Good afternoon. My name is Robin and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the ADA Implementation and Impact Study Report: National Council on Disabilities conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speaker''s remarks, there will be a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question during this time, simply press star and then the number 1 on your telephone key pad. If you would like to withdraw the question please press the pound key. Thank you. Ms. Jones, you may begin your conference.
Thank you and welcome everyone. And not to get confused because my name is Robin Jones and the operators name is Robin as well, so well make that clarification right out front. I want to welcome everybody to the August Audio Conference series. We have a little change in that we moved our session up on the calendar. We typically have them on the third Tuesday of the month, but we moved up to the earlier part of the month because we wanted to make sure we were timely in being able to offer this particular content. Also this session has been moved around a little this year for those of you that have been watching the schedule because there were some different delays in regards to when the report itself was actually released by the National Council on Disability. We are excited today to have our speakers. With us today we have Julie Carol, who is the Senior Attorney Adviser with the National Council on Disability. And then we also have with us today, two of the authors of the reports that are going to be discussed today. That is Mary Lou Breslin who is the Senior Policy Adviser with the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund otherwise referred to as DREDF and Silvia Yee who is an attorney with the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund - DREDF as well. I will give you a little more information on both of them in a minute. I just want to remind people that this is a program that is offered by the 10 Regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center. It is offered on a monthly basis as a means to stay up-to-date on current events and activities around the ADA and address specific topics that are of interest to a broad number of people as the ADA unfolds and as we watch in the courts and other implementation issues along the way. We just recently celebrated the 17th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this past month on July 26. We are all looking forward to information from this report that can help give us some perspective on the last 17 years and also give us some direction of where things might need to go or be going in the future. This session is being recorded both auditory as well as a written transcript being produced. That transcript will be edited and will be available within approximately 10 days of the session for your review on the ada-audio.org website. The audio portion will be able to listen to within approximately 5 business days on that same website. We have individuals joining us today by telephone, by streaming audio on the internet, as well as by real-time captioning. Our speakers will be taking questions through out this session at various points. So, please listen for instructions from the operator when that time period is available to you and we do encourage your questions. I will go ahead and introduce and get going on with the session today. First as I said we have Julie Carol, who is a Senior Attorney Advisor with the National Council on Disabilities. And for those of you who are not familiar with the National Council on Disabilities or otherwise referred to as NCD, it is an independent federal agency that was created by Congress to advise Congress and the Executive Branch on policies, laws and issues affecting people with disabilities. Prior to joining the National Council on Disabilities, Julie was the Washington based Director of Government and Industry Relations for the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center for the-I am sorry, I am lost at my stuff here, for the University of Iowa. It was a federally funded center created by NIDRR to provide technical assistance to industries, consumers and states on Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. She has also worked as an attorney advocate for the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the American Counsel for the Blind. Prior to attending law school, Julie worked in the field of hospital administration. She has quite a varied background, but has been working very specifically with the reports and activities of the National Council on Disabilities and very familiar with the policy issues. We have Mary Lou Breslin from the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund, who is a disability rights law and policy advocate for over 25 years. In 1979 she co-founded the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund which is a preeminent National Disability Rights Law and Policy Center for those of you who are not familiar with it. She has also served as the Deputy and Executive Director and President and Chair of the Board of Directors of DREDF, so she has won several different hats. Presently she is the Senior Policy Advisor with them, directing their organizations special projects which included this particular project as well. In 2002, she received the prestigious Henry Betts award for improving the lives of people with disabilities and she has also been the recipient of the Paul A. Hearne award from the Physical and Mental Disability Rights Committee of the American Bar Association and she got that in 2000. She also was a Switzer fellow for National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation and Research in 1995. Again, a varied background in the area of disability policy and disability rights that makes she well positioned to be talking about this particular report and project and leading this effort for the National Council on Disability. Silvia Yee is also joining us. She is the first international law fellow and is with DREDF. And is also active in their domestic national litigation and policy areas. She has worked in private commercial practice and with the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta in Canada. She has published on a variety of topics on Canadian Health Care Standards in the extent of the nursing legal profession''s legal authority. She received a law degree from the University of Alberta and she clerked with the Honorable Justice William Stevenson at the Alberta Court of Appeal in Canada. She came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in musicology at the University of California, Berkeley after receiving her Bachelor in Music and her Master''s at the University of Alberta and became involved with DREDF during the preparation for the Principles to Practice Symposium which was held first in October of 2000. She is particularly interested in issues raised by the comparison of different models of equity and justice, underlying disability anti-discrimination laws and in the applicability of disability discrimination of historically evolving social, psychological theories of prejudice. She has a background at both the international level as well as here within the United States looking at our particular issues of discrimination, including the ADA. So I think you will understand after hearing them speak today why they are well-positioned to be directly involved, these three individuals in this particular report and will have some interesting insights to share with you. So without further ado, I am going to go ahead and turn over to our first speaker which will be in Julie Carol. From there, she will hand it over to the other speakers in time. Go ahead, Julie.
Okay. Thank you, Robin and thanks to all in the audience. NCD is very pleased about the level of interest in these two reports. On the 17th Anniversary of the ADA, NCD did something a little unusual we released two reports at the same time. Both dealing with the ADA, but both quite different and hopefully after this session, you will understand the difference. The first, we call our Impact Report, is The Impact of the ADA: Accessing the Progress Toward Achieving the Goals of the ADA. That particular study went for two years and it is a retrospective snapshot of the impact of the ADA on people with disabilities and on society since its passage. Our second report that we released is we call our Implementation Report. These titles are so long. That is the Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Challenges, Best Practices and New Opportunities for Success. That one is not a snapshot. That is more of capturing some moving targets and looking forward to the future to improving implementation of the ADA. Both reports are based on extensive stakeholder input from around the country. Thanks to any of you out there who participated. First, I am going to talk about the Impact Report. Then, Mary Lou and Silvia will cover most of the Implementation Report. For the Impact Report, I want to first thank Patricia Jackson at Lockheed Martin who was the contractor for that project and the primary subcontractor was Peter Blank, who I am sure that many of you know, been at the law school of the University of Iowa along with James Schmeling and Helen Spark. That is not right, but close, who did the bulk of the work on the Impact Project. The reason for the Impact Report, especially around the Anniversary of the ADA, every year lots of phone calls going around trying to find out the impact of the ADA or what we knew about its success so far, and we were never able to find any answers. So, that is why the Council undertook this report to try and determine where we are with respect to progress, particularly as it relates to the four overarching goals of the ADA. Just a brief description of our methodology. We have conducted focus groups, public forums, targeted interviews all around the country, as well as conducting environmental scan which was a very comprehensive look throughout the country and what had already been done, what data had been compiled, and what we knew about the ADA so far. Then, we also had access to the National Organization on Disability sponsored Harris Poll of people with disabilities. We had access to that raw data for several of the years that they conducted that study. Unfortunately, we found a surprising absence of on going systematic data collection about the impact of the ADA. The result, unfortunately, still is a significant knowledge gap about the impact of the ADA. Just let me give you a couple observations that we made about the input from people with disabilities that we received during this project. First of all, there was a lot of confusion about the ADA versus other disability related laws. People confused it with IDEA or the Voc Rehab Act and would say things for example like, "the ADA changed my life, because it allowed me to go to college because Voc Rehab paid for all of my expenses" or the ADA saved my life because when I left my job when I had a disability I was able to get Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So I think it is important to note that there is that confusion out there when you are analyzing some of these results. Another observation that I though was very interesting is we did had a number of younger people with disabilities who provided input. And it was the first time we have come across the perspective of youth who really dont have the frame of reference in terms of their own experiences pre-ADA versus post-ADA, because most of their at least adult life has been during after the ADA has passed. I thought that was interesting. Im just going to run through some of the highlights of what we learned. We can only touch on some, there is a lot more in the Report, and I hope you will visit it. In 2000, the NOD Harris Poll found that 63% of people with disabilities reported improvements in their quality of life as a result of the ADA and improvements in public attitudes about people with disabilities. Looking quickly at government, there was a survey of governments with residence of more than 50,000. Of those who responded, 90% had provided ADA training, 85% had transition plans. And that particular study concluded that where they saw that government entity had an ADA coordinator, there was much more ADA compliance activity. We looked at voting a little, of course there are some other laws that impact voting as well for people with disabilities. We did see a significant increase in the number of people with disabilities voting post-ADA versus pre-ADA. We could not find any data on other forms of civic participation like serving in public office or serving on community advisory committee boards, commission, etc. We think that would be something very interesting to look at, but couldnt find any data. Moving to Olmsted, as of 2004, 29 states had issued some sort of Olmsted plan or policy. There has been a fair amount of work at the federal level to get Olmsted implemented that I thought was interesting, so you might want to look at that section of the report that describes those effort. We look at transportation. I think we all know that that is one of the more successful areas of compliance under the ADA. 98% of our busses have lifts at this point or big system transit buses. The problems that we heard still have to do with calling out stops, lifts maintenance and the issues surrounding key stations. Also the main problem with transportation, that there is not enough of it, still many people with disabilities live in areas where there is no public transportation at all or the public transportation that is there really does not connect them to where they need to be, housing to employment, etc. We look at public rights of way. As you know, there are yet no regulations, access regulations for public rights of way. We looked at the number of curb ramps we thought maybe would be able to find out how many curb ramps had been installed since the ADA. We found no data, there is just nobody compiling it or no reporting requirements under the ADA. So that might be something to think about for the future. But we did find that in larger cities, especially those that have been sued, they could tell you how many curb ramps they had made accessible and how many more to go, etc, etc, so San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York cities for example. Looking at Title III, National Organization on Disabilities Harris Poll reported that 75% of people with disabilities reported seeing improvement in restaurants and shops and theaters, etc since the ADA. This is an interesting pre-ADA versus post-ADA finding. In 1986, 36% of people with disabilities reported going regularly to shops and restaurants, etc. By 2004 that was up to 57%. You have probably heard often the various trade associations, different types of businesses whether it is restaurants or hotels, etc have reported about the excessive cost of complying with the ADA, etc, etc. So we went to all the trade associations that we could find and ask them about data about their members. How many had come into compliance or how much have they had to spend so far, etc? They had absolutely no data. We could not find any that had any data on their members. It seems that small businesses remain the most inaccessible of all the areas covered by the ADA. People with sensory disabilities were least, or let''s say most dissatisfied with access to public accommodations in general since the ADA, or under the ADA. Information and communication issues are still a real barrier. I am sure that website accessibility was an important factor there. Title IV got raving reviews. People who are deaf or hard of hearing from all over came out to say what a tremendous difference the ADA had made in their life and their ability to communicate with each other and with their friends and families and the hearing community. I just think it is important to know that that is the only Title that has a designated mechanism for it. We did hear though that businesses are still not understanding relay or not willing to spend the time on relay calls. So some training is definitely needed there. Looking at employment, and we found that attributing employment rates of people with disabilities to the ADA was really impossible. So many factors affect employment that are not covered by the ADA or that the ADA just does not get at. For example, having employment be within reach of, or within the transportation route for someone who can also find accessible affordable housing. The work disincentives affect employment. So, we thought that the pre-ADA employment rates versus the post-ADA employment rates was not a meaningful figure for us. We did find, and this is very good news, less on the job discrimination against people with disabilities since the ADA was passed, and that was reported by people with disabilities. They reported less discrimination once they were on the job in terms of access to promotions and benefits for example, as opposed to what they reported pre-ADA. But hiring remains intractable particularly for people with visible and severe disabilities, they are still reporting the same amount of discrimination in being able to obtain employment. So, if you are able to obtain it or you acquire a disability while on the job, things are looking better. Otherwise, we still got a lot of work to do. Even of those with college degrees, people with disabilities with college degrees were less likely to be able to break into the job market than their counterparts without disabilities. And they earned less when they did than their counterparts. The poverty rate of people with disabilities is the same as it was before the ADA. Looked a little in health care and we found disparities between people with disabilities and people without. Even workers with disabilities are less likely to have employment provided insurance than workers without disabilities. People with disabilities were more likely to be on public health insurance where as people without were more likely on private, no surprise there. But we did find that people with disabilities were more likely or most often reported going without needed medical care. Briefly looked at education. The education gap between people with disabilities and without is narrowing, so that is good news. More people with disabilities are going to college and more are pursuing postgraduate work. However, as I noted earlier, when they do, they are still earning less than their counterparts without disabilities. People with disabilities are twice as likely to drop out of high school than people without. So another area that needs a lot of work. We concluded that the goal of economic self-sufficiency of the ADA is the one having the least success. Now that you have heard some figures and stats, I want to point out that the disability input that we received for the Impact Report is quite different than we received for the Implementation Report and that was deliberate. For the Impact Report, we tried to get outside of the Beltway and outside of the established disability community to find out what people were experiencing. So it was not just the activists or the people representing people with disabilities. The reason for the ADA Implementation Report, we know that there were some truly good things happening and we wanted to highlight those and learn from those. We also all know that there are some real impasses that have been there for quite a while. We do not seem to be able to move forward. So the attempts with the Implementation Report was to bring all the stakeholders together and sort of at the same table for a very intense, long session to figure out how to get past some of those impasses that we all knew were existing. And this particular project was done by the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund, and as usual they did a fantastic job and they really did a good job of getting the stakeholders to the table. We had just really great input for this report from small businesses and large businesses, and small employers and large employers, and state and local governments, and even judges and various legal professions. I am sure they will tell you more about that as well as of course people with disabilities. But to my knowledge, and that is the first of its kind getting all those stakeholders together at the table at a national level. So many thanks to DREDF for that. Before I turn it over to them to move to the Implementation Report, I will take questions at this time, if there are any.
That is great, if the Operator can give instructions again about questions then we can see if there is anything that we can respond to.
At this time, I would like to remind everyone in order to ask a question, please press star and then the number 1 on your telephone keypad. We will pause for just a moment to compile the roster.
In the meantime while we are waiting for questions, Julie, how does NCD use these kinds of recommendations and exactly moving forward any potential recommendations or anything to Congress? Cause I know that you obviously submit this information to Congress and to the President at different points but how does this information and the outcomes of this report, how do you anticipate that they might be used by NCD?
We do send all of our reports to Congress and you will see in our reports nowadays, recommendations tend to be presented by whom they are directed to. So many of the recommendations are directed to other entities, such as maybe the Department of Justice or EEOC, or Congress should so this or businesses, chambers of commerce should do that. And so we do group them and tried to get those recommendations out where they can be acted upon. We also of course through forums such as this one, want to make sure that the disability community itself know what these recommendations are and can participate in helping us refine them and move them forward. So, there is not one answer to this.
Yes, I understand.
Some of NCD''s work is based on what we learn in these studies too. We now have because of what we learned about disparities in health care, we have a health care project underway, same thing with employment and financial independence. So, although we are not able to follow up on everything that we have learned, the Council does go through a process of prioritizing and doing more work based on what we learned.
Sure. I understand. Do we have any questions, Operator?
No. There are no questions at this time.
Ok, so why don''t we just wait and go ahead and move forward with the other report and then we will see if there are some questions that might be stimulated by that as well. Mary Lou, are you going to head up back?
I will. Thanks very much, Robin and thanks Julie. Hi everybody, I am glad you all can join us today. For those of you that have had an opportunity to a look at the Implementation Report, you know that it is quite lengthy. So in light of the time that we have available, we like to just focus on a general overview of the outcomes of our work with stakeholders around the country. And also just report very briefly on three specific aspects of the Report. And this includes areas that we consider best and promising practices under the ADA, and key stakeholder recommendations that emphasized specifically, Title I and Title II mechanisms for improving ADA implementation. And I would also like to present briefly our results of legal research related to Title III litigation. I will be talking about the best and promising practices and key recommendations, and Silvia Yee will be talking about the outcomes of the legal research related to Title III. But before I sort of delve into the general overview, I would just like to say a few words about how we approached the project methodologically. We undertook some of the same project steps that Julie described for the Impact Report. We conducted ten stakeholder dialogues around the country. We called them dialogues because they were really very intensive, small working group sessions involving very diverse stakeholders. 282 individuals with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints participated in the dialogue. These included people from as Julie had mentioned a moment ago, from the chambers, merchant associations, hospitality industry, trade associations, insurance industry representatives, federal and state agency officials, law firms representing businesses, telecommunications experts, human resources folks and many, many, many others. Those are just examples of people who we were able to bring to the table to talk about implementation issues. These stakeholders identified recommendations for improving ADA implementation that you will find extensively set forth in the Report. We also conducted fairly significant research to identify ADA best implementation practices that we hope can serve to illustrate how some entities are achieving effective implementation. We also conducted legal research in order to understand the implementation benefits and outcomes and remaining challenges that have derived from various ADA litigation activities, particularly as they relate to Title III. And as I said, Silvia will be talking about the outcomes of that research in a minute. I think this is probably one of the most interesting aspects of the research that we did and we hope we are going to have enough time to share it with you. We also evaluated available technical assistance and public information on the ADA and developed a prototype public relations campaign that you can find in the report either online or in hard copy form. And finally, we conducted three-I am sorry, two judicial focus groups, because we felt that there was a real dearth of understanding and research into the judiciary knowledge of and experience with litigation brought under the ADA. So the focus groups sort of helped revealed some of the issues that we expected we would find in relation to their understanding and knowledge of the ADA. I would like to say a few words about the overall outcome of the project. There is not any question that the ADA has been a really significant catalyst for change in specific areas that have had a very strong impact on people with disabilities. This is also echoed in the Impact Report as Julie remarked. Specifically, it has increased architectural accessibility particularly in newly constructed buildings and facilities, it has been quite a success story in that respect. It has also as Julie said, increased accessible fix route public transportation in many locales. And what we are really seeing there now is our second, third and even fourth generation implementation issues. They are not threshold issues that having to do with, are the busses accessible? They have much more to do with drivers calling out stops, lift maintenance, technology that assist people with disabilities in transportation and so on. These areas are greatly improved as a result of the ADA. We also learned that telecommunication services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are a tremendous success story, also echoed in the Impact Report. Now I have to say we are going to move on to the bad news. Unfortunately, there are still what we call in our Report intractable pockets of resistance to implementation. And they can either be very specific or they can be quite broad in scope. The most obvious example under Title III, in particular, is ongoing lack of implementation of the ADA amongst small businesses such as restaurants, hotels, medical offices, retail establishments, and so on. In spite of the fact that people are reporting participating in retail activities such as shopping and going to restaurants since the early 1980s, I think the figure that Julie mentioned was fifty-something percent as a result of the Harris Poll. Well, the remaining 50%, I think who are not able to participate in these kinds of activities are reflected in the outcomes of our research showing that there has been very, very little compliance with the ADA by small businesses. On one level, factors such as lack of appropriate education about the ADA, cost issues, limited enforcement, underlie most if not all of the problem areas. However, on a more troubling and I think a much deeper level, these factors enhance an already quite powerful stereotypes that people with disabilities are really fundamentally and deeply incapable of participating in society. The lack of access among the Title III entities, especially the small businesses, really fuels a vicious cycle of out of sight and out of minds. And the same deeply embedded stereotype is arguably behind the limitations placed on the law by decisions handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Recommendations from the disability community, in particular, strongly recognize the need to break this cycle that is created by false assumptions in gaps in information. A very, very powerful theme identified by the stakeholders in the sessions that we held around the country is this idea of universality. This is obviously linked to and closely aligned with the movement for universal design. But the idea of universality really was threaded through the conversations with stakeholders around the country. Universality envisions a physical, social and economic environment that is designed for the entire range of human function and this idea transcends practically every aspect of ADA implementation. This principle cuts across the stakeholder recommendations that are presented in the Report and also appears in some of the most compelling best and promising practices that we report in the Report. I would like to just present a few examples of best and promising practices. But given the amount of time we have available, we will just touch on a few. But most notably, the following models also directly address at least one of the underlying issues or stereotypes behind the existing, what we call intractable implementation areas. These examples also meet specific through structural and procedural criteria. In other words, we did not identify best practices because somebody said they were, we really dug deeply to understand whether the practice was embedded within the entity, whether it could withstand personnel changes, and whether there was any data that had been collected to quantify the impact of the practice on people with disabilities. So we really closely scrutinize these practices before we set out to call them best. For the practices that are identified as promising in our Report, we felt that they did not quite rise to the level of best practice because there was no data to support them or because they really were new practices and there was not enough time to generate, not enough time had elapsed to generate the data that was necessary to determine that they were in fact were best practices. So let me just give a couple of examples of best practices that we were pretty excited to find. The first involves a hotel/motel chain called Microtel Inn and Suites. And this is an all newly constructed chain of budget economy hotels that affords ADA compliance sleeping rooms. They have strong advertising to people with disabilities to encourage their making reservations with this facility and they also engage in significant staff training for their franchise operators on serving customers with disabilities. The company reported gains in its 2004 bookings for ADA room nights across of all their distribution channels. Let me just share a couple of numbers with you because they are kind of interesting. They reported a gain overall. Let me just say one of the specific franchises, the Microtel Inn and Suites in Bowling Green, Kentucky reports that from 2003 to 2005, ADA room nights increased from 9 to 228 to 392 and revenues increased from $514, not enough to pay the rent on, to $10,425 to $19,673. So they obviously, are marketing their product to disability communities. They are doing so in an ethical and proactive manner from what we can understand about their operation. They are taking pretty seriously the idea that everybody who seeks a room at their hotel should be appropriately accommodated. They really treated customers with disabilities as any other person that they are reaching out to. So, we have added them to our best practices list. Microtel is a little bit unusual in that they appeal to a market segment of people with disabilities and they are using that approach to draw people into their facilities. But let me move on now to a transit transportation example. One of the issues that we thought was important involves the activity of transit operators who are resolving the discrepancy and pay between paratransit and fixed route drivers. This resolves some of the chronic problems and difficulties that persist in paratransit service, such as high driver turnover. Let me just give you a couple of examples, the Tri-Delta Transit Operation in Northern California made this change in the late 1990s. And they lowered their paratransit driver turnover by 50%, by paying the paratransit drivers and fixed route drivers the same salaries. They really had a very significant impact on the operation of the paratransit service. In a program in Washington State called Link Transit, the average operator has driven for 10 years, as opposed to most paratransit system that have about a 50% turnover per year. Link has also instituted this same pay policy. The longevity particularly of Link has resulted in drivers who rarely they do not get lost, they know all of their passengers. They operate on a pretty high productivity level and we consider this a best practice that we hope the industry is looking seriously look at promulgating around the country. Moving on to another quick example, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), which I think many of you are aware of, the service of the Office of Disabilities Employment Policy of the Department of Labor. They provide employers, providers to people with disabilities, lots of other folks, information on job accommodations, self employment, small business opportunities and so on. And then in a recent evaluation, JAN customers reported that implementation of work site accommodations significantly reduce the individuals level of limitations due to disability. And JAN customers report that having made highly effective accommodations at very low cost. Preliminary data from a customer satisfaction survey of 778 employers and 882 individuals with disabilities reveal that a broad spectrum of businesses use JAN services. JAN customers reported having made highly effective accommodations and over 50% reported they did not have any cost. And for those that did have a cost, the average was about $600. So there is very good data to support the effectiveness of the program. Ok, very quickly I would like to move on to some key recommendations from the Report. As you might have noticed, if you scan through the executive summary, we presented over 167 stakeholder recommendations. We obviously are not going to recite all of those. I wanted to try to organize them up a little bit and just give you some examples of some of the more interesting recommendations, or ones that we think go off in a slightly new different direction from previous recommendations that may came out in these reports. The recommendations tend to cluster in areas concerned with training, education, community empowerment and enhanced federal enforcement. So, for example, one recommendation involving several federal agencies calls on the EEOC, the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies concerned with employment of people with disabilities to acknowledge the substantial need for ADA training by employers of all levels and to join forces to create a campaign that response to this need. Similarly in another example, the U.S. Department of Justice was, it was recommended that DOJ devotes substantially more resources and time to investigating Title III complaints especially those regarding businesses in light of the widespread noncompliance by these entities. But I think the most, possibly the most interesting set of recommendations suggests what we might think of as a new implementation paradigm, that calls for multilevel collaboration among diverse players who would develop and implement a whole host of different strategies for imbedding the ADA implementation mechanisms in existing business practices. And these build on the idea of universality, stressing that people with disabilities are an integral part of every community. For example, key federal agencies charged with the role of enforcing the ADA and disability organizations and other leaders and experts in the accessibility, have been and is been recommended that they partner with entities such as the National Association of State Fire Marshals, cities department of health, mortgage and construction lenders, and associations of city and county government, in order to identify legislative, regulatory, and other methods to embed ADA information, incentives, and where appropriate, penalties in interactions that they have with Title III covered entities. In another example that focuses on this paradigm of multilevel collaboration, there is a specific recommendation for collaboration among businesses, disability community, and professional organizations and associations. For example, as a condition for ongoing licensing, everyone involved in design, construction, engineering, landscape architecture, architecture and city planning should be required to take universal design courses that include explanation of the ADAAG, and access codes and standards. And these courses should be offered through continuing education programs. Sponsorship should be provided by state, national professional organizations such as the Building Officials and Code Administration International and for example, the American Institute of Architects. And in a collaborative example concerning employment, it was recommended by stakeholders that the EEOC, Department of Labor, SBA and other federal agencies concern with employment of people with disabilities, and business trade and membership organizations such as the Regional Chambers of Commerce, the Society for Human Resource Management, and disability organizations should collaborate on development and dissemination of model policies for establishing entity wide funding mechanisms that can be used by divisions, departments and cost centers to pay for accommodations. As an example of a recommendation for business organizations and associations, it was recommended by stakeholders that leading of business associations such as the U.S. Chamber, the Council of Better Business Bureau, and similar organizations should endorse and support a new ADA education project with their members. This would involve notifying members about the ADA through mailings, providing information on their websites, at conferences, at national and regional meetings, and informing them that the organizations have the capacity to distribute ADA implementation materials that are published by the DOJ and other federal agencies. And in addition to these recommendations, there are a number of recommendations that were aimed at the disability community and at disability advocates. It is recommended that leaders of local independent living centers and other disabilities organizations should seek out leaders and culturally diverse neighborhoods to hold discussions about ADA implementation, and understand the needs of citizens and businesses. The objective would be to inform leaders about the benefits of the ADA and build partnerships to provide mutual benefits for the disability and culturally diverse communities. The goals are for local leaders to demonstrate that the ADA can be implemented in a meaningful way in their communities. And that it is important that this take place and to promote implementation which can serve as a model. The recommendations also made by stakeholders call for something that we think was actually very important in the overall scheme of the recommendations. And this was a call for ADA Centers of Excellence that should be established by various federal agencies responsible for implementation. For example, key federal agencies charged with some aspect of ADA implementation, the Justice Department, Health and Human Services, Department of Education, Housing, so on should establish centers of excellence within their respective agencies or through a contractor. The mission would be to conduct research and collect information about effective methods of ADA implementation related to their area of concern and to rigorously evaluate those methods to determine the quantifiable impact on people with disabilities and report and widely disseminate the results that will serve as models. This recommendation was built on the centers of excellence that has been established in the area of education that are attempting to do the same thing to improve education around the country. All these recommendations were spurred by stakeholder observations that data needed to be assembled that supports ADA best implementation practices. And as Julie mentioned in regard to the Impact Report, this data is either not available or not being systematically collected. And it was felt by many stakeholders that this is a missing ingredient in the overall implementation methods that are currently being used. Mindful of the time at this point, and I actually would just like to pause very quickly to remind everybody that we are going to move on to the results of our legal research on litigation for Title III next. And Silvia is going to be also talking about recommendations for Congress at that point. But I would like to pause at this point and see if anyone has any questions.
Great, if the Operator can give the instructions again, we will see whether or not we have any questions from those that are listening to us today.
Again, if you would like to ask a question, please press star and then the number 1 on your telephone keypad. Your first question.
Hi, my question is about these Reports and the data collected, it is very important that we get them that we get empirical evidence on the impacts and implementation of the ADA. Is the data that has been collected, is that publicly available or just the analysis, for either one of these Reports?
Well, I can answer the question. I think for the data that we collected, for example, for the Implementation Report for best practices, is set forth in the Report if there is specific data. It is all available, but we had to dig for it with each of the entities that we identified as being engaged in best practices. So I think that the answer to the question, is it available, is yes, but it is most easily available in the Report itself. Julie, you may want to answer this from the Impact perspective.
Yes, all of the information that I mentioned and that we talked about in our Report are referenced. Everything is footnoted, so you can go to the original source and it is all publicly available. But as Mary Lou said, it is not always easy. That is why we spent two years with several people working almost full time, trying to ferret out some of this information.
So basically for folks who are looking for specific data, the best place to find where you got the data you were quoting would be to go to the footnotes of the actual Report, which is available on the National Council on Disability website.
Okay. And that is just for folks again, that if you are not familiar with that website, in the materials for this session, you were given the links to those various Reports. But again, it would be www.ncd.gov. And from there you would go to the link for the newsroom at the top of the page and from the newsroom you would choose publications. And within publications you will see them identified by years that they came out and you will see the most recent being those from the year 2007, and these two Reports are referenced at the top right now. But they will be replaced when there are new reports that come out, so you may have to just scroll down on that page depending on when you are looking for it. Okay. Next question.
Okay, next question.
Hi, I have a question in regards to the Implementation study. I am not seeing anything here that speaks specifically to Title II state and local government. I am only finding something entitled Public and Private Transportation under Title II. So I am wondering if your Implementation talked at all about state and local government?
Actually it carved out several areas that are covered by Title II, specifically in relation to new construction and in relation to transportation. It covered those areas within the Report. The reason being that NCD has done really extensive work on other Title II areas particularly Olmstead, so we focused on the areas where we thought there had been the least amount of review conducted so far.
So you are saying new construction under Title II? That would be government facilities?
Right. Any construction, any issues related to architectural accessibility under new construction and alteration, and also, the transportation provisions.
Other services programs and activities in terms of communication access, website access, none of those other things that would be covered under Title II?
Well, we did cover extensively Title IV which does touch on the communication access issues. Obviously, there is some overlap. We did cover somewhat extensively web access issues, that tends to really cuts across many titles of the ADA. So those issues do appear in other areas of the Report.
Okay. Thank you.
Mary Lou, did I understand that you were saying also that one of the things you look at is that there have been other reports on different topics like education and things of that nature, that have been done in the past or recent past by NCD and that is why you did not duplicate those efforts. Is that what I understood you to say?
Right. We specifically focused on the areas that were laid out as areas of concern by NCD in their initial requests or proposals. And we also did not focus on areas that had been covered in other reports that they produced.
Your next question.
I was reading in the Report about a recommendation to, specifically, it was for curb ramps, and it was a recommendation to prioritize the locations where curb ramps were needed most. And we have been told specifically for years now that a planning approach to implementing ADA and the public rights of way was not acceptable. We had to do it on a project by project basis, wherever we happen to be doing work, we had to put in curb ramps and then after the Sacramento Decision we have been doing our sidewalks. I am encouraged by that approach of prioritizing. We wanted to work and collaborate with our disabled community here in Nevada to find areas in the metro areas, etc where they would like us to concentrate our ADA work to help them the most. But we specifically have been prohibited from doing that by the Access Board. So, what I am asking is, what do you think the chances are of this recommendation of being able to prioritize our ADA work with collaborative effort with the disabled community? Is that what this prioritization recommendation is? And what are the chances of it being I guess accepted?
Well, let me just say that our transportation expert is not at the table today. So let me answer the question having offered the caveat that she is not here to take charge of the question. But my understanding of that recommendation is that it relates specifically to the problems that arise from public transportation, particularly fixed route busses. And the problem of not, those vehicles not necessarily stopping at locations that are going to be accessible to people who do need curb ramps access. And so the prioritization recommendation arose out of the discussions with stakeholders who felt that there need to be some discussion about where curb ramps should be installed in relation to the fixed route bus service that exist in many locations. I suspect that the idea is not to undercut the directives of the Access Board, the idea here is really to raise the concern that was raised to us by stakeholders of this particular problem. So I would not expect the Access Board to revise its rules or recommendation but this is a concern that was raised by stakeholders, so we are representing them in the Report as that.
Okay, so it is specific just to making sure that people can collect at the access points to the public transit system?
Right. That was the intent.
But I think another important factor there is that the disability community should be involved, whether you are behind and where you should be or not in installing the curb ramps. The community, the people with disabilities in your area should be involved in determining, you got to start somewhere. And some communities have developed some pretty good models of how to work with the community and how to prioritize to know where to get started.
Our problem, if you do not mind me continuing the discussion is, being a very large rural state, most of our state facilities, a large percentage of them are outside of, let''s just say inhabited areas. Yet, we are spending a fairly large percentage of our ADA work in putting curb ramps in areas where we do not even get ambulatory pedestrians, let alone disabled pedestrians. What we would like to do is work with the disabled community to take the money we are spending in areas where they agree it is not doing any good and transfer that funding over to areas where they would like to see it spent. And that has kind of been our consternation because of the directives from the Access Board that no, when you do a project, you bring it up to ADA, it does not matter where it is at.
This is Robin, speaking that the fact that the ADA and how it is conceptualized and how it is implemented, you look at those things that you are doing now, which is kind of like drawing a line in the sand and saying everything from here on out, everything that is newly constructed or renovated will be accessible. And then, your other challenges to look at the issues of areas where you have barriers that exist that may not be the target of a current project and such but there still is a barrier there for individuals to gain access to that space and how you balance, how do you achieve increasing the accessibility of those areas, even though they may not be part of a planned project and such. So there is not an easy answer to say, well, okay I am doing a project right now, it is not really an area of high priority, so let''s not make that area accessible and let''s use those funds somewhere else. You really cannot work that way, if you really truly look at what the goal is, is that everything that is modified or changed from here on out shall be built accessible and then to the greatest extent possible try to bring those things that are not accessible into compliance or to make them accessible. So I do not think that there ever will be a directive that tells you and will tell you that okay, you can pick and choose among your projects, we will make this one accessible or this one not accessible because it is not used. Because anything that is new construction or a renovation needs to be addressed from the accessibility because here is your chance to fix it versus just perpetuating the problem of inaccessibility because while it may not be a high area in your viewpoint now of accessibility, 10 years from now it will be and you will be back in the same position you are when you look at other areas. So it is a Catch 22 in that respect. Anyone else have any other comments on that, Mary Lou or Julie or anyone?
This is Mary Lou and I would certainly second what you said Robin in terms of thinking these issues through for the long term. I was also going to suggest that in order for us to have enough time for Silvia to present her segment of the Report, we might want to move on to that now, if that works for everybody.
Sure. Why don''t we go ahead and have Silvia present on her area and then we will be back to questions then.
Hello. It is a pleasure to be with all of you on this audio conference program. Following Mary Lou''s presentation on our Best Practices and Recommendations, I will be speaking primarily on Part Two of the ADA Implementation Report to which deals with legal and enforcement tools, and speaking specifically on the use of private right of action. Part Two on the Report also does address issues raised by national class actions brought under Title III, but I will be speaking less on this topic today. I will be happy to answer any questions you have at the end though. I actually want to start with a very brief legal overview of Title III of the ADA. Title III requires public accommodations, that is privately own business and nonprofits that serve the public, to provide certain levels of architectural access depending on the age of the building, and reasonable modifications, and practices, policies and procedures to people with disabilities. It is important to keep in mind that the goal of Title III is to enable people with disabilities to fully participate in this countrys commercial life. Partaking in goods and services that many of us take for granted as we run errands, enjoy a night out with friends, and travel the country for work and leisure. It is equally important to remember that this goal is not controversial. No one appears to be arguing that people with various disabilities should be kept out of the commercial mainstream in either America''s urban centers or its smaller towns. What has been controversial in the last seven years or so, is the use of the private right of action to enforce Title III, particularly against smaller businesses operating out of existing facilities that is buildings that were already in existence when Title III of the ADA came into operations. A significant part of our research interview issues consisted of interviews with the various stakeholders affected by Title III. People with disabilities, small business owners, representatives of business associations and chamber of commerce, disability advocates and attorneys, defense attorneys, state judges, etc. I personally spoke with a number of individuals who clearly felt very strongly about the private right of action. To people with disabilities Title III is about a civil right. And the private right of action is one of the few ways that people with disabilities can enforce that right when they come across private accommodations that fail to honor what are by now 17 year old obligations under the law. To small business owners, Title III is about complex building regulations that are not enforced like other regulations they have to abide by. And the right to bring lawsuits is just a tool that enables individual plaintiffs and attorneys to make a personal profit at small businesses expense. This is a significant gap in perception that has to be acknowledged and addressed to public education. Another significant part of the research that went into the Report consisted of investigation into the actual numbers of cases being brought across the country. Some stakeholders have advocated for congressional changes to the ADA and to Title III because of the perception that small businesses across the country are being overwhelmed with private lawsuits brought under Title III. We used the U.S. Federal Courts electronic records system to determine the number of cases that were filed under Title III in 2005. Now Title III does not have its own separate little category. It actually shares a nature of suit categories with other disabilities civil rights laws, such as the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as all other ADA cases, except for employment under Title I. So, when someone files a suit in federal court, they have to check off the kind of suit they are filing. And if you are filing under IDEA, Section 504 or under ADA, except for an employment case, you check off this category. So this category will include special education cases and cases filed against government entities. But it does not include cases filed under state disability rights laws. In 2005, 1,383 such cases were filed. Working with this raw number, we found that 969 or 78% of these disability rights cases were filed in the federal courts of five states, California, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Texas in descending order. California''s total of 533 disability rights cases in 2005 was by far the largest total. And when this total is examined, to remove cases that were likely filed under Title II and under the IDEA, we found that 506 cases at most should have been Titled III cases. Since 23,910 civil cases were filed in California''s district courts in 2005, Title III cases made up 2.4% of California''s civil cases. Most of these were filed by the same attorneys who tended to represent a small number of identifiable plaintiffs. Florida has a similar story with 169 disability rights cases overall filed in 2005, 110 of these, at most, were likely Title III cases. 104 of the 110 were filed on behalf of one of five individual plaintiffs of four disability advocacy groups working with a small group of attorneys. For many these numbers highlight the problems of just a few plaintiffs and attorneys who engage in serial litigation for their own profit. I would like to take a moment though to examine the other side of these numbers. If 104 of the 110 Title III lawsuits in Florida in 2005, were brought by a small group of attorneys and plaintiffs, what would we have if this group were somehow prevented from bringing lawsuits? We would have 6 Title III lawsuits being brought in the state of Florida. To put this further into context, the San Francisco Economic Development Office indicates that there are approximately 109,000 private businesses in San Francisco, with about 85% consisting of small businesses that employ anywhere from 1 to 100 persons. How many small businesses are there in Florida? And how much attention with those businesses pay to their obligations under the ADA if 6 enforcement lawsuits a year are brought in federal court under Title III? There are further statistics in the Report and I will not go into all of them now. Instead, I am just going to step back for just a moment to look at the Title III lawsuit, not as it is presently set to be wielded by an unidentifiable group of individuals, but as it is meant to be used in the overall context of Title III. The private lawsuit is important because there are very few tools to achieve the goals of Title III. Really, I think there are only three. Number one, education and technical assistance, which will lead to voluntary compliance with Title III. Two, the filing of administrative complaints submitted to the Department of Justice for enforcement. Now, we must understand that the Department of Justice has limited resources and personnel and it looks for a pattern and practice of discrimination and aims for high impact cases, which often means that larger businesses, that the DOJ brings cases against larger businesses rather than smaller businesses. And number three, private lawsuits brought under Title III by people with disabilities. Now, number one the education and technical assistance and voluntary compliance is obviously important because we cannot sue all of the small businesses in the country and nobody wants to. The ideal is that small businesses are told about the law and individual businesses have the obligations to seek information and technical assistance about how the law applies specifically to them and follow through with whatever the physical or procedural changes they have to make to follow the law in their business. What has to be acknowledged is that voluntary compliance does not work so well without the other two tools, without administrative enforcement and private lawsuits. Some might say it would be like expecting people to follow parking time restrictions and pay meters even if no one ever got a ticket or had to pay a fine. The Report contains four examples. Where different entities in Massachusetts, Chicago and San Francisco including a collaborative of small business and disability organizations as well as a no strings attached group of university research students offered incentives to business such as free mediation, tailored technical information and assistance, and even financial grants to help small businesses comply with their Title III obligations. All of these examples showed rather dismal rates of voluntary compliance from small businesses that were informed of their obligations under the law. Without taking anything away from the small business owners and individuals out there who do take the time and the trouble to do the right thing, just because it is the right thing, there are still many business owners who will not come into compliance with their Title III obligations until they face a reasonable risk that they will be caught out of compliance and face real consequences as a result. We need both more Department of Justice administrative enforcement as well as more Title III lawsuits brought evenhandedly across the country by many different plaintiffs with various disabilities. We need this to raise the profile of the fact that small businesses do have obligations under the ADA and to help reduce the present uncertainty and missed about what those obligations under the ADA are. The more that administrative complaints and private lawsuits are brought by individuals parties across the country, the less that we will focus on the individual style and alleged personal failings of a small group of individual plaintiffs and attorneys that are bringing most of the Title III actions today. And quite frankly, the less work there will be for that group. The more that we all worked together, people with disabilities, disability advocates and attorneys, and individual small businesses and business associations, the more that we all work together to achieve broad knowledge and compliance with Title III across the nation, the less vulnerable small businesses will be to the tactics of so called serial litigants. The Report makes recommendation to fund and specifically mandate Disability Business Technical Assistance Centers in their assistance with small businesses and also recommends embedding ADA technical assistance information and all of those different areas that small businesses come into contact with. The Report also recommends increasing the means of administrative compliance with Title III obligations. Widespread Title III compliance cannot be achieved without business and public outreach, a visible and efficient administrative enforcement procedure, the wide availability of qualified accessibility expertise, and economic incentives such as tax and other credits. But this critical inter-relationship between the private right of action and voluntary compliance means that we also make recommendations to strengthen the private right of actions under the ADA. When the ADA was first enacted in 1990, a particular balance was struck under which Title III plaintiffs may obtain attorney fees but no compensatory damages. This balance has not resulted in the kind of litigation we need for effective enforcement and encouragement of voluntary compliance by small businesses. Since a 2001 Supreme Court case, the Buchanan case and its impact on attorney fees, the balance has become altogether skewed. The interaction between Buchanan and Title IIIs absent of damages means that it is very risky for Title III attorneys to do anything but filed a lawsuit first and ask questions later. The problem is that unless one has initiated a case before a judge, one can easily wind up without any right to recover fees for the work of interviewing the client, doing a technical investigation, undertaking legal research and writing an initial demand letter. The business can fix the access problems indicated in the demand letter before going to court. Then, there is no right to attorney fees because of this Supreme Court case. Since there is no right to damages under Title III, there is no chance for an attorney to bring a case with the possibility that she will be fairly paid for her work through a percentage of her plaintiffs damages. The result is that there is very little incentive for members of the Bar either private or public interest to get involved in Title III lawsuits, especially those concerning architectural access which requires both significant technical expertise, and involves the very type of problems that a small business could easily fix before going to court once informed about them in a demand letter. Add to this disincentives observed by one of the participants in our focus group with state judges, a state judge who hailed from rural Oklahoma indicated that, he thought it was very difficult for attorneys to take on ADA cases especially in rural areas because they would be taking on local businesses own by friends and acquaintances, and they have to become competent in a highly technical area. Clearly a few determined plaintiffs and disability attorneys have to figure out a way how to bring Title III cases successfully. That is without an actual loss. And once a way has been found, it will and has been repeated, whether for economic or ideological reasons. If some of this litigation is an abuse of the Court, then the Court can defend itself and has done so as detailed in our Report. State Bar Associations can also investigate and reprimand their members. But the fact that a few attorneys may be bringing a specific kind of Title III litigation that has sparked controversy does not mean that Title III litigation is easy to bring or common among the millions of individuals with disabilities who face problems every day as they try to go about their lives and gain access to needed goods and services in small businesses across the country. Such litigation is, in fact, very hard to bring. When a public interest borrowed with Title III expertise willing and able to bring Title III litigation is still very sparse. The Reports, therefore, recommend developing a legislative solution for the Buchanan case, making compensatory minimum damages available under Title III and establishing minimum statutory damages under Title III. All these recommendations are directed at encouraging the kind of widespread bringing of individually meritorious cases that are needed to be the incentive behind voluntary compliance under Title III. Thank you. Are there any questions?
Thank you, Silvia. Operator, can you give directions please?
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Thirteen communities in the north suburbs of Chicago, and I wanted to echo the lack of Title II information that one of the earlier questioners had. And there was a reference to other information that has been published regarding Title II compliance or entities compliance. It is really not out in the field and I wanted to encourage further examination of this with regard to libraries and parks and recreation systems.
Julie, do you want to respond to that?
Yes. We agree. We were disappointed that we were not able to find anyone who is collecting that information.
Is there a plan from NCD to do any additional examination of the Title II issues? I know that, just giving an example for our last our July audio conference series, we heard from John Wodatch from the Department of Justice. And there was quite a bit of dialogue during that session from the question and answer period from individuals and the community, specifically advocates with problems that they have been having with the Department of Justice''s enforcement and follow up through the Project Access settlement agreement and such. Just as an example, where they are out there, there was felt by many of the people who were responding on the call that the Department of Justice has not done a good job of follow up. While it is great to have the initial settlement, the impact of those has not really been felt and such. So I think that just being an example, some concerns and some issues out there from people about compliance issues and problems and the lack of maybe attention of compliance for Title II entities.
And if I can just make a comment about Ms. Yees remarks. They were very informative. I guess I would ask, aside from encouraging the Department of Justice to more vigorously enforce both Title II and Title III, have you thought about education and awareness, having someone from the Department of Justice, for example, speak at conferences whether it is regarding Public Works, nonprofit organizations, libraries? That seems to be very, very effective in getting the word out about compliance.
Well, I think that, that obviously is the public education is always appreciated. With respect to small businesses in particular, which is much of what I was speaking of in regard to Title III, one thing we have found is that there is small businesses listen to small businesses. It is very much a peer relationship. That kind of education, of course, we would want people from the Department of Justice to come out and speak. I think there would be a willingness to do that. We would definitely want the small business associations, chambers of commerce to help initiate and bring these parties together, so that in that peer relationship we start spreading the information within the ranks of the small business. I think that would be a very important. The same could apply to Title II entities such as libraries and the other entities you mentioned.
Okay. Thank you.
This is Mary Lou. I would like to make a comment just as a follow up on your question. The stakeholders made extensive recommendations that are reflected in the Report about this idea of collaboration. And they specifically, they relate to many parts of the ADA but they very specifically relate to Title III. And I think that one of the outcomes of our work with stakeholders was the idea that ADA obligations have to be embedded in practices that businesses are involved with on a day to day basis. Every interaction with the city that involves getting a permit, every interaction that involves having an inspection for safety issues or health issues or that have to do with procuring liability insurance, every one of those interactions needs to trigger an ADA element. And we made extensive recommendations in the Report based on stakeholder input about the ways this could take place. All of these recommendations really do turn on the willingness of the various communities involved to come together and they require a catalyst. And that catalyst is going to have to be interested people with disabilities, disability organizations and business organizations and associations that are willing to try and push these ideas. These ideas do not turn on ADA federal enforcement. They turn on state and local collaboration to elevate the ADA to the same expected level of business practice that every other thing that businesses engaged with day to day are elevated at now. So, we really urge you to take a look at those recommendations and think about the way those collaborations can be built at the local and state level. We recognize that this is not an ideal, ideally we would like the DOJ to investigate complaints under Title III. They do very little of that. So the onus of responsibility is on all of us to find some other ways to advance the implementation of Title III specifically.
Thank you Mary Lou, for your comments on that. Unfortunately we are way passed our time here today. We got a little bit of a late start due to some technology problems and things. But I do want to thank at this point in time our speakers for their time, for sharing their insights and their information, for all of you who participated today and had an interest in this particular issue. We do encourage you to spend some time with the reports revealing the information and such. I know that the National Council would be open to other questions and things that people might have. I am not sure if Julie and Mary Lou or anyone who wants to provide any contact information at this point in time. If people do want to follow up with some additional questions or anything, I would just ask you whether or not that is something that you are comfortable with.
Certainly, this is Julie and my e-mail address is email@example.com.
And Mary Lou and Silvia, how would you like to handle additional questions people might have about your experience with the Report?
Well, obviously people can contact us directly. We have a general e-mail mailbox which is firstname.lastname@example.org. And Silvias e-mail is email@example.com and my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Our contact phone information is 510-644-2555. So we would welcome e-mails and phone contacts for anybody who has specific questions.
Great and that will be at, those will be reiterated again in the transcript for everybody if you did not get those during their interaction there. But again, thank you everybody for your participation today. I just want to remind people that our next session will be in September. That will be September 18, back to our regular schedule of every third Tuesday of the month. And this topic for September is Accommodating Diabetes in the Workplace. Our speakers are Pamela Allweiss, she is a consultant with the National Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Health, as well as Shereen Arent who is the Legal Director for the Americans with Diabetes Association. More information can be found at www.ada-audio.org website. Again, I want to thank everyone for your participation and hopefully you got something out of the program and found it of value. Thanks to everyone.