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March 2014

Medicaid is vital to the health and well-being of many Nebraskans with disabilities. But this program is often misunderstood. We invite Nebraskans with disabilities and parents having children with special healthcare needs to attend "Medicaid Works" -a free advocacy training.  Learn how you can help take action to replace the harmful misconceptions with a positive understanding of Medicaid in Nebraska.

Professional advocacy experts and experienced self-advocates will:

  • Highlight past victories and current opportunities in Medicaid and related programs.
  • Show you how to tell your story to help strengthen and protect Medicaid and other programs, policies and practices to improve the lives of Nebraskans with disabilities.

Trained respite providers will offer FREE CHILDCARE to all parents

 who register by April 1st.


Learn more about this training by clicking here or register at: neappl.es/april12training


 If you have any questions about the training or need help registering, please contact Trisha Thompson at tthompson@neappleseed.org or 402-438-8853 ext. 105.


Katie Beckett and her family are featured in the picture above. Katie, and her mother Julie are credited with moving Medicaid to be more 'home and community based.'  Learn more about her story here.

kristin   An Internship for "Family"

For the past four years, Munroe-Meyer has offered a paid traineeship for family members. Recognizing the role that family-members play in the lives of individuals with disabilities, the Association of University Centers for Disabilities (AUCD) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau's LEND (Leadership and Excellence in Neurodevelopmental and other Disabilities) promotes the model of "family as discipline;" recognizing the unique role that family members play in decision-making, care-giving and advocacy. This internship offers the opportunity for the family trainee to enhance their leadership skills, become familiar with key disability policies and legislation at the state and national level, network with other disability organizations in the state, and learn to work as part of an interdisciplinary team. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Mark Smith at 402-559-5744 or at msmitha@unmc.edu

 What Would You Do Just to Get to Work?

There are often barriers for individuals with disabilities who want to work. These include income caps without the loss of other needed benefits, reliable and accessible transportation and lack of employers willing to hire an individual with a disability. Recently, a local news station ran a story of a remarkable woman determined to work. Click on the photo on the left to hear her story. Then click on the photo at the right to hear about the life-changing generosity of a complete stranger after her story aired.


The Omaha Respite Network

Nebraska's Respite Coordinators work to help pair caregivers to respite providers. The program offers services to families and individuals across the lifespan. Currently, Respite Coordinator, Kay Sharples is seeking individuals who live in the Douglas and Sarpy county area to join the network as Respite Providers. This is a great way to earn extra income, provide a break for a caregiver and also add additional experience to your resume. She strives to successfully 'match' families to providers. For more information about this opportunity or to see if your family would qualify for Respite go here or contact Kay directly at 402-996-8444 or kaysharples10@gmail.com

 March is Developmental Disabilities Month

To celebrate developmental disabilities month, The Arc is asking individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families to go out in public and do something fun on March 29th. The goal is to raise awareness and "make some noise" about developmental disabilities. Learn more about this initiative here. Find out about The Arc of Nebraska and their projects and initiatives here.      

Transparency on Quality and Cost of Healthcare

California's Health Insurance Exchange rates insurance plans by assigning them a 'star.' The ratings are based on customers satisfaction of quality and cost. California is among the first to provide this rating system, which will be required by all state exchanges in 2016. The ratings are based on health plan members' reports with their experiences in access to treatments and tests; customer service; and the quality of medical care. For more information, check out this article featured in Kaiser Health News.                                                                             *Source: Kaiser Health

Training on Behavior Supports and More

The Nebraska Division of Developmental Disabilities and Omni Behavioral Health are providing a series of free workshops featuring nationally recognized, behaviorist, Tom Pomeranz.  The target audiences include families of children with developmental disabilities across the lifespan, educators, clinicians and anyone wanting additional information about best practices in building "positive behavioral supports." Check out this link for info on the series of trainings which will be offered across the state in the next few months. 


 Sign up for Health Insurance by March 31st

"In Nebraska, a family of four could pay as little as $113 per month for health coverage. A 27-year-old could pay as little as $98 per month."

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)


 Learn more about Nebraska's marketplace by:

New Regs for Home and Community Based Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released new regulations for long-term care services and supports. The new regulations require that there be an individualized needs assessment and a more 'person-centered' process to determine the individual preferences for inclusion in the community. The Association of University Centers for Disabilities recently issued a press release and also an issue brief on these changes. For more information, check out these resources.


*In the February edition of the "MMI Update," we incorrectly stated that NFL Seahawks' player, Derrick Coleman made history by becoming the first deaf player in NFL history. We were corrected by Nebraska Husker fans who reminded us that Kenny Walker - a 1991 Nebraska draft pick for the Denver Broncos - was also deaf. For more about these inspirational stories, go here.  Click on the photo above to hear more on how Coleman's parents taught him to advocate for himself.

 For Help Navigating Systems and Information: 

 Contact our family support coordinators:


Mark Smith

402-559-5744 or




Sarah Swanson

402-559-4573 or


The Munroe-Meyer Institute is a University Center of Excellence committed to unlocking the potential of children and adults with developmental disabilities and genetic disorders through exceptional patient care, education and research.  

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*This newsletter is intended for informational purposes and does not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Nebraska.

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Other Statewide Resources:


A statewide resource for parents of children with disabilities or special healthcare needs to have the capacity to improve their child's education and health. Click here for their upcoming trainings and events.




This is the federally-funded Protection and Advocacy Organinization for Nebraska.

They protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and their families. Check out what they are doing by going here. 





O Hana Kids  

This is a statewide newsletter that promotes and disseminates information and events to families that have children with disabilities and  special healthcare needs. Go here for more info. 






Necesidad de traduccion al espanol?  1-800-656-3937 ext. 9-5815