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

Entries for 'ballan'

17

 November 13, 2012 correction on MFP story.
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update



Greetings!



Finally, the too long election season is over. For people with disabilities in Massachusetts there will be several political implications.



On the ballot initiatives, assisted suicide was defeated and medical marijuana was approved. In a stunning, come from behind outcome, assisted suicide was not approved. The DPC joined several other organizations in opposing the measure. Thank you to all of you who supported us. According to Massachusetts law this issue cannot appear on the ballot again for six years. Voters did approve medical marijuana for people with certain disabilities.



The election of Elizabeth Warren as United States Senator, as well as other Senatorial results means that there will probably be no more discussion of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Now policymakers will have to reconcile some difference between our program in Massachusetts and the Federal law.



The election of President Obama should also mean that discussion of making Medicaid a block grant program should be off the table. However, please keep you eyes and ears open politically as the need to trim the federal budget deficit means that social programs will remain a hot topic for the next several years.



In honor of Veteran's Day, this week's editorial takes a look at the impact of soldiers returning home with disabilities.



In our announcements, we include one about upcoming hearings on transportation that we hope you can attend.



Happy reading.


John Winske

Disability Policy Consortium  

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17

Dear Bill,

 

Let me to introduce myself.  I am John Winske, and I will be serving as the editor of this newsletter for the next few months as part of the transition process here at DPC.  

 

As you know, Bill Allan has served as the editor of the DPC Update since its founding.  I must warn you that I will not be able to fill Bill's shoes.  I am a lousy photographer, and I am not sure I can master his cantankerous personality.  Seriously, we are going to miss Bill immensely, but the issues endure and the work goes on and so must this publication.

 

We will still keep you up to date with issues around the Commonwealth, but we also are going to add a couple of new sections.  The first new section will we will highlight an individual or organization on Twitter that you might want to follow.  We will call this section Follow Me.  Beginning next week have our Disability Pride Section.  The section will feature someone who has reminded us that it is OK to be proud of who we are as persons with disabilities, and our varied accomplishments.

 

This weeks editorial will highlight a recent comparison of the Presidential Candidates around health care which was published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

 

The news features this week are two recent court victories which have extended our civil rights and promise to break down barriers for our community.

 

I hope you enjoy what we have here.  Please drop me a line at DPCMAupdate@gmail.com and let me know what you think.

 

Sincerely,

 

John Winske

 

 

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

09
Disability Policy Consortium
October 9, 2012         
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,


This week brings news of the results of advocacy by members:  inquiries from some of you  have resulted in a disability leadership meeting with one of the two Senatorial candidates.  
 

 

Man on motorcycle
Going...
 There is an opportunity to help in  a major advocacy effort to release documents from the MBTA.  A request from the blogger Mudrock.  The state is charging over $1900 in an effort to keep the internal documents secret.  Mudrock is challenging the state from keeping the 530 Commission Report unwrap until after the  T raised fares.
 

 

Man on motorcycle
... Going

 

And last, but not least:  This issue of the DPC Update will be my last.  I have enjoyed the last two years and from the feedback, some of you have too.  I've appreciated the comments in emails and in person - they made my day!

Man on motorcycle
                    Gone

 

Of course , there are some people  

who will be relieved...feedback from

 
this front really made my days!
 

 

 

Beep if you see me on the road. 

 


Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

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01
Disability Policy Consortium
Month Day, 2012         
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

 Hello again.  Isn't it a good thing that the Patriots won on Sunday.  If they hadn't, we'd all be waiting expectantly for the Celtics. 

 

Today is the day the new Premium Ride area for The Ride starts along with the In-Person Assessments.  No announcements or guidance has been released by the T - or, at least, none that I've seen.  Please let us know if anyone you know has been affected negatively by either of these new initiatives.

 

John Winske is back this week to ask the T for another small "favor."  I think most people will agree with it.

 

Be well. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

24
September 24, 2012         
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

Judi Roger gets Craig Smith Award
Judi Rodger received the Craig Smith Award for Self Advocacy from Vinfen last week
photo by Colleen Graham

 

Here we are again.  Aren't we all lucky to be here!

 

Congratulation to Metrowest Center for Independent Living  for winning the IL Follies with a skit celebrating the life of a young radical  

A young Paul Spooner  

named Paul Spooner.  How could you lose with a character like that?  

 

John Winske weighs in today taking me to task for my editorial last week that said the Integrated Care Organization review was "clouded" by the lack of transparency over who was doing the review.   I had kept quiet on the topics despite filing a Public Document Request early on. I wrote on the topic only after hearing people from the Recovery community express concerns that they did not think their concerns were being represented.

 

My friend John has, with his rejoinder, proved my point about the lack of transparency.  He said someone had credentials to represent the Recovery folks' interest. So the lack of transparency caused unnecessary and potentially damaging distrust.

 

Until next week... 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

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17
Disability Policy Consortium
September 17, 2012         
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

Here we are again.  I saw a few readers at the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) conference last week.  One took the opportunity to chew me out because of my typing errors - mea culpa, but she and I will be able to talk more about it over dinner next month.

 

I left the Marlboro conference for Main in mid afternoon and arrived way after dark...  

helmet
Why wear a helmet while riding? Check out the bugs after a night ride!

 The SILC conference had a lot of discussion on the pending Integrated Care for Dual Eligible's.  Massachusetts is in the forefront once again, but not without a "Cloud" (see below).

 

 Be well until next week.

 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

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10
September 9, 2012         
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

An interesting phenomenon. I almost didn't do the Update this week.  Seem that I forgot it was Sunday!  It's tough to keep track of the days when every day is a Saturday.  I don't have any weekends anymore.  Good thing we get the Sunday papers.
 

We starting a 3-part series this week.  As most of you will recall from the Calendar listings since June, MassHealth has held a series of public information forums across the Commonwealth.  I was not able to attend any because of the last minute notices and my travel plans.
 

We begin a series today of "Horror Story" accounts of MassHealth decision making.  All three installments are from cases Health Law Advocates have shared.  We trying t interest a news outlet for them since all three people involved are willing to go public.
 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

04

September 4, 2012
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update



Greetings!



Good morning from the great state of Maine.



Thank Jon Dosick for both articles today on the Judge Rotenberg Center.



I, indeed, participated in the Jamiaca Plain Gazette article written by Peter Shanley. I'm not sure if Mr. Shanley took the time to contact any of the state legislators who I suggested he talk with. If he did, and if they were honest, they would have confirmed the immense power Rep. Sanchez has exercised over this issue in recent years. Yes, one person in leadership can veto any action by the legislature.



We have an abbreviated issue today because almost everyone took last week off, I guess.



Be well!




Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822
 

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27
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

The big news this week is the successful conclusion to the Integrated Care Organizations being established to merge Medicaid and Medicare into one seamless service delivery system for health and community based care.  It could be a signal moment in the health of people with disabilities in the Commonwealth.

There are two articles (Advocates Corner) and one Calendar item on the topic.  

 

We may skip next Tuesday's edition if the news and information cycle is slow. I'll be in Maine for the long weekend and 'Net signal is weak except at the library.

 

See you in September. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

20

 

 

Dear Bill,

 

I'm writing today from Long Island.  We're here for a gala fund raising event at a theater in Bellport.  It was a smashing success for our son Scot.  Next year it will be "the place to be" in mid-August.

  

Kristen McCosh, Boston Disability Commissioner,  is asking for support on the issue of brick curb cuts versus concrete in Boston's South End.  

 

Elsewhere, there's news of a new model of transportation for elders that is beginning to be seen elsewhere in addition to Mystic Valley.

 

I featured an article form my friend Charlie Fiske who is a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi.  He reported seeing his blind people recently, but so far no other people with disabilities.  Of course there are not wheel chairs becuase there are not roads or sidewalk  that would be passable.

 

Be well this week. 

 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

13
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear Bill,

 

Here it is almost mid-August.  I was reminded of my prowess as a meteorologist last year so here I go again for this year.  Summer will continue through early October but our pattern of heavy thunderstorms will also continue.  But take heart, even the ocean will stay warm enough for swimming until late September.

 

Dennis Polselli debuts this week chiding the networks for failing to cover the Paralympics later this month.  It's a reminder to all that we welcome contributions from our readers.

Ann Ruder, former Exec of Center for Living and Working at her farewell party. 

 

Have a good week.  

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

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06

 

Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

Milo at the Beach
Milo with his parents at Horseneck Beach.  Milo is a student at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown

We spent a great day Saturday languishing on fog-shrouded Horseneck Beach on the South Coast.   

 

Kudo's to Department of Conservation & Recreation's Tom McCarthy.  His commitment to getting accessible beach equipment in the face of declining budgets should not go unrecognized.  It was nice watching a family enjoy the beach and the water with the use of the balloon-tired chair.  THANKS, TOM! 

 

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30
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

Carmen (Stavros) returned from her kayak ride very glad that my shoulder kept me out of the boat.
 
Fiona
Fiona (SE ILC) wants to brag to her husband about kayaking...this from a woman who jumps out of airplanes.

  

Weather kept some people away from the SILC ADA Celebration in Garner on July 26.  Those of us who joined the party had a great time.

 

Remember - it's time to get those summer events in since August starts this week. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

23

Dear william,

 

This week we celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I have come to appreciate the importance of the ADA while at the same time I call it the worst piece of Civil Rights legislation ever written.  I say that because it does not built in remedies.  Instead, it is left to

Blind Driveway sign
ADA enforcement powers help this driveway as much as individuals  

individual or  group action.  Suppose the Civil Rights Bills of the 60s' and 70's were left to individuals to bring lawsuits to enforce?   Here what Wikipedia says about the  Civil Rights Act of 1964: Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution...".   The ADA has no such Congressional authority.

 

Party On! but lets get meaner and much, much less patient during the next few years. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

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16
Disability Policy Consortium
July 16, 2012         
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

Summer doldrums.  The only event we have to speak of are the two ADA Celebrations on July 26.

 

So, why  should I extend your morning by adding more here?

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

09

 

Disability Policy Consortium
July 9 2012  
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

 The "dog days" seem to be here early his year.  Maybe there is something to that global warming stuff.

 

The summer schedule has slacken with the except of 4 MassHealth meetings this month and the ADA celebrations at Dunn State Park and on Boston's city Hall Plaza.  

 

I'm heading to Maine.  Have fun in the sun! 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

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02

 

Happy Fourth of July - Independence Day.  

AmericanAmerican Flag
Flag  

 

For the last bunch of years we have gathered with friends on July 4 and read the Declaration of Independence.  It's reprinted at the  side column of today's Update for your reading pleasure.  

 

Today's issue concludes the FY13 State Budget.  There is a question below for reader's regarding DPC's coverage of state budget.

 

Al Norman, Executive Director of Mass Home Care, is the guest editorialist this week. He shares his views on the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. 

 

I was remiss last week in not pointing out that Mary Lou has embarked on her 3 week trip to Europe.  Bill on Long IslandNo, no sail boat purchase, no jumping over the Grand Canyon on the bike.  Simply a trip to Long Island to visit my son and force him out of his workaholic lifestyle for a few days.



Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

25

Dear william,

 

I'm including a Perspective today with an excerpt from an email from an old friend, Charlie Fiske.  Charlie and I met 45 years ago in very different roles in life.  He was an effective advocate thirty years ago making an emotional and unprecedented nationwide plea to find an organ donor for his daughter. Jamie became the world's youngest liver transplant recipient at only 11 months.  Most recently Charlie turned up at the State House as a lobbyist for BAMSI (Brockton Area Mult-Services, Inc.).

 

  Yusaku IidaI haven't shared any "new bike" stories, so here is one.  Riding the bike opens new streets and vistas without having to worry about parking.  On Sunday I spoted a festival in Chinatown where I met Yusaku Iida working  a table with other Japanese youth raising money for Tsunami Relief.  He is a Beklee music student and singer. 

  

On Saturday I spent an hour in the thunderstorms returning from Hampton Beach.  Now, THAT was an experience.  


 

In today's issue the DPC's John Winske expresses a deep frustration many of us have with Governor Patrick.  He is seemingly insensitive to Civil Rights and other issues important to people with disabilities. (And, please don't raise the useless Olmstead (non)Plan.

  

On the same note, we include an article on Netflix losing a court appearance and being forced to go to trial because it doesn't caption movies.  Same note?  Look at the videos the Governor posts on Youtube - description not captioning.  This is a man who was Assistant Attorney General For Civil Rights and he doesn't give a 'hoot' about the ADA.  

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

18

retirement is setting in.  

   

Marblehead Lily
Marblehead Lily 

  

Have a good week.  

 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

11

Dear Bill,

 

 

 

OccupyJRC Saturday June 2
Occupy JRC Saturday, June 2 in Canton MA.

 

 

The Occupy JRC Rally last Saturday has to be declared a MAJOR Success from the size of the crowd alone!

Congratulations!

 

We continue with the T today not that anything favorable has happened.

 

Elsewhere, look for photos from the Department of Conservation Universal Access Program event on Saturday the Carroll Center awards.  

   

 I can never pass up an opportunity to get a free face paint job. 

 

  

Compare to Gigi, below.
Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

04
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear william,

 

Hello again.  This week's major energy goes into a last ditch stand to try to turn the T around on In-Person Assessments and the Premium Service Area.  While the Fare increases are higher than others (percentage wise), they seem to be a really done deal.  The other two may be vulnerable.  See the letter below to T lawyers to get an idea of why,

 

Also, the Board meeting on Wednesday at 1 is open.  We'd like to see more of the regular Ride users join us.  We'd really like people in the Premium Are a to join us, but alas, the T hasn't really defined the areas well enough for us to suggest who you are that will be impacted. 

 

Enough about the T.  DCR's Annual Recreation Fair in Brighton is next Saturday.  Hope to see many of you there.  I'm planning trying to kayak again and see if the shoulders can take it.  

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

29

 

Good morning on the day after Memorial Day. Get ready. Set. GO! Summer has started!

Memorial Day Flags
Flag display for Memorial Day on Boston Common
 


There is an entry below on the MassHealth Ombudsman wh0 has been available to people with disabilities needing assistance for some months.  We learned from the May 4 public meeting on MassHealth that many people were not aware of the Ombudsman.

The MBTA moves inexorably with it's Triple Whammy to people with disabilities:  fare increases, premium area, and in-person assessments.  Inexorably, we say, because the T is proceeding without regard to options that may save more money and have fewer impacts on people.  Inexorably, we say, because warnings about potential civil rights violations under the ADA are being ignored.  Inexorably, we say, because two requests for a meeting with Secretary Davey are being ignored.


 

A wise old owl sat in an oak. The longer he sat, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard. Why can't THE T  be like that wise old bird?  

Source Unknown 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

21

Dear william,

 

 This is a slow week with not much to read. However, I do want to share my Friday night.

 

I was in heaven.  I volunteered for the registration kickoff of the Avon Breast Cancer Walk - Mary Lou is a survivor.  There I was, sitting at a table for 4 hours while a stream of women came up to me, held out their hands for me to hold while I put a paper bracelet on their wrists.  


 

Avon Breat Cancer Walk WrapUp
A sea of pink shirt
sat the Avon concluding ceremony.


 

 

Four hours!  I'm definitely going to volunteer next year.

 

Have a good week.

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

14

Arizona, despite its reputation, was a great visit.  I have a Labor Day sun tan in mid-May for starters.  We visited from the Grand Canyon to Tombstone.  The best

Hummingbird feeding at the Desert Museum

was an unplanned excursion during which we found the Sonora Desert Museum and Gardens.  Fabulous with flowers, fauna, and a peaceful setting.  

 

Back to reality.  


 

In-person Assessments at the MBTA.  (Whatever happened to the 530 Commission on Para Transit, Governor Patrick?)  The Dual Eligible Integrated Care initiative is starting to morph into another medical program.  The legislature is in it's last 11 weeks of life and many agenda items are still languishing in one committee or another.

 

Let me go back to Arizona.  Pleaaase?

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

07

 

Dear Bill,


Good morning from sunny Arizona. (Yes, I know --we should be boycotting this reactionary state -- but I didn'tArizona Deseert Plants pick the bride who lives here).


 

It is, however, a nice change of pace and I'll take dry 95 degrees instead of the cold 50's we were having in Boston.
 

 

The news of the House cost  containment bill is HUGE.  While it may not be perfect (it never is), there is now a potential counterweight to EOHHS and CMS that did not exist on Thursday.


 

We've included a book review for the first time.  Mass Home Care director Al Norman  has had a double life for 20 years or more as the primary advocate against big box stores.  His work keeping Walmart out of Greenfield MA has led him to my community in the 1990's, Japan, and certainly all over the U.S.  Occupy Walmart is his latest expression of his work

 

I'll think of you all this week as I soak up the sun and sites of the  southwest.

 

Bill Allan

[Read the rest of this article...]

30
Disability Policy Consortium
April 30, 2012 
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,


 

Here we go again.  Another 4:00 AM start just to get the weekly DPC Update to all your email inboxes at 6 AM. And if you believe that one (as many of you seem to do because I get asked that question all the time), I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

 

Pictured at right are advocates who run the well-oiledCheyenne, Kate Thurman & Michale Muehe

Cambridge Commission on Persons with Disabilities.  Pictured are Cheyenne, Kate Thurman and Michael Muehe.

 

This week we bring you results from the House budget deliberations (not much there), an important announcement from MassHealth and news about swimming pools.

 

Next week's Update may be a little late since I'll be in Arizona attending a wedding.

 

Bill Allan

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

23
Disability Policy Consortium
April 23, 2012 
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear william,


 

Here we are again except its a rainy Monday morning.   An appropriate way to start the House Budget Week, I guess.  There won't be much sunny news coming out of the House this week.

 

Here's what we're watching in no particular order:

 

#184 increase MCDHH by $36,000 (Rep. Scibak)

#186 earmark $450,000 for DBCAN (Rep. Kaufman)

#278 add $8.5m to Brain Injury Trust (Rep. Ferguson)

#5 increase DDC Family Supports $5m (Rep. Scibak)

#614 disabled, students & elder MBTA elder fares not to exceed 40& of other fares  (Rep. Wolf)

#378 disabled, students & elder MBTA elder fares same average increase as others (Rep. Hecht)

#739 add $51m to MBTA, $3m for Ride, $6m for RTAs (Rep Garballey)

#741 increase Independent Living funds by $1.15m (rp. Sannicandro)

 

Let the games begin!

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

16

 

Marathon Week!  No, I'm not running this year either.

 

The House of Representatives is quiet this week while the Ways and Means staff works on reviewing the hundreds of budget amendments filed on Friday.  Next week the House will begin to "deliberate" the budget in earnest.  In fact, it's mostly a forgone conclusion by Monday noon time, but some elements of democratic process may creep in IF enough voices (lots and lots) in the chamber become loud enough (VERY LOUD!) to threaten the appearance of "Control."

 

Readers recommendations were disappointing last week. One person suggested a suicide jump over the Grand Canyon.  The other forgot what living on a fixed income is when she suggested I buy a sail boat.  Keep trying folks.  We have 2 months left to come up with a great idea.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

12

Greetings!




The House Ways and Means Committee released
its version of the FY13 budget yesterday.


There weren't any major breakthroughs for disability agency funding to note. With the exception of an increase in Mass Commission for the Blind account that would cover DBCAN (see the caveat in the article below) most of the allocation followed the Governor's budget and the trends we've seen in recent years.

Level funding or agreement with the Governor was the general rule.
MCB increased by 496,000 with the supposed DBCAN restoration
MCDHH reduced by $36K from the Governor's increase of $380,00
MRC increased by $396,00 primarily in T-22.
DDS followed its trend with an increase of over $10 million
DMF was cut (again) by $2.7 million


The $1,100,000 increase the Independent Living Centers looked for was not included. DPC members will get an advocacy alert on this soon.




The DPC spreadsheet may be access for our website under Issues>Legislation & Budget.


A final note on the T. There wasn't any attempt to plug the funding gap. This reflects the division in the House among member - eastern Mass reps versus the rest of the state - over the need for broad Transportation funding for the RTAs as well. See the next article for a discussion.


Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822  

[Read the rest of this article...]

09

Greetings!



The big news this week will be the release of the House version of the FY13 Budget. We can assume it will reflect the House's priorities rather than the Governor's

This means it is highly likely that the DBCAN funding will be restored in full with an earmark. T funding is unlikely to be seen in the budget due to the division among House members from western and central Mass. I expect to see amendments from members on the issue and some resolution by the end of April. (I will do a Budget Update later in the week).
 

[Read the rest of this article...]

02

April 2, 2012
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update



Greetings!




This issue is pretty much dedicated to Elderly issues. We've enough space today to include two articles from Mass Home Care's At Home issue for April 2012.


One focuses on the plight of elders in the Commonwealth on an economic scale in a report by Wider Opportunities for Women and UMass's Gerontology Institutes. (Sorry, guys. We're in a minority in this population.)


The second is an article condemning the Patrick Administration for not having a policy on Aging. I remember a conversation with a political operative from the Patrick Campaign in 2010 when Al Norman (Mass Home Care exec) reminded the politico that every Governor up to Patrick had an annual conference on aging issues.


Needless to say, most, if not all of the issues elders face is true for people with disabilities.


In keeping with the Aging Well issue today, I'm going to
Bill on a Vespa MP3 (wheels) scooter

share my own attempt at fighting off aging or die trying. Yes, I did buy it on Saturday. I'll let you know how it's going next week after I complete my two-day riding class. It's a good thing my wife is on a 12 day cruise with a friend.


 

[Read the rest of this article...]

26
Disability Policy Consortium
March 26, 2012  
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update
 

 

Dear Bill,

 

GOOOAAAAL!

 

No, I didn't start playing soccer.  That marks my success in reaching the New Year's Resolution of losing 10 pounds by April 1.  Weighed in at 12 pound less on March 24.

 

The DAAHR letter to CMS on integrated care organizations referred to in this issue is well worth reading.  It is a monumental work by a group of committed advocates.  The topic of integrated health care is humongous to say the least.  It may well become a national tool for arguing for quality care for dual eligibles. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

19



Dear william,



This week we feature two columns by community advocates. My friend Penny Shaw tells us why it's not so bad for her in a rehab facility. Becky Phaneuf, a frequent correspondent, shared her frustration with MassHealth and th lack of active disability advocacy within the Patrick Administration.



Last week 400 people showed up a MBTA Board hearing. It was an overflow crowd at the Transportation Building with a good representation of people with disabilities.



I looks like Spring is here this week. Enjoy it.  

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12

This week you will find the Editorial at the end of this Update.  We've reprinted today's editorial from the Boston Sunday Globe on the Ride.  The article ends with a link to respond via email.

 

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

05


Here it is March and we're looking at temperatures in the low 60's at the end of the week. Last Thursday and Friday may have been the worst weather of the season for many of us. I should have continued predictions in November.


Lone Leaf at the end of winter


This week I want to remember John Miller from Lawrence. John died last week. I always enjoyed my repartee with him. The highlight came when I kissed him on the forehead at the beginning of training session at NILP. Rest in Peace, John.



This is a busy week with the Death with Dignity legislation having a public hearing that kicks off the ballot initiative on Tuesday, March 6, at 1 PM in the State House (room A2). See the add for a Campaign Coordinator for Second Thoughts in this issue.
 

[Read the rest of this article...]

27


Greetings!



Good morning. I like hearing from people who wake up on Monday morning and reach for the Update with their morning coffee.



The budget hearings continue with an EOHHS hearing on disabilities this morning in Fitchburg. The legislature seems to have heard the message that the biggest budget priority is bailing out the T along with the recognition that Transportation funding must be a priority for the state in the coming year.



There's not too much in the Calendar this week as March is set to roar in like a lion - a bit early on Saturday, actually.



Peace.


Bill Allan  

[Read the rest of this article...]

21
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Greetings!

 

 
We're welcoming Adrienne Glen back into our membership today. Addie was one of the unfortunate victims of budget cuts in the early Romney administration when the economy went south.  She lost a counselor to funding cuts followed by losing control of her diabetes.  Next she lost her housing and soon went through years of hospital and nursing home stays that even former DMR Commissioner Gerry Morrissey could not divert.  Adrienne could be a poster person for the impact of budget cuts on community living.

When I first met Adrienne in 1990 she was working with Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts (TEAM) on the Question 2 tax rollback.  She moved from there to being one of the faces for the Human Services Coalition at the State House.  She was known by many, many legislators and a forerunner in the world of self-advocacy.   

Karen Schneiderman, Don Summerfield & Joanne Daniels-Feingold at the Feb 13 Rally outside the Library. 

Our Update today includes a link to the MassHealth proposal for dual eligibles and an essay on disability by Burt...

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

13

 

Today at 4:30 we are urging people with disabilities and elders to join the Occupy the T rally in Copley Square prior to the MBTA fare hearing at the Boston Public Library.

 

The Legislature's Joint Committee on Way's and Means announced the schedule of budget hearings.

 

EOHHS hearings are on Feb 22 for DMH, DPH, Elder Affairs and Feb 27 for disabilities.  The Transportation Hearing is March 5 in Pittsfield.

[Read the rest of this article...]

06
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear william,

 Construction Crane Operator

 People sometimes ask me what I do now that I'm not working full time.  It's tough at my age, but I've started to break into the construction business.  There's not too much income yet, but it's a lot of fun with a 3 year old named Nuri. 

 

Allow me to admonish one of our readers:  Please, Chris, don't read while you're driving to work.  Nothing we say won't keep for a while. 

 

 See you next week. 

   

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

30
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Greetings!

 

Wow, what a week!  This issue is long because of budget issues and the T fare increases.

 

Brother Al Norman gets the lead Editorial for his commentary on the Governor's State of the Commonwealth which once again ignored elders and people with  disabilities. 

 

I just had to comment on "not by accident", the phrase repeatedly used by Governor Community Next-to-Last in the same speech.  We're again going to have to look to the Legislature to overturn his decisions. 

 

There is more evidence that the  "reformed" Department of Transportation needs attention.  In addition to allowing the T to propose fare changes in the face of a wide public process by the 530 Commission, we now see DOT releasing a  new survey to get folks opinions.  What has been going on for the last month if not gathering opinions?

 

We also present a draft statement from multiple organizations on the MBTA fare increases.  Please use this in letters, testimony, etc.   Let me know if your organization wants to be listed as a supporter.   

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

25

Disability Policy Consortium

January 25, 2012      
Disability Policy Consortium  FY13 Budget Update

 

Dear william,

 

The Governor released House 2 today.  At first blush, the the disability agencies did "okay" with a couple of big questions that are not answered from just looking at the numbers.

  

Mass Office on Disabilities, Talking Book Libraries, and the Disabled Persons Protection Commission were essentially level funded.  This may indeed be a cut, since it doesn't include any cost of living increases even for union contracts.

  

Mass Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is $380,000 better than last year.  There's still a long way to go to bring them back to where they were.

  

Mass Commission for the Blind  is down$478,171 in the Community Services account, but that may represent a consolidation of something in the Commissioner's account which increase by $397,000.   Elsewhere, MCB lost over $8 million in the SSI account which has most likely been consolidated in the Dept of Transitional Assistance given the effort to pay State Supplements directly.

 
Mass Rehab Commission took another hit in Homemaker Services (so much for Community First), new Turning 22, and employment service.  the Independent Living account was level funded.

 

Developmental Services saw a $11.6 million transportation line item disappear.  There's a story there that we're not privy to.

 

Mental Health Department came out $28 million better than FY12 with no real cuts in line items.

There will be more stories as other analysts have time to analyze.

The DPC spreadsheet can be found on ur web site www.dpcma.org> Issues>Legislation & Budget or by clicking the link below. 

   

 FY13 Budget 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

23

DPC ANNUAL MEETING

February 1, 2012

5:30 - 8:00 PM

150 Mt. Vernon Street

Dorchester MA

 

3rd. Floor         SEIU199

 

Please join the Board, staff and other members of the Disability Policy Consortium for our Annual Meeting and election of Directors.

 

Keynote speaker will be Christine Griffin, EOHHS Assistant Secretary for Disability Policy and Program. Many of us know Chris as the former director of the Disability Law Center where she played a vital role in establishing Olmstead Principles as  an important part of the lexicon of Massachusetts discussions.   

 

There will be a light dinner and time to socialize before the meeting.  Please RSVP to Colleen Graham at             617 542-3822       or cgraham@dpcma.org

   

Directions to 150 Mt. Vernon Street (same as MCDHH offices)  

[Read the rest of this article...]

09

Greetings!

 

 We're back...at 6 AM Monday by popular demand!  Have to admit that I kinda like not having to pull it together on Sunday. 

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

04
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear william,

 

2012!  I can't say I ever imagined making it to 2011 much less 2012.  Nevertheless, Happy New Year.  Let's make the best of it and kick some you know what this year.

 

The last public hearing on the proposed integration of

Heraring on CMS Proposal Jan 4
Large crowd attended the Jan 4 MassHealth hearing.

health care for dual eligibles was today.  As you can see, it was well attended with advocates continuing the call for voluntary enrollment, peer supports, conflict free care and independent care coordination, consumer choice and consumer involvement.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org|             617-542-3822      

[Read the rest of this article...]

29

 

 

Surprise, Surprise.  Enough mail arrived of value to put out a special edition.  Next weeks issue will arrive mid-week as well.  

 

This issue is for you, Gayle.

[Read the rest of this article...]

20

Dear william,

 

 It's 12 degree outside and the temperature is dropping.  So much for spring weather we've had through November.  Winter is here....at least on mid-coast Maine on a Sunday night. 

 

This issue has opportunities for all of you wishing to learn sign language or just learn about Deaf culture.  Check out the calendar listings.

 

We are beginning a crucial time for the Integrated Care proposal being submitted by MassHealth to the federal government to provide managed care for people on MassHealth and Medicare.   The next hearing is scheduled for January 4 at 10AM in the Transportation Building  at 10 Park Plaza in Boston. 

  

We're going to take next Monday off.  Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, enjoy Kwanza, and above all, Peace.

Bill Allan

[Read the rest of this article...]

12
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear Bill,

 

The disability community was well represented at last week's budget hearing at  Boston University.  The messages were similar to last year's hearings -- please don't cut the budget for our agency of tie.  FY13 budget is predicted to be bad so the pleadings are necessary.   

 

For a good explanation of where the Commonwealth has gone wrong on community programs, please read Al Norman's Mass Home Care budget testimony below. 

 

 

Dennis Heaphy leads DAAHR seminar while Colleen Graham takes notes
Dennis Heaphy leads DAAHR seminar while Colleen Graham takes notes

 

Last week the

Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare rights met with a group of providers to discuss priorities under managed care.    

 

The discussions were general but good start of a dialogue that will be 0ngoing over the next year.

 

The big news of the week was the release of the draft proposal to the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare for managed care for dual eligibles.  The first public hearing  will be Friday, December 16 at the Worcester Public Library.  for details, see the article below in the Calendar listing. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-382 for2

[Read the rest of this article...]

05
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear Bill,

 

Good Morning! 

This issue includes a couple of important messages. 
The first is that the December 9, 2011 EOHHS FY13 Budget Hearing has been moved to the Agganis Areana details below.

The second item of importance is the first section of a Question and Answer between Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Finance and EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby.
The question asked were originally posed by Disability Advocates Advocating our Health Care Rights to Sen. Moore and his staff.

Elsewhere, VSA Arts brings us the first Holiday celebration.

 

 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

21
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear william,

 

Good Morning.  I should have predicted nice weather through Thanksgiving Day.  Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

 

Be sure to read my Editorial.  It has two challenges in it that I'd like you all to address.   

 

Predictions are that the Super Committee will fail to meet its goal by Wednesday.  Mass Senior Action and Mass Home Care aren't taking any chances bu launching demonstrations and a Turkey Gram to Sen Kerry on Tuesday.  Join us at one of Kerry's offices or send a Turkey Gram of your own.  It's optional if you want to include cranberry sauce. 

 

The transcript from last Friday's discussion with FEMA's Marcie Roth is posted on the DPC web site:

Marcie Roth discussion.  

  

I hope all of us can find a way to enjoy the holiday with our relations or despite them! 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org|             617-542-3822      

[Read the rest of this article...]

14
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Greetings!

 

 This week is a week like all others.  Filled with those 

 Stop the Cuts Rally 11/09/2011event which will affect us all.   Will we tune in? 

 

A highlight this week will be Marie Roth's appearance at UMass Boston for a Friday keynote address.  Marcie, if you remember the mid-September issue, is the Disability Inclusion expert at FEMA.  The admission fee has been waived for us.   

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

31
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear william,

 

 This week we commemorate two leaders of the disability community who died.  Dr. Allen Crocker was a huge presence in the medical field, pioneering treatment for children with developmental disabilities at Children's Hospital in Boston.  Lou Nissenbaum was a parent of a child with intellectual disabilities, exec of the Newmasket Group, and a founder of Mass Families Organizing for Change.  The community will miss them.

 

 This issue also brings an opportunity to join with Elders and Occupy the Wang.  Don't miss it!  

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

24

 

 It's a short issue this week.  No news is not good news.  It's no news.  Those of you who are waiting for another pithy editorial will be disappointed

[Read the rest of this article...]

17

Greetings!

 

The DPC doesn't venture into Boston politics very often, but we do when the issue is huge and has implications for other communities.  A public hearing had been scheduled in Boston for next Thursday that could have resulted in reducing h0using opportunities in Boston and putting pressure on other communities around Boston.   We responded with a letter included in today's editorial.

 

The  September 14 Special Update on Managed Care for Dual Eligibles brought some reader response which is included in the Advocates Corner today.  We advise people to send complaints to Dr. Julian Harris, the new MassHealth director to give him first hand feedback on issues we face.  

[Read the rest of this article...]

14

Tuesday signaled a milestone in the planning for an integrated managed care system for duals eligibles in Massachusetts with a 2 hour presentation from MassHealth on the status of planning and MassHealth thinking to date.

 

Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR) has been meeting regularly with MassHealth on implementing the 8 principles enunciated in the May response to the RFI. (Principles may be found on the list, here. 

 

This Special Updates includes 2 pertinent documents.  

 

One is a text version of the Power Point presentation Robin Callahan used on October 11.  Of course, we can't convey the many topics of discussion that ensured nor the answers. Questions may be addressed to MassHealth through email to duals@state.ma.us  

 

The second document is a letter from DAAHR co-chairs Dennis Heaphy and Bill Henning to Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of EOHHS.  The letter highlights some of DAAHRS continuing concerns about the plan for integrating care for Medicaid and Medicare individuals. 

However, it must be pointed out that the letter opened with an acknowledgement that discussions between MassHealth and DAAHR have open, honest and productive.

 

See you all again on Monday.

[Read the rest of this article...]

11
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear Bill,

 

I'm starting off this morning with a hearty pat on my back. After all, I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons renewing my suntan on the beach. However, there won't be any further predictions of the weather.

 

This week we're responding to popular demand and returning to the linear format the DPC Update started with. No more two and three column versions. (And, to confirm how responsive we can be, there were 2 requests over the last month for this change.)

 

A final note.  Two inches to the right of this text is an invitation to Donate to the DPC.  I'm inviting you to add your financial support.  

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

03

October.  Colored leaves, first frost, pumpkins and Halloween.  What more could we ask for?

 

This issue has a focus on Transportation.  Today there is a meeting on the new Personal Interviews in order to maintain eligibility for The Ride.  The Governor's Commissions continue to meet and we've invited you to contact a DPC Bord member who is on the Commission.  There also is an opportunity to Work on a project monitoring MBTA buses.

 

Please read on and enjoy the week.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bill Allan

[Read the rest of this article...]

26
Greetings!

This is for all the Hot Rodder wannabes out there.  If you missed Friday's Expos at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston all the boys (and a few
Hot Wheels
A hot set of wheels a the Expo 
girls) were salivating over this vehicle.  Rumor has it that three DPC members were each considering purchasing one so they could drag race. Is that true JW, JG & MM?
 
Hot Wheels from the Expo
Hot Wheels ramp
It was great seeing friends an touching base with people.  We also met a new legal contact who we hope will begin to work with us.

The Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights is pursuing our list of principle with EOHHS.  There is an important meeting on Tuesday at 1 Ashburton for ALL people who are on both MassHealth & Medicare.  (Details below). Please, if this is your health care we are talking about, join us.

If you loved the weather this past weekend, remember who gave you September as another summer month!  And, I think we'll be good through Columbus Day weekend.  Enjoy.

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium 

[Read the rest of this article...]

21

Many of our colleagues, friends, and co-advocates from across the United States are in Washington DC to participate in a massive rally to "Save Medicaid".  The Republicans, pushed by their friends in the Tea Party are threatening to trash Medicaid and other safety-net, no NOT SAFETY-NET - but programs that form the basis of the American commitment to the COMMON GOOD.

We are asking everyone to make 2 PHONE CALLS today.

 

You Can Help the Cause on Wednesday! While people nationwide rally and make visits on the Hill, please contact our Senators, urging them to support Medicaid and not sacrifice people's health and well being for deficit reduction.

 

 

Thank Senator John Kerry for past support of Medicaid and urge that he not accept cuts to the program as a member of the Super Committee: call him in Boston at 617-565-8519 and/or in Washington at 202-224-2742.

Ask Senator Scott Brown to support Medicaid and to object to cuts in any deficit reduction plan: call him in Boston at 617-565-3170 and/or in Washington at 202-224-4543.  

Bill Allan Signature

[Read the rest of this article...]

19

I was fortunate to attend Getting Real II last week sponsored by the Federal Emergency  Management Agency and paid for by you, the taxpayers.  I was also fortunate enough to be able to do a presentation Three Rs and a P on our efforts to get Governor Deval Patrick to meet his legal obligations by providing ASL interpreters during emergency related press conferences. The presentation is available as a Power Point show on our web site.

[Read the rest of this article...]

12

Greetings!

 

Good morning.  September 11 was a beautiful, sunny day, the type of day I promised last week.  We commemorated the World Trade Center victims and many tried to tell us what has changed because of it.

Here's my change.  I'm taking the train to DC as a personal; statement that the TSA groping doesn't fit my life style, particularly when thousand of pounds of baggage gets boarded everyday unscanned.
 

Chreck out the Getting Real II webcast below.  Last year's conference was great and hopefully we'll build on it this year.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium, Inc 

[Read the rest of this article...]

06

 

Greetings!

 

How many people really, really love the Labor Day holiday.  Not many of us because it signals the traditional end of summer.   Again, this all goes  back to the days when we were all farmer and the kids had to be home for the summer months to help with harvesting the crops.

 

The best argument for All Year Round School is that it may let the rest of us remember that September is a beautiful month (with a 1 day exception), the waters are warm, and if works right, DCR will hire adults for life guards so there's no excuse to close the beaches because they have to go back to college.  

 

There! I've just added a month to your summer.

 

Bill Allan

[Read the rest of this article...]

27

Hurricane Irene Preparedness
News & Information

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25
Disability Policy Consortium  Hurricane Irene  Update

 

Dear Bill,

 

We're mailing this in case you are one of the 13 people in Massachusetts who haven't heard that there is a hurricane coming this weekend.

  

The DPC firmly believes that Emergency Preparedness is YOUR responsibility.   We hold the government accountable for the general welfare - communications, assistance, emergency transport...thing we can not do on our own when all hell breaks loose.   

 

Included in this issue are information from both MEMA and the DPC on things your need to consider before the hurricane hits this weekend.  The Personal Preparedness Guide can be downloaded here. 

  

You, on the other hand, need a Plan.  You are responsible for your medications, personal evacuation, having food and water supplies available for 3 - 5 days, having a flash light (no candles please) and a portable radio in case power goes out.

  

The complications come:

  • you live in a high rise and the Commonwealth,local governments & building managers haven't devoted one iota of planning to evacuating big buildings.   
  • you live in a flood plain and are in a heavy power wheel chair.
  • your medications supplies are at the end of the month and not due to be refilled until Monday
  • you depend on a personal care attendant.
  • you have a service animal
  • you are Deaf and can't hear bullhorns used to warn of evacuation procedures or other calamities. 

These are only some of the potential problems that, as far as we know, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Public Health, and local governments don't have a plan for dealing with.   

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has made "Planning for Real" the new watchword.  The scenarios mentioned above are potentially real complications for people needing assistance in time of an emergency. "Inclusion" is suppose to be the model for planning.

 

It's time for Massachusetts to Get Real Two.   We need your assistance, too.  See the last block of text for a list of ways of which you can assist the DPC in monitoring hurricane response. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

 

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

22

 Dear Bill,


This is one of those times when an early start didn't get me the worm but it did save me from having to write anything but this section without my glasses!  They're still on a shelf at Lowe's.

We're featuring information from Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights in this issue.  The focus is on the proposal to offer (or compel?) people who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare a managed care plan.

As I write this the US Weather Service has announced a Tornado Watch for Berkshire County. If you are in that area, please report how emergency annoucements were handled and anything else of interest.

This issue brings news of the death of Fred Fay.  Mr. Fay was known to the people who were active in starting the Independent Living movement and ultimately bringing us the ADA.   He will be missed and mourned by people all across our land.

Bill Allan
Director, Policy & Advocacy

[Read the rest of this article...]

15
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Greetings!

 

Summer started over 2 months ago for most people, but for me, it starts in August.  The phone goes quiet, emails slooooow down, and vacation usually mean time in Maine.

 

This issue was supposed to be short and to the point, but something happened when I looked at the email in box.  Turned out it was full, so this issue is full. 

 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

01
Disability Policy Consortium  Transitions

 

Dear william,

 

 The Board of Directors is pleased announce the election of a new President and the appointment of a new Executive Director.   

 

John Chappell has assumed the leadership of the DPC following the resignation of John Pirone as President.  Mr. Pirone will continue as a valued Board member while pursuing a E.D. at Northeastern University.

Bruce Menin has been selected to be the new Executive Director. Bruce brings broad experience and a long standing commitment to human rights to the DPC.

I will be assisting Bruce with transition through September.

Please welcome John Chappell and Bruce in their new advocacy roles.  More detailed information is included below. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

01

v

 

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Not, Politics As Usual  

It's Time to Put an End to Unrestricted Corporal Punishment!

25+ Years is Enough! 

 

This issue of the DPC Update will be devoted almost exclusively to the topic of the use of adversive treatments on people with disabilities and other human beings. Readers who have been attuned to politics and civil rights issues know that advocates and some legislators have been trying for years to get the use of electo-shock devices, pinching and other abusive treatments either banned or regulated for 25 or more years. These types of punishments are only used in one facility in the country in Canton Massachusetts.

 

The editorial this week will be at the very end of the issue to prompt readers to at least scroll through the issue to see the range of opinions and reactions offered.

 

The Executive Committee of the Disability Policy Consortium took a bold step on July 18, 2011 when it authorized staff to poll the membership of the Massachusetts House of Representatives on the issue. In fact, we used a variation of a "push poll" in which we used a logical frame to put House Members on record and then asked them to "set the the record straight." (The letter is below)

 

The DPC distributed personal copies of the letter on July 19 and then distributed an email version on the morning of July 20. >From July 20 through July 25 we called each Representative at least once and sent many additional copies of the email version upon request. Feedback from Representatives continued through Thursday, July 27 and will likely continue.

 

As stated earlier, this is an issue that has festered for 25 or more years. The Department of Mental Retardation (now Dept of Developmental Services) was sued in the 80's and again in the 90's by the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton.  

It is very likely that DDS and Commissioner Elin Howe will be sued again (see The Real Hero, below). 

 

The DPC Executive Committee decided that "politics as usual" needed to be put aside and a bolder stand taken. One person referred to it as "throwing as bomb."

 

The Members of the House reacted pretty much as we expected. Most were angry and the arguments from the few who had the fortitude to call directly will be discussed below. Most did not respond at all. One confirmed what we had hoped: there has been more open discussion of the issue of aversive treatments in the House than ever before. The issue is no longer obscure.

 

 

Sincerely, 

 Bill Allan Signature

[Read the rest of this article...]

27

The Disability Policy Consortium and 8 individuals filed a lawsuit in federal court on July 26, 2011, alleging that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of MassHealth (Medicaid) violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

25
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear william,

 

 We're opening today with the Bunny Hop, courtesy of Charlie Washburn, VSA Arts.  In case you missed it, VSA sponsored the event with Sidewalk Sam, the famous chalk artist last Thursday at South Station.Sidewalk Sam & his bunnies

I got there in time to meet Sam and catch a glimpse of the artwork.   

 

Why a Bunny Hop?  Why not a Bunny Hop?  I'm reminded of the 60's hit Everyday People by Slye and the Family Stone.  "Different Strokes for Different Folks".  It also why we find merit in events like Miss Wheelchair Massachusetts and Paralympic Sports.  

 

People with disabilities celebrate the 21st anniversary of the ADA on July 26.  While we often focus on what we don't have, let's take a few moments on Tuesday to celebrate the progress that has been made.  We often lament that "the Movement" is getting grayer and grayer.  That could be because younger folks have more options and have fewer reasons to be angry. (Please, I did say "fewer").  In Boston there are major ramp repairs all over the City.  The state is making an effort with Model Employer.  There are more community based alternative to nursing homes  than ever before.    


Progress.  But more to be done, for sure.

 

I want to thank Martina Carroll, Stavros staff & DPC Board member for two of today's news items.   Please join her in forwarding items of interest.  And, I remind everyone that the Editorial or other columns are open for submissions.

 

Happy Anniversary!

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

18
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear william,

 

This week's Update comes from a tube on a small pond in Maine. The joys of summer!  

 

We're asking anyone who can to be in Worcester on
Wednesday or Boston on Friday for a show of support for DDS's new regulations. See the calendar for details.

 

Friday is the SILC ADA picnic and Boston is celebrating on the 26th.  Also, look for the DPC there, too.

[Read the rest of this article...]

14
Disability Policy Consortium  Special  Update

 

Dear Bill,

 

 National organizations like ADAPT and the National Disability Alliance are urging people to call the White House to protect the President's willingness to cut $100 billion of Medicaid money to please the Republicans.

   

 The President needs to hear from you NOW.

  

1. Call the toll-free White House comment line NOW at

1-888-245-0215.

 

2. Go to http://tinyurl.com/5t7r5jd  and send an email directly to three key White House officials demanding REAL Medicaid reform and opposing ARBITRARY

Medicaid cuts.

 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

11
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear Bill,

 

It fun when there's a real theme to a DPC Update.   

 

Today's issue focuses on the use of aversive behavioral

treatments.  There is one place in the county that is allowed to "treat" young people and adults with electric shocks.  In 2010 the United Nations declared this to be torture.  How proud can we be that this happens Only in Massachusetts.

 

Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Elin Howe has approved new regulations on behavioral treatments.  DDS is sponsoring public hearing on July 20 & 22.  The DPC is asking you to attend and show your support for ending this travesty.

 

The next week has a Legislative hearing on a Bill (HB77) to outright ban "punishment" in the guise of therapy.  This is another opportunity to show up and support folk who can't speak for themselves.

 

An important change in pace is the hearing on July 19 on the DPC's vendor employment bill.  Read that section and join us if you think you have been discriminated against in getting a job.

 

As an endnote, there wasn't any response from EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby to last week's editorial. 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

05

Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

 

fireworks

Dear Bill,

 

 

Happy Fifth of July!  I can't hear a thing you sfireworksay to me because of the kids setting off fireworks outside my window all weekend.  I'm really glad they are illegal in Massachusetts, aren't you? 

 

A new ADA Update for July has been posted on the  DPC website .

 

My editorial today tries to explain the mystery of a large block of text that was missing from an article on Dual Eligibles.  The complete text follows the Editorial.

  

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

02

 

Dear Bill, 

  

The FY12 Budget for the Commonwealth has been released.

 

Here are the highlights.

 

In general, disability agencies did well by maintaining FY11 levels or increasing slightly.  Rep Jim O'Day's amendments for $50,000 increases in Assistive Technology funding were approved for MCB, MCDHH & MRC.

 

It seems the 4120-4000 Independent Living linte item was restored to more than FY11 levels.   

 

In DDS, the 5920-3000 account for Family Supports was still at a reduced funding level of $5,000,000 while DDS increased by $20 million over FY11 levels.

 

DMH had close to $9 million restored above FY11 levels.

 

MCDHH increased by $180,000 including the $50k for AT.

 

MCB increased by $400,000 most of which was the restoration of the DBCAN account passed by the House. 

 

This is all subject to a veto by the Governor.  It is likely however, that the Legislature will override the veto.  That is not certain and keeps us in suspense a while longer.

 

Click this link to view the  details for disability agencies. 

 Spread sheet with Conference Committee Details  

You may review the Conference Committee document at this link:  

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

27
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Dear william,

 

One important message today:  ask your legislators to STOP THE TORTURE in Massachusetts!  See the Advocates Corner below to get the important phone numbers and Please Make the Call Now!

 

File this under lessons learned.  Heading off to meeting Mary Lou Friday afternoon, I was in the Park Street Subway stop with a Netbook and my cell phone.  A colleague called and I became engrossed in our conversation.  The Netbook on the seat next to me disappeared.  My fault for being stupid. It now serves as a warning to all of us not to get too comfortable.

 

Elsewhere, find the Calendar note on the Managed Care for Dual Eligibles tomorrow at the Transportation Building and join us for this continuing discussion that could affect the lives of up to 100,000 people.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

20

 

Greetings!

 

This issue is focusing on Social Security Income reform.  Congresswoman Niki Tsonga,  D-Lowell, and Congressman   Tom Petri (R-WI)  have joined to sponsor federal legislation (SSI Savers Act of 2011  -- H.R. 2103) that will increase asset limits or people on SSI. 

 

Analysis presented at the Olmstead Initiatives in 2008 by Jim Morris who works at Stavros Independent Living Center suggested limits should be raised to $3480 and $5220 respectively.  The Tsongas legislation suggests the new limits would be $5000.00 single or $7,500.00 family. 

 

But, and it is a big BUT, there is much more that needs to be done.

 

Included in this issue is are excerpts from a paper authored by former DPC President John E. Winske, Andrew Sum's 2003-04 report on poverty, a badly designed Social Security demonstration and disability, and reports and recommendations from the National Council on Disability.  Each may be read in its entirety by following the link at the conclusion of the excerpt.

 

To give credit where credit is due, the DPC needs to recognize our interest in this topic was kindled last year by Ruth Unger and Dean Wallace.  Ruth and Dean have been working with the Employment Now Coalition's DeAnn Elliott to organize meetings with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation.  If you would like to join in this effort, please email DeAnn at delliott@employmentnowcoaliton.org today.

 

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

13
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Greetings!

 

Gray, cold, wet weather. Actually, its a little warm for November. Oh, hey, I forgot. We're in New England.

 A couple of highlights in today's Update. We learned of Paralympic Sports last week. They offer a full calendar of events for everyone. Check it out and subscribe. We can't possibly include their whole schedule here.

 Health Care Reform moves to Pittsfield later this month. Please lineup and tell the Committee the problems of managed care in rural settings. Speak now or forever get poor choices in health care.

 AAB Director Tom Hopkins applauded the support the AAB received on June 6 to hear Jerry Remy's waterfront appeal. He's asking for a similar turnout om June 15, 2PM, Suffolk Court House, for our old friends from Hollister. You know, the people who tore out accessible entrances and replaced them with platform entrances.

 You'll remember James Arness as Matt Dillon and Dennis Weaver as Chester if you're as old as I am. So catch Gunsmoke next Saturday at the Cambridge Senior Center.

 See you there...maybe.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

06
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

 

Greetings!

  

 Saturday was a gorgeous day for the Accessible Recreation Fair sponsored by DCR on the banks of the Charles River in Brighton.

GigiTanno
DCR's Gigi Tanno celebrates the day.

      

 

 It was a great turnout hosted by Tom McCarthy and Gigi Ranno.   

 

 Visit our Facebook page for more pictures from the day.   

   

 SybilFeldman_MaryLouMaloney

 

SybilFelman_MaryLouMaloney

 

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere you'll find two editorials.  Don't spend too much time pondering the meaning of the first one.  Hopefully, we'll be able to put a positive spin on it soon.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

31

The day started at 3 AM with bright flashes of lightning, loud booming thunder, and torrential rain.   By 9 AM the sun was out, the temperature was climbing toward 90, and the beach beckons.

 

As Woody says "Thas all folks!

[Read the rest of this article...]

25

 

The news article below from today's Boston Globe is a victory for many youth and adults who have been "treated" at the Judge Rotenberg Center.  Advocates have tried for over 25 years to have JRC closed as a place that tortures patients.

 

Let's hope that this is the beginning of the end for JRC and that the Commonwealth finds internal fortitude and legal basis to close JRC once ad for all. 

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

24
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear Bill,

 

The theme of Health Care Reform II continues this week.

 

The Joint Committee on Health Care Finance continues its hearing on the Governor's Health Care Reform bill TODAY in Worcester (See details on time and location below).  June 6 the hearing will be in Salem MA.  

 

As Roxanne Reddington-Wilde put it in a recent email "Payment Reform is where the real action is: influence that properly and you've helped shape responsible health care delivery for the foreseeable future. So, get your voice heard, your organization's voice heard and, especially, your community's voice heard!

 

However, the issues regarding managed care for dual eligible individuals is part-and-parcel of Health Care Reform II.  Dr. JudyAnn Bigby's testimony last Monday on the Governor's Health Care Reform Bill (HB1849) referred to the Dual Eligible Demonstration on a number of occasions. One reference was in the context of gathering data necessary for the implementation of Health Care Reform II. 

 

We've included a one page summary of the RFI response as alternative to those who can't take the time to read the complete response.  There is also an annotated copy of the Principles included below to help you formulate your own responses. 

 

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

09
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear William,

 

Exhaustion from moving and a weak Internet connection led to this mornings DPC Update being delayed.    

 

This issue will once again focus on a favorite topic: the inability of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to understand the necessity of using American Sign Language Interpreters during emergencies.   Printed below are the April 1, 2011 Demand Letter regarding the lack of interpreters and the response from the Governor's legal counsel, Mark Reilly.

 

We are also printing correspondence from the U.S. Attorneys Office over the signature Jennifer Searfyn.  Ms. Serafyn sent the letter to 5 TV outlets.  The DPC reaction to the 5 TV stations follows along with a letter  we received today from WCVB-TV (Channel 5).  This follows our DOJ of May 2010 regarding lack of interpreters during the MWRA water crisis. 

 

My editorial will follow all of this to force you to at least browse what our public servants have to say as they "serve and protect".           

 

There is information on an important Public Hearing on PCA and Hearing Aid legislation on ay 17. 

 

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

02

 

Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Greetings!

 

This issue of the DPC Update is devoted almost exclusively to Health Care Reform II.  A couple of people were nice enough to send me a link to a news article on a state demonstration projects for dual eligibles (Medicaid and Medicare).  Thank you, but we've been in the thick of it.

DAAHR logo

The DPC has been providing leadership to a coalition of disability advocates reparing a response to the MassHealth Request for Information RFI) on this very topic.  The coalition, working under the name

Disability Advocates Advancing Our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR),  has agreed to a statement that includes the 8 principles included below.

 

If you wish to have your name added to this statement, please use this link to email your name and location:

duals@dpcma.org.

 

If your organization is filing a response to the RFI, please feel free to reference any or all of the Principles below.  Contact us at the email above to add your organization to the list of DAAHR coalition.  Our logo is also available for you to down load and include in your response.  

 

This work has been done under the leadership of Dennis Heaphy, DPC Health Care Advocate.  Nassira Nicola, BCIL Director of Services, spent countless hours blending ideas and editing this document for which I personally am VERY GRATEFUL. 


Bill Allan
Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

25
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear William,

 

The High Holy days of the Christian calendar are over.  The Easter Bunny has come and gone.  The only things left are a few shards of candy,

hyper-active kids from the sugar rush, and at least one --- there's always one -- hard boiled egg so well hidden there's no trace of it until July or August.

 

I do want to apologize to all the Register DPC members who received 4 budget alerts from me last week.  The system was slow in responding  and I impatiently clicked "Send" too often, thinking that only one copy could be emailed... I was wrong.

 

For those of you who aren't Registered with the DPC on www.dpcma.org  and get our updates through a Constant Contact list or Facebook, this is what you are missing:  At opportune times during the Legislative session, we will issue an "Alert" advising you of a current issue(s) and how you can contact your legislator.  The Alert has a brief description of the issue, includes a Toll Free number, and a link to an email that you can modify and send to your legislator without having to know his email address.

 

We'd like to have more of you join us directly.  Please take a minute today. 

 

Later this week we will publish a Special Health Care Update on the Request for Information on Managed Care for Dual Eligibles.

 

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

19

Spring really gets underway in Boston with the Marathon.  The wheelchair division finish was tremendous this year. Congratulations to Masazumi Soejima of Japan who finish first only one second faster than Kurt Fearnley of Australia and Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa.

 

Dennis Heaphy has been leading a coalition of people preparing a response to the Request for Information from Health & Human Services on Managed Care for Dual Eligibles.  We hope to have a final copy available soon so other groups and individuals may endorse it.  We are basing the response on principles including Voluntary Enrollment, Person Centered Care, a Delivery System that eliminates institutional bias and embraces home and community based services, Cultural Competence, Prevention, a loud Consumer Voice 


 


Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

14

The House Ways and Means released the draft House version of the FY12 Budget today.   The string of increases for the Department of Developmental Services continued.   This time its an additional $10 million over the governor's House 1 or $19.5 million over FY11.   DBCAN funding was restored and MCDHH saw its funding move back to FY11 level (almost). 

    

Our spread sheet is available at the top of this page on the DPC web site for those of you who like to see the all details.


The Governor's attempt to consolidate line items was rejected by the House again. (5 for 5 but who's keeping score?)  

 

Here are the quick numbers:

 

State House Access: no change at 138,476  


Mass Office on Disability a pocket change increase of $17k.

 

Disabled Person Protection Commission: pocket change increase of $36,000 

 

Mass Com Blind: pocket change increase of $20,299 over FY11 BUT a whopping $474,000 over House 1 essentially restoring the funding for DBCAN! ....

[Read the rest of this article...]

11
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear William,

 

I have pleased with the feedback I've been getting on the DPC Update.  It's always nice to know someone is reading your stuff; much nice to know they like it.

 

The cat is out of the bag with this issue, for sure.  A link below will bring you to the recruiting announcement for the DPC Executive Director's position.

[Read the rest of this article...]

04

 

Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear William,

 

Did everyone survive April Fools Day?  I didn't.  Got to the the T on Friday and realized I left my glasses at home.  Walked back up the hill, into the house....and felt the glasses in my pants pocket.  Getting old is tough.

 

Following this theme I'm going to direct your attention to the Editorial and the Demand letter included in this issue.

 

Look for a special on Emergency Preparedness later this week and one on Health Care Reform & Managed Care for Dual Eligibles soon.

 

I recently discovered a web site that offers free software that allows a person to control a compute uses one's eyes.  I've certainly heard of this, but here's an opportunity to try it yourself: 

Camera Mouse. 


For fun and relaxation, check in with Virginia Eagles.
  
Bill Allan

[Read the rest of this article...]

28
Emergency Alert Message MEMA letter to WBZ-TV

Did you known there was an Emergency Preparedness Press Conference on Sunday at 2 PM.  This time the water is safe. 

 

Once again the Commonwealth did not have an American Sign Language Interpreter at the press conference.  

   

Is it a "Right" to expect American Sign Language Interpreters at an Emergency press conference even when the announcement is Good News?"  

 

Do you have an opinion. Answer our questions. 

 

28
Emergency Alert Message MEMA letter to WBZ-TV

Did you known there was an Emergency Preparedness Press Conference on Sunday at 2 PM.  This time the water is safe. 

 

Once again the Commonwealth did not have an American Sign Language Interpreter at the press conference.  

   

Is it a "Right" to expect American Sign Language Interpreters at an Emergency press conference even when the announcement is Good News?"  

 

Do you have an opinion. Answer our questions. 

 

21
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear Bill,

 

This is a busy Calendar week.  The push is on at the State House to get budget messages across.  While it's never too late, we almost always miss the first round.  This is when individual legislators meet with the Chairs of Ways and Means in both the House and Senate. It takes advocates a couple of weeks to digest the impact of the Governor's budget, assess options, and develop a strategy.  By then, many of the legislators we rely on have already had their meetings.  We do need to improve on our timing.

 

Which leads me to my next topic.  The DPC invested in a sophisticated Legislative Alert Service which we have not used in almost a year.  This year the House and Senate email addresses changed and it took us until last Friday to get our service to update the database.  With that said, please look for 3 email Alerts later this week on the following budget issues: Independent Living Centers in Mass Rehab Commission budget; Deaf-Blind Community Access Network in the Mass Commission for the Blind; and Club Houses in Dept. of Mental Health Budget.


Please exercise your Constitutional Right to Petition your Government.

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

15

Dear William,

 

Good morning.  Let's get right to it!   The sun's out and we have an extra hour of daylight.  What could possibly be wrong?

 

Okay, there's the state budget which is a disaster for human services as Laurie Martinelli from NAMI Mass points out again about the Department of Mental Health.

 

The earthquake in Japan should remind us all of our vulnerability.  It will take more than an earthquake thousand of miles away, however, to prompt a response from either the Governor's office or the Department of Justice to our complaints that are now unanswered for 10 months (MWRA Water Crisis, May 1, 2010). 

 

The Governor's press office would have us believe they are working hard to fix the DBCAN budget.  Yes, if that includes hoping the Legislature will restore the funding.

 

But, I digress.  Go outside and enjoy the warm weather.  And remember to RSVP for Dr. Jean McGuire's reception if you haven't done so already. 


Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

07
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
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

28

This is a busy issue of the Update with a full calendar, breaking news, and budget updates.

 

The breaking news is the announcement of Dr. Jean McGuire's resignation.  Dr. McGuire is moving to academia and a search for her replacement is being launched.

 

The budget surprise this week is the potential defunding of the DBCAN program.  Imagine yourself at home 24/7 by 52.  That wold be life  for 75 people who are Deaf-Blind without DBCAN.  The Deaf-Blind Community Access Network provides 16 hours of Service Support Providers to assist people with community living: shopping, medical appointments, banking.  Things you and I take for granted.  

   

Elsewhere we comment on the successful management of the MassHealth budget that keeps administrative costs to 1.5%...at whose expense, we ask?

 

The DPC web site has an excellent Power Point presentation on the plans for merging services for people who are both Medicaid and Medicare eligible.  It can be accessed here: Dual Eligibles.

 

Elsewhere on www.dpcma.org we put the first issue of an ADA update we've been getting.  The lead article is on the successful pursuit of US Department of Justice ProjectCivicAction complaint against the town of Swanse, MA.  Look for it under News/National.

 

Enjoy your week...we're counting down to Spring!  

[Read the rest of this article...]

21

 

Budget deliberations are in full swing and advocates are all scheduling their "lobby days" at the State House.  The calendar has a number of these listed.

 

The Statewide Independent Living Council will be on Beacon Hill on Monday, March 14 from 11 - 3.  Everyone is welcome to participate.  Please invite your legislator to join you or at least schedule an appointment with them in the afternoon.

 

On Wednesday, February 23, the second budget hearing will be held for EOHHS agencies including MCB, MRC & MCDHH.  (Montachusetts Voc Tech High School, 1050 Westminster Street Fitchburg, MA, 10 AM). There has been a HUGE Change this year in these hearings:  Public testimony will is welcome and sign-up sheets will be available.  Public testimony will be taken after the agency officials testify.

 

[Read the rest of this article...]

14
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Greetings!

 

This week's calendar section may be a better indicator of the arrival of Spring than Punxsutawney Phil. 


This is my last chance to invite you to the Kelly Rink for an outdoor afternoon of fun (Tuesday, Feb. 15,12 noon - ) even if you don't want to ice skate. The Kelly Rink is a partnership of the Department of Conservation and Recreations and the Friends of the Kelly Rink.  I had the honor of being the first president of the Friends and together with the DCR's Universal Access Program, we are proud to co-sponsor Tuesday's event.

High on the important list of the calendar in March are the Regional Health meetings sponsored by Dept. Public Health's Commissioner John Auerbach. These events are an opportunity to address Public Health issues directly with the Commissioner.  High on our list are how the Department will address 8 million dollars in cuts to Early Intervention, what is happening on the Emergency Preparedness front, and how will the Department's many programs improve "inclusion"?  Use one of these opportunities to ask your own questions and let's all lend our voice in support of Public Health which seems to take a beating in ever tight budget year. Prevention saves money, but many of or leaders seem unaware of that fact.

 

Budget issues loom large.  Today's story is on Day Habilitation programs in Dept. Developmental Services  The locations for February Ways and Means hearings have also been announced.

 

Next week I hope to be able to bring you an update on our U.S Dept of Justice filing regarding the MWRA Water Crisis and the response of Massachusetts officials. 

 

And, of course, Happy Valentine's Day.

 

 

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

07

 

Dear Bill,

 

This issues bring two entries on health care.  One is my observations from personal visits.  The other is a calendar entry on a event at Suffolk Law School on Patient Empowerment.  Most of us feel very powerless when entering the medical system, but there is a movement afoot to transform that as we transform the system of care and the payment mechanisms. Check out the meeting this Friday if you can make an event starting at 8:30 AM.

 

The FY12 State Budget continues to bubble with news and information on important impacts on people.  Elizabeth Toulan, Family Economic Initiative, has a briefing on impacts on TAFDC and EADC clients.   

We're also reminded of the impact of a $7.5 million dollar cut in Early Intervention...what a great way to make sure there's a never ending supply of children and adults with severe disabilities than to cut EI services?

 

Someone said it snowed recently.  I didn't notice it, but there are two articles on snow removal in Boston and on the T for those of you who did.

 

Join us on February 15 for a day of fun outdoors at the Kelly Rink in Jamaica Plain, courtesy of DCR's Universal Access Program.  You can watch me skate and enter the "pool" gambling on how many times I'll fall down.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

31

Greetings!

 

 

The big news this week is a new feature.  If you look at the Date masthead above you'll see a new addition.  We will work to put On the Calendar items on a Google Calendar for them to be available over the month.  Click on calendar items to get details of tie and place. (The DPC will not be responsible for last minute weather cancellations).

 

Elsewhere, you'll find additional budget notes on the Mass Rehabilitation Commission and the Mass Commission for Deaf & Hard of Hearing.   

 

Of course, I couldn't resist editorializing on the use of the word "Priority" in the context of Community First.

 

There's also an invitation from our colleague Robyn Powell to play an ADA Game.  

 

Please keep in mind that each week's Updates are also posted on the Home page of the DPC web site. 


Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

27

 

The Governor announced House 1 yesterday which is the  Commonwealth's budget for FY12.  The lack of revenue and the failure of the Federal government to recognize the fiscal plight of most states means this budget has serious cuts to programs and safety nets.


 

Our spread sheet is available at the top of this page on the DPC web site for those of you who like to see the all details.


Here are the quick numbers:

 

State House Access - unable to determine

 

Disabled Person Protection Commission level funded

 

Mass Com Blind    

$26,416,630      -$454,240         - 1.69%

 

Mass Rehab Comm

$40,304,555       -$112,218         -2.35%

 

Mass. Com Deaf & HoH

$  4,718,000       -$112,218        -2.32%

 

Dept Mental Health

$606,993,000      -$21,400,00   -3.41%

 

Dept Developmental Services

$1,297,018,000    +10,682,000  +0.83%


Talking Book Libraries

level funded in a consolidated account

 

The Personal Care Assistant program was not touched so the fear of reduced hours for people with less than 15 hours a week seem to off the table.   Elsewhere in MassHealth an increase in co-pays from $3 to $5 (66%) will hurt.
 

Bill Allan

[Read the rest of this article...]

24
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Greetings!

 

The work of Government in Massachusetts begins in earnest this week with Governor Deval Patrick's announcement of the Fiscal 12 budget commonly called House 1.

 

The general wisdom that this will also be a draconian year for budget cuts was tempered somewhat last week.  Revenues seem to be increasing, but, the real impact might not be felt until the Senate takes up the budget in May.  

 

We also heard from a high level official that the administration was not revisiting cuts that were unpopular last year.  This may be good news for those of us worried about the PCA program.  We'll be able to measure that on noon on Wednesday.

 

We've reprinted Elizabeth Toulan's analysis on the budget in this issue.  Elizabeth is an advocate for the Family Economic Initiative. 

 

Senate President Therese Murray has announced her new leadership team listed below. 

 

Last Friday was the deadline for filing legislation for the current 2011-2012 session.

The 5 bills on the DPC's priority list are outlined below.  We will be listing other bills of interest subsequently when we have their docket numbers.

 

Advocate may (read: should) call or email their House and Senate members to ask them to cosponsor these bills.  Co-sponsorship is one way to measure whether the bill has a chance to pass this session.

 

In addition to the NE Disability Sports information in this issue, don't forget the February 15 (12 - 2 PM) outdoor skating event for people with disabilities at (my) the Kelly Rink in Jamaica Plain.  Contact Heidi Marie-Peterson to sign up: (413) 577-3840.

 

The Dept. Conservation & Recreation  schedule is also available here


Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

[Read the rest of this article...]

14
Disability Policy Consortium  Emergency Preparedness Update

Dear Bill,


Welcome to a new year and hopefully more than a little progress on old issues.  
 

Late last year we asked for assistance monitoring the TV news coverage of the Governor's Press Conference on the December 26, 2010 snow storm. 
 

There was indeed progress shown.  The Governor was accompanied by an interpreter and she was standing immediately next to him.  However, TV coverage was spotty and the DPC received a lot of comments about fleeting sightings of an interpreter, but the message itself was lost.


Except for New England Cable News.  NECN showed the interpreter's every sign for the duration of the news clip.  The DPC shared that clip with people we had met with from Channels 4, 5, 7 and Ch. 40 in Springfield. 
 

Liz Cheng, VP at WCVB-TV, Ch. 5, responded that she reviewed their coverage and said the following:
 

I reviewed our tapes of the broadcast, and I did notice that we included the interpreter prominently at the beginning of the Governor's comments.  However, once we introduced a graphic format that included multiple features, including a weather map, blizzard scenes from around the state, an informational crawl and a small box with a shot from the press conference, the camera covering the press conference was zoomed in to a close-up of the Governor.

 

When we are covering similar emergencies and grappling with how best to convey and present a variety of elements, graphics, and information in a limited screen area, we will keep your comments in mind. Thanks again for staying in touch.

 

So, as an example of how hard it is going to be to change policies and practices, read the email to Ms. Cheng from DPC Board member Carol Hilbinger printed below.

 

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium

wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

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10

Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear Bill,

Brrr.  It's cold outside.  

It's been quiet in Massachusetts Government this week. Nothing much happening.  The Governor was sworn in.  A new Legislature was seated.  Pictures were taken with convicted felons and were proudly displayed.

The DPC has prepared lists with contact information for both the Massachusetts House of Representative and Senate.  They are permanently on our web site under the Members/Legislative and Budget page.  Please keep in mind that many of the room assignments & telephone numbers for the House are temporary as committee assignments haven't been made yet.

The Money Follows the Person application is due to be posted this week on the Community First web site. 

 


Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

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03
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear Bill,

 

Let's start with a big HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'm always reminded at this time of one of my mother's favorite lines: "Smile,  it can't get any worse.  So, I smiled.  Sure enough it got worse".  Let's hope Ma's wrong in 2011.


This is the last reminder of the DPC Annual Meeting on Wednesday, January 5
, 6 PM at the offices of 1199SEIU, 150 Mt. Vernon Street, Dorchester.  Bob Masters and Lois Simons from the Commonwealth Care Alliance are the keynote speakers.  This is an opportunity to learn about the potential highs and lows of managed care & medical homes for people with disabilities.


This issue includes a report from Amanda Tillman on the DPC meeting with the U.S. Attorney's office regarding our May 2010 Title  II complaint on the MWRA Water Crisis.  Amanda is a Suffolk University Law School student interning with the DPC.

Cuts to the PCA program loom large on the horizon for the FY12 budget.  Last year's recommendation to cut services to people receiving less than 15 hours is one possible plan to resurface again this year.   A 'speak out' is scheduled for January 12.

You also will have an opportunity to listen in on a White House Conference Call on Disabilities on January 10.  These are regular events but this is the first one announced with enough lead time to include it in an Update.

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3822

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29
Annual Meeting
Disability Policy Consortium
DATE: January 5, 2011
TIME: 6:00 - 8:00pm
LOCATION: 150 Mt. Vernon St.
Suite 300 Dorchester, MA
MORE:

Guest speakers Bob Master & Lois Simon of Commonwealth Care Alliance.


PLEASE RSVP By January 03, 2011 to
cgraham@dpcma.org
Accommodation requests by December 31, 2011

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23

Disability Policy Consortium Events
Annual Meeting
Disability Policy Consortium
DATE: January 5, 2011
TIME: 6:00 - 8:00pm
LOCATION: 150 Mt. Vernon St.
Suite 300 Dorchester, MA
MORE: Guest speakers Bob Master & Lois Simon of Commonwealth Alliance.
PLEASE RSVP By January 03, 2011 to
cgraham@dpcma.org
Accommodation requests by December 31, 2011

[Read the rest of this article...]

20
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear Bill,

 

The Update is late today.  Too much fun walking around the Big Apple this weekend.  Christmas in New York City is fabulous.  I spent hours in Time Square and 42 Street being dazzled by the lights.
Time
                            Square at Night
Time Square at Night
We're going to take next week off...See you in 2011.

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3522

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13

 

Monday hosts two meetings of importance for people with disabilities.  The Division of Health Care Finance and Policy will hold a public discussion on it's new All Claims Database.  Why is this important?  Because, as far as we can tell, the Commonwealth missed a huge opportunity to begin collecting data relating health and disabilities.  Of course, we might know more if the David Morales, Director of  DHCFP had returned our calls looking for an appointment this summer.

The second meeting is the afternoon at Gardner Auditorium discussing the FY12 budget.  Response to my perspective on the announced purposes of the meetings have been mixed.  Most people who responded liked it, Dr. JudyAnn Bigby said her door is always open for discussion, and indirectly, some people said they didn't like it.

 



I'm personally proud to announce a feature of the Universal Access Program's schedule in this issue.  Tom McCarthy and his staff have scheduled an accessible skating event at the Kelly Rink in Jamaica Plain.  This is a rink that opened in 1999 as the result of dedicated advocacy by the Friends of the Kelly Rink.  I had the privilege of being President of FOKR during the 1997 -2002 time frame.  The UAP program on February 15, 2011 brings together two of my most important priorities in one place.

Bill Allan

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06

 

The DPC Update this week is all about events. We're still offering editorial space to anyone who wants to sound off on an issue. 

I spent a couple of hours on Friday with Betty King, Chris Hart & John Kea
Evacuation Chair
evacuation chair
ne
at the National Fire Protection Association in Quincy.  Alan Fraser invited us to participate in a training for NFPA staff in using an evacuation chair.  It's not as easy as it sound and I congratulate Betty, Chris & John for being will to put themselves on the line for the safety of others.

Join us at the Employment Now Coalition meeting in Cambridge's Senior Center at 806 Mass. Ave or live on the web at www.livestream.com/webshare.  December 10 at 1:30 PM

.



DMH is sponsoring a series of public forums on it's Community First initiatives. It's an opportunity to hear what Commissioner Barbara Leadholm is suggesting in light of the draconian budget cuts DMH has already experienced and those expected in FY12.

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3522

[Read the rest of this article...]

01


I'm opening our email this week with an invitation to join the members of the DPC at our annual meeting on January 5, 2011We will be holding the event at 1199SEIU offices at 150 Mt. Vernon Street, Dorches

 
Tis the Season - photo by Bill Henning

ter MA.  If you MCDHH, you know where we are.  The event starts at six.   Please RSVP by email us so we can get  a head count to plan food.


 

I have to apologize to Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Maura Healey.  She called me this week to say that she had made phone calls to people responsible for the MWRA water crisis with the Deval Patrick Administration.  Thanks for doing that, Maura.


Our Advocates column this week is from an energetic volunteer we met during the Census Work.  Ruth Unger is concerned that SSDI restrictions keep people with disabilities in poverty and thwart ambitions to work.  We are beginning to map out a strategy to approach our Congressional delegation.  If you'd like to help us, please email us at SSDI@dpcma.org.

The Calendar is full as organizations try to get everything in before the holidays.  The DPC will be meeting with Commissions on Disability in Chatham on Tuesday, November 30. The Employment Now Coalition is meeting on December 10 at the Cambridge Senior Center on Mass Ave.

The week we're featuring both ends of the age spectrum in Learning to Fish.  Sped Watch is an increasing active voice for special education.  Mass Home Care covers the elderly population and represents a frequent ally of the disability community on policy issues.

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22

Here we are three days from Thanksgiving with the Sun out and the weather holding in fine Fall patterns.   We at the DPC wish you all the best on this Holiday that all American share regardless of race or creed.

 

There was an important meeting at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health last Friday in which the Arc of Massachusetts and the DPC partnered to recruit participants.  The subject was getting folks to participate in meetings on Crisis Standards of Care (CSC).  Simple put, who lives, who dies in an extreme emergency.  You will read more on that topic later but that is the rational for an extra focus this week on emergency preparedness.

 

I want to thank the participants in the CSC who represented their constituencies well:  Mandy Nichols, the Arc of Massachusetts, Karen Schneiderman, Boston Center for Independent  Living, Florette Willis, M-POWER, Cathy Levin, National Empowerment Center,  Virginia Morse, Nation MS Society, Central NE Chapter, Sharon Applegate, Deaf, Inc., Lee Nettles, Stavros Center for Independent Living, Debra Feed, N.E. Paralyzed Vets, and Bob Hachey, Bay State Council of the Blind.


In Learning to Fish we focus on Lessons Learned Information SharingThis is a FEMA website for documents and reports germane to emergency management 


The National Fire Prevention Association is looking for volunteers for a drill on evacuation chairs.  Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch.


Lastly, we're going to give you a report of the DPC Members Survey we took weeks ago.  DPC Board member Vandana Wadhwa write the report.


 

Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3522

[Read the rest of this article...]

16

 

This week seemed to be a light week for news and events when I started.  However, it filled up after I poked around my email a bit.

If you live in the Worcester area and have early Wednesday evening free, please join DPC Board member John Chappell and me at  5:30, Banx Room of the Worcester Public Library for a discussion of the DPC and local advocacy issues.   We will unveil a new Guerrilla Tactics kit at this meeting.

Girard Plant forwarded Families USA summaries of home and community based services that are posted on their web site.  Al Norman, Mass Home Care shared results from two cases that expand and protect community based services for people on Medicare.

Elsewhere you'll find opportunities to attend movies, a conference on Aging and Mental Health and focus groups on Mass Rehabilitation Commission.  Something for everyone.

Bill Allan

Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3522

[Read the rest of this article...]

08


Here we are in the first week of our new lives with the same Governor...or will it be the same Governor?  The editorial addresses some of this, but, please don't expect too much.  I don't.

Also, later in the letter is a listing of legislators taking office in January.

The calendar section shows the spurt of activity that we've come to expect to get everything in before the Holidays.   The big event of the week is the first meeting of the Money Follows the Person committee on November 12 at 1 Ashburton Place.  Come one, come all...oops, there's no center ring.

 

Have a good week!

[Read the rest of this article...]

01

If you missed the DPC Membership Survey last week, there is another opportunity to tell us what you think!.  No kidding.  Almost every question has a open-ended text box, so go ahead, Sound Off!.


Email has been light at the end of last week and this week.  It's almost as if everyone is holding their breath waiting for Tuesday night's results*

.

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25
Disability Policy Consortium  Weekly Update

Dear william,

Our Editorial his week is a call from ENC Coordinator DeAnn Elliott and me about helping to set an agenda for the Employment Now Coalition.

In the Advocates Corner we feature Tom Hopkins, Director of the Architectural Access Board, writing a letter to advocate Scott Ricker.  Scott is an ardent advocate and his AAB filings have resulted in unfavorable Court action being taken against him.


Learning to Fish features the Institute for Community Inclusion.  Many of us know the ICI best through Bill Kiernan, Cindy Thomas, David Hoff and  others who offer leadership and expertise to all of us.

 

The message to vote No on the first 3 ballot questions is repeated again. Vote No for your own self-interest and that of your peers.


Bill Allan
Disability Policy Consortium
wfallan@dpcma.org| 617-542-3522

[Read the rest of this article...]

19


Greetings!

 
Good morning!  We are now 2 weeks away from Election Day 2010.  I have written the editorial today that reflects my Personal Opinion which I know is shared by others.  It does not reflect the opinion of or a position taken by the Disability Policy Consortium.  Nor, do I expect everyone to like it.

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