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NCD Letter to HHS regarding NCD research into institutionalization of people with disabilities during and after disasters

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

Robert P. Kadlec, MD
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
200 Independence Ave. SW.
Room 638G
Washington DC 20201

Dear Assistant Secretary Kadlec:

The National Council on Disability (NCD) entered into Cooperative Agreement # 18-03 on July 16, 2018 with the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (Partnership) - a national coalition of individuals and organizations whose mission is equal access and full inclusion for the whole community before, during and after disasters - to research and complete a report evaluating institutionalization of people with disabilities during and after disasters. When complete, it will be provided to the President, Congress, and federal agencies potentially impacted by NCD’s recommendations.

I am writing as follow-up to the request by Partnership, for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to provide a description of its role in assessing, placing, transporting, providing funding or reimbursement to grantees and contractors and any available data and information regarding admissions to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation facilities, hospices, and other long-term care facilities during and after the 2017 and 2018 disasters, beginning on August 25, 2017 and continuing through present time. Such data is needed in order to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the cooperative agreement.

NCD is an independent federal agency and is statutorily authorized to “review and evaluate on a continuing basis–policies, programs, practices, and procedures concerning individuals with disabilities conducted or assisted by Federal departments and agencies…in order to assess the effectiveness of such policies, programs, practices, procedures, statutes, and regulations in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities.” 29 U.S.C. § 781(a)(5). NCD is also required to “assess the extent to which such policies, programs, practices, and procedures facilitate or impede the promotion of the policies” that “guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities… and empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.” Id. § 781(a)(6) (referencing 29 U.S.C. § 780(a)(2)).

The cooperative agreement between NCD and Partnership states, in relevant part, that:

“This cooperative agreement is necessary to the discharge of NCD’s duty to review and evaluate on a continuing basis new and emerging disability policy issues affecting individuals with disabilities at the federal, state, and local levels, and in the private sector, including… Access to personal assistance… Access to health care, and policies that operate as disincentives for individuals to seek and retain employment.” 29 U.S.C. § 781(a)(10). Under this cooperative agreement, the Parties will produce a research product on the institutionalization of people with disabilities before during and after disasters. As required by the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, “substantial involvement is expected between the executive agency and the… Recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement.” 31 U.S.C. § 6305(2).

Pursuant to the above, Partnership will need the requested questions and data provided to develop NCD’s report in a timely manner to ensure ASPR’s roles and responsibilities are accurately recorded in the report. I appreciate your prompt consideration and cooperation in assisting NCD with the data collection previously requested. You may provide the data directly to Amy Nicholas, Attorney Advisor, National Council on Disability at Ms. Nicholas can also be reached at (202) 272-2008.


Neil Romano


cc: Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

An official website of the National Council on Disability