Regional News in Review – July 2012by Access Press Staff // July 10th, 2012
UCP-MN winds down operations
United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota (UCP-MN) has made the decision to shut down. The organization officially filed its Notice of Intent to Dissolve with the State of Minnesota in late May and closed its office on June 22. The formal dissolution will be filed in early September. It’s a sad end for the longtime disability service and advocacy organization, which has struggled with funding in recent years.
Anyone needing specific information on the MATLN Program should wait for details. The program has been housed at UCP-MN for more than a decade. The program is currently in limbo, but more information on its future will be available soon.
After June 22nd, anyone needing the other services offered by UCP-MN can contact UCP of Central Minnesota in St. Cloud, at 320-253-0765 or 888-616-3726 (toll free). The website is www.ucpcentralmn.org Another point of contact is UCP National in Washington, D.C. at 800-872-5827 (toll free). The website is www.ucp.org
Charter school enrollment eyed
As more charter schools open around the country, children with disabilities are enrolling at a lower rate than the rest of the population. Only 8 percent of students at charter schools had disabilities in the 2009-2010 school year, compared with 11 percent at traditional public schools, according to a Government Accountability Office report released in June. The difference could be due to several reasons, including fewer parents of special education students choosing to enroll their children, charter schools discouraging disabled students from attending, and constraints on resources making it difficult for charter schools to meet their needs, the report found.
Charter schools, which are funded by taxpayers but operate independently of many of the laws and regulations that govern traditional public schools, have seen enormous growth over the last decade. More than 2 million students now attend charters, and the Obama administration has encouraged their expansion through initiatives like Race to the Top, the $4 billion grant competition. Many states lifted caps on the number of charter schools permitted in order to increase their chances of winning.
Advocates have praised charters for being an innovative alternative to the traditional neighborhood school, but there have been persistent concerns over accountability, access and quality.
The GAO report found significant disparities among states, when students with disabilities were scrutinized. Overall, however, there were lower rates of special education enrollment at charters in all but eight states: Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming.
Researchers also found there were a higher percentage of charter schools with 20 percent or more disabled students, possibly due to an increase in the number of charters that focus solely on students with disabilities. That trend is something that has many special education advocates concerned. They worry it will lead to increased segregation. [Source: Pioneer Press]
New career paths described
The just-released Impact: Feature Issue on Supporting New Career Paths for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, from the Institute on Community Integration, is now online at http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/251/251.pdf and in a text-only version at http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/251. This report ties directly into the national conversation about jobs, the discussion of employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their changing role in the American workforce. This impact issue explores some of the innovative thinking and resources that are providing expanded employment options for people with disabilities today, and offers success stories of some of the individuals taking new career paths.
In addition to the online publication, print copies of this Impact are available by contacting the Publications Office at 612-624-4512 or email@example.com. The first print copy is free. To order additional copies at $4 each, please complete and mail the order form at http://ici.umn.edu/products/order.html [Source: Institute on Community Integration]
Nursing home was neglectful in death
Red Wing Health Care Center neglected a resident in September when the man was placed in the wrong wheelchair, took a tumble and died from complications from the fall, according to an Office of Health Facilities Complaints report made public in June. The resident had dementia and had a history of trying to get out of his wheelchair. The man’s own wheelchair was fitted with a self-release seat belt and an alarm that sounded when the man stood up.
But after a worker put the man in his roommate’s wheelchair, workers heard him fall and found him lying beneath it. The man sustained fatal injuries and died at a hospital. The home now places initials on wheelchairs and has told staff to read care plans. [Source: Star Tribune]
Assisted living home death prompts changes
When paramedics determined a choking victim needed CPR, staff at a Brooklyn Park assisted living facility read from a document instructing them not to resuscitate. But they had consulted information for a different resident, they later learned. That prompted action by the state and changes by facility operated by Dungarvin. Details of the incident were released in June the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Health Facilities Complaints. State officials found that neglect had occurred.
Facility staff overheard the client coughing and gave him a glass of water. They called 911 when that didn’t help. “Emergency personnel arrived and once they determined that client required CPR, the emergency personnel requested (his) resuscitation status,” the report stated. “Facility staff obtained and provided to the emergency personnel in error, another client’s resuscitation guidelines document from the binder where the clients’ signed forms were kept.”
The resident who died did have orders to resuscitate on file. He died while the ambulance was still in the facility’s parking lot. A supervisor raised questions after the death was reported. Staff then checked the resuscitation guideline document they gave the emergency personnel and another client’s name was on the document.”
Dungarvin Minnesota operates the facility and has had its correction plan accepted by the state. The facility operators said they taken the incident very seriously and made changes including having separate binders on hand with each client’s information, and not a shared binder. Staff has been educated regarding DNR orders and giving accurate information to emergency responders. [Source: Star Tribune]