MaineCare now allows Telehealth to deliver pharmacy services

In a special ruling made on March 16, 2020 by the Division of Policy of MaineCare, Chapter 101 of MaineCare Benefits Manual Chapter I, Section 4, Telehealth services for Pharmacy Services are now covered by MaineCARE.

In the “concise summary” the change in rules states:

This emergency rulemaking will remove the MaineCare Benefits Manual (MBM), Chapter I, Section 4, Telehealth Services blanket prohibition against providers utilizing telehealth to deliver services under the MBM, Chapter II, Section 80, Pharmacy Services. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. Section 8054, the Department has determined that immediate adoption of this rule is necessary to avoid a potentially severe and immediate threat to public health, safety or general welfare. The Department’s findings of emergency are set forth in detail in the Emergency Basis Statement. Maine is facing a substantial public health threat posed by the global spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. As a preemptive action by the Department, Pharmacy Services will be available via telehealth when medically necessary and appropriate.

This emergency rule change will take effect upon adoption and will be in effect for 90 days (5 M.R.S. § 8054). The Department is concurrently engaging in the routine technical rulemaking process for Section 4 to prevent a lapse in the rule and added services.

Please use this link to see the new rules and rulemaking documents

 

Camp Communicate – 2020 Season

Camp Communicate – August 24, 2020 – August 28, 2020

Pine Tree Society - discovering abilities together - logoCamp Communicate at Pine Tree Camp is an innovative retreat designed specifically for non-verbal children who use computerized devices, known as augmentative communication, to communicate. Camp Communicate offers kids a unique opportunity to spend time with other augmentative communicators in an accessible summer camp environment. During their stay they will learn new skills, meet friends and become more comfortable and confident in their communication abilities.

Each camper attends Camp Communicate along with a parent or caregiver. Parents will have the opportunity to attend workshops and share information and strategies in a supportive environment. Learning opportunities for parents will support more effective augmentative communication device use at home and will foster more proficient use in school.
Campers participate in:

  • Small and large group activities led by communication experts and trained volunteers
  • Active outdoor games
  • Swimming and boating
  • Nature walks
  • Team-building exercises
  • Festive social gatherings including a dance
  • Music and art therapy

Program curriculum and activities are developed and led by Communication Pathways staff, all highly qualified Speech Language Pathologists with an expertise in augmentative communication and assistive technology.

For more information visit the Pine Tree Camp website or call Pine Tree Camp at 207-
386-5993.

Accessible Polling Facilities and the ADA – webinar

The Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the ADA National Network invites you to attend the March ADA Audio Conference Series session entitled:

Accessible Polling Facilities and the ADA

featuring  Julie Brinkhoff, Co-Director/PI, Great Plains ADA Center.

Session Description

The word "vote" with a wheelchair embeddedThis presentation will cover resources available to election officials to evaluate the accessibility of polling locations, specifically the ADA Checklist for Polling Places developed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2016. The presentation will discuss training polling place staff and volunteers on key issues related to disability voting rights, disability awareness, and avoiding barriers to voting access. The presentation will include real life examples, images and graphics to illustrate the content.

Date:   March 17, 2020
Time:  2:00 – 3:30 pm Eastern Time

Cost:   Free

This session is offered via the telephone and/or via a web based webinar platform.   The session will be captioned via the web based webinar platform.

Registration is available at www.ada-audio.org.  (You will need to set up an account if you do not have one already)

Questions regarding the session should be directed to webinars@adagreatlakes.org  or at 877-232-1990 (V/TTY).

 

Assistive Technology for people with Autism

child using GPS watch phoneAs part of Maine CITE’s presentations at recent conferences, we have created this resource for assistive technology (AT) for people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Resources include the handouts and links of information shared at the Southern Maine Autism Conference as well as links to other resources on related topics.

This resource is updated regularly as we become aware of new AT devices and services. If you know of anything you think should be added to this page, please contact Maine CITE.

Use this link to go to Assistive Technology for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Webinar: Accessible Social Media

From the U.S. Access Board...

Section 508 Best Practices: Accessible Social Media

March 31, 2020
1:00 – 2:30 (ET)

Presenters:

  • Jennifer Dorsey, Social Media Coordinator, NIH National Cancer Institute
  • Gary Morin, Program Analyst, NIH Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Robert Pines, Public Affairs Specialist, NIH National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health

Description

US Access Board logoThe next webinar in the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series will take place March 31 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will cover how to provide access to social media. The presenters will provide an overview of social media techniques, address common questions, review access issues and solutions, and offer best practices and techniques for making content accessible on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar.

For more details or to register, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.

Note: Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the session. Instructions for accessing the webinar on the day of the session will be sent via email to registered individuals in advance of the session. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and Video Sign Language Interpreters are available for each session and will be broadcast via the webinar platform. A telephone option (not toll-free) for receiving audio is also available.

The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series provides helpful information and best practices for federal agencies in meeting their obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which ensures access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This webinar series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the U.S. Access Board.

Building Financial Solutions for People with Disabilities

The following free webinar is from the US Department of Labor

Get Empowered: Make the Most of Your Job and Improve Your Financial Security Building Financial Solutions for People with Disabilities

February 27, 2020 – 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET

showing money growthIf you are a person with a disability who is getting ready to enter the workforce or who recently did, you probably have a lot of questions related to your new job and your financial security. We want to help you find the answers so that you are empowered to take steps to achieve your financial goals.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and America Saves Week, join the U.S. Department of Labor, America Saves, and the LEAD Center for a webcast to learn about ways to improve your financial security. National experts from the National Disability Institute will discuss ABLE accounts that can help you save for some of your goals without threatening disability benefits. Hear a personal account from staff at the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy about moving from disability benefits to employment and achieving financial independence. The Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration will provide information and resources on financial planning to help achieve your goals. This includes budgeting, managing debt and determining a target retirement saving rate so you can make the most of your workplace-provided retirement plan. Learn more about workplace-provided retirement saving plans – the easiest way to save for a secure retirement.  America Saves will share how direct deposit can help with saving for all of your goals.

So, during America Saves Week, get empowered. The more you know, the more prepared you will be to make decisions for your financial security today and in the future. Start today by registering for this webcast!

Use this link to register for this webinar…

Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by PixaBay

Accessible Polling Facilities and the ADA

The word "vote" with a wheelchair embeddedThe Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the ADA National Network invites you to attend the March ADA Audio Conference Series session titled “Accessible Polling Facilities and the ADA” featuring  Julie Brinkhoff, Co-Director/PI, Great Plains ADA Center.

Session Description: This presentation will cover resources available to election officials to evaluate the accessibility of polling locations, specifically the ADA Checklist for Polling Places developed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2016. The presentation will discuss training polling place staff and volunteers on key issues related to disability voting rights, disability awareness, and avoiding barriers to voting access. The presentation will include real life examples, images and graphics to illustrate the content.

Date: March 17, 2020

Time: 2:00 – 3:30 pm Eastern Time

Cost: Free

This session is offered via the telephone and/or via a web based webinar platform. The session will be captioned via the web based webinar platform.

Registration is available at www.ada-audio.org  (You will need to set up an account if you do not have one already).

Questions regarding the session should be directed to webinars@adagreatlakes.org or at 877-232-1990 (V/TTY).

Update of Accessibility Guidelines for Rail Cars

From the U.S. Access Board

US Access Board logoPublic Hearing on the Advance Notice on Updating the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Rail Vehicles
March 10, 2020, 2:00 – 4:00 (ET)
Access Board Conference Center
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Access Board is initiating rulemaking to update its accessibility guidelines for rail cars covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and seeks public comment on this effort. As indicated in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking it published on 2-14-2020, the Board plans to update provisions in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles that apply to vehicles used in fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, and intercity rail. The Board requests information from the public for its use in developing a proposed rule.

The Board intends to update these guidelines, which were published in 1991, according to an advisory panel it organized. The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee, which included representatives from advocacy organizations, transit operators, rail car manufacturers, and other stakeholders, reviewed the existing guidelines for rail vehicles and recommended how they should be updated to address accessibility issues, advances in technology, changes in car design, and other factors. The Committee’s report provides recommendations on provisions for vehicle communications, boarding and alighting, on-board circulation, seating, and rooms and spaces.

The advance notice discusses the committee’s report and includes questions posed by the Board. The Board seeks comment on both the substance of the recommendations from the committee as well as related questions about the feasibility or potential impacts on vehicle design, operations, and cost. It is also interested in research, data, and technologies on improved accessibility to rail vehicles.

Questions raised in the notice address coverage of new and remanufactured vehicles, variable message signs, hearing induction loops, vehicle ramps and lifts, car doors, between-car barriers, handrails and stanchions, wheelchair spaces, and vertical access in bi-level cars. The Board will use the information collected to draft a proposed rule which also will be made available for public comment.

The advance notice, which includes Instructions for submitting comments, is posted at www.regulations.gov (Docket ATBCB-2020-0002). Comments are due May 14, 2020.

In addition, the Board will hold a public hearing on March 10 from 2:00 – 4:00 (ET) that will provide an opportunity to submit comments either in person or by phone. Those who wish to provide testimony should contact Rose Marie Bunales at (202) 272-0006 or bunales@access-board.gov .

For further information, visit the Board’s website or contact Juliet Shoultz at (202) 272-0045 or shoultz@access-board.gov for technical questions or Wendy Marshall at (202) 272-0043 or marshall@access-board.gov for legal questions.

 

State provides guidance on new Hearing Aid mandate

Regarding the recently passed and enacted legislation related to 24-A M.R.S. § 2762, a law which requires health insurance carriers in Maine to provide hearing aid coverage in all individual and group health plans, the Maine Bureau of Insurance in the Department of Professional and Financial Regulations has published the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documentation:

New Hearing Aid Mandate, Effective January 1, 2020

Q: I have insurance and I need hearing aids. Does this new law mean my insurance will cover the cost now?

A: It depends on several factors:

Type of Insurance

The following types are required to provide the benefit:

      • Fully funded major medical policies, including ACA coverage;
      • Short-term limited duration policies

These types are exempt from all State health insurance benefit mandates:

      • Medicare products, including Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans (federally exempted by Social Security/Medicare);
      • Self-insured plans, except state or municipal governmental and multiple-employer welfare association (MEWA) plans;
      • Plans other than comprehensive major medical or short-term limited duration: accidental injury; specified disease; hospital indemnity; dental; vision; disability income; long-term care; other limited benefit health insurance.

Benefit Details, Deductibles, Cost, Networks, and Renewal Dates

Coverage amount:

      • Up to $3,000 per hearing aid for each hearing-impaired ear; and
      • Available every 36 months.

Deductibles: You should be aware that you could still be responsible for all or part of the cost if you have not yet met your annual deductible at the time you purchase a hearing aid.

Cost:  If you purchase a hearing aid that costs more than $3,000, you should assume you will need to pay the amount over the $3,000 out of your own pocket, even if you have met your deductible – unless your policy specifically provides a greater benefit.

Network:  You could also be responsible for all or part of the cost if you use a provider who is not part of your plan’s network.

Renewal dates:  If you have a group plan that is required to provide this benefit, but it renews later in the year, the benefit will not be included in your coverage until that time.

Q: I know I have hearing issues. Do I need to go to my primary care office before going to see a hearing specialist and getting a prescription for hearing aids?

A:  Whether you are able to self-refer to a specialist and whether pre-authorization is required to purchase a hearing aid would depend on your policy contract.  Check with your insurer and/or your employer’s benefits department.

Q: Will my insurance cost more because of this mandate?

A:  The cost of providing the new benefit is built into the premium and should be very minimal (the Bureau’s 2014 report estimated that the cost per policyholder could be $.47 per month).

If you have questions beyond this FAQ, please contact the Maine Bureau of Insurance

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s Critical Home Repair

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland logoHabitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s Critical Home Repair service helps low-income homeowners make needed repairs so they can live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home. This program is part of a Habitat for Humanity’s nation-wide effort to serve homeowners who are affected by age, disability or family circumstances and struggle to maintain the integrity of their homes.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland recognizes that new home construction is only a part of the solution for quality, affordable housing. The Critical Home Repair program is part of our broader community development strategy to transform and strengthen communities. It not only addresses the health, safety and affordability of the individual residences in neighborhoods, it also strengthens connections within the community and helps preserve affordable housing stock.

How it Works

The Critical Home Repair program requires an affordable payment from the homeowner for a portion of the repair costs. Applicants will be scored and ranked by level of need. Not all applications will be approved. This program serves homeowners in Cumberland County who have a household income below 80% of HUD Area Median Income.

Examples of Work to be Done

  • Roof leaks
  • Accessibility issues, ramps, etc.
  • Stair repairs
  • Structural work, not to include foundations

Work We Will Not Do

  • Mobile or modular homes (except ramps)
  • General cosmetic repairs, including but not limited to: flooring, painting, carpentry, etc.
  • Window replacement
  • Bathroom renovations or repair (only for accessibility)

Program Outline

Homeowners will apply by a deadline, and will need to demonstrate:

  • A household incomes at or below 80% of HUD median income
  • A Tax Assessment Building Value less than $200,000. They have paid their property taxes on time
  • They are current on their mortgage
  • They must own (name on title) and occupy the home and have lived in the home for over three years
  • Willingness for Habitat to conduct a credit check and background check on all residents over age 18

Scope, Costs, and Payments

Habitat will review the home for needed repairs and prepare a scope of work and price recommendation. Families will pay only a portion of the actual costs of materials and sub-contracted in-kind labor, based on their income. For example, if the materials and contracted labor are $6000, the family’s income as a percentage of Area Median Income will be the percentage of costs they pay. For example, a family of four making 30% of AMI ($23,000) will repay only 30% of repairs, or $1800. A family making $46,000 will repay 60% of repairs. Habitat will donate the balance of the project costs. Payment terms may be available.

For More Information and to Apply

Contact Molly Brake at molly@habitatme.org / 207-772-2151 ext. 104 or visit the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland’s Critical Home Repair website