United Spinal's 4th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill: Empowering Wheelchair Users to Advocate for Greater Access to Healthcare, Transportation and Mobility Equipment

Americas, Transportation, May 21 2015

NEW YORK: United Spinal Association and disability advocates from its national chapter network will gather in Washington, D.C. on June 7-10 for the 4th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill  to shape policies that impact the health, independence and quality of life of people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D).

Roll on Capitol Hill (ROCH) is United Spinal’s signature policy event which highlights key advocacy priorities for its membership and the broader disability community to ensure that legislators include wheelchair users and all people with disabilities in policy debates on Capitol Hill.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of Roll on Capitol Hill is that it provides individuals with disabilities the platform to constructively voice their concerns about issues impacting their daily lives,” said Joe Gaskins, United Spinal President & CEO.

“Whether they’re advocating for access to properly fitted wheelchairs so that they can be productive members of their communities or calling attention to the need for greater accessible transportation, we’re honored to support their efforts to create positive change,” he added.

ROCH attendees will have the opportunity to visit the Capitol Hill offices of their representatives and other key legislators to personally discuss legislative issues, including the need for greater access to individually configured wheelchairs known as complex rehab technology as well as accessible transportation, medical supplies, prescription drugs, and Medicaid.

This year, Roll on Capitol Hill attendees will advocate for:

H.R. 1516/S. 1013 Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2015. This will create separate recognition for complex rehab technology wheelchairs.

Adequate funding, without limiting grants or caps for Medicaid, including home- and community-based services such as personal care attendants, transportation, wheelchairs and other equipment.

H.R. 2071, Safe Streets Act of 2015. This bill encourages communities to consider safety improvements for all users in transportation project planning.

A long-term surface transportation bill with adequate funding measures. Any bill should ensure an accessible, affordable, reliable and safe transportation system for all in urban, suburban, and rural settings; and equal access to employment in the transportation sector.

Ensure that all individuals with a medical condition or disability requiring urological prosthetic supplies have access to the supplies prescribed by their health care providers.

On June 8, ROCH attendees will participate in a full day of policy briefings from advocates, agency officials and former Capitol Hill staffers. The day begins with Keynote Speaker Sharon Lewis, Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living and Department of Health and Human Services’ Senior Advisor on Disability Policy.

There will also be a special presentation recognizing the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the landmark civil rights law that protects wheelchair users and other people with disabilities from discrimination.

On the evening of June 9, United Spinal will host a Congressional Awards Reception to recognize members of Congress for their outstanding service to people with disabilities and veterans:

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-08) will be honored with the 2015 Disability Rights Champion Award for her leadership role in expanding the rights of veterans, veterans with disabilities, and the broader disability community.

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-1st) will receive the 2015 Vets First Congressional Bronze Star Award for his efforts to increase opportunities for veterans living with disabilities and to help them reintegrate into their communities.

Senator Patty Murray (D- WA) will be presented with the 2015 Outstanding Congressional Leadership Award for her extensive leadership and vocal support of disability issues.

United Spinal will also honor a consumer advocate who has been instrumental in achieving policy success for United Spinal. Willis Washington, will receive the 2015 Advocate of the Year Award for his years of effective advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities, not only in his own state of Oklahoma, but across the country.

Over the past three years at Roll on Capitol Hill, United Spinal’s advocacy has played a key role in advancing legislation that is improving the quality of life for people with disabilities now and in the future.

A few of our accomplishments:

  • Helped secure passage of the ABLE Act, which will allow people with disabilities who become disabled before the age of 26 to save money for health care, employment, education and other needs.
  • Helped secure inclusion of federal requirements to track pedestrian, bike and wheelchair user-related safety to support funding for sidewalks and curb cuts.
  • Last year, signed on 168 representatives and 22 senators in support of legislation to create separate recognition for complex rehab technology.

For more information about the public policies that United Spinal will address at Roll on Capitol Hill, visit http://www.unitedspinal.org/events/roll-on-capitol-hill/

Source:  United Spinal Association

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