February 16, 2017

Making Dental Care Available in Massachusetts
On February 15, Laura Krantz's story in The Boston Globe reported the "high-stakes battle over better access and higher quality oral care for the poor." In that article, our own Maura Sullivan talked about driving three towns away to find a dentist who would work with her children. In fact, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) provides funding to Tufts Dental Clinic to ensure that dentists are available. Thousands of people must use Tufts clinics due to the lack of available dentists. Add to that the barriers faced by people with low income who use MassHealth for dental care and you multiply the problem by tens of thousands more (perhaps hundreds of thousands).
A cost-effective solution is now in sight after decades of facing the problem, but the Massachusetts Dental Society is advocating against it. Please stay tuned, as we advocate for passage of this bill.
Leo V. Sarkissian 
Executive Director

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRSgovernmentaffairs
Medicaid and Affordable Care Act at Risk
Reach out to your Congressman/woman while there is a recess!
Since January, The Arc US has been sharing updates regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. These programs, which are essential to people with disabilities and their families, are at risk. You can read more about and act on the issue here.
Medicaid is a jointly funded program with matching state and federal funds. Presently, funding is based on the actual cost of providing services. Congress has proposed a Medicaid per capita cap, which means that the federal government would set a limit on how much to reimburse states based on enrollment. If this change takes place, there will be cuts in funding and other negative impacts to Medicaid recipients could include:
  • Losing home and community-based services and supports. Waiting lists would quickly grow.
  • Losing other critical services such as personal care, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative services. If funds become scarcer, states may decide to stop providing these services altogether.
  • Shifting the costs to individuals or family members to make up for the federal cuts. The costs of providing health care and long-term services and supports will not go away, but will be shifted to individuals, parents, states, and providers.
Some of our federal representatives have scheduled town hall meetings during recess. For example, on Saturday, February 25 at 9:00am, Congressman Jim McGovern will be at the The Manor in West Boylston. It is a ticketed event, so please contact his office for a ticket. Congressman Mike Capuano has noted his regular meeting hours with staff at local offices in the district. To obtain contact information or to identify your federal representative, please go here and type in your address. Then visit their website or contact their office to get further details.

Join us for Supporting Families Day at the
State House on March 14!
Please join us at the State House on March 14 at 10:00 am in Room 222 to reach out to state representatives and senators on our budget priorities. Our focus will be on Turning 22 this year in light of Governor Charlie Baker's proposal to increase funding. We need a good turnout from self-advocates and families who turned 22 this year or will turn 22 next year to encourage legislators to champion Turning 22 access. Day/Employment, Residential, and Transportation funding are all affected by Turning 22 availability. We also encourage families who need family support and adult omnibus services to join us. Groups are welcome and we will provide a short briefing and match those who are new to the State House with more experienced advocates. If you cannot come to Boston, we will ask you to call your legislators. More information on that next week!  
Join the Connecting Real Lives Facebook page!
The MA 21 Committee invites families, individuals and collaborators who use or are interested in self-directed supports to join the page! Share stories, information, strategies, and best practices! Join today!

In 2017 ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts will be available in Massachusetts! 

Thursday, February 16, 7:00-8:00 PM
In 2014, President Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act, into law. The ABLE Act provides a vehicle for families to save for the future care of their child with special needs through an account made available by similar legislation for 529 college savings plans. People with disabilities and family members can open special savings accounts in which they can save money without jeopardizing their government benefits. Ohio, Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee have all launched ABLE accounts, based on the 2014 ABLE Act and Massachusetts will join them in 2017. Funds can be used to pay for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses. Learn how the ABLE account can help support your loved ones.
Frederick M. Misilo, Jr. Esq.
Fletcher Tilton
John Nadworny  CFP Special Needs Financial Planning
Presented by Frederick M. Misilo, Jr. Esq. from Fletcher Tilton and John Nadworny, CFP Special Needs Financial Planning a practice of Shepherd Financial Partners
Advanced Legislative Advocacy Training 

February 22, 2017 7:00 - 8:00 PM
The Advanced Training will focus on:  
* Building and strengthening relationships with your elected officials  
* Critical strategic planning and the budget  
* Measuring your effectiveness and success  
* Identifying and understanding obstacles  
Presented by The Arc of Massachusetts: Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs and Program Director of Operation House Call and Charlie Fiske, Director of Public Policy 
Maura Sullivan, Dir. Government Affairs and OHC Program Director  
Charlie Fiske, Director of Public Policy
Did you miss last week's webinar presented by Leo Sarkissian 
on the FY18 Budget and Turning 22?

 It is not too late! You can view the recorded webinar using The Arc's on demand feature.  To view click here.   
WHAT'S TRENDINGwhatstrending
The 3rd Annual 
Central Massachusetts Autism Summit
The theme of this year's summit is "Hire and Higher: Leveraging the 'Autism Advantage' to Meet the Region's Workforce Demands." This event will focus on strategies for helping employers recognize that many individuals with autism possess unique and valuable skills that can allow them to be productive and successful in highly specialized positions. This is increasingly referred to as the "autism advantage" as it offers employers access to an expanded labor pool and a competitive differentiator in the marketplace.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
8:30 am - 3:15 pm

College of the Holy Cross
Hogan Campus Center

To learn more and register, click here
Register For Our 39th Annual Legislative Reception!
Presented by The Arc of Massachusetts and MDDC

Monday, March 27, 2017
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Great Hall, State House

Sprout Film Festival
Sunday, February 26
4:30-6:30 pm
The Eric Carle Museum
Tickets $10

Vinfen's Moving Images Film Festival
Saturday, April 1
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Joseph B. Conference Center at Harvard Medical School

2-Day Sibshops Conference 
Thursday, May 4 through Friday, May 5 
8 am -4 pm 
JCC in Newton

Dancing with the Celebrities Presented by Autism Housing Pathways
Saturday, March 18 
7-9 pm
St. Mary's Paris Hall in Winchester
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTsponsorspotlight

The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |   arcmass.org