October 2019 Newsletter

New P&A Report: The Continued Suppression of Voters with Disabilities in South Carolina

P&A has released a new report outlining how many South Carolina polling places continue to be inaccessible for voters with disabilities. P&A surveyed 32 polling places in 20 counties throughout South Carolina in the November 6, 2018 midterm election, which they had found to be inaccessible four years earlier in 2014 in a previous report. County Election officials had multiple years to make these locations accessible after being informed of the problem and did not. Polling Places have been federally required to be accessible per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for 29 years. The findings clearly show that voters with disabilities do not have equal opportunities to vote in South Carolina. P&A believes the problem continues to exist because of a lack of awareness, support, funding, and oversight for the county voter registration and election boards.

inaccessible curb ramp

Advocacy Watch

The South Carolina Legislative Audit Council (LAC) has published their much anticipated report on Children’s Behavioral Health Services at the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS). The LAC makes 57 recommendations, 52 of which were made to HHS, that cut across several areas of review. From rates to accountability and provider networks, they dug deep and found many deficiencies in how services are currently being rendered to one of the most vulnerable populations in our state.
P&A has raised concerns and questions about Children’s Behavioral Health Services with SCDHHS for some time. Unfortunately, the report shines new light on how serious the problems are within this area of South Carolina’s Medicaid system. SCDHHS, as the state Medicaid agency, is responsible for ensuring that South Carolina’s children receive the services they need in the most appropriate setting, that those services are of the highest quality, and that children get those services in a timely fashion. SCDHHS should take LAC’s recommendations seriously and take appropriate action to resolve the problems in Children’s Behavioral Health as soon as possible.

Volunteers Needed

P&A needs volunteers to accompany staff on unannounced inspections of Community Residential Care Facilities (CRCFs) in South Carolina. During the inspections we monitor for abuse and neglect and make sure that some of our most vulnerable populations are getting the treatment, care, and services that they are legally entitled to receive. For more information visit our website.

colorful hands reaching up

Staff Spotlight

Stephanie Gutzman started working at P&A as a legal assistant in 2005. She likes working with people and enjoys being part of an organization where she knows she is helping to better the lives of others. Stephanie is a transplant from the West Coast, having lived in Oregon, Colorado, California, and Idaho before moving to South Carolina. She enjoys nature, road trips, camping & hiking, music & art, astrology, and playing Scrabble. We want to thank Stephanie for her 14 years of service to our mission.

close up of stephanie