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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Go see Red Wings alumni play to raise money for MORC

The Carhartt vs. Red Wings Alumni game for MORC is just a couple weeks away.  Please join us at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4, at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center for a lot of fun and a good cause - our people we support! To see some action from other years, click on the url below....

Friday, November 13, 2015

Congress tries to stop caregivers from receiving overtime pay

(CREDIT: Kourtney Liepelt as writer from Home Health Care News for this story)

Legislation aimed at restoring overtime exemptions for home care workers has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, just days before the Department of Labor is slated to actively enforce a rule extending federal minimum wage and overtime protections to such employees.

Given the bill’s chances of survival, though, one trade organization has now vowed to take its previously filed lawsuit against the rules to the Supreme Court.

The measure, dubbed the “Ensuring Access to Affordable and Quality Home Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act,” seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to return home care workers to a category that exempts them from receiving overtime. It is sponsored by Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, and Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from Michigan.

Earlier this year, a federal court ruled that nearly 2 million home care workers are in fact eligible for minimum wage and overtime after the DOL in 2013 stated home care agencies could no longer claim that the workers were excluded from FLSA provisions instated in the 1970s. The DOL’s move was originally challenged by a handful of trade organizations, including the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), arguing that access to care could be compromised if costs go up.

Now, NAHC was quick to express support for the new legislation, which was introduced Nov. 7.
“While home care workers deserve fair and reasonable wages for their crucial services in keeping seniors and persons with disabilities safely at home with high quality care, the regulatory changes do not further that goal appropriately,” NAHC President Val Halamandaris wrote in a letter to lawmakers. “[The] bill would provide the opportunity for all those involved in home care to design and implement effective changes that protect workers and our most vulnerable citizens at the same time.”

Provisions officially took effect Oct. 13, but the DOL indicated it wouldn’t start enforcing them for 30 days, or Nov. 12. Still, the effective date prompted mixed reactions, as some providers voiced concerns about their business models while others maintained a more positive outlook, claiming that higher home care rates are indeed sustainable.

States have made moves to adhere to the federal rules. Kansas, in particular, recently submitted a request for $6.5 million in funding to cover associated costs after previously claiming its Medicaid budget doesn’t account for the $12 million needed to increase home care workers’ wages, meaning a potential reduction in services offered — both plights topping NAHC’s list of concerns.

“The recent regulatory changes in the definition and application of these longstanding FLSA exemptions have only served to erect needless barriers to home care and to increase costs to financially strapped state Medicaid programs,” Halamandaris wrote. “At the same time, the dedicated and invaluable workers who provide this care have not seen any improvement in their overall wages as the funds necessary to cover overtime costs are simply not available from consumers and government health programs such as Medicaid.”

While NAHC indicated it views supporting the legislation as “another avenue for addressing the impact of the DOL rules in home care,” according to a news release, the organization plans to move forward with alternate efforts.

“The legislation has a limited chance of success in the immediate future…Similar measures to defund the implementations of the rules are likely to face similar results,” the release states. “As a result, NAHC has vowed to take its lawsuit to the Supreme Court by appealing the decision of the appellate court.”
(Compiled by Jerry Wolffe, writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Carhartt team to take on Red Wings to aid MORC

For more information, call (248) 390-0788


MORC Writer-in-residence

Carhartt employees will take on the Detroit Red Wings Alumni for the 11th straight year to benefit children and adults with disabilities served by the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center (MORC).

This year's game will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4th at 7 p.m. at the Dearborn Ice Center at 14900 Ford Road in Dearborn.

This game will raise funds for food, beds, appliances and emergency help for Christmas and throughout the year. In the past, Carhartt has helped thousands of the people MORC serves in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, Genesee, Washtenaw, Monroe, Sanilac, Lapeer, and Livingston counties.

Please help us spread the word about the game by encouraging family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to attend. We also would appreciate support from sponsors. Be sure to come out and support Detroit hockey at its finest.

The event is free for individuals with disabilities and caregivers or family members who accompany them.  Please RSVP to (248) 390-0788 and let us know how many people are attending.  You will receive your tickets at the door on game day.

General public tickets are $10 each and are only available on game day at the arena.
The venue is wheelchair accessible and discounts will be available on hot dogs and pop.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Macomb-Oakland Regional Center names new Executive Director


Dennis Bott has been named the new Executive Director of the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, Inc. by the Board of Directors, replacing Jerry Provencal, who plans to retire in March 2016.
“Dennis stood out for his strong organizational skills, knowledge of MORC’s operations and established relationships with key funders and providers,” said MORC Board Chairman Dave Reece. “We were also impressed with the vision he articulated to lead the company into the future.”

Bott, who lives in West Bloomfield and is the organization’s current Chief Operating Officer, has been with the agency since 1976.
He worked directly on early community placement initiatives including participating in the closure of many of the state’s largest institutions for individuals with intellectual disabilities. He then assisted with MORC’s transition from a State agency to a non-profit entity in 1996.

Bott played an integral role in promoting the organization’s growth through oversight of critical operational areas including finance, information technology, contracts and reimbursement. Bott is a past recipient of the ARC of Oakland County President’s Award. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.

The Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, with offices in Clinton Township, Auburn Hills, and Livonia, provides wide-ranging services to individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. It is the largest non-profit in Southeast Michigan.
MORC's mission is to serve men, women, and children with differing abilities so they may, as true citizens, celebrate life, freedom, and independence in the community. MORC currently provides services and supports to close to 5,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties with the goal of helping them live more independently in the community setting of their choice.

Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at MORC. He can be reached at 586-263-8950.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Study: Companies discriminate against qualified candidatfes with disabilities

CREDIT: Noam Scheiber of the NEW YORK TIMES
Employers appear to discriminate against well-qualified job candidates who have a disability, researchers at Rutgers and Syracuse universities have concluded.
The researchers, who sent résumés and cover letters on behalf of fictitious candidates for thousands of accounting jobs, found that employers expressed interest in candidates who disclosed a disability about 26 percent less frequently than in candidates who did not.
“I don’t think we were astounded by the fact that there were fewer expressions of interest” for people with disabilities, said Lisa Schur, a Rutgers political scientist who was part of the research team. “But I don’t think we were expecting it to be as large.”
The sole variation among the otherwise identically qualified candidates appeared in the cover letters, which revealed a disability for some but not for others.
The study, though it deals only with the accounting profession, may help explain why just 34 percent of working-age people with disabilities were employed as of 2013, versus 74 percent of those without disabilities.
Previous studies attempting to explain why disabled people are employed at lower rates generally suffered from their inability to control for subtle differences in qualifications that may have made disabled job candidates less attractive to employers, or for the possibility that disabled people were simply less interested in employment.
Other studies, based on surveys or laboratory experiments that asked people how likely they would be to hire a hypothetical disabled candidate, suffered from the possibility that some respondents were simply telling researchers what they thought was socially acceptable. Volunteers in such studies may have also differed in key ways from the human resources personnel who act as gatekeepers for job candidates, according to Meera Adya, another co-author, who is a social psychologist at Syracuse University.

The fictitious cover letter approach, which other scholars have used to document discrimination on the basis of race and gender, largely solved these problems.
“These kinds of experiments are very important in research on discrimination, and to the best of my knowledge this is the first serious attempt to do this kind of experiment on disability discrimination in the United States,” said David Neumark, a labor economist at the University of California, Irvine, who studies discrimination. “The study is well done.”
The researchers constructed two separate résumés: one for a highly qualified candidate with six years of experience, and one for a novice candidate about one year out of college. For each résumé, they created three different cover letters: one for a candidate with no disability, one for a candidate who disclosed a spinal cord injury and one for a candidate who disclosed having Asperger’s syndrome, a disorder that can make social interaction difficult.

Earlier studies had suggested that better qualifications might help disabled candidates overcome employment discrimination, but the researchers found the opposite. Employers were about 34 percent less likely to show interest in an experienced disabled candidate, but only about 15 percent less likely to express interest in a disabled candidate just starting out his or her career. (The latter result was not statistically significant.)
At publicly traded companies, which may be more concerned about their reputations and more sensitive to charges of discrimination, evidence of discrimination on the basis of disability seemed largely to disappear. The same was true at firms that receive federal contracts, which are required by the government to make a special effort to hire disabled workers.
“The problem was concentrated,” said Douglas Kruse, a Rutgers economist who was part of the research team and who has used a wheelchair since a spinal cord injury in 1990. “It does suggest a pretty convincing pattern.”
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.