Satoshi is a young child who comes from a monolingual Japanese-speaking family. His parents applied for Medi-Cal on his behalf. The application was denied multiple times due to errors and incorrect information. OCRA appealed all of the notices and contacted the Medi-Cal eligibility worker to correct the errors and misinformation that had triggered the denials of eligibility. Within a week, Satoshi received his notice of eligibility and Medi-Cal card. Satoshi is now able to access the Medi-Cal therapy services he needs.
Hector has Medi-Cal through a managed care plan (MCP). Hector’s doctor requested a speech-generating device for him, which the MCP denied. OCRA researched Hector’s right to have Medi-Cal fund the speech device and advised his mother to file an appeal. OCRA negotiated with the MCP to determine which speech device would be appropriate to meet Hector’s needs. After many conversations with Hector’s educational speech and language pathologist and the MCP hearing representative, the MCP agreed to fund an iPad with the appropriate software to meet Hector’s needs.
Tomas is 61 years old and has profound intellectual disability. He does not speak, but communicates through his behavior. Tomas does not have any family or friends involved in his life and does not have a conservator appointed by the court. Tomas had lived in a developmental center for more than 55 years, since he was five years old. His transfer to a less restrictive community group home setting was well-planned with considerable cross-training between the developmental center staff and the group home to ensure staff understood Tomas’s behavior and could provide appropriate services.
After several years of successfully targeting Spanish-speaking parent groups, the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) that serves Regional Center of the East Bay (RCEB) consumers turned its attention to the Asian-American community, which is unfortunately underrepresented. OCRA set out with an ambitious goal to work with a local parent support group called Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN) to do three different trainings within a three-month period.
A wonderful turn out of individuals from all over California and even a few from North Dakota came to enjoy the beautiful weather to celebrate the Native American culture on the Big Sandy Tribal Reservation Land in Auberry, CA.
Vietnamese-Speaking Families gathered at a local community church in Orange County to learn about “Your IPP Rights.” The Outreach Unit teamed up with staff from the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) to provide one-on-one legal assistance to the 17 Vietnamese-speaking families that came to hear about regional center services.
Disability Rights California confirmed a pattern of excessive and abusive restraint practices at a large locked nursing home serving individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Most of the residents lacked insight into their serious condition and were placed at the facility by publicly appointed conservators or the courts. Several years earlier, Disability Rights California had negotiated an access agreement with the facility’s corporate entity when denied access to records and residents after receiving numerous reports and then witnessing incidents of resident abuse.
Disability Rights California have investigated squalid conditions at a number of unlicensed room and board homes serving adults with psychiatric disabilities across the state. One provider in San Bernardino County was housing residents with psychiatric disabilities in chicken coops which had been converted into barracks-style housing. Residents were using buckets as toilets. Meals, cooked in a makeshift open-air “M.A.S.H. type” kitchen, were served to residents on outdoor picnic tables, rain or shine.
DRC’s IU staff monitored the use of restraint and seclusion practices, as well as the pattern of aggressive acts and serious incidents, at state hospitals. DRC reviewed and analyzed data pertaining to: the use of restraint and seclusion on patients; restraint/seclusion related injuries to staff and patients; injuries to patients and staff from patient aggressive acts; restraint or seclusion injuries or deaths reported to DRC; and other serious incidents suggestive of criminal abuse reported to DRC (unexpected/suspicious deaths, sexual assault allegations involving staff, physical abuse reported by staff that was in turn reported to local law enforcement).
Marianna, a university student, had been unable to obtain the accommodations she needed, including a note taker for her class, working elevators, and a table in each classroom to accommodate her wheelchair. She contacted DRC for assistance.
Ava is a person with a mental health disability who is a client of the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). She has an employment goal of becoming a human services worker, and is in the process of completing her college degree. Due to her disability, she requires an individually trained service dog that performs tasks to prevent her anxiety symptoms from causing her emotional distress during stressful situations.
DRC collaborated with the Riverside County Elections staff on a voting rights training at the Riverside Easter Seals Office. The training was for participants of their Adult Day Program.
Nevada County is implementing the Voter’s Choice Act. The elections staff had already held the required consultation meeting with the disability community about the Election Administration Plan. That meeting went well but we thought the disability community needed another opportunity to meet prior to the larger public consultation meeting scheduled for the following week.
A VAAC is a community-based committee that works with local elections officials. The committee meets regularly to help develop strategies to improve access to voting.