July 27, 2017

MassHealth Reform Debate Continues
On Tuesday, the US Senate passed a bill to continue the health care debate, threatening major changes in Medicaid as attempted in the Senate earlier this year and passed in the US House. 
Meanwhile on Beacon Hill, the Joint Committees on Ways and Means and Health Care Financing held a hearing on Governor Charlie Baker's MassHealth Reform Package. Chief of Staff Kristin Lepore, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta were the main respondents for nearly two hours of the hearing. The Arc of Massachusetts testified later in the day, with staff being joined by two family members, Herb Cabral and Gillian Buckley. 
Ways and Means Chairs Jeffrey Sanchez and Karen Spilka with other panelists at hearing
The House voted down the Governor's package on Wednesday, but it will work with the Senate and Governor on a compromise. House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sanchez noted the "debate is not over." Senate Chair Karen Spilka has stressed the importance of the business community accepting more responsibility for health care costs since so many Massachusetts workers are presently on MassHealth or the Connector. The reality is that with health care costs rising, there are fewer people covered by businesses, resulting in significant added numbers to MassHealth programs.  

Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director    
Save The Date: Transition Conference 2017
Plans are underway for the all-day Transition Conference on Saturday, November 4 at College of the Holy Cross. The day will be packed with information on the essentials of transition and best practices. Registration opens at the end of August. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or exhibiting at the conference, contact Kerry Mahoney@arcmass.org or 781 891-6270 x 109.
New Program at The Arc: Pathways to Friendship
In March, we kicked off Pathways to Friendship. The initiative focuses on social inclusion and is a collaboration of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and 13 agencies providing a range of residential services across the Commonwealth. Angela Amado from the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration helped us launch the initiative and Larry Tummino, former DDS Deputy Commissioner, shared DDS's hope that this project would inspire sustained change in how services are delivered.
Relationships and friendships in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can often take a back seat to the many other activities for which direct support staff and managers are responsible. Too often, those we support feel isolated in their own neighborhoods. It's hard to imagine a full life without friends.
The 13 agencies have committed to advancing inclusion and track progress so we can share best practices with organizations across the state. The agencies are receiving training and consultation on an ongoing basis from team members Jim Ross and Mary Ann Brennen, as well as Dennis Rice, Executive Director of Alternatives Unlimited. We plan to share updates with you from the agencies and our team members upcoming issues of Notes from The Arc.
In addition to Alternatives, the agencies include: The Arc of Bristol County , The Arc of Greater Plymouth , Bay Cove Human Services , Brockton Area Multi Services Inc. , Community Systems, Inc. , JRI Developing Abilities , Minute Man Arc for Human Services , Nonotuck Resource Associates, Inc. , Riverside Community Care , Seven Hills Community Services , The United Arc, and Vinfen Corporation.  
In the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, "Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious."
We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 | 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Financial Literacy for Students with Special Needs
Representatives from PwC will discuss financial literacy education for individuals with disabilities. The discussion will focus on how these skills contribute to long term independence and dignity, and available resources for teaching. We will explain the role that saving, budgeting, purchase decisions and financial safety play in the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Presented By: 

Scott Borchardt
Scott is a Partner in PwC's Asset and Wealth Management Practice.  Scott is a co-leader of the PwC Boston office employee resource group (ERG) that supports employees with disabilities and caregivers.  Under Scott's leadership, members of the ERG have partnered with several community organizations to host sessions about financial literacy to individuals with disabilities.  He is currently serving as the Secretary of The Arc of Massachusetts board of directors.  
Kellie Casey
Kellie Casey is a Senior Associate currently on a Tour of Duty with PwC's Responsible Business Leadership team based in Chicago, IL. Kellie is currently supporting PwC's efforts to help close the opportunity gap among underserved communities through PwC's new 5-year Access Your Potential Ⓡ  commitment to promoting financial literacy awareness, tech skills and college and career mentoring. 

Margo Mullane
Margo is a Senior Associate in PwC's Asset and Wealth Management Practice.  Margo is a co-leader with Scott of the PwC Boston ERG which support employees with disabilities and caregivers.  Margo is passionate about advocating for individuals with intellectual disabilities and volunteering her time and energy towards that end.  She has been a leader in adapting and delivering the PwC Earn Your Future
Ⓡ financial literacy curriculum to individuals with disabilities through partnerships with community organizations.   

  Financial assistance is available. Contact Kerry  Mahoney@arcmass.org 
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