Regional News in Review – September 2015

  Artist’s work stolen at state fair Minnesota State Fair Police are seeking a person who stole a painting from […]

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Artist’s work stolen at state fair

Minnesota State Fair Police are seeking a person who stole a painting from a professional artist at the fair September 4. The painting was stolen inside the Education Building, from the Minnesota State Council on Disability booth. Artist Annie Young, who is blind, lost part of a two-piece artwork.

“The painting was wrapped up in cardboard and it was opened,” Young told KSTP-TV. “Deliberately opened and the larger piece of the two-piece work was gone.”

A report was filed but Linda Gremillion of the state council said this is a hit to the disabled working community. “You can’t calculate the potential earnings and exposure that the State Fair gives to artists with disabilities,” she said.

Young said she became blind in her mid-30. She used textiles to stencil and paint the piece. “I may do things differently, but I want to do things like everyone else,” she said. B0ecause she’s blind, she won’t be able to duplicate the exact colors and symmetry of the piece. (Source: KSTP-TV)


Amputees object to restrictions

Newly proposed restrictions on Medicare payments for prosthetics will hurt amputees, advocates say. The changes envisioned by Medicare, the government’s health insurance agency, revise coverage for what are called “definitive prosthetic components.” The proposed rules also require a medical exam by a doctor or health professional other than a prosthetics expert to determine “functionality.” Additionally, the rules mandate participation in a rehabilitation program before amputees can get a “definitive prosthesis” and limit Medicare payments for certain adjustments to prosthetics, as well as coverage for certain kinds of prosthetic technology.

Minnesotans who uses prosthetics object to the changes. Ann Morris of St. Louis Park is on her fourth pair of artificial legs in five years. Limiting the number and kinds of prosthetics Medicare will pay for is a step backward, she said.

Medicare’s regional durable medical equipment contractors proposed the rule changes. “CMS believes that Medicare beneficiaries will continue to have access to lower-limb prosthetics that are appropriate, and the intent of this proposed local coverage determination is not meant to restrict any medically necessary prosthesis,” an agency spokesman said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. “We welcome comments from the public and stakeholders on how to improve the proposal so that Medicare beneficiaries are able to get the lower-limb prosthetics they need.”

Federal elected officials are hearing from angry constituents. “I’ve heard from a number of constituents, along with patient groups, that have raised serious concerns regarding this proposed CMS policy,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen, R.-Minn. “I share their apprehension on what this rule would mean for patient access to prosthetic care and will be engaging with the agency to encourage them to pursue a different path.”

The rules “are looking to disregard the recommendations of prosthetics,” said Teri Kuffel, part owner of Arise Orthotics and Prosthetics in Blaine. “That’s quite a slap in the face to our industry.” (Source: Star Tribune)


Target agrees to pay claim to settle a hiring discrimination claim

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $2.8 million to settle a hiring discrimination claim filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC said three employment assessments formerly used by the Minneapolis-based retailer disproportionately screened out applicants for professional positions based on race and gender. It says the tests were not sufficiently jobrelated.

The EEOC also says an assessment that was performed by psychologists violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from subjecting applicants to medical exams prior making a job offer. The EEOC said thousands of people were adversely affected, and the settlement money will be divided among them.

Target agreed to take several steps to ensure the validity of its hiring process, including keeping better data for assessing the impact of its hiring procedures. (Source: KARE-11 News)


Customer receives cruel note

At just four-and-a-half feet tall, Nathan Hrdlicka, from Apple Valley, is used to getting stares and odd comments because of his height. He has bilateral PFFD, a rare birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the proximal femur.

Hrdlicka was the subject of a cruel incident in August at the Burger King in Prior Lake. The trouble began after he took his wheelchair through the drive-through lane because it was too wide to fit through the door. He then argued with employees over how much change he got back, for the second day in a row.

When Hrdlicka got home, he noticed one of the employees had written “golden ticket to the choclate (sic) factory,” on the wrapper for his cheeseburger. It is an apparent reference to the miniature “oompa loompa” characters from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory story.

“I’ve seen a lot,” Hrdlicka said. “I’ve never in my life had someone disrespect me like that at a place where I was just buying a burger.

Adding insult to injury, Hrdlicka said when he and a friend complained to the manager and then police, both weren’t interested. “I’m pretty offended by it,” he said. “I kind of thought people were past that on a professional level.” Police have since decided to look into the incident, after television news reports drew attention to Hrdlicka’s complaints. (Source: KMSP-TV)


Transit incident under investigation

Metro Transit police officers said that as they tried to subdue a teenager with autism who was resisting arrest earlier this week in St. Paul, the 17-year-old lost consciousness, according to police reports released last month. Family members of the teen said excessive force was used.

Maria Caldwell said that her son, Marcus, is autistic, suffers seizures and has a number of mental health disorders including sensory and anger management problems. She said officers mishandled the situation and unnecessarily injured her son. She has hired an attorney. Metro Transit police are reviewing the incident.

After the boy was handcuffed, police noticed that he was unconscious. Medical staff was called, and the teen was taken to Regions Hospital. While at the hospital, the mother informed the officers of her son’s disabilities, and they determined it was better to send him home. Police have said the use of force complied with department policies. (Source: Star Tribune)



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