Happy Twenty-Third Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act!
July 26 marked the anniversary of this landmark legislation. Are you taking action to make your community more accessible to all citizens?
Despite the legislature’s vote to approve and expand coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act up to 138% FPL, Governor LePage vetoed the measure and the legislature was short votes to over-ride it. The chapter will continue to partner with the Cover Maine Now! Coalition to pursue expansion. The legislature preserved funding and eligibility in the state budget for Maine’s Low Cost Drug Program for the Elderly and Disabled (DEL). There have been some modifications regarding asset tests to the Maine Medicare Savings Program.
Tune in to the new Biddeford Community Access TV show hosted by MS chapter board of trustee and government relations chair Bob Picone. The weekly show debuts in early August with a focus on health related matters. For more info go to biddefordmaine.org.
The FY’14 state budget includes level funding for the line item that contains language that funds the chapter’s Home LINKS program. We will soon know if the Department of Public Health will continue to fund the program at last year’s level. Anyone who has encountered physical barriers in medical offices or diagnostic equipment is encouraged to share their story with the chapter as we advocate for consistent standards in medical settings. Contact Virginia.Morse@nmss.org.
The Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Coalition (MLRC) is hosting the National Lifespan Respite Conference in Boston on October 15-17, 2013. If you are a caregiver for a loved one with MS and would like to learn about support systems and resources, please go to massrespite.org for the details regarding this event.
Despite a tremendous effort by coalition activists, the legislative proposal to allow NH to pursue Medicaid expansion up to 138% under the Affordable Care Act was defeated and sent to an appointed study commission. The House voted favorably, but not the Senate. Governor Hassan supports the expansion. The study will be completed in October. HB462 to provide a consumer friendly review process for durable medical equipment under the Medicaid program was continued until January. The state Health Care Exchange launches January 1, 2014 per the Affordable Care Act. Check out your best options for coverage!
Recognition for improving New Hampshire parking access granted, but self-advocacy needed
Congratulations to Chapter Board of Trustee member Ken Jones and Guy Woodland, NH Association for the Blind, for receiving an Honorable Mention in the 2013 NH Governor’s Accessibility Award, project category. Both activists partnered with the Lions Club International to promote and install Access Aisle “No Parking” signs. The signs were designed by the DMV with input from MS Activist Judy Hallam. NH laws already require no parking in the striped access aisle space, but these signs serve as a reminder not to park in or block this space impeding access to drivers and their vehicles.
Are there access aisles in your community frequently blocked? Urge private or municipal officials to purchase and install these signs. Signs are (12” x 18”): $23.40 each or six for $15.82. Posts: 10 ft - $28.40 or 12 ft - $34.08. To order call the DOC sign shop at 603-271-1874.
Chapter priority legislation S.88 was enacted into law to create a state pilot program to test telemedicine protocols administered outside a medical setting. The goal is to provide even greater access to care for people in rural and underserved areas.
MS activists participated in a gala for the 23rd signing of the ADA in Burlington. MS activists continue to participate in efforts through the Burlington Advisory Committee on Accessibility and applaud progress to date.
In 2012, MS activists sent tens of thousands of emails, placed hundreds of phone calls, and made hundreds of in-person visits to members of Congress asking for their support on issues important to people with multiple sclerosis and their families. And now there are more ways for MS activists to connect—online.
Digital MS activists—like all MS activists—want to drive change and do so by amplifying their voice and connecting with elected officials over social media.
At www.nationalMSsociety.org/digiMSactivist, learn how to share your story, connect with other MS activists and build relationships through social media and email. The webpage includes ways to:
- Get informed. Become part of the MS Activist Network. Receive e-newsletters and Action Alerts about important pieces of legislation. Send emails with a few clicks of your mouse.
- Rise up. Learn where your elected officials stand. Speak out on issues important to you as a person affected by MS.
- Take Action. Build relationships with elected officials by posting on and liking their social media pages and by thanking them on Facebook or Twitter for their supportive actions.
- Recruit. Encourage others to join the movement by directing them to our video at ntl.ms/YouCanBeAnMSActivist, or to www.nationalMSsociety.org/digiMSactivist.
Become a digital MS activist and help shape the conversations today that will drive change tomorrow—we promise you, people will listen!
Advocacy solutions for issues confronting people with MS require the National MS Society to build and maintain relationships with top community leaders, elected officials, and decision makers who can help us efficiently achieve our goals at the highest point of contact. A “grasstop” volunteer is a person who has a significant level of connection with a local, state or federal legislator or official, an individual serving at a key government agency, or an influential staff person, and is willing to leverage these connections to advance MS priorities. If you are an MS Grasstop, please contact email@example.com or 781-693-5140.
Are you a person with MS or have a connection to the disease? Do you have professional expertise in the area of law, medicine, disability, fundraising, policy, or community organizing? Do you have a commitment to working towards achieving short and long-term goals? Are you willing to speak before government officials, at public hearings, or with the media? Are you committed to working as a team and working on projects? If any of these describe you, contact Michelle.Dickson@nmss.org.