2014 Resolutions

2014 Resolutions

The official policy statements of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan are established every year with annual resolutions adopted at the state convention.

The resolutions committee meets early during the convention. Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.

Resolution 2014-01: Inaccessibility of Electronic Health Records in Michigan

WHEREAS, the transition from print-based medical records to electronic health records (EHRs) offers the opportunity to expand the circle of participation in the healthcare industry by giving blind providers mainstream access to systems and material that they need in order to do their jobs without the need for alternative formats, specialized services, and customized supports, and by giving blind patients private and equal access to their health records; and

WHEREAS, most current EHR technology is inaccessible to blind patients and blind people working in or pursuing work in the healthcare industry, creating new barriers that may ultimately drive blind people out of the industry altogether and prevent blind patients from having equal access to and privately viewing their records; and

WHEREAS, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 have been in effect since 2008 and are the means by which EHR technology can be made accessible; and

WHEREAS, blind patients and workers in the health care industry in Michigan are facing extreme and needless discrimination as a result of inaccessible EHR technology: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan, in Convention assembled, this twelfth day of October, 2014, in the city of Flint, Michigan, that this organization strongly demand compliance to all laws which insure our right to information and that the Department of Human Services, hospitals, outpatient physical health clinics, the Department of Community Health, the 46 community mental health agencies/authorities and any healthcare provider that deploys HER technology proactively to demand without delay, accessibility from developers, since all of these entities are stakeholders in this matter and will never fully realize the benefits of EHR technology unless that technology is accessible to users with disabilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that within thirty days this organization shall request legal consultation with our national office to determine if any declaratory, injunctive relief, or any other legal remedies would be deemed appropriate.

Resolution 2014-02: Regarding Michigan Flyer and SMART Bus Access to Airport

WHEREAS, the Michigan Flyer, Air Ride and Smart bus services offer a convenient and affordable means of traveling to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW); and

WHEREAS, many blind people use public transportation including the Michigan Flyer, Air Ride and SMART to travel to and from the McNamara Terminal of Detroit Metropolitan Airport; and

WHEREAS, there is a 70% unemployment rate among blind people who wish to work, making affordable transportation an extremely important part of life activities; and

WHEREAS, the Airport Board has decided to move the Bus Stop for these services to another location, called the Ground Transportation Center, which is inadequate, dangerous and inconvenient to persons using public transportation to travel to the McNamara Terminal; and

WHEREAS, until recently, the busses have dropped passengers at an accessible stop within 50 feet of the entrance to the terminal with no safety or other negative consequences for over 2 years; and

WHEREAS, the Ground Transportation Center (GTC) severely limits a disabled person’s access to and communication with Prospect Airport Services, since Prospect is located inside the McNamara Terminal near the former bus stop,, a service used by disabled persons to assist them in getting around at the Airport, thus leaving persons needing this assistance without access to reasonable accommodations when getting off the bus; and

WHEREAS, the new location at the GTC is approximately 200 yards from the nearest indoor area of the airport, as opposed to 50 feet in the McNamara Terminal at the former location, thus forcing people to either wait outside for their bus or run quickly once it arrives. Disabled persons, especially those with mobility limitations, who cannot “run” quickly enough are thus forced to wait outside, even in harsh weather conditions; and

WHEREAS, when all three unloading spots at the new stop are occupied, passengers loading and unloading from a bus in the middle lane are forced to exit between vehicles and cross over a lane of traffic, an action which could result in severe bodily harm and/or death; and

WHEREAS, the change in bus stops conflicts with the Americans With Disabilities law by limiting access to the terminal by persons with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Ground Transportation Center does not have a service dog relief area unlike the former stop which has dog relief facilities; and

WHEREAS, passengers traveling from the McNamara Terminal to the new transit pickup location outside of the GTC must either choose to travel directly out “side doors” that exit to active lanes of traffic, or go through a revolving door, which when often broken is inaccessible to those with mobility impairments. To wit, the Detroit Free Press in 2009 reported that the door had broken 33 times from April 1, 2008 to March 22, 2009; and

WHEREAS, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder communicated his support in “maintaining the integrity of the previous stop locations” in a letter to Mr. Tom Naughton, CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority and to Mr. Michael Ford, CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority dated June 11, 2014; and

WHEREAS, the change of bus stop only effects those using public transportation and drastically reduces the convenience and accessibility for these passengers, this change unreasonably and discriminatorily targets persons who use public transportation to travel to and from the airport by making the environment hostile and unwelcoming to visitors to our state who use these services to reach the many attractions and services including colleges, industries, residences, tourist attractions and the vast natural and commercial resources of the state of Michigan: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan, in convention assembled, this twelfth day of October, 2014, in the city of Flint, Michigan, that this organization condemns and deplores the action of the Wayne County Airport Authority in discriminating against users of public transportation, especially those with disabilities by relocating bus drop off points used by the Michigan Flyer, Air Ride and SMART; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED; that this organization call upon the Airport Authority to immediately and permanently reverse its decision to move the Bus Stop for the Michigan Flyer, Air Ride and Smart busses to the Ground Transportation Center and return it to its former location at the entrance to the McNamara Terminal; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that this organization empower our president and board to join in any legal actions to remediate this move by the Airport Authority, including filing of friendly briefs, or other actions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that, this organization empower our president and board to authorize any actions, including, but not limited to, press releases, testimony or demonstrations, which seem prudent, effective and are designed to, result in the restoration of convenient transportation to users of public transportation to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.