April 30, 2007 • Volume 7, Number 4


Current and past editions of AUCD Legislative News In Brief are posted on the AUCD Website.  These weekly 1-2 page updates are intended to keep association members informed about federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting people with disabilities, their families and the network of AUCD programs and centers.

Selection of New Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDD).  Edwin Trevathan, M.D., M.P.H, will serve as the new director of NCBDD on July 23, 2007.  Dr. Trevathan will join CDC from Washington University at the St. Louis School of Medicine where he serves as a professor of neurology and pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology.  He also is the Neurologist-in-Chief at St. Louis Children's Hospital.  Dr. Trevathan received his M.D. and M.P.H at Emory University where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha.

FEMA to Replace American Red Cross in Emergency Coordination (Washington Post Article).  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will replace the American Red Cross as the agency in charge of coordinating the provision of shelter, food and first aid to victims in disasters under an agreement mediated by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  The change follows criticism of the way the agencies cooperated after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and a new law that bolsters FEMA's role in providing emergency housing, human services, case management and financial help.  The Red Cross had been the only private organization assigned a lead role under the government's National Response Plan, now being redrafted. (online access to article is free, registration may be required)

U.S. Department of Labor to award nearly $14.2 million for Disability Program Navigators (DPN) in 15 additional states and Puerto Rico.  The DPN initiative aims to assist individuals with disabilities in accessing employment through services offered by One-Stop Career Centers.   "We all have a responsibility to help people with disabilities access job opportunities in our growing economy. Disability Program Navigators is a special program to help disabled workers access the public workforce investment system more effectively," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.  "The $14.2 million in grants will help workers with disabilities access career opportunities generated by America's growing economy."  Begun in 2003, the DPN initiative grew out of a joint venture between the Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration to fund, implement and evaluate DPNs within the One-Stop Career Center system. 

HHS Approves Iowa as First To Add Home And Community-Based Services To Medicaid State Plan.  April 5, Iowa is the first state to receive federal approval to add home and community based services (HCBS) as a permanent feature of its Medicaid plan, eliminating the need for repeated requests for time-limited waivers, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced.  "Iowa is the first to benefit from the federal law giving states more choice over their Medicaid benefit plans," Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "Stopping the burdensome cycle of continually having to request federal government permission to offer a benefit that is good for people and programs will be a huge relief for states and beneficiaries." 

Secretary Spellings Announces Regulations to More Accurately Assess Students with Disabilities.  April 4, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced new regulations under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) allowing states to test certain students with disabilities using an alternate assessment that more appropriately aligns with students' needs and yields more meaningful results for schools and parents.  The new regulations provide states and schools with greater flexibility by allowing them to more accurately evaluate these students' academic progress and tailor instruction to individual needs.