Kristine Quinio, Consultant;
Lee Goldberg, Vice President of Health Policy, NASI;
Thomas N. Bethell, Senior Fellow, NASI;
Kristen Arnold, Income Security Program Analyst

The Academy launched Working Together in the spring of 2015, as an initiative to generate ideas that improve services and supports for working-age persons with disabilities and/or that promote access to quality services and supports. Using IdeaScale, an online crowd-sourcing platform, Academy members and other experts in disability and health were invited to participate by submitting ideas and/or voting on submitted ideas. Over 250 experts participated in the challenge, and more than 30 submissions were collected online from May to June 2015. After voting closed at the end of June, an Advisory Committee reviewed the submissions and identified six key areas to recommend for further action by the policy community.

Results of the Working Together Challenge

The Advisory Committee grouped many of the submitted ideas into six recommendations:

  1. Continue to fill gaps in the existing research.
  2. Develop options to address the added costs of living (and working) with a disability.
  3. Further research on new employment support programs to identify the most effective models.
  4. Evaluate managed care models in the context of supporting individuals with disabilities.
  5. Improve the financing and delivery of long-term services and supports (LTSS).
  6. Examine the potential impact (and cost) of a national Paid Family Leave program.

Download the full discussion paper, which describes the recommendations and ideas generated through the Working Together Challenge.

Congratulations and Thank You!

The Academy would like to congratulate the following Working Together Challenge participants for their contributions and winning ideas:

  • Thomas Fraker, Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research
  • Lex Frieden, Professor of Health Informatics, University of Texas Medical School – Houston
  • Denise Hoffman, Senior Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research
  • Daniel Mont, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University College London
  • Hans Riemer, Council Member, Montgomery County Council
  • Claire Winiarek, Disability Policy Engagement Director, Anthem Inc.

Each of the winners receives complimentary registration for the Academy’s 2016 annual policy research conference, and a travel stipend to facilitate their attendance at the conference in Washington, DC (a $500-$1,000 value).

The Academy would also like to thank the following individuals for their active participation:

  • Sean Dunbar, Health Policy Director, Anthem, Inc.
  • Monique Morrissey, Economist, Economic Policy Institute
  • Zenaida Samaniego, Former Chief Actuary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Academy’s goal is to help identify and highlight research areas, promising new practices, and/or proven ideas for policymakers and other leaders to prioritize, especially amidst concerted efforts to boost employment among working-age persons with disabilities.

What’s Next?

The Academy is looking to launch several new projects to advance some of the recommendations outlined above. For example, in the area of paid family leave, the Academy recognizes the valuable role it could play in assembling cost estimates based on differing parameters. With its interdisciplinary, nationwide membership, the Academy is poised to work with a variety of partners and to lead efforts to advance our collective knowledge of the changing needs of persons with disabilities. The Academy will also continue to educate policymakers, key stakeholders, and the public about the many important areas to tackle in order to truly boost employment opportunities among working-age persons with disabilities.

We invite you to add your thoughts to the discussion by submitting a comment below.

Posted on: July 28, 2015

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