by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
Disabled Kansans often find that there are a limited number of things that are designed or equipped for them to do for fun in the area. When it comes to attending professional sporting events, many of them opt to not attend for fear of how difficult it might be to navigate through the stadiums between the crowds and a general fear of things not being disabled-friendly.
With that in mind, we decided to investigate Kauffman Stadium, the home of Kansas City Royals baseball to find out what services they offer the disabled in terms of accessibility.We sat down and spoke with the Royals' Guest Experience Specialist Jonathan Rosa.
According to Rosa, the Guest Services' offices are located inside Kauffman Stadium, directly behind home plate in the Diamond Club area. He says disabled attendees are welcome to come to their offices anytime to obtain assistance in making their experience at the ballpark an unforgettable one. Rosa says they can contact Guest Services ahead of time if they'd like, or they can just come by once they arrive at the stadium.
Rosa himself suffers from cerebral palsy and walks with the assistance of a walker, so he understands the needs disabled attendees may have. “I certainly recognize that getting around the ballpark can be tricky, especially in larger groups. So we try to be as accommodating as possible,” he explains.
One of the things Guest Services do is provide golf cart rides or wheelchair assistance from the parking lot to the attendee's seat. Fans wishing to utilize these services can telephone the office from the parking lot to inform the staff where they're located. “We'll take it from there and make sure you get to your seats comfortably,” Rosa says. The number they can call is (816) 504-4040 (choose option five, which is a direct link to the Guest Services office).
“We want to help out as soon as the person arrives in the parking lot,” Rosa says. “We want to make the person feel as comfortable as possible. If a guest is coming who has a handicapped placard, they need to make sure that is visible so the parking lot attendants can get them a spot as close to the entrance as possible. That way they can walk or travel as few steps as possible to get to their seats.”
The Royals have guest ambassadors outside the stadium, who are easily visible wearing bright orange vests. Once the staff have assisted the disabled fan get seated, they will return periodically to ask if they need any assistance getting to the restroom or anywhere else within the stadium. Rosa explains, “After the game they'll ask when you want to leave and then assist you in getting back out to your vehicle.”
“Our main goal is to make sure our guests feel comfortable,” he says. “We don't want them to feel overwhelmed. We want it to be a fun experience for them. We know it can be daunting for disabled people who have never been to a game before or have some reservations about coming. We want to make sure they feel at home here.”
The staff is also accommodating in making sure that people who take medications can bring them into the stadium. The Royals also offer a First Aid station (operated by KU Medical Center) on the Plaza Level in case any medical needs may arise. That station is staffed with nurses and a doctor at all times.
So if you're a disabled person and are looking for something fun to do this summer, a trip to watch the Royals at Kauffman Stadium is worth considering.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is mailing new Medicare cards to protect the safety and security of people with Medicare benefits. The new Medicare cards no longer contain a person’s Social Security number, but rather a unique, randomly-assigned Medicare number that protects the identities of people with Medicare reduces fraud and offers better safeguards of important health and financial information.
“Removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is one of the many ways CMS is committed to putting patients first and improving the consumer healthcare experience,” said Jeff Hinson, Regional Administrator for Regions 7 and 8. “This change not only protects Medicare patients from fraud, but also safeguards taxpayer dollars by making it harder for criminals to use Social Security numbers to falsely bill Medicare for care services and benefits that were never performed.”
Work on this important initiative was made possible by the enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
CMS began mailing the new Medicare cards to people who currently have Medicare benefits in Kansas this week. Additionally, people who are new to Medicare in Kansas started to receive their new Medicare cards in April along with others across the country when the mailing first began. As soon as people receive their new Medicare card, they should safely and securely destroy their old Medicare card and keep their new Medicare number confidential. Our current mailing strategy allows us to complete the mailings of new cards to all people with Medicare, both new and current enrollees, over the next year.
The new Medicare card will not change any of the program benefits and services that eligible people enrolled in Medicare receive. People with Medicare and their caregivers can visit medicare.gov/newcard to find out when new Medicare cards will be mailed to their area. They can also sign up for email notifications about the new card mailing and check the status in their state.
Healthcare providers, suppliers and people with Medicare will be able to use secure look up tools that allow quick access to the new Medicare numbers when needed. There will also be a 21-month transition period for healthcare providers and suppliers to use either the former Social Security-based Medicare number or the new Medicare number to ensure a seamless transition.
As the new Medicare cards are being mailed, people with Medicare should look out for scams and follow these tips:
- Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information so you can obtain your new Medicare card.
- Don’t pay for your new Medicare card. It’s free. If anyone calls or approaches you and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.
- Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it like you would health insurance or credit cards.
- Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
For more information including press materials, B-roll, PSAs, etc. please visit: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8277951-cmsnmc/
August 9-10, 2018
Ramada Inn, Topeka, KS
The 14th Kansas Disability Caucus will be held in Topeka, KS on August 9th and 10th, 2018. People with all types of disabilities, of all ages, representing every county of the State, are invited to attend. The purpose of the Kansas Disability Caucus is to provide opportunities for Kansans with disabilities to learn, share, and provide solutions to issues faced by the disability community. Click here for the flyer.
It is time to ask for nominations for the Michel Lechner Advocacy Award.
The deadline for nominations is July 31st.
Every year the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (KCDC) recognizing one or more persons or organizations for their advocacy work to improve their community or the State of Kansas for people with disabilities. To nominate someone or an organization you need to provide a summary of the nominee’s advocacy activities including: the issue/situation; nominee’s activities that improved the condition or situation; and the geographic area of Kansas in which the improvement occurred. It also helps to have a support letter from someone else praising the nominees advocacy efforts.
You can read more about it on their website.
Members of Congress are back home this week for recess, so it’s the perfect time to meet with them about the Disability Integration Act (DIA)! If your Senators or Representative have still not signed on to the DIA, take action over the recess by urging them to become a cosponsor!
The Disability Integration Act (S. 910 and H.R. 2472) is a critical bill that would reverse the institutional bias and help disabled people stay in our homes and communities. The DIA is the next logical step in our fight for disability rights and the only piece of legislation that will protect our community from institutionalization. We need ALL of our Members of Congress to support the DIA!
We know the disability community has the power to make things happen, and every meeting, email, call, and action counts. Use this recess to educate your Senators and Representative on the DIA and urge them to become a cosponsor! Tell them that living in our own communities and making choices about our lives is our right, and as our elected officials, it’s their responsibility to protect that!
Learn more about the DIA at www.disabilityintegrationact.org.