folks can learn that although though one may not be able to 'observe' the disability, the disability can be observed in clinical exams,blood tests and scans. Hypermobility syndrome was recognized as a distinct pathology by Kirk et al1 in 1967. Since then, the syndrome has been identified by a variety of names: “hypermobility syndrome (HMS),”2–9 “joint hypermobility syndrome,”10–13 “hypermobile joint syndrome,”14 and “benign hypermobile joint syndrome.”15,16 Other reports do not recognize this disorder as a syndrome, but refer to the manifestations of joint hyperlaxity, joint hypermobility, or articular hypermobility. In the International Nosology of Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue, Beighton et al17 identified this syndrome as “familial articular hypermobility syndrome.” Beighton et al excluded genetic diseases that include joint hypermobility as an associated finding, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, and Marfan syndrome. Despite the proliferation of names, HMS has been given relatively little attention in the literature. Most reports are in the rheumatology literature, with virtually none in the orthopedic or physical therapy literature. This lack of reports may be due to several reasons. First, individuals with HMS are often seen by orthopedic physicians and physical therapists as a result of an acute or chronic disorder, which may be treated without the health care provider acknowledging the underlying HMS. Second, the diagnostic criteria for HMS are not well-defined and have not been consistent among research reports.8,18–20 In particular, patients with HMS lack laboratory or radiological findings that could identify HMS, unlike many other rheumatologic or orthopedic conditions. The diagnosis, therefore, is frequently made through exclusion of other disorders. Third, individuals with HMS often do not have the decreased mobility seen with many chronic conditions,4 nor do they always have the inflammation seen with many acute conditions. Finally, because HMS lacks a definitive pharmacological or surgical treatment, physicians may have perceived little benefit in its diagnosis. Patients with HMS often have complaints that are frequently diffuse, chronic, and inconsistent with observed pathology. These individuals may be improperly identified as having hypochondria, as malingering, or as having nonspecific chronic pain, without further investigation into the source of their complaints.11,21 Individuals with HMS may not get a diagnosis, or they might be misdiagnosed.22 Failure to recognize the underlying HMS may lead to unnecessary or inappropriate diagnostic studies, surgical procedures, and patient management,23 especially for children.24 Some reports of HMS describe it as “benign” when compared with the serious connective tissue diseases that have hypermobility as one of their signs.15,16,25,26 Hypermobility syndrome has also been described as representing the upper end of the normal distribution for ligamentous laxity,27,28 with no greater incidence of pain or injury.29,30 Some authors25,31–34 have even proposed that hypermobility may be an asset in certain sports or professions. The mobility present in people with HMS, however, is considered beyond the normal range by most researchers,6 with repeated reports describing increased incidence of pain and associated disorders (Tab. 1). A goal of this update is to increase awareness, understanding, and discussion of HMS through examination of the prevalence, diagnosis, clinical presentation, and pathophysiology. Although physical therapy for people with HMS has been recommended by many authors,2,3,11,26,35 there are no published reports regarding the efficacy of physical therapy or any other treatment for individuals with HMS. Hopefully, increased recognition will lead to increased research about this disorder. Chronic pain in people with HMS is not always associated with inflammation. Some authors2,38 recommend the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, whereas other authors11,80 report that the use of these drugs is neither practical nor effective. Directions for Future Research Many unanswered questions remain regarding HMS. Prospective studies of physical therapist patients are needed to determine the percentage of patients with HMS. Such studies could determine, for example, how many patients with HMS have musculoskeletal problems versus nerve compression disorders. Although many authors recommend exercise for these patients, few have any data on which to base that recommendation. Moderate- and low-impact strengthening exercises, cardiovascular exercise for weight control, and stretching of muscles rather than joints seem theoretically sound recommendations, but the assumptions on which these recommendations are based must be tested. Given the predisposition of patients with HMS for cumulative trauma injuries, studies are needed to determine how much exercise is appropriate for these individuals. The use of orthotic devices, braces, and taping for patients with HMS also warrants further research.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Service Dogs Welcome

This post is a work in progress. It is designed to assist those who may be responsible for welcoming guests who are accompanied by Service Animals. Since the ADA updated its Service Animal policy in 2011, only dogs are considered Service Animals, so many may refer to their Service Animal as a Service Dog.

Here is a little quiz for you:

In the photo below, which dog is a Service Animal?

Again, in the photo below, which dog is a Service Animal?

Stay with me now, in the photo below, which dog is the Service Dog?

OK, here are the answers. In photo #1, both dogs are service dogs, and both of their handlers are not obviously disabled. They have what we refer to as Hidden Disabilities. In photo #2, both dogs are Service Dogs, and again, both handlers have hidden disabilities. In Photo #3, the smaller dog, on the right, is the Service Dog, having fun at the dog park. That dog is the same dog that appears in photos #1 and #2.

So, how can you tell, when someone comes to your place, if it is a service dog, especially if the handler has a hidden disability? lets ask the Department Of Justice what they have to say about this issue....

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Please understand that when you modify your "No Pets Allowed" policy to accommodate a Person With A Disability, PWD, to equal enjoyment, ie equal access, you are not allowing the service dog to enter, you are allowing the Person With The Disability access. Just as PWDs using wheelchairs, canes or walkers are permitted to enter, PWDs accompanied by Service Dogs are allowed to enter. When you refuse, you are discriminating against the person, not the dog. It is a violation of the law.

Why I don't put a 'sign' on my dog

Many folks are under the misunderstanding that putting a sign, cape, harness on one's Service Dog would eliminate discrimination. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Since I do not have an observable disability, walking with my Service Dog with a sign on it has resulted in more discriminationharassment and even bullying. Strangers will accost me with 'your not disabled ' or 'your not blind,' or worse, they believe that since they cannot see my disability I must be 'mental' and deserve to be humiliated in public. Sadly, the abuse of people With Disabilities, even in places of public accommodations ie epidemic in the US, and fer folks are moved to sympathize with the disabled, much less lend a helping hand. 

Back in the Middle Ages we had Disability Laws to exclude and control Jews.
Disabilities were legal restrictions and limitations placed on Jews in the Middle Ages. 

Disabilities were legal restrictions and limitations placed on Jews in the Middle Ages. They included provisions requiring Jews to wear specific and identifying clothing such as the Jewish hat and the yellow badge, restricting Jews to certain cities and towns or in certain parts of towns (ghettos), and forbidding Jews to enter certain trades (for example selling new clothes in medieval Sweden). Disabilities also included special taxes levied on Jews, exclusion from public life, restraints on the performance of religious ceremonies, and linguistic censorship. Some countries went even further and completely expelled Jews, for example England in 1290 (Jews were readmitted in 1655) and Spain in 1492 (readmitted in 1868).
The disabilities were lifted in the late 18th and the 19th century. In 1791, Revolutionary France was the first country to abolish them altogether, followed by Prussia in 1848, the United Kingdom in 1858 after an almost 30-year struggle championed by Isaac Lyon Goldsmid[1] (Jewish Disabilities Bill), and the newly united Germany in 1871.
The first Jewish settlers in North America arrived in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1654; they were forbidden to hold public office, open a retail shop, or establish a synagogue. When the colony was seized by the British in 1664 Jewish rights remained unchanged, but by 1671Asser Levy was the first Jew to serve on a jury in North America.[2]

"please note that today the companion animal did not wear an identifying vest while on the visit to our offices, making it difficult to identify the nature of the animal."

Folks, how do you know it is a service dog? The DOJ states clearly and unequivocally, you ask the handler, the PWD.

BTW: This does not mean that the PWD doesn't need 'documentation,' it means the PWD is not required to carry it with them, or show it to you. How would you like to show your medical records when you enter a place of public accommodation.


This post is dedicated to Marilyn. I apologies to you that you were harassed last evening due accompanying me, who was accompanied by my Service Dog. If the security guard had questions about my Service Dog he should have addressed them to me and not to you. Many people are afraid of people with disabilities and do not speak directly to them, but to their associates. This is one of the reasons the ADA was passed.

One main difference between the ADA, the Civil Rights Act of 1990.and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is the latter requires you show intent to discriminate while the ADA does not require intent.

While the ADA is a civil rights law, threatening to arrest a PWD to deny their exercising their civil rights is a criminal offence in the state of MA.