Federal Announcements

ACL & CMS: Meeting with Disability and Aging Stakeholders

April 4, 2022 at 2:30pm ET

Register here: https://cms.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_RVjoFnDhTQui4gRZUYgfEA

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invites you to join a conversation with the disability and aging communities about steps we are taking to protect coverage and access to healthcare, expand services and supports, including through our investments in home and community-based services, and planning for the end of the public health emergency. We hope you can join us for a discussion with CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, ACL Acting Administrator Alison Barkoff, and others from CMS and ACL leadership. We hope you can join us!

When: April 4, 2022, 2:30-3:30 PM ET
Where: Zoom link will be provided following registration.
Who should attend: This call is for stakeholders in the disability and aging communities.
RSVP: https://cms.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_RVjoFnDhTQui4gRZUYgfEA

Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) and American Sign Language (ASL) will be provided. If you need additional accommodations, please contact Marcia Gordon at Marcia.Gordon@acl.hhs.gov.

NCD: Health Equity Framework for People with Disabilities

Read the Framework Here

SCOPE AND PURPOSE: National Council on Disability (NCD) Health Equity Framework is the outgrowth of an acknowledgment of decades of health disparities experienced by people with disabilities, and of physical and systemic barriers to access to healthcare for people with disabilities; and the desire to address these inequalities and achieve health equity for all persons with disabilities. It is the product of a year’s worth of strategic outreach; consultation with a "dream team" of 14 academics, medical professionals, and others who have dedicated their lives to addressing the health disparities of people with disabilities; and literature review.

NCD’s framework begins with four core areas that NCD views as foundational for achieving health equity for people with disabilities. It is followed by numerous additional components that were identified by disability community leaders as being of critical importance.

Read the Framework Here

FCC: Input Needed on Accessibility of Visual Emergency Alert System Messages
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposes action to improve the clarity and accessibility of visual Emergency Alert System messages to the public, particularly to people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. See the full call for comment details in the Federal Register notice.

The nation's Emergency Alert System (EAS) ensures that the public is quickly informed about emergency alerts issued by government entities and delivered over broadcast, cable, and satellite television and radio media. The notice for public comment seeks to improve the clarity and accessibility of EAS visual messages to the public, including persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing, and others who are unable to access the audio message.

In a companion notice, the FCC seeks comment on additional EAS improvements and redesigns to enable matching visual and audio alert content and otherwise improve the clarity and accessibility of EAS messages for all persons who might receive them. The FCC seeks comment on how the legacy EAS architecture can be modified, augmented, or redesigned to enable alert originators to relay visual text that matches their audio message in legacy EAS alerts, as well as to enable more functionality within the EAS as a whole.

Comments on the NPRM are due on or before March 11, 2022, and reply comments are due on or before March 28, 2022. Comments on the NOI are due on or before April 11, 2022, and reply comments are due on or before May 10, 2022.

Comments can be submitted, identified by PS Docket No. 15-94, by any of the following methods:

  • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing.
    • Filings can be sent by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.
    • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 45 L Street NE, Washington, DC 20554.
  • People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice) or 202-418-0432 (TTY).
FEMA: Seeks New Members for National Advisory Council
The National Advisory Council includes a geographically diverse and substantive cross-section of 35 members who advise the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management, ensuring input from and coordination with state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors. Individuals appointed to the council bring their experience and diversity of views to provide the Administrator consensus recommendations on a broad range of issues.
Administrator Criswell will appoint up to 14 members who will begin serving on the council in December 2022. Selected council members will guide future recommendations on topics including equity, climate, readiness and workforce. The agency is accepting applications for 11 discipline-specific positions and three Administrator selected positions. Discipline-specific positions include climate change, cybersecurity, disabilities, access and functional needs, elected state officials, emergency management, emergency medical provider, non-elected local official, non-elected state government officials, public health and standards setting and accrediting. For more information about what each position entails, please see the council’s charter.
  • If you are interested in applying to serve on the National Advisory Council, please follow these instructions for submitting an application package no later than 11:59 p.m. ET March 31.
  • Application materials required include a cover letter, high level summary highlighting your most important accomplishments which qualify you to serve on the council, resume, and a letter of recommendation.
  • Email Address to submit application package to: FEMA-NAC@fema.dhs.gov

FEMA: Updates Shelter Locator Texting Feature
Having the right information at the right time is often key to surviving a disaster. FEMA’s updated texting feature allows the public to access shelter addresses when they need it most. Users can text “shelter” and their ZIP code to 43362 to get a list of nearby shelter locations. This effort is made possible through collaboration with the American Red Cross.

FEMA’s old text feature only showed shelters within the requested ZIP code. This new feature uses Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities to give users shelter addresses within 200 miles of their ZIP code. The texting feature is available across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Standard texting rates with the user’s carrier may apply, but there is no additional fee to use this service. In phones with a standard map feature, users will be able to click on the shelter address inside the text message and view directions. The text can be easily shared with friends and family so they know where the user is going or where they themselves can take shelter.

Shelters identified through the text feature are pulled from data managed by the American Red Cross. FEMA does not run shelters. Remember that in a disaster situation it is always important to follow the immediate instructions of state and local officials, as they may be able to point survivors to additional shelters and resources not included in the text feature.

Disasters can strike anywhere, anytime. Save this number, 43362, in your phone today so you’ll be able to find a safe space to shelter during a disaster.

USAging: Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL)
USAging’s Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assists people with disabilities get vaccinated and tested by providing assistance finding COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites, determining whether in-home vaccination is available, assistance locating and ordering COVID-19 tests, educating callers about general COVID-19 vaccine and testing information, and finding ways to help overcome both physical and systemic barriers to accessing the COVID-19 vaccine and testing. DIAL also helps people with disabilities identify, locate, and access community services and supports.

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