June 2021 Issue
Dear Fellow MACer,

As you know, navigation is at the heart of The MAC. The MAC Care Model is built upon a foundation of coordinated Navigation services for our population with special needs, with a focus on addressing their Social Determinants of Health (SDoH). The MAC Navigation System is being built with this in mind. The MAC Navigation Committee, comprised of dedicated and awesome MACers whose organizations will be providing the collaborative navigation services of the MAC Navigation System. We have been hard at work for nearly three years working on this project. Much work has been done already to get us to our desired state and we cannot wait to open our doors so we can implement our navigation system.
We are very pleased to announce The MAC received $7.5 million from the State of Texas for MAC Navigator funding. This funding will be a catalyst for The MAC to hire 50 navigators in the first year so we can serve our planned capacity much quicker. Furthermore, this is a two-year demonstration project that will be reviewed for potential replication of The MAC Care Model to other parts of the State to ensure all Texans with a special need have their needs met in an environment that puts them at the forefront. This is great news for all of the MACers but most importantly, for our friends with special needs. We are currently working with our navigating partners to fine tune details of the MAC Navigation system to accommodate the growth these funds will provide. Stay tuned for more updates!

Ad astra,
Allan Castro, CEO

Letter from Jana
Hello MACers! I hope you enjoyed our first issue of MACer Matters. I am truly grateful to be a part of establishing MACer Matters and hope this newsletter helps build relationships and cultivate the culture we envision. My involvement with The MAC began when Allan convened community nonprofits in 2018 to discuss his and Gordon’s vision. At the time, I had no idea how my involvement would change the trajectory of my future.

As the first MAC Navigation Committee gathered, I sat in the Lago Vista room at Morgan’s Wonderland, listening to the same story we have heard from many of our clients; confused, scared, and unsure how they will be able to find all the services that are needed. The MAC vision is exactly what so many of our clients need, a "One-Stop-Shop" that will prevent families from falling through the cracks and provide continuous support. As the months passed, the MAC Navigation Committee began defining the purpose and taking the necessary steps to ensure that this would not be just a real estate project. The vision was a space where community providers and partners could collaborate under one roof, share information, and ensure that all individuals with special needs would receive the necessary services. The MAC Navigation Committee worked to define the mission and vision, define the MAC Navigation functions, build frameworks and workflows, create the intake process and assessments, and vet potential electronic platforms.

Before we knew it, it was 2020, and we were in a pandemic, working from home, in zoom meeting after zoom meeting, but the work of the MAC Navigation Committee never stopped. In fact, there was a need to spend more time on the MAC Navigation System. It was the first week of July when Allan called and offered me the opportunity to do contract work for The MAC to ensure that the MAC Navigation System would be functioning in time for doors to open in 2022. The contract work quickly turned into an opportunity for a full-time position. Leaving Any Baby Can after 12 years, especially during a pandemic, was not an easy decision, but the offer to be a part of such an innovative concept and help build it from the ground up was an opportunity I could not pass up. All the knowledge I gained over the years at Any Baby Can in program and policy development, strategic planning, operations, and facility management can now be used and applied on a larger scale. I was excited by the opportunity and the possibilities.

I want you all to know that I am here with my whole heart and dedicated to every one of you MACers. I will ensure that we not only build a state-of-the-art facility but build an inclusive and collaborative culture. My goal is to create a place where MACers are excited to come to work and our clients feel safe and at home. 

Jana Grohman, Director of Navigation and Operations
Meet the Team
The MAC Navigation Committee
The MAC Navigation Committee, established in 2018, is a highly engaged and collaborative committee comprised of key stakeholder organizations, which play a vital role in the development and operations of the MAC Navigation System and the formation of the role of the MAC Navigator. The committee members are tasked with the development of the MAC Navigation System (MAC Nav System), which is being designed to improve collaboration and communication to provide a seamless experience for MAC members (clients of The MAC) while accessing and coordinating services. MAC Navigation Committee members provide input to create the best possible experience for MAC Members, while valuing each organization’s perspective, function, and processes. This committee meets monthly, sometimes, multiple times a month, as they work to define the MAC Navigation System concept and design, terminology, roles, Navigator job description, Navigation policy and procedures, and so much more.

The MAC Navigation Committee is chaired by Cara Magrane, Director of Initiatives and Partnerships with Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. Magrane states, “The MAC Navigation Committee has been meeting for over 2 and a half years to build trust, communication, transparency and create a comprehensive approach that will serve to build those same factors across The MAC to ensure a MAC Member's experience is productive, purposeful, and person-centered. The Navigation component is the central nervous system of The MAC, as it will have both the longitudinal record being created in the MAC Navigation System as well as the people who will be responsible for integrating information and communicating across multiple partners and systems.”

Heather Long, Director of Family Support Services with The Arc of San Antonio explained, “Caregivers seeking supports and programs for a loved one with a special need can be overwhelming, isolating, and confusing. Having a center and a platform that offers a “One-Stop-Shop” for families will offer substantial stress relief and coordinated ongoing support.” 

“Although the logistics of creating a navigation system for this integrated, medical, and social service approach can be complex and challenging, I am honored to be a member of the MAC Navigation Committee. This committee collaboration has solidified and expanded agency relationship building that will not only strengthen the success of The MAC but, ultimately, will provide a consistent center of support for the families we serve,” said Long.
Left to Right: T. Narvaez-Perez, A. Longoria, D. Dixon, C. Calvillo, and C. De La Peña
Left to Right: C. Magrane, V. Charles, T. Garcia, J. Sanchez
The MAC Navigation Committee includes: Debra Reyes, Member Services, Trina Narvaez-Perez and Jennifer Windham, Practice Managers with Communicare Health Centers; Heather Long, Director of Family Support Services with The Arc of San Antonio; Crystal Calvillo, Chief Programs Officer with Any Baby Can of San Antonio, Inc.; Michelle Ryerson, Clinical Integration Officer, Cynthia De La Peña, Sr. Manager, Outreach Development with Community First Health Plans; Mike Rivas, Director of Client Services and Nancy Sanchez, Client Services Manager with San Antonio Food Bank; Jacob Ulczynski, Senior Director of IDD Services and Virginia Charles, Assistant Director of IDD Services & Agency Coordination with Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG); Tiffany Garcia, MSW Director and Jacob Sanchez, Field Education Director with Worden School of Social Service at Our Lady of the Lake University; Dawn Dixon, Executive Director and Ashley Longoria, Care Coordinator Supervisor with ConnectAbility; Cici Osonma, President & CEO with Special Reach Inc.; Allan Castro, CEO and Jana Grohman, Director of Navigation and Operations with The MAC at Morgan’s Wonderland.
MACer Spotlight
Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) was organized as a regional planning commission in 1967 and serves the community through planning, assisting local governments, and delivering public services. AACOG serves a 13-county region spanning 12,585 square miles. The Alamo Region includes Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, McMullen, and Wilson counties. Since 2006, AACOG has served as the local Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Authority for Bexar County, functioning as a front door for publicly funded services for persons with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, related conditions, and other special needs. In this role, AACOG provides critical assistance in accessing medical, social, educational, and other appropriate services and supports that help improve a person’s quality of life and participation in the community. “We see on a daily basis the struggle that persons with special needs and their families go through in just trying to meet basic needs, and the limitations in available services,” said Jacob Ulczynski, Senior Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services. “AACOG is continually focused on identifying innovative, new approaches to be able to better serve the community. The MAC is that innovative, new approach", Ulczynski shared.

"As the first facility of its kind, co-locating and coordinating providers of medical services, therapies, and non-medical community supports focused on the person with special needs, the entire AACOG team knew that it had to become part of the effort. “The MAC is a game changer,” said Ulczynski. Prior to the 1960’s, services for special needs occurred only in large state-run institutions. No providers of any service and support existed in the community for this population. While there has been a significant shift toward community-based services since that time, the service landscape has not kept up with demand. “The system of care is so fragmented and siloed that people with special needs struggle to obtain basic healthcare and support services. As a result, the top five medical diagnoses resulting in deaths for persons with special needs are all preventable: Bowel Obstruction, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Aspiration, Dehydration, and Seizures,” Ulczynski stated. “If we can move the needle on preventable deaths and improve quality of life for the person and their family, then we are increasing integration of people with special needs into the community and sculpting San Antonio into a city of choice and inclusion.”
MAC Updates
The MAC construction continues!
The first of the foundation has been poured for section C. This will house The MAC Navigation area along with cubicle area for community based organizations.
Stay tuned as we continue to share our construction photos with you as we make progress.
Zoom, Zoom....
Looking to upgrade your Zoom experience? The MAC has a background for you! Feel free to download The MAC background for all of your virtual meetings.
UTSA is establishing a Research Data Center (RDC) at The MAC. The RDC will store de-identified data collected from service providers and make that data available to MACers for research and outcome evaluation purposes. The RDC provides a rich data source to support your research needs: from outcome evaluation to expanding your services. In order to determine the infrastructure required to build the most effective RDC to meet your needs, we need find out more about the data that you collect while you provide your services.

This survey was sent out in December, if you have not completed survey, complete by June 11, 2021.

If you have any questions regarding the survey please contact Siobhan Fleming at siobhan.fleming@utsa.edu.
Tell Me Something Good
Ashley Longoria, Care Coordinator Supervisor, with ConnectAbilty has been working with Andre’ Greene since 2018. "Andre’ was referred to us to help with getting him connected to resources and programs as he was navigating returning to employment" Ashley said. "We have served from an advocacy standpoint to support his work with the Texas Workforce Commission which has been quite a challenge. It has been a true pleasure watching him become the master self-advocate he is today." 
Andre’ shared, "As a survivor of a Traumatic Brain Injury, there were many days where I felt as though I was drowning, attempting life with my new reality. I’ve learned there is no roadmap to recovery for my “new brain,” being in a dark tunnel that people close to me didn’t always understand. I feel like they really didn’t need to, because my ConnectAbility family has served as a life jacket. Whether it be intimate conversations with my physicians or professional conversations about returning to work as a person living with a disability, ConnectAbility has been right by my side."

Andre continued, "Having an acquired disability has been the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. I’ve learned to be my best self by becoming my own advocate, and taking advantage of available resources to help me live a better life. It’s such a blessing to finally be in control of my own life thanks to ConnectAbility."
Did You Know?
#DYK - The Epilepsy Foundation Central & South Texas (EFCST) introduced Purple Market 5 years ago, with the aim to raise epilepsy awareness while raising funds for highly regarded, evidenced-based epilepsy self-management programs offered to youth and adults. Purple Market – named after the representative color for epilepsy awareness – aims to be affordable for all, with no products priced over $20. The Purple Market offers items for people with epilepsy and their loved ones, as well as items that promote general epilepsy and seizure awareness – ranging from silly and fun to practical. Staff and constituent favorites include their purple tutus, Lotería-inspired Fiesta medal, and an assortment of awareness buttons. They are grateful to be trusted with supporting the epilepsy community since 1993 and look forward to the continued hard work for their mission - to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.
#DYK - The ABC's of Autism is a team of 3 individuals that work for Any Baby Can of San Antonio, Inc. on the Autism Services Program team. They are a non-profit out of San Antonio Texas whose mission is to serve families with children and youth facing serious health or developmental challenges. This program also works with school districts, businesses, community members, First Responders, and families to provide training, strategies, and products to promote inclusion and acceptance. As a program, they believe in research-based strategies that can be used in the school and home environment. They also believe in empowering parents, teachers, and individuals to navigate the path of special education with the knowledge of strategies to help guide them. Products can be used in the classroom, community, and at home. All products can be downloaded and some products do not need to be printed but can be used for online activities. All products are low cost and the money earned goes right back into the programs that help families receive our education services at no cost to them.
June Calendar

June 16, 2021
Medical Home Committee Meeting
4 p.m. - 5 p.m. via Zoom

June 18, 2021
MAC Navigation Committee Work Session
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Morgan's Wonderland Event Center

June 23, 2021
Quarterly MACer Meeting
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. at Morgan's Wonderland Event Center

June 26, 2021
Morgan's Wonderland Sports Opens

June 29, 2021
Client/Caregiver Committee
2 p.m. - 4 p.m. at Morgan's Wonderland Camp

June 30, 2021
MAC Navigation Committee Meeting
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. at Morgan's Wonderland Event Center

Make Sure Your Kids Are Superhero Healthy!
This summer, Community First Health Plans, and University Health are partnering up to provide children and teens with well-child visits and immunizations at our special Back-To-School Immunization Clinics. Take home special giveaways including backpacks and school supplies! Community First Members may also be eligible to receive gift cards and additional giveaways for receiving certain health care services.

June 26                                                      July 17
Davis Middle School                                   Harlandale Health Clinic
4702 E. Houston Street                              834 W. Southcross Blvd.
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.                                      8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Make your appointment today at HealthyUExpress.com or call 210-358-7020.

Can’t make one of the dates listed above? The HealthyUExpress Mobile Clinic is coming to a location near you! Visit HealthyUExpress.com or call 210-358-7020 to find out more.
SB250 - June 25-26, 2021
SB 250 is a fundraising cycling event where cyclists ride 250 miles from McAllen to San Antonio to benefit Spina Bifida Texas. This year the event will end on June 26th at Freetail Brewery on South Presa.

This is the 10th year undertaking this event – in the past 9 years almost 500 cyclists have completed the trek collectively raising $194,500 in the first 8 years for Spina Bifida Texas.

Word of the Month
Build your MAC terminology with new words and definitions every month. 

MACer [mack-er]
Community partner: medical, therapeutic, community-based organizations that will provide services and have an agreement with The MAC.
MAC Fact
Have you wondered where the name The Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan's Wonderland (The MAC) came from?

Gordan Hartman came up with the name “Multi-Assistance Center” in recognition that individuals with special needs require many different type of services from a wide array of providers. No single organization can address the broad range of services required by individuals with special needs. Thus, the whole community of service providers needs to band together into a collective-impact model where collaboration will make it easier for individuals with special needs to receive services. Bringing together multiple organizations will result in greater synergy and follow-through for better care. That’s what The MAC is all about. It’s not the Medical Assistance Center, it’s not the Therapy Assistance Center. It’s not the Social Services Assistance Center. It’s the Multi-Assistance Center.

Together, we ARE making a difference!
MWIF Corner

Just in time for fun in the Texas summer sun, Morgan’s Wonderland Inclusion Foundation (MWIF) is super excited to share with you that our Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive splash park, Morgan’s Inspiration Island, is open! Morgan’s Inspiration Island is adjacent to our signature theme park, Morgan’s Wonderland.

Our team worked hard to make sure the park was ready to welcome back guests on Saturday, May 29th, but Mother Nature had other plans! The Friday before the scheduled opening, storms knocked out our power. But you can't keep a good park down, and Morgan's Inspiration Island opened up on Sunday. A day late, but not a dollar short of fun! It brings our staff so much JOY to see all the smiles and hear the laughter. We have five splash pads and the River Boat Adventure ride for your enjoyment, and this year, we added two colorful water slides at the Harvey’s Hideaway splash pad.

Morgan’s Inspiration Island also offers the Wheelchair Valet for guests to transfer out of their wheelchairs into specially-designed waterproof wheelchairs for maximum aquatic fun.

If you haven’t visited us this season, check out our hours of operation on our website MorgansWonderland.com, and purchase your tickets! Stay cool.
MACnificent Minute
Submit Your Content!
We would love for all the MACers to submit content for the monthly newsletter. Let us know about updates, events for the calendar, a Tell Me Something Good, or a one-minute video for the MACnificent Minute. Please submit all content by the 20th of the month.