United Spinal Association, NSCIA to convene at ROCH to address disability issues

United Spinal Association and advocates from its membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), will gather in Washington, D.C. on June 22-25 for Roll on Capitol Hill to shape policies that impact the health, independence and quality of life of people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D).

Roll on Capitol Hill (ROCH) is United Spinal's signature policy event which highlights key advocacy priorities for its membership and the broader disability community to ensure that legislators include wheelchair users and all people with disabilities in policy debates on Capitol Hill.

"Roll on Capitol Hill presents a unique forum for our members and chapter leaders to constructively address disability issues that are impacting their lives, for good or bad, face-to-face with their representatives," said Joe Gaskins, United Spinal president & CEO.

"This event empowers people with disabilities to become stronger self-advocates," he added.

ROCH attendees will have the opportunity to visit the Capitol Hill offices of their representatives and other key legislators to personally discuss legislative issues about the need for better access to health care, social security benefits, disability rights, employment opportunities as well as accessible transportation.

Issues include:

  • Ensuring increased access to needed durable medical equipment, medical supplies and related services, prescription drugs and outpatient therapies
  • Expanding home and community-based services and supports
  • Improving access for housing modifications for disabled veterans
  • Providing accessible transportation for all
  • Increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and ensuring civil rights protections

On June 23, ROCH attendees will participate in a full day of policy briefings from advocates, agency officials and former Capitol Hill staffers. The day begins with Keynote Speaker Claudia Gordon, Special Assistant, Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs recently with the White House Office of Public Engagement.

On the evening of June 24, United Spinal will host a Congressional Awards Reception to recognize members of Congress for their outstanding service to people with disabilities and veterans, including:

  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) will be honored with the 2014 Disability Rights Champion Award for his work to ensure every American has access to high-quality, affordable health care.
  • Rep. Al Green (D-TX 9th) will receive the 2014 Vets First Congressional Bronze Star Award for his efforts to increase opportunities for veterans living with disabilities to reintegrate into their communities.
  • Rep. Cathy Morris Rodgers (R-WA 5th) will be presented with the 2014 Outstanding Congressional Leadership Award for her extensive leadership and vocal support of disability issues.

The following House and Senate legislators are recognized as ROCH Congressional Co-chairs for their sponsorship and leadership of the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act, HR 942/S.948, which improves access under Medicare for customized wheelchairs for individuals with significant disabilities.

They include: Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS); Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY); Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI 5th); and Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY 14th).

United Spinal will also honor several advocates who have been instrumental in policy successes throughout the year.

Finn Bullers, will receive the 2014 Advocate of the Year Award for his years of effective advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities, not only in his own state of Kansas, but across the country.



United Spinal Association


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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