May 25, 2017

American Health Care Act Redux
Two weeks ago, we wrote about the House's passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and its damaging consequences for people with disabilities and the impact on the state's ability to fund long-term services through the 50% federal match from Medicaid. Don't take my word for it-take the word of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). CCD is a collaboration of more than 100 national disability organizations including The Arc. 
Sen. Hatch, chair of the Finance Committee and many House members before him have said that Americans should have more "choice" in their health care. But AHCA removes key aspects in the present health care program without 
replacing them. Instead of choice, citizens with disabilities and others will find fewer choices available. The chart to the left is published by the Kaiser Family Foundation (

It shows the number of people affected by just one of the negative elements of AHCA. The bill will remove the national requirement for "essential health benefits" (ESB).  Each state will determine its own ESB.This affects what health plans cover and the pricing of premiums for those with breaks in coverage and who try to enroll in new plans but have pre-existing health conditions. The KFF chart shows that 6.3 million people were in this situation in 2015.  If a state downgrades its ESB, these individuals would be subject to significantly higher premiums. Others without pre-existing conditions will be subject to significant out of pocket costs if the health plan doesn't cover a treatment. AHCA will hurt people with disabilities and other pre-existing conditions. It won't give them new choices. 
Learn more:
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director    
50% More! 
The Home for the Future Capital Campaign is nearing completion: more than $1.4 million has been raised toward our goal of $1.6 million!
Three supporters of The Arc of Massachusetts challenged us to finish the campaign by June 30th. They will make a gift of $100,000 - if, and only if - The Arc raises at least $200,000 in new gifts and commitments for the Home for the Future Capital Campaign! All gifts and pledges received before June 30, 2017 will count.

With the challenge, you can increase your gift by 50%!
     Your gift of $100 becomes $150.
     Your gift of $500 becomes $750.
     Your gift of $1,000 becomes $1,500 AND you will be listed on the
     plaque recognizing donors to the campaign!
Completing the campaign and ramping up our work is of highest importance. If you have been thinking about giving, please do so... and soon!

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
Elizabeth Pell and the Tour de Cure
On Sunday, our Director of Policy Implementation, Elizabeth Pell participated in a 15-mile bicycle ride fundraiser, Tour de Cure. Elizabeth was there to support her friend, Whitney who has autism and type 1 diabetes and Whitney's Aunt.
(L to R) Whitney, Elizabeth, and Whitney's Aunt
Learn about Self Direction Service Models 
at The Arc of Opportunity in Fitchburg!
Individuals and families are invited to a forum on June 15 from 6PM - 8PM to learn about self-determination and options for non-traditional services.  They will share information about self-directed service models including our new Agency With Choice partnership program. This service model focuses on expanding choice and control over the services and supports individuals need to live in the community. Learn about how you can oversee your own services and use The Arc of Opportunity as the employer. 

Peter Van Voorhis, Vice President of Home Supports & Jodie Balaguer, Division Director of Individualized In-Home Supports & AWC/DESE will lead the training session. Pamela Hickey DDS Regional Self-Directed Supports Manager will also be present to answer questions. 

Contact Peter Van Voorhis to RSVP:
ThinkWork! Survey
The Family Engagement in Online Employment Planning Intervention is looking for parents of students with IDD to participate in a study to see how Facebook Messenger might be used to coach families on planning for employment. This study is part of ThinkWork! at the ICI. 

The study uses Facebook Messenger, as well as The Arc's Build Your Plan tool, to see how a well-planned and individualized engagement strategy might improve families' beliefs about employment for their family member with IDD.
Please share this flyer with anyone you know who might be interested. Also, interested participants can complete the screening survey here . 

The Federation for Children with Special Needs Conference on Transition
The Planning a Life conference will be held June 15 and 16 at the Federation's Charlestown office . It is geared toward parents and professionals to gain knowledge and skills to strategize with young adults to prepare for a full productive life during and after high school. They will discuss ways to begin the transition planning process early and how to stay on schedule. Register online at

Scholarships are available.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTsponsorspotlight

The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |