Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

VOR Advocacy Letters


Congressman Mike Thompson calls on Feds to reject proposal which defines "community"

In an April 4, 2013 letter to Marilyn Tavenner, the Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Congressman Mike Thompson calls on the agency to rethink its pending proposal to narrowly define "community" for the purpose of licensing certain Medicaid programs.

"I share my constituents' concerns that the CMS proposal relies on arbitrary criteria to determine whether a setting is 'community enough," Congressman Thompson writes. "Of particular concern is the proposed requirement that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services 'apply a rebuttal presumption that a setting is not a home and community-based setting, and engage in heightened scrutiny' with regard to homes 'on the grounds of, or immediately adjacent to, a public institution,' or homes that are part of a 'housing complex designed expressly around an individual's diagnosis or disability’,” he writes.

The Congressman expresses concern that the proposed definition is so narrowly written that it is "antithetical to individual choice," threatens the viability of existing housing communities, and discourages future innovation and expansion of services.

Read Congressman Thompson’s letter.

VOR supports Connecticut Families' Call for Open Admissions

February 26, 2013

Given its long history of providing comprehensive, highly specialized care to Connecticut citizens with profound disabilities, Southbury Training School (STS) ICF/ID is a crucial part of Connecticut’s system of care for the intellectually and developmentally disabled (I/DD) which should be preserved and expanded through open admissions.

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Massachusetts: VOR objects to eligibility criteria based solely on IQ and Agency determination

November 13, 2012

Please accept these comments in response to the emergency regulations issued by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) regarding eligibility of DDS clients for services at 115 CMR 1.02, 115 CMR 2.01 and 115 CMR 6.02, which became effective September 26, 2012.

We are specifically concerned about 115 CMR 1.02 which reads:

The Department [of Developmental Services] is the clinical authority that determines the presence or absence of intellectual disability using the standard set forth at page 5 in the 11th edition of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

We share the concerns expressed by our statewide affiliate COFAR, our affiliate CCMR, families of individuals with I/DD, and others who uniformly express concern about these proposed regulations.

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VOR Statement on Sandy Hook: Disability Policy and Mental Health Reform Needed Now

VOR joins the chorus of heartfelt sympathy expressed for the families and friends of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. 

With so much “politics” (you name the issue) dividing our country, VOR prays that this tragedy finally unites parents, families, advocates, professionals, organizations, and policymakers in a way never before experienced. 

There can be no real justice for the senseless killings in Connecticut and elsewhere, but uniting as a nation will get as close to healing as possible and will help prevent such senseless tragedy in the future.

As the President stated,

          “’We can't tolerate this anymore,’ he added. ‘These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and it is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.’”

VOR agrees and central to necessary change is disability policy and mental health reform.

Read complete statement

Illinois: Jacksonville Developmental Center Closure Advisory Committee Demands Answers

The following is a letter sent to Kevin Casey, director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Illinois Department of Human Services, by Rita Burke and Wayne Ryerson, members of the Jacksonville Developmental Center Closure Advisory Committee. Burke is also the President of the Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled, a statewide advocacy organization and VOR-affiliate representing residents of Illinois’ state-operated developmental centers (ICFs/MR) and their families.

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December 10, 2012

Dear Director Casey,

As members of the Jacksonville Developmental Center Closure Advisory Committee, we were notified by email on December 3rd that the December 12, 2012 meeting was cancelled due to "scheduling conflicts." As of today, we have not been notified of a rescheduled date.

This is alarming to us because since our last meeting, JDC was emptied and we have been informed that as many as 30 JDC residents were moved wholesale out of the facility to other SODCs as a temporary measure in order to close JDC by an arbitrarily determined date. This is certainly not on the person-centered timeline you promised.

Read full letter