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Good News Report
DRLC Newsletter

Friday, March 11, 2011

DRLC Takes Action to Save a Program for Teenagers
Who Are Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing


GLAD logo
GLAD logo

The Disability Rights Legal Center has filed a lawsuit against the Director of the California Department of Public Health and the Coordinator for the California Office of Family Planning, among other defendants, on behalf of Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. (GLAD), an organization representing the deaf and/or hard of hearing community in Southern California. For sixteen years, GLAD has operated a teen pregnancy prevention program for youth who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. The program is supported by grant funds distributed through the public agencies named above. This past year, the agencies instituted new requirements that make it nearly impossible for the organization to obtain funding for its longtime program. In the complaint, filed March 2, DRLC argues that these requirements violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, the U.S. Constitution, corresponding state claims, the California Administrative Procedure Act, and requests declaratory and injunctive relief. 

CLRC: Medicare Should Cover Women at High Risk of Cancer

On Friday, March 4, the Cancer Legal Resource Center sent a letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The letter asks Health and Human Services to address a detrimental coverage gap in the Medicare system for women at high risk for cancer. Currently, surgery for a prophylactic mastectomy is not a covered benefit for Medicare recipients. Additionally, there is no pre-approval system for determining whether Medicare will cover a recommended prophylactic procedure before it takes place. This practice makes it very difficult for women with a high risk of developing breast cancer, to decide whether to elect this expensive, but potentially life-saving treatment without assurance that the costs will be reimbursed by Medicare. Therefore, the CLRC is looking into ways to close this important coverage gap to increase access to preventative services for those with a genetic predisposition for cancer. The letter was written by Anya Prince, Skadden Fellow at the Cancer Legal Resource Center, as part of her fellowship addressing the legal concerns of individuals with genetic predispositions for cancer.

CLRC Attorney Advocates for Cancer Detection Program  


Jamie Ledezma, Cancer Legal Resource Center Staff Attorney, joined breast cancer survivors and advocates from across California in Sacramento on March 9, to urge lawmakers to continue funding Every Woman Counts. This state program provides vital breast cancer screening for uninsured and underinsured women. Advocates are concerned because the California Department of Public Health closed the program for 11 months during 2010. "We fully understand the tough economic situation our elected leaders face and the difficult choices they must make," said Ms. Ledezma, who is also the Chair of the Komen California Collaborative. "It's important to remember that early detection through regular cancer screening is a key to surviving breast cancer. For many women, the state's screening program ensures that a lost job or lost insurance doesn't result in a lost life."

Making the Streets Safer for People with Disabilities

Los Angeles' Skid Row

Los Angeles' Skid Row

Photo by Jorobeq at en.wikipedia

Margaret Mitchell, Steven Washington, Mohammad Usman Chaudhry are a few individuals with autism, developmental, and/or mental disabilities that have died in recent years at the hands of Los Angeles Police Department officers. In response to these tragedies, advocates for the homeless and disability community are pressuring the police department to deploy more SMART teams. Each SMART, or Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team, is made up of one police officer and one mental health clinician from the Los Angeles County's Department of Mental Health. Their goal is to reduce potential violence and share information about mental health services. At the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners meeting on March 8, Sri Panchalam, a Loyola Public Interest Fellow and DRLC attorney, argued for the deployment of more SMART teams in Central City East, which includes Skid Row. Los Angeles' Skid Row has the largest homeless population in the nation and nearly half of the community in Skid Row has been diagnosed with mental illness. There are only six to eight SMART teams for all of Los Angeles. "For both the safety of individuals with autism, developmental, and mental disabilities, as well as responding police officers, who are often unequipped to deal with the demands of such encounters, we request that the number of SMART Teams be greatly increased in the city of Los Angeles, and particularly in the Skid Row area where the need is the greatest," Ms. Panchalam stated at the hearing.

DRLC Holds Disability Rights Trainings in Orange County


John Longoria, DRLC Community Outreach Program Director, conducted an Americans with Disabilities Act Training at the Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency in the city of Orange on March 3. The presentation was directed at students who are completing their studies to become Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors. DRLC Outreach Coordinator Maggie Hui conducted a "Health Care Access Rights" training for Chinese parents of children with disabilities in Anaheim on February 26, and Mr. Longoria conducted one for a group of 30 individuals with fibromyalgia at Kaiser Hospital in Anaheim on February 24. The trainings help people with disabilities by teaching them how to overcome physical, programmatic and attitudinal barriers that they may face in obtaining health care coverage and services. Learn more about the OC Health Care Access Project.

Webinar Helps Cancer Community With Legal Issues


Shawn Kravich, staff attorney for the Cancer Legal Resource Center, facilitated a webinar and teleconference with the American Cancer Society on Wednesday, March 2. The interactive program, called "I Can Cope" helped California patients and caregivers navigate federal and state laws on health insurance, employment, and financial matters. Participants of the program were able to directly ask questions throughout the event and received immediate explanations of relevant laws and resources that could resolve their cancer-related legal issues.

Save The Date

Hold Saturday Night July 23 for 'Casino Angeleno'


The Cancer Legal Resource Center's Casino Night event is back by popular demand! The CLRC will be hosting its "Casino Angeleno" summer event on Saturday, July 23, 2011. Set on the rooftop deck of the Petersen Automotive Museum, with the Hollywood Hills as a spectacular backdrop, guests will enjoy a starry, summer night of guilt-free gaming, music and prizes. Proceeds will benefit the CLRC. For sponsorship opportunities, click here to download the sponsorship packet, or contact Joanna Morales at joanna.morales@lls.edu. Event details will be posted at www.cancerlegalresourcenter.org in March

Special Education Advocacy Academy on Saturday, March 26


The academy will cover learning disabilities, special education law, Individual Education Programs (IEP's), Section 504, and DRLC services. Each academy is an interactive one-day course that includes question-and-answer sessions. Participants receive a free copy of our Education Advocacy Manual and a Certificate of Completion. Academies will be presented in English and Spanish (Espaņol). Proporcionamos servicios legales en Espaņol. The academy costs $10 but no one will be turned away because they cannot pay. Those who want to attend must RSVP by Wednesday, March 23. Space is limited to 20 participants per academy. To sign up, request accommodations, or for more information, contact us at (213) 736-1447 or DRLC@lls.edu. The academy is held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (snacks and lunch will be provided) at Founders Hall, Room 236, Disability Rights Legal Center, Loyola Law School, 919 Albany Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Parking is available in the Loyola Law School parking lot ($3 for the day), and on the street around the law school. Upcoming academies will be held Saturday, June 25 (RSVP by Wednesday, June 22); Saturday, August 6 (RSVP by Wednesday, August 3); Saturday, October 15 (RSVP by Wednesday, October 12).
DRLC Offers Free Legal Clinic in Orange County


Photo of Dayle McIntosh Center
Dayle McIntosh Center

To better serve residents of Orange County, DRLC Community Outreach Program staff will hold office hours on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Dayle McIntosh Center in Garden Grove. That means this month we will host office hours at the center on March 23. Come meet our staff and learn about laws protecting the civil rights of those with disabilities, and services available them, including health care, special education, government services and more. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Maggie Hui at (213) 736-1408 or Maggie.hui@lls.edu. Video TDD (213) 736-8310; Video Relay Number (866) 912-8193. The Dayle McIntosh Center is located at 13272 Garden Grove Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA 92843-2205.


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DRLC Staff Photo August 2010
Disability Rights Legal Center Staff Photo August 2010