Bethesda Voices Advocacy

Bethesda Voices is an online community seeking to improve public policy affecting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Its purpose is to educate and engage, to mobilize support for system reforms and improvements, and to seek improved and sustainable funding for services and supports. Bethesda Voices is open to anyone with an interest in disabilities advocacy, and is free. Members include self-advocates; parents, family, friends and supporters of persons with disabilities; professional staff; and others with an interest in improving public policy in this area. The Bethesda Voices community is engaged in policy issues at the both the federal and state levels.

Bethesda Voices is a program of Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Inc., a Lutheran charity that is a leader in the field of services and supports for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


The ABLE Act Passes a Major Hurdle

The Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act of 2013 has moved one step closer to passage in Congress. The ABLE Act is an important piece of legislation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and would give them the financial flexibility to save for the future while enabling them to live full, productive lives in their community. The bill would also strip away the fear and uncertainty people with developmental disabilities face when the prospect of losing vital Medicaid or supplemental security income eligibility becomes a reality.

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Academics and Advocacy in College

Editorial: Academics and Advocacy in College

I graduated from Edgewood College’s Cutting-Edge program in Madison, Wisconsin, May 2014. The Cutting-Edge program is a fully inclusive disability program that allows individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to go to college. I also attended the Disability Policy Seminar in April of 2014 to practice my advocacy skills. I would like to highlight my advocacy and academic skills that I encountered within the past four years.

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Abigail Tessmann

New Advocacy Mentor for Bethesda's North Central Region

In May 2012 the Bethesda Institute hired six people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to serve as advocacy mentors. The focus of these positions is to lead and expand self-advocate activities and capacity amongst people with intellectual and developmental disabilities supported by Bethesda Lutheran Communities, and to support organizational participation in maintaining network accreditation through The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL).

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Megan Meier

Bethesda Institute Adds Megan Meier to Public Policy and Advocacy Team

The Bethesda Institute is pleased to welcome Megan Meier as the new Advocacy Coordinator.

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Bethesda Calls for Ratification of the United Nations CRPD

Bethesda has worked towards the full inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in society and their right to live a life of dignity and independence. Modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) supports these ideals.
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Christianne Bynon

Editorial: How the Americans with Disabilities Act has Promoted an Inclusive Job-Seeking Environment

Having an integrated job in the community shows that people with disabilities do not nee to fear receiving a fair interview or being subject to adverse work environments.
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Your Voice Counts

Your Voice Counts!

You have the power to influence your elected officials. Become an advocate and stay up-to-date on advocacy issues and make a difference in state and federal disability policy.

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Mark Hagen, Corporate Director of Public Policy

Bethesda Voices, a public policy newsletter

Newsletter that is designed to educate and engage individuals interested in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
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Christianna Buynon, Bethesda Advocacy Mentor

Editorial: The Importance of a Job

Working when having a disability allows a person to work toward goals all people have: owning or renting a home, independent transportation, affordable health insurance, improved personal care, even a retirement fund. It can give a person a way to be a substantial provider and contributor to a marriage or family.

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Charitable Giving Facing Threats

United States Must Lead CRPD Ratification

The CRPD was fashioned after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. As it was written, the CRPD would provide U.S. citizens and veterans who work, study or travel abroad the same rights to equal access and protection they enjoy in the U.S.

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Charitable Giving Facing Threats

Charitable Giving Facing Threats

America’s charitable sector faces an urgent threat.  One of the reforms Congress is considering would set limits on the charitable tax deduction, a dangerous course of action that would devastate the nonprofit sector that millions of people rely on for critical human service supports.

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Sarah Meek

New Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for LSA-Disability Network Announced

Bethesda is pleased to welcome Sarah Meek as the new Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for LSA-Disability Network. 
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Bethesda Award Recipients

Each year Bethesda honors leaders in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities with four awards. Award recipients are honored at Bethesda Annual Banquet in November. 
Meet this year's recipients!
A Prayer for National Healing

A Prayer for National Healing

"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I've been thinking of this quote by President Abraham Lincoln often this past year. We are one week removed from our of our nation's most acrimonious and divisive elections. Pundits and "experts" are taking credit, assigning blame, and assessing what went wrong or what went right - dependent, of course, on one's political leanings.
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Vote on November 6th

Vote on November 6

"Vote as if you life depends on it, because it does." These words by Justin Dart, well-known activist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, have never been more important or relevant for people with disabilities.

With issues such as Medicaid reform, the Affordable Care Act, housing and transportation at the forefront of national and state policy debates, the stakes for people with disabilities couldn't be higher.
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Mentor Advocacy Program

Advocacy Mentor Initiative

Bethesda Institute hired six individuals supported by Bethesda Lutheran Communities in each of their operational regions to the newly created position of advocacy mentor.

Learn more about the Advocacy Mentor Initiative

Stop Wisconsin Managed Care Cuts that Target People with Disabilities

Wisconsin managed care organizations (MCOs) that participate in Family Care have implemented rate cuts that are creating financial and operational challenges to intellectual and developmental disability (ID/DD) support providers. Bethesda Lutheran Communities is joining with other ID/DD service providers in requesting the Wisconsin Legislature take immediate action to require MCOs to provide reimbursement rates that are reasonable and sufficient to provide quality supports for people with ID/DD.
Learn How You Can Help!
Dr. John E. Bauer - Medicaid

Our Stance on Medicaid

Dr. John E. Bauer, Bethesda's President and CEO, shares his views on the current Medicaid situation.

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