May 30, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update

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Hope you got a moment over this long weekend to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.  We thank all vetrans for your service.

This week, we have an editorial about the new Third Party Administrator for MassHealth Prior Authorization, and upcoming MassHealth hearings on Electronic Visit Verification (EVV).  These changes will have a huge impact on the lives of many members of our community.  We need your feedback.  It is vital you attend one of the hearings.

The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee is looking for new Board Members.  

The CBO score for TrumpCare came out.  If the gaol is to double the number of uninsured, it was good news. Otherwise, not so much.

Our calendar section is loaded this week.

As always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Editorial: What You Need to Know About the New LTSS Third-Party Administrator     

Beginning May 31, 2017, MassHealth will no longer be doing Prior Authorization (PA) of Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) for the majority of MassHealth members needing LTSS. MassHealth has instead contracted with a " Third-Party Administrator" (TPA) to authorize or deny requests for Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) by consumers and the Fee for Service System (FSS). Prior Authorization is now being provided by Optum Government Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of United Healthcare, a national for-profit insurance company. MassHealth is contracting with a Third-Party Administrator, in part, because of fraud committed by home health providers in amounts in excess of the tens of thousands of dollars. DPC is very supportive of increased efforts do away with fraud, but remains wary of consolidating prior authorization authority into a national for-profit corporation.

All people with disabilities who rely on LTSS oppose fraud; it is against our own interest. Rather than money going to provide services for people, the money is taken out of the system hurting everybody. DPC appreciates assurances by MassHealth that Optum will have to use MassHealth guidelines, in making prior authorization decisions, but in too many ways the TPA remains a black box.

In coming weeks, DPC will update you with more information about Optum. In the meantime, you can find out more about the Third-Party Administrator here or you can also call the MassHealth helpline.

Optum: Beyond the TPA    

In addition to being responsible for prior authorization of LTSS, Optum will also be overseeing the new Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) in Massachusetts. EVV is the new electronic verification system that will be monitoring hours worked by PCAs. Think of it as a high tech remote punch clock, but in this case, the punch clock verifies the location of both the consumer and the PCA using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS). The PCA and consumer will need to check in at the beginning and end of each shift.  

DPC is meeting with consumers around the state to better understand your concerns and develop recommendations to MassHealth. At present, DPC is troubled that a one-size-fits-all approach will hurt consumers and PCAs.

MassHealth is also holding hearings (see schedule below) that we encourage you to attend. MassHealth has other plans for the TPA that have not been announced yet. We will continue to monitor these changes and inform you as they take place.

Let us know what you think of the TPA and EVV.  

John Winske
Calendar: My Timesheet, EVV Hearings

Date  Time 
Facility   Address   City

Monday, 6/5/2017  9:30-11:30 a.m. 
Union Hall, 108 Myrtle St.,  Quincy

Monday,  6/5/2017  1:30-3:30 p.m. 
Union Hall, 108 Myrtle St.,  Quincy

Tuesday,   6/6/2017   9:30-11:30 a.m. 
AdLib,  215 North St., Pittsfield

Tuesday,  6/6/2017  1:30-3:30 p.m. 
Springfield City Public Library, 220 State St., Springfield

Wednesday,  6/7/2017  11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 
Sturgis Library, 3090 Main St., Barnstable

Wednesday,  6/7/2017  1:00-2:30 p.m. 
Sturgis Library, 3090 Main St., Barnstable

Thursday, 6/8/2017 10:00-11:30 a.m. 
Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St.,  Lawrence

Thursday,  6/8/2017 12:30-2:00 p.m. 
Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence

Friday, 6/9/2017 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 
The NonProfit Center, 89 South St., Boston

Friday,  6/9/2017 1:00-3:00pm
The NonProfit Center, 89 South St., Boston

Monday, 6/12/2017  10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main St., Fitchburg

Monday, 6/12/2017  1:30-3:30 p.m.
Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square, Worcester

Wednesday,  6/14/2017  10:00-11:30 a.m.
Taunton Public Library, 12 Pleasant St., Taunton

Wednesday,  6/14/2017  12:30-2:00p.m.
Taunton Public Library, 12 Pleasant St., Taunton

Health Care Update:  CBO says 23 Million More Uninsured and $119 Billion Saved  

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their score of what would happen if the AHCA passed by the House were to become law.  They found that over a decade, 23 million more people would lose their health care insurance.  The plan would cut the deficit by $119 Billion over the decade.  That savings would come from cutting Medicaid by $880 Billion. Who says poor people don't help out?

Volunteer Opportunity: Notice of Vacancies on Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee 

Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court invite applications for appointment to the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee ( MHLAC) for terms ending in June 2021. MHLAC provides legal and policy advocacy to people with mental health concerns throughout the Commonwealth, with a focus on issues related to clients' ability to remain independent and to avoid abuse in community and institutional settings. Attorneys with experience in the delivery of legal services to indigent persons with mental health concerns, familiarity with clinical milieu, or background in mental health law and civil rights advocacy, are encouraged to apply. 

Committee members attend quarterly meetings in Boston and serve on Board subcommittees. One page resumes, with cover letters, should be submitted by mail or, preferably, email to: Mona R. Hochberg ( Mona.Hochberg@sjc.state.ma.us) at Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA, 02108 by May 31.  If you have questions about the application process or the position, please contact Mona or Phillip Kassel, Executive Director, MHLAC ( pkassel@mhlac.org). 
Calendar: Low Vision and Blindness Technology Fair

When: Friday, June 2, 2017

Time: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Where: Easter Seals Technology Center, NPC Building Community Room,
89 South St. Boston, MA 02111

Cost: Free
Exhibitors will be on hand to show their latest devices in the area of low
vision and blindness. Here is a list of some of the companies and agencies
that will be participating.

* The Carroll Center Store 
  www.carroll.org

* New England Low Vision and Blindness -
www.nelowvision.com

* AdaptiVision

* Perkins Talking Book Library -
www.perkins.org/library

* BaumUSA, Inc 
 www.baumusa.com

* National Braille Press 
www.nbp.org

* MA Commission for the Blind
www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/mcb

* Sonzia.Inc 
www.sonzia.com

Please request accommodations by May 20.
For more information, please contact 
Catherine Bly 617-226-2634
cbly@eastersealsma.org

RSVP: Appreciated - ALL ARE WELCOME!

MassMATCH is funded by the Administration for Community Living at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and 

Managed by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. MassMATCH Assistive Technology Regional Center-Boston 

Operated by Easter Seals MA provides device demonstrations and loans of the latest equipment to the public.
Calendar:  Judge King MBTA Meeting on Accessibility

When:  Wednesday, June 7, 2016, 5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

Where:  Transportation Building, Board Room (2nd Floor)
10 Park Plaza. Boston

Judge King will host his semi-annual public meeting on Accessibility at the T and the T's progress towards compliance with the MBTA/BCIL Settlement Agreement (focused on bus and subway service).  

Please note our new meeting time-5-7PM.

For more information, including how to request an accommodation, click here .

Also, I will be sending out a formal update on all of our on-going Accessibility Initiatives a week before the meeting. Stay tuned!

Hope to see you there,

Laura Brelsford
Assistant General Manager, System-Wide Accessibility
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Ten Park Plaza, Suite 4470
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-222-1688
Fax: 617-222-4394

Calendar: DPC Annual Meeting
 
When:  Monday,  June 12, 2017,  5:30 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Where:  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, 101 Huntington Avenue, Prudential Complex, Boston

Join us for our annual meeting, dinner and a training on using Facebook, Twitter and Social Media for Advocacy.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying to serve of the Board of Directors of the DPC please send a resume and a one page statement of why you want to serve and your skills to AKalogeropoulos@dpcma.org.  

To register contact Amy at AKalogeropoulos@dpcma.org.  

Also please inform us of any reasonable accommodation or dietary needs no later than Tuesday, May 30th. 
Calendar:  Save The Date!!!!!!!!!
An Exclusive Viewing of the Film
"The Wounds We Cannot See"  

When:  Thursday, June 29, 2017, 6:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.

Where:  89 South Street, Boston, MA

We are proud to present the premiere of a new documentary directed and produced by Alexander Freeman of Newton.   "The Wounds We Cannot See" is about one woman's struggles with mental health disabilities induced by trauma and violence.  The movie has been honored with several awards including best documentary at the 2017 Long Beach Film Festival.

Alexander is a graduate of Emerson College and has cerebral palsy.  He will participate in a question and answer question session after the screening.

Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.com or go to our Facebook Page.
In This Issue
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Disability Policy Consortium
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Malden, MA 02148
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