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Redefining the Role of Government as it Affects the Lives of People with Disabilities

Disability Policy Consortium

March 7, 2011                        Calendar of Events  
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear Bill,


The first few days of March blew in like the proverbial lion.  In  the case of the FY12 State Budget, the winds of change were pretty strong at the March 4 public hearing. Unlike nature, however, we can't expect the winds to stop in April, but the House Budget may bring some relief.  By May the Senate should have new revenue predictions and if there is any sense of justice in the wind, we may see a better budget than the Patrick Administration's House 1.  


There are a few pictures form the budget hearing posted on the DPC Facebook page.  There are also pictures from March 4 when DBCAN met David Abel of the Boston Globe.


On a related note to DBCAN:  the DPC requested a meeting with the Governor (albeit in a handwritten note) during Wednesday's Deaf-Blind Day at the state House.  Alas, the Governor will busy in Israel and not available to meet the people being hurt by his budget cuts.  What would Howie say?  


This issue features DPC's budget testimony from Dennis Heaphy and Bill Allan, "Community Next-to-Last".  Our presentation notes that Community First seems to only involve federal funds.   The administration did close Fernald...well, they're working on it, but too many other community based programs are on the short end of the budget stick not notice the lack of 'priority'.


We are also introducing Alan Gifford.  Alan is the new President of the Massachusetts State association of the Deaf as well as being  a DPC Board member.  This was Alan's first experience testifying and he was surprised when his testimony was shut down after he mentioned that the State is violating the ADA and could be subject to law suits over the lack of interpreter services.


Boston Center for Independent Living's annual Marie Feltin Award ceremony is on March 18, 6 PM at the Plaza.  Rumor has it that Phil Zukas will be entertaining on the piano...playing, not dancing.


Keep your hat on tight this week.  Enjoy.

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium| 617-542-3822
Editorial:   This and That

There is encouraging talk in State House circles.  We understand that the latest round of Health Care Reform may be dealt with and finished by February 2012.  That's good news since it sounds like it won't fall into the abyss of inertia if Gambling discussions are re-opened.

It was encouraging to see a number of newly elected Republican representatives attending all the budget hearings.  This commitment to learn about the important aspects of the state's work is noteworthy.  There was a time in Massachusetts when Republicans were the good guys...Ed Brooke, Frank Sargeant, John Volpe, Donald Dwight.

The other quiet scuttlebutt from the building with the Golden Dome is that a "Progressive Caucus" may be forming again.  Once an important factor within the chamber, the PC lost influence when a number of its leaders became part of Leadership.

It leads many of us to ask in retrospect, "Why can't we elect Democrats that act like Democrats?"

Bill Allan Signature
FY12 Budget: MSAD Testimony 


Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf 


Senator Baddour and distinguished members of the panel,


My name is Alan Gifford.  I am a deaf registered voter from Kingston which is represented by Senate President Murray and Representative Tom Calter.  I am speaking as President of MSAD, a non-profit organization advocating for the Massachusetts 600,000 plus citizens with various levels of hearing loss. This group consists of Hard of Hearing, Deaf, Late Deafened, Deaf/Blind and so on.


The impact of budget cuts and allocation of funds over the past few years, I am saddened to say that accessibility to the state government and agencies became worse for the deaf community. The safety net for the deaf community is gone.


Here are some examples being experienced by the deaf community, they are true and can be verified, and is on the rise:


  1. Total elimination of DBCAN, the single and only group that successfully serves the deaf/blind.  This is a  cruel and inhumane thing to do.
  2. A deaf father laid off, filed his unemployment claim with the unemployment.  The simple process of filing a claim took over 3 months due to agency's inability to get an interpreter. This has created a severe financial hardship on the family of four.
  3. A deaf patient who was recently released from a treatment center was extremely frustrated due to non-availability of an interpreter, died recently.
  4. DCF took children away from a deaf couple. The couple were denied full access to interpreter and after two years, the children were returned. This has happened on numerous occasions.  

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is breaking the laws of Americans with Disability Act (ADA)  and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as mandated by Federal laws. This needs to be fixed.


MSAD would like to make a recommendation that the Executive Office of Administration and Finance shall report on fiscal year 2011 expenditures for Communication Access Services including, but not limited to American Sign Language (ASL), Computer Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and Braille from all agencies in the Executive Branch: Report shall be delivered to the Ways and Means Committee by December 31, 2011 and shall include number of people served, month of services and cost per month.


Thank you for the opportunity to express concerns and to offer suggestion.


Respectfully submitted,

Alan Gifford


Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf

FY12 Budget:

Community Next-to-Last


FY12 Budget Testimony by Dennis Heaphy

Disability Policy Consortium

March 4, 2011


This Committee, other Legislative leaders, agency personnel and advocates have been hearing the term "Community First for four years.  Since 2008 it has usually been in the context of  "Community First of is a priority of the Patrick Administration."  We all certainly heard it on February 18 at the Boston Public Library and again on February 23 in Fitchburg. 


Let's start with a definition of "priority".  A commonly accepted one is "something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives." 


Community First refers to the Supreme Court's decision (Olmstead vs L.C.) that mandates that people should be able to live in the least restricted environment.  This specifically means people should not be warehoused in large institution or in nursing homes.    Thus, the goal is getting people out of expensive facilities and keeping them in the community.


Community services are much cheaper, anywhere from $210 a week from minimum Personal Care Attendant coverage to $175 per day for a nursing home bed.  Yet, the Governor has yet to put Community First on a priority list for State Funds.


How has Community First been defined in actual budget terminology?  The Commitment to Community First is only made when there are federal funds to be spent.


For three years running it was Federal "1115 Waiver" support for an expanded new array of services ...until that proved financially unfeasible.  This year Community First is most often heard in the context of another Federal program, Money Follow the Person.


In the context of state funding in the budget you are considering now, we've taken to calling it Community Next-to-Last.  Here's why.


The Money Follows the Person project will build on major elements in the current array of services:  Aging Service Access Points, Independent Living Services, home care and homemaking services, community mental health, and supported living.


Community Next-to-Last cuts include these:


Home Care:  $4,900,000 in purchased services (homemaker, chore services, etc) all of which keep currently at-home elders in the community. (Dept. Elder Affairs, 9110-1630)


Independent Living: $550,000 cuts to 11 independent living centers which reduces capacity in a front line agency that keeps people with disabilities in the community and brought 188 out of the institutions in 2010.  That is equivalent to 50% of the 6 year target for the Money Follows the Person project.  Reduce that capacity and more people will stay in institutions.  (Mass.  Rehabilitation Commission 4120-4000)


Supported Living:  $275,000 for a contract-for-services program that is a  'role model' for providing services for getting people out of institutions.  (Mass. Rehab Commission 4120-4000)


Homemaker Services: Level funding a program that has already been cut by over 20% since 2008 and is responsibility for providing an average of 5 hours of services per week that people find necessary to stay in their homes.  (Mass Rehab Com 4120-5000)


Clubhouses: $3,000,000 for a program that has supported people in the community and helps prevent re-institutionalization for over 50 years!  Dept Mental Health 5042-5000


Adult Day Health: $55,000,000 in services to many people who are nursing facility eligible will be cut.  EOHHS says they will continue services to people who are nursing facility eligible but their estimate is based upon 25% of the enrollment. Industry figures are closer to 50% meaning some people will be home for a short stay until transitioned into a nursing home.  Who knows, maybe these folks will be the first clients for Money Follows the Person.  Not a good thought at all.  (MassHealth  4000-0600)


DBCAN:  The community only learned on February 23 that the Deaf-Blind Community Access Network is slated to be cut from the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind budget.  Sixty-seven  (67) people get help from Service Support Providers who use tactile signing (tapping on a hand) so they can go to the doctor, shopping, banking and everyday activities you and I think of a burden.  Imagine if you had to stay home all day and listen to yourself think! (4110-1000). 


Community First or Community Next-to-Last?   You as a legislator and a member of Ways and Means, have an important role in this discussion. 


We urge you to put Community First!


Advocates Corner: 

DBCAN in the News


Boston Globe reporter David Abel, photographer Bill Greene, and videographer Darin Durlach met with Deaf Blind Community Access Network representatives on Thursday, March 3.  Here is the story...


Boston Globe - March 5 -David Abel 


Video of DBCAN   


Login to and read more comments on this article: Comments  


yasou wrote:

Gov. Patrick,
This is one budget that should not be cut. It would be immoral and without conscience to do otherwise


mazda83 wrote:
from our governor who cares...give me a break! a quick way for this program to be saved, cut your staff in half,

valu wrote:
Mr. Governor Please fire two hacks that make $225.000.00 and the problem is solved
On The Calendar: 

Crisis Standards of Care


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has been developing "Crisis Standards of Care" (CSC)--frameworks, protocols and processes to guide medical decision making during disasters and pandemics when the demand for care temporarily exceeds the system's capacity to provide it as usual. CSC is a distinct but integral part of ongoing state planning initiatives to prepare Massachusetts to respond to an array of challenges presented by catastrophic emergencies-not only in health care, but in public safety, transportation, communications and other essential infrastructure.


Thursday, March 31-Worcester (Holy Cross)

Saturday, April 2-Boston (UMass Boston)

Saturday, April 9-Lawrence (Lawrence Senior Center)-conducted in Spanish

Monday, April 11-Northampton (Smith College)


11 AM  - 5 PM  weekday meetings  

10 AM  - 4 PM  Saturday meetings 


The Disability Policy Consortium and other disability advocacy organizations have met with DPC staff.  We are encouraging people to reserve time on their calendars to attend the nearest Crisis meeting.



There will be more information in subsequent Updates.  Disability voices must be heard! 

On the Calendar:  Ice Skating 
March 8  11:30 - 1:30
Cronin Rink
850 Revere Parkway, Revere, MA
On the Calendar:

  Health & Transportation

Health and Transportation Panel Discussion

Hosted by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

The discussion panel will feature the following participants:

· Cheryl Bartlett - RN, Acting Director, Bureau of Community Health Access and Prevention, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

· Maeve Vallely Bartlett - Assistant Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

· Catherine Cagle - Manager of Sustainable Transportation, MassDOT

· Steve Miller - Executive Director, Healthy Weight Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health

Participants will give short presentations about the relationship between health and transportation by providing insights from individual, community, and national levels.

This event launches the MPO's Livability Program to address livability issues in the region. More information on the program will be available at by late March.

When: Wednesday, March 9, at 3:00 PM

Where: State Transportation Building, Conference Room 4, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116
On the Calendar:  Free Film Series 

DISABILITY REFRAMED -- A FREE Community Film Series Presents:

Claire Danes as TEMPLE GRANDIN

Saturday, March 12, 2011
2 pm to 5 pm

Cambridge Citywide Senior Center
806 Massachusetts Avenue
Central Square, Cambridge

Come to a FREE matinee screening of this 2009 film biography of autistic engineer Temple Grandin. The film tells the story of Grandin's early life and education in an era when autism was little known, and understood even less. Grandin grew up to earn a PhD in engineering, revolutionized the humane handling of livestock at slaughter, and became the first voice of leadership from the autism community, promoting public education about the experience of autism.

The film will be followed by open audience discussion, led by our guest, Kate Ryan. 
On the Calendar:  Feltin Awards


Boston Center for Independent Living
Marie Feltin Award Ceremony


2011 Honorees

Michael Muehe: advocate and activist for disability rights

Ann O'Hara: passionate leader for housing justice for people with disabilities

MacArthur Williams, Jr. (1969-2010)
disability activist, community leader, husband, father, athlete


Friday, March 18, 2011

Grand Ballroom

Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel

138 St. James Avenue, Boston

6 - 8 PM

For more information, please call David Sternburg 617 388-6665
On the Calendar:  DPH Schedule 


These forums offer an excellent opportunity to talk directly with  Commissioner John Auerbach.


Monday, March 21, 2011
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Middleborough Town Hall Ballroom
10 Nickerson Avenue, Middleborough
Directions & Parking (PDF) | Word 


Friday, March 25, 2011
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM 
Peabody Municipal Light Plant
McCarthy Auditorium
201 Warren St. Extension, Peabody
Directions & Parking (PDF) | Word 


Monday, March 28, 2011
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
Jacob Edwards Library
Pioppi Room
236 Main Street, Southbridge
Directions & Parking (PDF) | Word 


Monday, March 28, 2011
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM 
St. Vincent Hospital
5 North Conference Room
123 Summer Street, Worcester
Directions & Parking (PDF) | Word 



Friday, April 8, 2011
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM 
Holyoke Health Center
1st Floor Conference Room
230 Maple Street, Holyoke
Directions & Parking (PDF) | Word 

On the Calendar:  MPOWER




 March 24, 2011 at The Statehouse from 11:00 - 3:30 p.m.

News from the Net:    Internship 




Please take note of the below and circulate and help our internship program be inclusive of students with disabilities.


The application deadline for the White House Internship Program's fall 2011 session is Sunday, March 13. Please take the time to think of five future young leaders you believe would serve as great White House Interns, and personally encourage them to apply. Below is more information that might be helpful to prospective White House Interns:


- Check out this blog from a former White House intern with a disability:


- Visit the White House Internship website:


- Apply to the White House Internship program:


- Learn more about the selection process:


A White House Internship provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today's young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office of the President and prepare them for future public service involvement.

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