Last Friday, I was able to spend some time with some other folks in the KC area to acknowledge and pay respects to Jim Johnson who is retiring at Center for Developmentally Disabled in the KC Metro. Jim has spent the last 30 years in leadership at CDD and he has provided to both his agency and many other agencies along the way insight and mentoring. His agency was one of the first agencies to start using Therap in KC and since then the agency continues to utilize the software effectively in providing quality supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. Jim has been many things to many people as he has negotiated the many changes and nuances that are so very abundant in the I/DD field. His leadership and insight will be missed and yet I am happy for him and his wife who may get to enjoy traveling even more which I know they are both excited about the opportunity. Jim, I wish you nothing but the best!
I had the pleasure to attend the NAQ conference in Reno this week at the Grand Sierra Resort. I was able to exhibit and speak during a session about Electronic Health Records and the Affordable Care Act. I also had the pleasure of talking to many of our Therap customers from around the country and hear the wonderful things they had to say about Therap. We have some awesome agencies out there doing some really awesome things in Therap. It was a great time Theraping in Reno!
The NAQ (National Association of QDDPs) conference has been a great opportunity to network with some experts in the DD field. There are close to 500 people attending this conference from all over the United States. The conference is being held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Chicago. I have had the pleasure to catch up with many agencies that use and LOVE Therap. I have also been able to explore the paperless world with other agencies. It has been a great time. If you are not familiar with NAQ, read more here:
This past week I have been meeting with agencies in the state of Illinois, the Land of Lincoln. I have pretty much driven through the entire state enjoying the scenery and road construction. I started up in the Quad Cities area and gradually drove through the state meeting with agencies that are considering the best electronic documentation system, and with others that are already users. I even stopped at a rest area to do a webinar with another agency in Minnesota. You really have NOT enjoyed a rest area until you have done a webinar at one. The stares you get as you attempt to walk people through a T-Log, GER, and the explanation of the Intake/Elimination in Health tracking is incredible…and that is just from the dogs at the stop. My favorite is trying to mute and cover the motorcycles leaving the area. It really is an exciting call to lead. I was just thankful for the beautiful 80 degrees it was outside. Absolutely beautiful! All in all Rest area might just be the webinar destination of the future.
- State of IL Rest Area
There were new ADA regulations recently released. You can check these out at www.disability.gov website.
What are some of the key changes in the revised regulations?
Among other substantive changes, the amended regulations adopt the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which implement new accessibility guidelines for government facilities and commercial places of public accommodation. In addition, the amended regulations address numerous accessibility issues, including selling and issuing tickets to individuals with disabilities; accommodating service animals, wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices; providing auxiliary communication aids; and making reservations in places of lodging.
Adoption of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design
The DOJ characterized these new guidelines as “more than incremental” compared with the previously applicable standards, which were issued in 1991. The heightened standards are technical in nature and include, for example: wheelchair access points (e.g., wheelchair spaces and companion seats may not be located on or obstructed by temporary platforms or other movable structures); reach ranges; single-user toilet rooms; assembly areas; location of accessible routes; entrances from parking structures; and location of guest rooms in lodging facilities.
2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design > http://www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm
Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices
The regulations adopt a two-tiered approach to mobility devices, distinguishing between wheelchairs and “other power-driven mobility devices,” which include a range of devices not specifically designed for individuals with mobility impairments (e.g., Segways). Wheelchairs and other devices designed for use by people with mobility impairments must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use. “Other power-driven mobility devices” must be permitted unless such use would fundamentally alter the entity’s programs, services or activities, create a direct threat, or create a safety hazard.
The regulations define a “service animal” as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Other animals and dogs that are not trained to assist with a disability or who merely provide emotional support are excluded from this definition.
Although not included in the definition of service animals, the regulations permit the use of trained miniature horses as an alternative to dogs, where appropriate and in accordance with the assessment factors outlined in the revised regulations.
Reservations for Places of Lodging
Places of lodging must: (1) allow individuals with disabilities to make reservations for accessible guest rooms during the same hours and in the same manner as other guests; and (2) identify and describe accessible features in the hotels and guest rooms. Furthermore, places of lodging must ensure that reserved accessible guest rooms are actually available for those guests with disabilities upon their arrival.
The new regulation includes guidance on how to provide effective communication for persons with disabilities. For example, the regulation allows for use of video remote interpreting services as an auxiliary aid, if the entity complies with specified performance standards.
The regulations provide guidance on the sale of tickets for accessible seating, the sale of season tickets, the hold and release of accessible seating to non-disabled individuals, ticket pricing, prevention of the fraudulent purchase of accessible seating, and the ability to purchase multiple tickets when buying accessible seating.
“Safe Harbor” Provision
The final rule includes a “safe harbor” provision protecting facilities built or altered in compliance with the 1991 Standards for Accessible Design. Those facilities are not required to comply with the 2010 Standards until future alterations or renovations impact issues addressed by the 2010 Standards. Notably, however, the safe harbor provision does not apply to those portions of existing facilities that are subject to new accessibility requirements not covered by the 1991 Standards; rather, those features must be modified to the extent readily achievable to comply with the 2010 Standards.
One of the real joys of doing what I do around the Midwest is the great agencies and the great people I meet along the way. One of those people is John Kincinas who is the PA at Garden Center Services in Burbank, IL. Some of you know John from conferences and interaction. He is a great guy and I am happy to announce that John is a new Father to Hazel! She is so cute and we are all so happy for John and his wife and this new gift in their lives. Congratulations!