May 11, 2017

Last week The Arc of the United States released a statement on the House passage of the American Health Care Act or (AHCA), which will significantly change the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I shared the statement on our Facebook page.  Most, if not all, of our state health and long-term services are funded in by Medicaid, which includes a 50% federal match. The AHCA will change that formula. The result is that services that you or those you care about receive - personal care, adult family care, DDS residential and employment, nursing and day services to name a few - will be negatively impacted! You can't reduce dollars without affecting the availability or quality of services.  Health care and durable medical equipment along with other services also would be reduced over time due to this change.
Our delegation voted against AHCA to preserve ACA. The bill now moves to the US Senate and Senators Markey and Warren will work to protect our services. If you have family or friends in other states, this is the time to encourage them to ask their Senators to preserve essential medical and long-term services funded through Medicaid.
The Arc released a second video last week. It's less than two minutes long and features Calvin who has Bilateral Fronto-Parietal Polymicrogyria and Cerebral Palsy and relies on multiple insurance plans to cover his medical and therapeutic treatments. You can see it here
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director    
DDS Policy on Social Inclusion: 
An Opportunity For Community Feedback 
with The Arc of Massachusetts and DDS 

Co-Sponsored by: Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress,  Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, Disability Law Center, Massachusetts Families Organizing For Change, and  Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts
Two opportunities to share your thoughts on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

1:00 - 2:30 PM
Brookline Public Library | 31 Pleasant Street, Brookline

7:00 - 8:30 PM
Justice Resource Institute | 1671 Worcester Road, Framingham   
The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has undertaken a series of efforts to encourage friendships and community inclusion among the people they support. DDS and stakeholders believe that regulations, policies and practices may be obstacles to promoting more community participation and friendships. A new social inclusion policy is now being shared for input to achieve this goal. Guidance to DDS staff and agencies in the field will follow as the policy becomes final.

We are offering an opportunity for in-personal feedback on the policy on May 16. The co-sponsoring agencies along with DDS and The Arc are encouraging people with disabilities, families, staff, volunteers and others to share their input in person or by filling out a response survey which is posted on the internet by the Shriver Center at UMMS (CDDER).  Please RSVP in case changes need to be made.
The Arc Welcomes Partners and 
Supporters at Open House
Partners, supporters, and friends came by in force this afternoon to celebrate the opening of The Arc of Massachusetts' new headquarters. Though some final work needs to be completed in the building and on the grounds at 217 South Street, we did not want to wait to share the building.
The Home for the Future Capital Campaign challenge continues to make progress. We have been getting closer to our goal of raising $200,000 to meet a fundraising challenge that will provide an additional $100,000 for the fund. Every gift we receive between now and the June 30 deadline will count. Earlier this week, we were delighted to receive notice from the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund that we had been awarded a $25,000 grant for the building.
Time is running out, but you can still make a difference. Give today and make sure we meet the challenge. Please visit to learn more. You can also contact Katrin Aback, Director of Development at  or 781-891-6270 x105 to discuss giving and naming opportunities.

First Circles: The Power of Community in Your Hands

June 1, 2017 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Imagine a mobile app that makes it easier to support those with special needs and their families - an app that creates a virtual support network ready to assist anyone who needs extra help from time to time. This app is First Circles.
First Circles creates a unique, on-demand network or "circle" ready to support any person with special needs. It is a free download in the Apple and Google app stores. A user simply creates a circle and then invites trusted family members, friends, or caregivers to join it. When help is needed, a member sends a help request to their circle. Other members of their circle receive the request and then volunteer to help. Users can also post messages, reminders and locations or upload photos and files. Users can create as many circles and invite as many members as they need. First Circles has unlimited flexibility. 
Presented By:
Michael Pepe is a distinguished business executive with a background in media, information technology, and business services. In addition to serving as the CEO of Acacia Road Ventures, he is an associate of the  Harvard University Psychology Department and a member of Professor Ellen Langer's Mindfulness Research Lab.  

At Harvard, Michael is conducting a study on police officer well being, correlating stress with policing activity, and investigating the impact of mindfulness instruction on sports performance.
Financial assistance is available. Contact Kerry
Did you miss a webinar ?

 It is not too late! You can view the recorded webinar using The Arc's on demand feature.  To view click here and select "view session recordings."
WHAT'S TRENDINGwhatstrending
Changing Lives: Innovative gift to Northeast Arc
Through the generosity of Marblehead philanthropist Steven Rosenthal - in the form of a $1 million gift to the Northeast Arc - the Danvers-based agency is establishing the Changing Lives Fund to support continued program and service innovation. "I wanted to do something different, innovative, even disruptive, in a positive sense," explains Rosenthal. CEO Jo Ann Simons and her team at Northeast Arc agree wholeheartedly that he is doing just that. Read more.
CMS Deadline Extended for
 Home-Community Settings
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new guidance on May 9, 2017. CMS will be extending the timeline for home and community based (HCBS) settings to come into compliance with its recent HCBS rule. This new guidance does NOT change the time frame that states must have their transition plans approved, that remains March 2019. The extension to March 2022 allows settings that existed in March 2014 to come into compliance with the rule.  You can see that guidance here.  You can learn about the rule on our website too.
MassHealth Public Meetings
Please note two upcoming public meetings. The first one, on May 17 at 3:00pm, is about open Pricing. The second one is on May 19 at 1:00pm on the Ombudsman for MassHealth.  You can learn about both of them here.

Joy of Golf 2017
The directors of Joy of Golf 2017 have an open application period for adults with ASD who are 35 years of age or older. No prior golf experience is required. The venue, equipment, and PGA Pro instruction are all provided for free.  This series of 16 golf clinics is hosted by Golf For All and supported by the NLM Family Foundation. The program takes place at a golf course in Weston beginning this fall. Registration is first come, first served. They also are recruiting volunteers.  For application/registration form, please contact or by mail to Golf For All, P.O. Box 81246, Wellesley, MA 02481.

Ruderman Foundation Inclusion Summit
Academy award Winner, Actress Marlee Matlin will be speaking at the Ruderman Foundation Inclusion Summit in November.  Learn more and register here:
Remember and Restore
Tuesday, May 23 at 10:00AM (Ceremony at 11:00AM)

MetFern Cemetery  | Waltham

Join Sue Wing of DMH and Peter O'Meara of Cardinal Cushing Center in restoring the grounds around the memorials and celebrating the lives of those who passed away in the care of the Fernald School and MetState Hopsital. Rakes, grass trimmers, gloves and transportation from the parking lot will provided.  Memories and music will be shared.

Contact John Hillard (781-894-6050) or Nicole McMahon (617-484-0193) for more information. 

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTsponsorspotlight

The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |