Category Archives: Newsletter Summer 2016

CEO Corner (Summer 2016)

Photo of Patricia Yeager, CEO

In 2017, there is a marriage about to happen that will affect health care for persons on Medicare or Medicaid, or both Medicare/Medicaid in ColoPhoto of Patricia Yeager, CEOrado. It is a marriage that could create more barriers to physical and mental healthcare for persons with disabilities or it could create a collaborative system with better outcomes.

I am talking about Colorado’s Medicaid program’s desire, by 2018, to combine into one organization, the physical health services provided by the fee for service Regional Care Collaborative Organizations (Community Health Partners/RCCO7 in the Pikes Peak area) and the managed care Behavioral Health Organization (Aspen Pointe). A fee for service practice means one gets paid for the number of services delivered to the people who are served. A managed care organization means that individual services are to be managed so that they are effective and efficient…no duplicate or unneeded services. Regardless of how you experience one or the other, neither really achieve accessible and usable services for persons with disabilities in the Pikes Peak area. Both systems have physical access problems (are you getting your physical exams sitting up in your chair or without a sign language interpreter?). Both have program access problems (are you getting your prescriptions in a format you can read as a person who is blind or has a reading disability? Do you have an interpreter for counseling sessions or a loop system for those who are hard of hearing?). Both have cultural competency issues (no room for you in the waiting room? Healthcare professionals who roll their eyes when you come in because you take too much time?).

Communities of persons with disabilities have to speak up! Otherwise we die prematurely because of a lack of access to, in, and through the entire medical experience. Colorado’s Medicaid Program is slow to wake up to the needs of its participants with disabilities. There is a reason why we consume more health care services than most…we dread going to any healthcare provider because of the poor service and attitudes so we put it off. Many of us wait until we are very sick and take a ride in an ambulance to the Emergency Department-both are some of the most expensive health care services around. If we can get to the clinic/doctor’s office in a timely manner, receive good preventive care and feel good about the experience, we can live productive lives rather than spending our lives in the ER!

People with disabilities have to speak up! There are several ways to do so. 1) Take part in a survey about your healthcare experiences at
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FS3Y899. You can do so anonymously if you like. 2) Ask your healthcare professional for access. Do they have an exam table you can get onto? How about interpreters for the Deaf? Prescriptions in a format you can understand? Let them know you need this in order to work toward being healthy. Or, 3) you can read and comment on the draft Request for Proposals for a new, local, combined healthcare system in October of this year. The IC will post a link on our website and on our Facebook account; please read and comment to make sure disability access to services, programs, and culturally competent health care professionals are included in the requirements for those who will bid on our healthcare system in 2018. If there is no mention of disability access, we will not have access to medical/mental health services that meet our needs.

Having a disability does not mean you are sick but you do need access to healthcare like everyone else to live your best life. Speak up because your life depends on it!

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events page

Upcoming events pageTour of the 21C Library

July 22nd, 11:00 am

Come join us as we take a tour of the 21 Century Library to learn more about the services and facility. The tour is designed to showcase how our consumers can best utilize library services.


Project Walk

August 3rd, 10:00 am and 1:00 pm

Project Walk challenges a traditional view that nervous systems cannot reorganize. The Method utilizes exercises mimicking those found in human movement development. These exercises are targeted at reestablishing neural activity within the nervous system. If you are interested in improving your movement, come by The Independence Center during the event to talk with a specialist.


Therapeutic Riding Center

Coming late summer or early Fall! Keep an eye out for details. 

Therapeutic riding event for approximately 12 individuals with disabilities will be available.


Check it out!2015 Annual Report Cover

The Independence Center’s
2015 Annual Report is now available. View it online here!

Awards The IC Has Received

The IC staff accepting the award

Best of the Springs Logo

Congratulations to Patricia Yeager, CEO, for being named a
“Person Who Makes a Difference” in
The Gazette’s Best of the Springs 2016.

“The disability community here is hungry for information and validation of the belief that they can create the life they want to live….There’s a tremendous opportunity here for me to make a difference. . . . I like making order out of chaos.”
~ Patricia Yeager


CNA School building

The Independence Center CNA School Won Best of the Springs Continuing Education 

For the first full quarter that The Independence Center CNA School has been operational , CNA School student graduates collectively received a 94% pass rate on the Colorado Nurse Aide Competency and Evaluation Exams (State Boards). Colorado State average pass rate is 79%.


Congratulations to The Independence Center Benefits Program

The IC staff accepting the awardfor receiving an “Outstanding Program” award at The Arc Pikes Peak Region’s World’s Greatest Annual Dinner & Awards Celebration on Saturday, May 14.

The Independence Center Benefits Program provides education, assistance, and guidance regarding state and federal disability benefits programs for consumers with disabilities.

Art Expressions Class

Art Expressions

Join us for this fun leisurely class that meets every Monday 11:30 am -1:30 pm

We use watercolors, oil pastels, and tempura paints. No art experience is necessary. All materials are provided.

Spouse Hired as Caregiver for Husband After Stroke

The Molinar family

The Molinar family

Ralph Molinar was at work one morning in February 2015 when his right hand lost strength. He reached out to his wife. “He called me and said, ‘my right hand isn’t working. I can’t even grip a pen. I don’t know what is going on, but I need you to come and get me.’” Kim Molinar recalls.

Ralph progressively grew worse. Kim remembers: “They just couldn’t find that he had had a stroke, because it was in the brainstem area. There is so much bone in that area that they couldn’t see it.” Ralph remained in the hospital for months. Eventually, he was discharged to a skilled nursing facility.

“If you really care about your loved one, having them in a skilled nursing facility is torture. The goal was always to get him home.”

Recently, federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved a change to Colorado law affecting In Home Support Services (IHSS). A spouse is now allowed to be hired by an In–Home Support Services (IHSS) agency, such as The Independence Center, to provide care for his or her disabled spouse. As an employee of the IHSS agency, a caregiving spouse can receive all the perks and benefits of being an employee, just like at any other job.

“The Independence Center notified me when changes to the law went into effect and we were able to start the paperwork. I love my husband. I’m so thankful he’s home,” Kim says.

If you or someone you know is caring for a spouse or loved one with a disability, find out if you can qualify as a paid caregiver by calling The Independence Center home health department at 719- 471-8181 x 130.

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