hipnews Winter 2008 Edition
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hip Members Graduate from CERT Class
hip is A Partner in the Connection
From the ADVOCATE’S DESK by Nancy Hodgins
hip Welcomes Intern
A Warm Welcome to Hudson hip’s Newest Staff Member
Bergen hip Welcomes New Staff Member
Donations Wanted
hip hip Hooray
MTS has an Exceptional 2007
We Mourn…
Annual Meeting Held in Secaucus
2008 hip Membership
Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) Parent Seminars
Kudos to a Successful Self-Advocate
It’s Back to School Night for Bergen YES!
Bergen hip Hosts Students for Disability Mentoring
Mark Your Calendar
Reuse of Assistive Techology Makes Common Sense
Ways to Give to hip
HIP Dinner Dance
A Holiday Tradition Continues
hip Holiday Party a Dancing Success
At The Rainbow’s End…
hip Programs
Why are People in Nursing Facilities?
SAIL Update
Statewide Independent Living Council Seeks Members
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- hipnews Winter 2008 Edition Text Version -

  hip Members Graduate from CERT Class
 On December 12th 20 participants graduated from the first Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) in New Jersey specifically targeted for people with disabilities. The program was a collaborative effort between hip, the Bergen County Division on Disability Services and Spectrum for Living. The Bergen County Office of Emergency Management provided an eight-week training in proper emergency response procedures. Seven hip members participated in the class and received hands-on experience in dealing with potential emergencies. Perhaps the most exciting day occurred at the Bergen County Fire Academy, where everyone had an opportunity to learn the proper use of a fire extinguisher.

The graduation ceremonies featured remarks by Lieutenant Dwane Razzetti, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator, County of Bergen, and other dignitaries. Everyone left with an array of equipment which can be used in case of an emergency. Participant and hip member Michael Augustowicz stated, “The class showed how people with different abilities can be of assistance to people in their communities.”

With the lessons learned in the class, Michael has begun working with neighbors in his building to develop an Emergency Response Plan. He intends to enroll in additional Emergency Management courses and plans to meet with his town’s Emergency Management Coordinator in the near future.
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  hip is A Partner in the Connection
 New Jersey’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection initiative (ADRC) is coming to Bergen County. The ADRC is part of a national initiative to improve the delivery of information about available services to the disabled and senior communities. The purpose of the ADRC is to coordinate information and assistance in one place so that people with disabilities, seniors, and caregivers may obtain services more easily.

hip, in collaboration with the Bergen County Divisions of Disability Services and Senior Services and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Health and Senior Services, is looking forward to its role as a key player in implementing the ADRC in Bergen County.

hip Care Managers will work in partnership with the ADRC to provide people with disabilities and seniors with timely assistance in accessing available services.

Bergen County welcomes the ADRC, which is now operational throughout seven counties. During 2009 the initiative will expand to include the full state.
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  From the ADVOCATE’S DESK by Nancy Hodgins
 In 2007, several U.S. Supreme Court decisions were expected to deal with discrimination against persons with disabilities. The disability community had high hopes that these decisions would help to solidify and strengthen the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Instead, a majority of the Supreme Court justices interpreted the ADA in a way that was never intended by those who wrote or adopted this trailblazing legislation more than 17 years ago.

The Court’s decisions attacked the broad scope of protection afforded persons with disabilities. The overriding question is: “What did Congress really intend when they enacted the ADA?” At issue is the controversy about the very definition of the term “disability.” The Court ruled that if a person with a disability can “mitigate the effects of their impairments through the use of such measures as medication and assistive devices,” then they are not considered to have a “disability” for the purposes of the ADA. As a result, they do not qualify for ADA protection even if it can be shown that they have been discriminated against because of a known or perceived disability. The Court’s rulings strike at the very heart of the ADA.

The ADA was passed in 1990 to provide a “clear and comprehensive mandate for the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities.” However, the lack of specific wording in the Act created an opportunity for the Court to chip away at major provisions of the ADA. If the ADA loses the power to provide justice to those with disabilities who face discrimination, our hopes for obtaining a truly integrated society will remain an elusive dream. Fortunately, a significant number of legislators and advocates are committed to restoring the original intent of the ADA.

New legislation has been proposed to clarify that ADA protection is available to all individuals who are subjected to adverse treatment based on “actual or perceived impairment, a record of such an impairment or adversely affected by prejudiced attitudes, such as myths, fears, ignorance, or stereotypes concerning disability or particular disabilities, or by the failure to remove societal and institutional barriers.” This legislation would ensure that individuals with disabilities would not be excluded by such mitigating factors as cited in the recent decisions by the Court.

The proposed “ADA Restoration Act of 2007” (H.R. 3195 in the House and its companion bill S.1881 in the Senate) is the direct result of this effort. The goal of the ADA Restoration Act is to provide a “clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination and clear strong enforceable standards addressing discrimination.”

Support for this corrective effort has grown considerably and quickly. In the House of Representatives, the new bill has a total (at our last count) of 241 sponsors, 11 of whom are from New Jersey. As of this writing, however, the Senate version of the bill has not been sponsored by either senator from the State of New Jersey.

Restoring and clarifying the intent and protections of the original Americans with Disabilities Act is perhaps the most pivotal issue for those with disabilities. Make your voices heard by contacting all your federal legislators, both in the Senate and the House. Tell them to sponsor and support the ADA Restoration Act.
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  hip Welcomes Intern
 Last October, Christina Tattoli attended Disability Mentoring Day at hip, along with several other students from area high schools. The idea behind Disability Mentoring Day is to educate young adults with disabilities about some of the career opportunities that are available to them.

Chris was inspired by her visit to pursue an internship at Bergen hip. She works two afternoons per week assisting hip staff with general office administration, including labeling and mailing cassettes to people with visual impairments and assembling information packets. Chris’s internship is under the auspices of the South Bergen Jointure Commission job-training program. She is a junior at the Commission’s Middle/High School in Lyndhurst. Her brother Lorenzo is a graduate of Bergen hip’s YES! program.

Chris said this about her internship experience: “It shows me what working in the real world is all about. This is a new experience for me. I am learning a lot, and the people at hip are really nice.”

In her spare time, Chris is a music fan. Her favorite groups are Bon Jovi and the Backstreet Boys.
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  A Warm Welcome to Hudson hip’s Newest Staff Member
 Hudson hip is pleased to welcome Mercy Pena who began working as an Independent Living Specialist in November. Mercy was born in Ecuador and moved to Jersey City at the age of 13. She now resides in Kearny with her husband, Vinnie. Mercy’s position at hip is only one of many new things in her life. Her granddaughter, Amanda, was born two days before she started working at hip, and, within the past six months, she began volunteering as a member of Kearny’s Domestic Violence Services Team.

When Mercy isn’t busy spending quality time with Amanda or providing support and referrals to survivors of domestic violence, she enjoys traveling or shooting a challenging game of pool.

We look forward to working with Mercy and we know that she will do a wonderful job of assisting Hudson County residents to achieve their independent living goals.
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  Bergen hip Welcomes New Staff Member
 Alicia Freda has joined hip as the coordinator of the Caregiver Assistance and Support Program (CASP). She was born and raised in Lyndhurst, where she still resides. Alicia graduated with honors from Queen of Peace High School and studied ballet and jazz for seven years. She also played basketball, soccer and softball.

Alicia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Seton Hall University (2005), and is planning to return to school to obtain her Master’s Degree in Social Work. Eventually, she intends to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Alicia originally wanted to be a psychologist, but once she took a social work class, she knew that that was what she wanted to do. She stated, “Being a social worker, although stressful at times, is extremely rewarding. It is a good feeling to go home and know that what I do helps people.”

In her spare time (when she has any), Alicia enjoys traveling (most recently to Mexico) and swimming.
For more information about the CASP program, you may contact Alicia at Bergen hip, Ext. 23.
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  Donations Wanted
 hip member Michael Augustowicz, a former resident of Bergen Regional Medical Center, is requesting donations to improve recreational activities for current residents. Wanted, new or used, are board games, video games, and table games. You can drop them off at the main lobby of Bergen Regional Medical Center, 230 East Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus, through March 15th.
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  hip hip Hooray
 We are pleased to announce the engagement of Anne Ciavaglia and Brendan McMahon. After a long and stellar career in government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector, Anne was just elected to hip’s Board of Trustees and has developed and implemented the “New Journey” program.
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  MTS has an Exceptional 2007
 hip’s Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS) transcribes print material into Braille, large print and audiocassette. Hundreds of thousands of pages of Braille and large print were produced this year, and approximately 8,000 audiocassettes were duplicated.

Since 1994, MTS has expanded its emphasis from transcribing conference materials, bills and other individual items to converting textbooks into Braille. To date 424 textbooks have been produced. During the past year, 47 new textbooks were transcribed and orders were received for 81 duplicate copies. 

MTS now has a team of 11 Braille transcribers who are certified by the Library of Congress. These dedicated individuals enable students from kindergarten through high school to have access to Braille material, and work diligently to ensure that students receive their books in a timely manner along with their sighted peers.

Our transcribers collectively have over 100 years of experience in the production of Braille. They have produced Braille from second grade primers to history, science, algebra, calculus, geometry and foreign languages.

The transcribers live in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas and Virginia, and through the use of computers, transcribe Braille off-site and send it to MTS where production takes place.

The textbooks they have transcribed have been distributed to 31 states across the country. The largest number of requests for Braille textbooks has come from Florida, Kentucky, New York, and most recently, Tennessee.

Our interpoint embosser, which produces Braille on both sides of the page, condenses the otherwise voluminous books that students receive.

The fees generated by MTS are used to supplement the continuing expansion of our Centers for Independent Living.
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  We Mourn…
 The death of hip member Sonia Rose on December 12th after a short illness. Sonia was a woman of strength, dignity and generosity. A longtime supporter of hip, she requested that donations be made to hip in her memory.
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  Annual Meeting Held in Secaucus
 On November 13, 2007 hip’s Annual Meeting was held at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel in Secaucus. The evening’s guest speaker was James J. Weisman, Esq., General Counsel of the United Spinal Association. Mr. Weisman spoke of the reasons why the ADA Restoration Act was proposed and the challenges faced by advocates trying to secure the passage of the act by the U.S. Congress in 2008 (Editor’s Note: For more about the ADA Restoration Act see “From the Advocate’s Desk” column in this issue).

The results of the yearly hip Board elections were also announced. Anne Ciavaglia was elected to the Board. The following persons were re-elected to the Board: Lillian Ciufo, Michael R. Dressler, Esq., Betty A. Fetzer, Lisa Firko, Esq., Jean Csaposs, and Louis G. Intorre. Joan Bermingham was re-elected as Board Secretary.

A complete list of hip’s Board of Trustees is noted elsewhere in this newsletter.
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  2008 hip Membership
 We at hip welcome all our new and returning members and thank them for their support.

Tamalia Abrams Miriam Abrams-Arnold Todd Adams Shawn Albright
Ivis Alvarez Kevin Angelini & family Michael Augustowicz Leslie Balter
Tina Barbulean Barbara Banta Linda Barr Megan Barron & family
Walter Bartolomucci, Jr. Deborah Bauman-Dasilva Annie G. Been Carrie Belfiore
Thomas Bengaff Gilbert Benson Joan Bermingham Mr. & Mrs. Darrell Bethea*
Janice & Vince Blehl Paula Bloom Thomas Bodenburg Jerry Bojko
Gail Braun Dr. Sue Breckwoldt Ellen Brockmann Lilith Bryant
Kathy BuschanMr. & Mrs. George BullerdickMary R. BurkeTerri & Christine Calautti
Tonielle CardinalleTrish CarneyTom & Susan CarneySusan P. Carter
Frank CerboneKay Chase*Mr. & Mrs. R. CicconeLillian Ciufo
David Clark & FamilyElizabeth Cohen HittnerPatricia ConsiglioJames Corbett
Sonia CordovaJean Csaposs*Cathy DeatsThomas DeGise
John-Michael Della Valle & familyRalph M. DeSimoneJohn C. DeWitt*Anthony Dinaro
Donald DischJosephine DonalsonJames DoughertyBarbara Dublin*
J. Robert Duffy*Dennis DusevicGeorge O. Dyer IIIAustin Epstein
Anne FactorAnthony FavoritoGeorge V. FedorEdward Fedush
Glenn P. FeinbergBetty Fetzer*Lisa Firko, Esq.Kurt Fischer
Thomas Franco & familyChristine FranzAlicia FredaBeverly Frost
Gerardine GalvinGlenn GardnerDavid & Rose Ann GarippaAlan & Lynn Gold
Marily GonzalezNatalie Glicksman*Eileen Goff*Shirley Green
Diana GuerreroMary Jo Hackett+Christopher HallMaxcine Halliburton
Harries familyEdward J. HeatonNancy L. HenryAnita W. Hernandez
Julie HobartNancy & Leonard HodginsRichard Hodgman, C.P.A.+Louis Intorre
Lois JacobsJay & Ruth JaniecSue JohnsenCharles Johnsen
Theresa JohnstonNancy JudgeRosemarie KasperGerri Kearns
Stefanie KeiserMichelle Keller & familyLorraine KendelTimothy Kerr
Joan F. Klug*Jeanne LaraiaVirginia L. LaughlinSusan Lee
Janet LeveneMarie C. LewisGloria LiebersteinJudith Liebman
Roy Lippin*Ralph LombardiJoyce & Leonard Malech*Janet C. Marcus
Ralph MarinoHelen MarshallMichael MartucciWilliam Matthews
Fran McLeanRichard McDuffie, Jr.Ann Melone*Luis M. Mendez
Lisa H. MillerNancy Oliver MitchellLucia MontalvoNicholas W. Moreth, Jr.
John Mulholland & familyLouise MurgiaErnestine MurphAnna P. Navatta, Esq.
Martha NebelingHelen NonasHyacinthe NkurunzizaMr. & Mrs. Erich Odenheim
George OlivaresMario OlivaresMargaret PapageorgiouChris Paraskevacos
Ji Hyeoe (Jennifer) ParkAndrew PecorellaAdor M. PeraltaJ.S. Perlman & Co.+
Lucille PetersonUrsula Pico & familyDr. Sandra Ruth PinkertonMichael J. Pfeifer
Steven Polse & familyAnne Marie PrendergastNoel PrussackMr. & Mrs. Thomas Rager
David Reiter & familyJoseph & Denise RevelloCourtney Riley & familySandra A. Robinson
Jamee RomanoRosemarie RoseSonia RosePamela Rostoczynski & family
Christopher RussoEric Rypkema & familyNita SalilengGladys San Antonio
Sherry SchulzMrs. Jack Schwartz*Barbara & Stephanie SeidRoy Sierssen
Andy SkeaLynn SmithMaria E. SmithFrank & Joan Solensky
Dan Stenchever of Proforma+Marlene StephensSusan L. StilesJo Ann Struzienski
Mary & Anthony TobiaMr. & Mrs. Drew ThomsonJanet Tolliver/Joseph MoleeAhmad Toney
Angela & Andrea TorresElizabeth UngerDanny Vaca & familyLauren Valenta
Joe ValentiMaria ValentinMarianne VallsSusan & Daniel Vanino
Ron VidaIbet VillaRoberta (Bobbi) Wailes*Larry & Paula Walsh
Senator Loretta WeinbergVirginia Flynn WilliamsWarren WilliamsRichard S. Wolfman*
Kathleen WoodCarolyn E. R. Woodward*William D. H. Wright & familyMary & Anthony Yorio* Maureen Zurlo
Life Member*Corporate+ 
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  Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) Parent Seminars
 As students continue to attend self-advocacy sessions, several schools have recognized the importance of explaining to parents what services are available to students and their families.

Hudson hip’s Independent Living Transition Coordinator, Marian Padilla, was invited to present an overview of the YES! program to students and their families.

School districts may choose different times of the school year to host their parent night.

A workshop early in the school year serves as an opportunity to introduce parents to the self-advocacy training sessions that their children may attend throughout the school year.

A workshop held midway through the school year assists parents to address any of their questions about their child’s Individual Education Plan. A workshop held at the close of the school year provides an opportunity to plan activities for the upcoming year.

Marian has attended many PTA meetings to describe the services provided by hip and has also familiarized parents with agencies such as the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network and United Cerebral Palsy, among others.

The Parent Advocacy Transition Handbook (PATH), distributed at these meetings, summarizes helpful parent information and has been very well received by both parents and school administrators.

For information regarding services available for students in Hudson County or to request a copy of the PATH guide, please contact Marian at Hudson hip.

During the past fiscal year, 102 students between 14 and 21 years of age received instruction in self-advocacy skill development, career exploration and independent living skills.

In addition, 770 young people received information about independent living services and the YES! program.
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  Kudos to a Successful Self-Advocate
 Julian Santos, who was a participant in the YES! program, had attended a segregated special education school since kindergarten. Julian planned to attend college, and felt that this segregated environment wasn’t challenging enough for him.

Upon completion of his junior year, Julian took the bold step of transferring to a mainstream high school to complete his secondary education. Along with the problems of transitioning to an inclusive environment, Julian also had to advocate for his goals with his parents.

One of his goals was to travel to and from school on public transit. Eventually, Julian and his parents reached a compromise. His parents agreed to drive him to school only in inclement weather. This was a major step toward self-sufficiency by Julian.

Julian is now attending Hudson County Community College where he is studying Accounting. He eventually intends to transfer to Montclair State University. Using public transit allows Julian more freedom of choice than using county paratransit services.

Julian requested the accommodations he requires in the classroom and has arranged his schedule so that he has adequate time between classes. He is also a member of the college’s activity planning committee, which provides plenty of opportunities for him to network with other students.

Julian realizes that the demands of college and the responsibilities of time management and independent decision-making are difficult and time consuming, but he is proud to be achieving his goals.

Congratulations Julian!
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  It’s Back to School Night for Bergen YES!
 Since the beginning of the school year, the YES! program has stepped up its efforts to reach out to parents of participating students.

These efforts have resulted in many productive presentations to parent groups affiliated with Bergen County schools. The goal in working with these groups has been to provide resource information directly to parents as well as helping families to make a more lasting connection to hip.

Meeting with parent organizations has allowed YES! to broaden its network of involved parents. Parents who are involved in more than one group have helped YES! connect to additional groups and individuals.

The opportunity to meet with parents during and after meetings has been immensely helpful. Parents were able to discuss situations specific to their children’s needs, and make arrangements to follow up via telephone or in person. In addition, some parents visited hip to learn about the services we offer.

Meeting with parents of students in schools has allowed Independent Living Transition Coordinator Andy Skea to fully develop the independent living skills of the students in the YES! program. Said Skea, “Among certain groups, I’ve definitely noticed better self-determination among students who had previously been deferential to their teachers and classmates. It is my sincere hope that these effects on students’ self-advocacy skills will be a lasting one.”
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  Bergen hip Hosts Students for Disability Mentoring
 On Wednesday, October 17th, hip hosted five students as part of National Disability Mentoring Day.

Students came from Ramapo High School and the South Bergen Jointure Commission’s Upper School and spent half of their school day at hip observing and being mentored by staff members.

They learned about the vast amount of information and referrals provided by the agency on a daily basis. In addition to conversations with a care manager, advocate, and peer support coordinator, students interacted with staff and learned more about their individual job responsibilities.

The culmination of the day was a lunch with the entire staff where some students shared their career aspirations.

hip’s Executive Director Eileen Goff said that “both the students and our staff enjoyed the experience of being involved in Disability Mentoring Day and we look forward to being a host site again next year.”
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  Mark Your Calendar
 The annual hip dinner dance will be held on Saturday, May 10th. This gala event is a wonderful evening of dining, dancing, entertainment, and much more. Watch for details in the next issue of hipNews!
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  Reuse of Assistive Techology Makes Common Sense
 Many people can’t get the AT they need because they can’t afford new devices and can’t get funding from private insurance or federal, state or local sources. People in need of AT may turn to AT reuse programs because these programs often do not have eligibility requirements.

In addition, used AT is generally more affordable, if not free. Pamphlets are available that provide information on Reuse Programs for Assistive Technologies.

The Internet offers a convenient way to find a wealth of information on assistive technologies and how to access reuse programs. Try going to Google. Type in “Reuse of Assistive Technologies.” (or just click on the words just to the left of here that say "Reuse of Assistive Technologies" - we've added a link directly to the search for you). You will be amazed at the amount of helpful resources available.
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  Ways to Give to hip
 In addition to always-welcome unrestricted gifts, hip suggests several channels of giving that may appeal to our friends. Such gifts can be made by VISA or Mastercard (minimum $30, please). Call hip at 201-996-9100 or give by e-mail: ber@hipcil.org.

Laura’s Legacy, a fund created by the hip Board in memory of the daughter of Board member Lillian Ciufo, helps a family or an individual in need as the occasion arises. Recipients are identified by hip staff and Board members. Laura Ciufo fully understood the concept of helping others. Her spirit continues to be with us as we assist others in her name.

Tribute Cards to extend best wishes or congratulations for happy events, or to express sympathy, are available at hip. Attractively designed on cream-colored stock with burgundy ink, the cards are personalized for you with the occasion or a brief tribute and the sender’s name.

A phone call and a contribution to hip will send your card on its way to an appreciative recipient.

United Way Contributions can be directed to hip, either through an employee program or independently. Just designate Heightened Independence and Progress as the recipient of your donation.

Gifts to hip should be sent to Eileen Goff, Executive Director, Heightened Independence & Progress, 131 Main Street, Suite 120, Hackensack, NJ 07601.
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  HIP Dinner Dance
 Saturday, May 10th

  • Great Food

  • Great Company

  • Come sing and dance the night away

  • DJ Gary Morton is Back

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  BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2007 – 2008

Helen Marshall

Anna P. Navatta, Esq.
1st Vice President

Richard Hodgman
2nd Vice President

John De Witt

Joan Bermingham

Thomas Bengaff • Nancy Carr
Lillian Ciufo • Anne Ciavaglia
Patricia Consiglio • Jean Fox Csaposs
Michael Dressler, Esq. • Betty A. Fetzer
Lisa Firko, Esq. • Louis Intorre
Roy Lippin • Hyacinthe Nkurunziza
Anne Marie Prendergast

Eileen Goff,
Executive Director, ex-officio
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  A Holiday Tradition Continues
 The staff of hip enjoyed the “gift of giving” again this year. Through the efforts of our long-time partners, the Volunteer Center of Bergen County and Saint Peter’s Church in River Edge, hip distributed clothing, toys, gift cards from local retailers, and household items and appliances to 130 consumers in Bergen and Hudson counties.

There were a total of 65 requests for assistance: 34 came from individuals and 31 came from families.

Once again, we extend our thanks to Debbie Emery and Melissa Leibe of the Volunteer Center, and Chris Black of St. Peter’s Church. They have been an integral part of this tradition for many years.

Trish Carney and Paula Walsh of Bergen hip coordinated this year’s effort. Said Paula, “We (hip’s staff) are grateful for all of the support we receive every year from local community organizations and individuals. It is quite moving to see consumers receive their gifts. It reminds us of what the holidays are really all about: the joy of giving to others.”
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  hip Holiday Party a Dancing Success
 A fine time was had by all at the hip holiday party at Gatsby’s in Cresskill on December 16th. Attendees feasted on their choice of prime rib, chicken, salmon, or vegetarian entrees.

The crowd danced to music provided by Greig Atkinson of Back To Back Music.

Despite the inclement weather, 131 people attended.
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  At The Rainbow’s End…
 “… there’s a pot of gold, overflowing with riches untold.” On December 15th, the rainbow touched down at hip again with our annual Pot O’ Gold raffle.

Katlyn Speakman won the first place prize of $1,374.

The second place winner of $343.50 was Larry Walsh of River Edge, a longtime hip volunteer and husband of hip Program Director Paula Walsh.

Michael Augustowicz of Dumont won $50 for selling the most raffle books.

Lillian Agreda drew the winning tickets at Bergen hip.

Many thanks to Rhea Hess for chairing this event.
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  hip Programs
 hip Offers Innovative Programs to Meet the Independent Living Needs of People with Disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties

Founded in 1980, Heightened Independence & Progress (hip) has come a long way from its humble origins. hip not only continues to provide vital assistance through information, referral, advocacy, and peer support, but also offers a wide variety of programs to people with all types of disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties. The following is a summary of hip programs, with the project coordinator’s name and location.

ABLE–Athletics for Blind Leisure Enthusiasts maintains a year-round schedule of outdoor activities for individuals with vision loss.  Contact: The Hudson Office

Adjustment to Vision Loss coordinates peer support groups and assists with access to mental health professionals for individuals with vision loss. Contact: Nancy Hodgins or Susan Vanino (Bergen)

Caregiver Assistance and Support Project (CASP) a component of Bergen EASE, provides care management to Bergen County residents 60 and over who are providing care for younger adults with physical disabilities. Contact: Alicia Freda (Bergen)

Community Advocacy and Outreach Program seeks to promote full inclusion through advocacy, education, and legislation. Contact: Nancy Hodgins (Bergen)

Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Determination (LEAD), a statewide mentoring and skill-building project, assists high school students with vision loss in their transition to adult life. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Modification Access Project (MAP) assists with barrier-free home renovation projects from concept to completion. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS) converts written materials into Braille, large print, and audiotape formats. Contact: Theresa Johnston (Bergen)

On the Move provides opportunities for young adults with physical, sensory, or learning disabilities to participate in recreation and social skills development programs.
Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen)

Project Access reviews residential construction plans to ensure compliance with existing legislation. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Project Outreach to Disabled Minorities directs all Independent Living Services to individuals with disabilities of Afro-American or Hispanic origin, in English and Spanish. Contact: Lucy Montalvo (Bergen) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson).

Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) provides funding for assistive devices or barrier-free home renovation projects. Contact: Noris Nunez (Hudson)

Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) provides funding and facilitates acquisition of services and adaptive devices such as wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, hearing aids and more. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Support for Independent Living (SIL), a component of Bergen EASE, provides ongoing care management services through assessment, linkage, and coordination for people with disabilities (18-59). Contact: The Bergen Office

Support Groups– In Bergen: COPE (Multiple Sclerosis) and Women with Disabilities. Contact: Paula Walsh (Bergen).

Youth Envisioning Success (YES!) assists high school students and families to move from school to adult life. Contact: Marian Padilla (Hudson); Andrew Skea (Bergen).
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  Why are People in Nursing Facilities?
 Steve Gold is a disability advocate who monitors federal and state activities regarding nursing home vs. community-based care, as well as other issues.

The article below is a recent excerpt from Steve’s website: http://www.stevegoldada.com. E-mail: SteveGoldADA@cs.com.

Nursing facilities, especially those with federal Medical Assistance reimbursements, require a “medical necessity” for such institutionalization. That is, legally, a person should not be admitted without a “medical necessity.”

The following are the two most frequently used indicia of medical necessity: (1) need for help with activities of daily living (ADLs) and/or (2) cognitive impairments.

1. With regard to activities of daily living, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) evaluated ability to get in and out of bed, dressing, eating, transferring and toileting. A condition was noted only when the resident required “extensive assistance” with the activity.
2. To measure cognitive impairment, CMS used the Cognitive Performance Scale.

States normally require a person to have a certain number of ADL or cognitive impairments to either be admitted into or stay in a nursing facility.

In order to receive federal nursing facility Medicaid reimbursements, documentation of “medical necessity” is required. Here’s what CMS surveys found regarding these two conditions:

ADL Impairments: Nearly 30.3% of persons in nursing facilities had NO impairment of ADL; that’s more than one million persons. Another 8.3% had only one ADL impairment. More than 46% of the persons had two or fewer ADL impairments.

Why are any persons in nursing facilities with very few or no ADL impairments? Why are states permitting people to be admitted into nursing facilities and then making extremely large payments for them to be unnecessarily institutionalized?

Why aren’t advocates making the states “Close the Front Door” and not admit or pay for these persons? Why aren’t advocates demanding that their states offer persons with only one or two or no ADL issues less expensive community-based services?

If people are in nursing facilities who have few or no ADL impairments, then presumably they have a cognitive disability. If that is correct, did these people receive evaluations before they were admitted, and are they receiving appropriate services for their cognitive impairments? If they have only a cognitive impairment, how do they otherwise meet the “medical necessity” standard for nursing facilities?

Cognitive Impairments: Nearly 31% of residents had NO cognitive impairment; that’s nearly one million persons. Another 12.2% had only a “very mild” and 14.5% a “mild” cognitive impairment. Therefore, nearly 58% had either no cognitive impairment or a mild one. New Jersey, with 42 %, ranks second in the nation among the states having the largest percentage of persons in nursing facilities with NO cognitive impairments, far above the national average of 30.9%.

Advocates should ask their Medical Assistance officials for a breakdown of persons with combined ADL and cognitive impairments. Are people with severe or very severe cognitive impairments receiving specialized services, as Congress required in the Nursing Home Reform Act?

When one looks at both ADL and cognitive impairments, a frightening picture emerges. Have nursing facilities become the last refuge for many persons who are mentally ill, homeless, developmentally disabled? Are states permitting them to stay in nursing facilities because that’s where states can receive federal reimbursements and funds?

Why is our state wasting Medical Assistance dollars on those persons who could easily be treated appropriately in the community?

Think how many more persons could be served in the community with better use of these funds.

– Steve Gold
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  SAIL Update
 The Hudson County Department of Health and Human Services will again fund Hudson hip’s Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) program.

This program provides funding for assistive technology items for Hudson County residents with disabilities.

If there is a piece of equipment or a home modification that might make your life better or allow you to do something more easily, contact Noris Nunez at Hudson hip for more information.
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  Statewide Independent Living Council Seeks Members
 The New Jersey Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is appointed by the Governor to co-author and monitor the State Plan for Independent Living.

This plan outlines how Federal Independent Living dollars are allocated in New Jersey.

In addition, the plan sets advocacy goals for the SILC. In the current plan, these goals focus on housing, transportation and emergency preparedness.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the SILC and playing a part in the future of Independent Living in New Jersey, contact Kathy Wood at Hudson hip.
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 The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) released its report on the participation rate of people with targeted disabilities in the federal workforce.

In addition to noting that the 2006 participation rate (0.94%) is the lowest in 20 years, the report also contains recommendations for improving the performance of the federal government in hiring people with targeted disabilities.

To view the report visit www.eeoc.gov/federal/report/pwtd.html
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