June 28, 2018
This Week in Disability Policy
  • Nationally, the spotlight on food stamps continues, as the House once again attempts to reduce SNAP. The program, through states, helps people with disabilities and families who don't have enough food.
  • Statewide, we have over $5 million in services at stake as the Conference Committee debates the final budget. These resources directly affect people's ability to obtain employment, family supports, and adult family/foster care.
  • MassHealth changes are also in process and coming soon.
The Arc has tried to help people directly (through advocacy) and indirectly (through information) to address the massive change affecting 1,178,906 people through the introduction of private health plans for obtaining MassHealth funded health care. Active plan choosers - individuals who evaluated which plan may be the right fit for them - totaled near 20%. What worries us, therefore, is the number of people who were automatically enrolled into plans and may have to find new specialists for their chronic conditions.
What we have discovered in the past several weeks is that some specialty health practices terminated their patients based on their enrollment in a different health plan. The specialty practices had not been informed by their health system that exceptions are allowed for people with disabilities. We have no handle on how many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are affected by this transition, as many are not on the Dept. of Developmental Services caseload. Many may have simply accepted the termination of services by these providers of care.
On the horizon is the expansion of One Care. This change could affect many people with I/DD who receive DDS services, as they tend to have both Medicare and MassHealth plans. New health plans will join One Care with the goal of expanding One Care from about 17,000 people to 100,000 people.
We are working with other organizations to impact how MassHealth manages the new roll out. Stay connected with us - not only to keep up with information, but hopefully to help advocate for what's right for you, for your family, or for your friends.


Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director
You Can Be the Difference
Saturday, June 30 is an important day for The Arc of Massachusetts: it is the end of our 2017-18 fiscal year. This year is particularly significant as we prepare for the new year and start off on a strong footing.

You  can make a big difference today by making a gift to The Arc of Massachusetts. Only with your commitment and generosity will people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get the services and supports that they need and deserve.
Help us remain at the forefront of the struggle to build better lives for all members of the community. Your dedication makes all the difference. Please consider making a gift today to the annual fund.
REV UP at Center of Hope's Building Bridges
The Center of Hope Foundation's Building Bridges group of self-advocates meets monthly to learn government affairs updates and advocacy strategies that are helpful when meeting with area legislators. At the June meeting, The Arc of Massachusetts' Director of Public Policy Charlie Fiske and Advocacy Alliance Coordinator Herb Cabral explained the state budget process, from its formulation by the Governor through its review, section by section, by the state legislature.
The self-advocates discussed how they can interact with their local state Representatives and Senators to advocate for I/DD line items that personally affect them. They readily identified personal concerns about the services they receive and strategized about how to address those concerns. 
The self-advocates talked about the critical importance of voting, which is the focus of The Arc of Massachusetts' current Get Out the Vote campaign: REV UP ( R egister! E ducate!  V ote! U se Your P ower!). Approximately 95% of the members of Building Bridges affirmed that they are active registered voters and will be voting in the next state primary election on Tuesday, September 4.
The Center of Hope's advisors, Sara Donnelly and Kelly Hutton, both serve on The Arc of Massachusetts Government Affairs Committee and provide the foundation for the ongoing success of Building Bridges.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
SUPPORTbrokers at work
SUPPORTbrokers met with Anna Krieger and Michael Kendrick from the Center for Public Representation to learn how to assist individuals and their families in developing supported decision making teams.
Important webinar news!

This summer we will be changing our webinar platform from Webex to Zoom! Stay tu ned on how to join in! Our previously recorded webinars will be uploaded to our new playlist on YouTube.
MDDC Self-Advocacy Leadership Series Summer 2018
The Self-Advocacy Leadership Series, offered by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, is an eight-week series designed for people with developmental disabilities on the fundamentals of leadership. Topics include: Who I am, Communication, Feelings and Values, Self-Advocacy and Leadership, Team Building, Rules and Laws and Speech Writing. 

Classes will run on Wednesdays from 10am-12pm at Bridgewater State University from July 18 to September 5. Application deadline is July 10. Learn more.
Programa de Liderazgo Para Familias Latinas (PLPL)
(Latino Parent Leadership Program)
Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN)
Wednesdays, September 26 - October 24 | 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

For the first time, the Federation for Children with Special Needs offers  Programa de Liderazgo Para Familias Latinas (PLPL), a series of intensive trainings in Spanish about the Special Education System for Latinos Families of Children with Special Needs and professionals. All presenters will be recognized native Spanish speakers.
For more information:  English. | Spanish.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |