February 8, 2018
Feds Review Caps on Medicaid Lifetime Benefits

Yes, you read that right. The Washington Examiner reported: "Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Wisconsin and Utah are applying for waivers under Medicaid that would limit how long certain enrollees can remain on the program." The Portland Press Herald already has published an editorial opposing such a change.

Medicaid is the primary source of coverage for long-term services and supports (LTSS), including home and community-based services (HCBS) that help people with disabilities (and seniors) with self-care and household activities. Massachusetts' waivers at DDS (Department of Developmental Services) provide $822 million in revenue to the Commonwealth. The DDS and MassHealth long term disability supports are usually used for a lifetime once someone is enrolled.

The continued scrambling at Capitol Hill for reducing the Medicaid and Medicare budgets (as well as Social Security) will continue into 2020. The recent tax reform law guarantees that well into 2020s, we will be sending out warnings to individuals and families about potential changes in our services.

To be reimbursed by federal funds, Massachusetts must identify who it is serving through the "waivers." A service recipient must agree to be on the waiver. When placed on it, he/she has federal rights which can be helpful when personally advocating. Services or supports cannot be carelessly adjusted (there are state regulations preventing such actions, too).

Massachusetts is renewing three of the DDS home and community waivers and we recently received an email about a review period. We will share our comments by the March 8 deadline. You can learn more and review these renewals here. More information about waivers in general can be found here.

Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers - Jonathan's Story 
In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing the stories of the six achievers we are recognizing at our 
on April 25. Our achievers are people with disabilities who have excelled in the arts, classroom, business world, and beyond. You can follow along with these stories 

All Things PossibleThat's the name of 24-year-old  Jonathan Huggon 's business - and once you've learned his story, you'll realize just how true an assessment that is. Jonathan has cerebral palsy. Although he is quadriplegic, nonverbal, and dependent upon a wheelchair and personal care assistants, he lets nothing come between him and his plan for achieving his dreams. Continue reading Jonathan's story.
Vinfen's 11th Annual Moving Images Film Festival
Vinfen will hold its 11th annual Moving Images Film Festival, The Dignity of Risk, on Saturday, March 24 from 9:00 5:00 p.m. at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston. For over a decade, Moving Images has used the power of film to raise awareness, educate the community, and fight the prejudice and discrimination often faced by people with psychiatric conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and behavioral health challenges.Through six inspirational films and two panel discussions, this year's event explores how the right to take risks, both big and small, is an essential element to self-advocacy, services, recovery, relationships, and the pursuit of one's dreams. CART Interpreter Services are provided for panel discussions. Lunch will be served and parking at the venue is complimentary. This event is free and open to the public, but a $10 donation is suggested and appreciated. Register now at
REMINDER: Supporting Families Day!
Just five more days until Supporting Families Day at the Massachusetts State House! Please join us on Tuesday, February 13, from 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM and share your stories with legislators.

There will be an information session at 10:30 AM in room 428. Families will be able to access support to guide you in visiting with your legislators anytime between 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM. Register now for this great day of advocacy!

Special Guests:
Representative Denise Garlick
Claire Manning, The Arc of US

These stories give legislators a window into the lives of your loved ones and the challenges your family faces, as well as concrete information about the types of supports that make a difference. These personal accounts are the most compelling way to advocate for needed services and supports.
Advanced Legislative Advocacy Training
Monday, February 26, 2018 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Presented by Maura Sullivan and Julie Heffernan

The Advanced Training will focus on: building and strengthening relationships with your elected officials; c ritical strategic planning and the budget; t elling your story; m easuring your effectiveness and success; i dentifying and understanding obstacles.

Presented by The Arc of Massachusetts: Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs and Program Director of Operation House Call and Julie Heffernan, Advocacy Alliance Coordinator. Register for this FREE webinar today!
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
FY 19 Budget Documents From The Arc Now Available!
The Arc of Massachusetts official documents regarding Governor Baker's FY 19 budget proposal are now available on our State Budget page! Visit the page to find the line item breakdown, our fact sheet on our budget asks, our budget analysis, and a timeline for when to expect further adjustments to the budget.
Excitement Builds as The Arc's Priority Bills Pass Favorably through Joint Committees
The Arc is thrilled to see so many of our priorities move on to Ways and Means or Health Care Finance.  The following bills are on the road to becoming law, so please be in touch to help us continue to advocate to make this a reality.  These programs and opportunities can be life changing for people with I/DD, including autism, and their families.

Police Training regarding Autism (S1313)
Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (S698)
Operation House Call (H1954, S1222)
Hospital Training in Autism (H3236, S1221)
Loan Repayment Program for Human Service Workers (H116)
As you have already heard, Nicky's Law and Accessory Apartments have been passed favorably, and the Dental Access bill has received an extension in the Joint Committee on Public Health.
Please contact Maura Sullivan at for more information on any of these bills.
Lights, Camera, Arc! Behind The Scenes Of Our Gala Filming
On Tuesday, January 30 and Thursday, February 1, The Arc of Massachusetts hosted our amazing group of achievers for a special gala-related shoot! We also welcomed a few other special guests, including former Board of Directors President Ray Nickerson and current Board of Directors Secretary Scott Borchardt and his daughter Noelle!
Special thanks to our Producer, Melanie Perkins McLaughlin, and Director of Photography PH O'Brien!

Some members of The Arc's Government Affairs Committee celebrate with fellow member and self-advocate,  Joe O'Connell  (center), who recently was given awards of recognition by the Speaker of the Massachusetts House, Robert DeLeo and the Sherriff of Middlesex County Peter Koutoujian for his completion of the Citizen Advisory Training course with the Sherriff's Department.
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