April 2, 2018
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


The last few days have been a time for enjoying holidays with family and friends.  I hope you had a peaceful weekend.

If you ever have been interested in working for the DPC, this may be your opportunity.  We are hiring 18 new people.  Follow the link in the story below, see if your talents and experience meet our needs.

We are running our survey on ACO's again.  If you have not responded yet, please do so.  Ew want and nee  your opinion.
Until next week,  as always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Employment Opportunity:  Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, We've Got Them!

Some weeks ago, I mentioned that the DPC would have positions available.  Today, I can officially announce that we have 18, yes 18, positions available.

All positions will be open until they are filled.

Candidates should send their cover letter and resume to  akalogeropoulos@dpcma.org.  Please put the  positions you are applying for in the subject line.

You can also mail your cover letter and resume to:

Amy Kalogeropoulos
Director of Operations
11 Dartmouth Street, Suite #301
Malden, MA  02148.

Again, please indicate the position for which you are applying.

People with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
The DPC is a AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual preference or disability.
Add Your Voice: Important Survey

Is MassHealth your primary insurer? Do you have a disability? Are you the guardian or surrogate for a person with disability? If so...

We ask you to complete this YesHealth Survey. The survey contains questions about the new ACO plans that began on March 1. These new ACO plans now affect people who have MassHealth as their primary insurer.

We are asking people with disabilities (or their guardians/surrogates) who have MassHealth as their primary payer to complete this survey. The survey was created in the spirit of "Nothing About Us Without Us," and "About Us, By Us." So, it reflects feedback from consumers who participated in outreach done by DAAHR, including at a forum held in Boston.

Why the YesHealth survey?

The purpose of the survey is to help DPC and our allies in DAAHR better understand just how much consumers know about the new ACO plans. We also want to know about your experiences getting information about the new ACO plans from MassHealth and your plans.

Your feedback on this survey will help DAAHR in our work to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Please click on this link to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FNTJG7B
Net News:  Senator Duckworth leads 43 Senators Vowing Opposition to H. 620

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and 42 of her colleagues wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today pledging to block a House Republican-led effort to curtail the civil rights of Americans living with disabilities. Together, the group of 43 Senators is large enough to defeat the discriminatory ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620), which civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) described as, "a bill that turns the clock backwards and strikes a devastating blow in the fight for civil rights." The legislation would isolate Americans living with disabilities as the only federally-protected class of citizens forced to rely on "education," rather than strong enforcement, to exercise their basic civil rights.

"We are writing to express our strong opposition to the ADA Education and Reform Act and any legislation that would repeal or weaken rights under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in certain places of public accommodation," wrote the Senators. "This bill undermines the rights of people with disabilities, rather than protects them. We urge you to join us in supporting the rights of Americans with disabilities by making clear that H.R. 620, or similar legislation, will never receive a vote in the United States Senate during the 115th Congress."

H.R. 620 would gut the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by eliminating incentives for businesses of any size, including the largest corporate hotel, restaurant and movie theater chains, to make their facilities accessible to people with disabilities. Instead, businesses would be encouraged to avoid complying with the nearly 30-year-old law until people with disabilities notify them that they are unable to enter their facility. Businesses would be allowed to discriminate for at least 120 days following notification, and they would only need to make "substantial progress" towards accessibility to make their facility ADA-compliant. That would set a dangerous precedent by forcing Americans living with disabilities to personally experience the humiliation of discrimination - and then be required to educate those who violate their civil rights - before having violations of their civil rights remedied.

Notably, special interests lobbying for H.R. 620 have misleadingly implied that the ADA allows people to sue for monetary damages even though the ADA does not, and has never, authorized damage awards. That's because Congress modeled the right of private action under title III of the ADA after title II of the seminal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which authorizes private lawsuits to enforce the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and national origin in certain places of public accommodation. To help businesses achieve compliance, Congress also crafted the ADA to only require removal of barriers when it is not too difficult or expensive, and Congress established a small business tax credit and a tax deduction for businesses to lower the costs of making their facilities accessible.

"When supporters of the discriminatory H.R. 620 argue for its necessity by citing examples of alleged 'minor' accessibility infractions, they miss the point that this bill undermines the rights of people with disabilities, rather than protects them," the Senators noted. "There is nothing minor about a combat Veteran with a disability having to suffer the indignity of being unable to independently access a restaurant in the country they were willing to defend abroad. There is nothing minor about a child with cerebral palsy being forced to suffer the humiliation of being unable to access a movie theater alongside her friends."

Duckworth has been a vocal critic of H.R. 620, which only narrowly passed the House of Representatives last month. She went to the House floor last month ahead of the vote on the bill to urge her House colleagues to vote against the bill. She also penned an op-ed in The Washington Post about how this legislation would make Americans with disabilities second-class citizens again and send a signal that their civil rights are not worthy of strong enforcement. Civil Rights organizations like The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Veterans Service Organizations like the Paralyzed Veterans of America have also urged Senators to strongly oppose the legislation while the U.S. Department of Justice warned that H.R. 620 "would also unnecessarily limit individuals' abilities to obtain much-needed barrier removal in a timely manner (and) may instead result in additional areas of litigation."

The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

A full copy of the letter is available online here
Net News:  CMS Proposes Forcing Patients Off Opioids without Doctors OK

According to The Hill, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing a limit on the amount of opioids a physician can prescribe to a patient.  The rules would consider more than 90 mg in a day or more than 90 days of use to be abuse.   You  can read more here.
Webinar:  Physical Activity for Persons with Mobility Limitations 

Hi everyone,

We are excited about the upcoming webinar on physical activity for people with mobility limitations. The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability has extensive knowledge of this topic and will be presenting on May 2nd. I am happy to try and make time to come speak to groups about the webinar if you are interested. Please help spread the word and let me know if there are opportunities for me to quickly introduce the event.

Flyer for Event.


Kimberley Warsett
Department of Public Health
Calendar:  Big Apple Circus of the Senses

When:  Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Where:  Assembly Row, Somerville

The Big Apple Circus is back in town! We are excited to inform you that on Wednesday, April 11 the Big Apple Circus will be offering its special Circus of the Senses, a unique performance that enables children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities to experience the magic and joy of the circus.

Wireless audio headsets, which utilize a state-of-the-art infrared transmission system, feature a play-by-play description of the action in the ring. Additionally, American Sign Language interpreters are strategically positioned in spotlights to sign throughout the performances. Audience members also have their choice of a large-print or Braille descriptive program, each of which describes the various acts in detail. Both a pre-show interactive touch experience for everyone and post show touch session for blind and low vision individuals brings the magic of circus to life!

Contact LLewis@BigAppleCircus.com for tickets and more information.
Calendar: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Constituents' Day at the State House

When:  Thursday, May 17, 2018, 10:00 A.M. - Noon

Where:   State House, Boston

Hosted by the Statewide Advisory Council

A gathering of Statewide Advisory Council members, community members, legislators, and state agency directors.

Special Award Presentation:

The Diane L. Nettles Outstanding Advocate: 
Dennis Heaphy
Outstanding Service Provider: 
Road to Deaf Interpreting
Outstanding Organization: 
Watertown Public Library
Outstanding Young Advocate:
Austin Henry

For more information and/or to request close vision/tactile interpreters: Ami.Hanigan@MassMail.State.MA.US
Deadline for communication access requests is: 3/19/18

Afternoon Legislative Visits:

Meet with your legislators to discuss community concerns and bills of interest. Schedule your visits in advance: find your legislators' names and contact information on the web at malegislature.gov

To request communication access: contact the ADA Coordinator at the State House by email at carl.richardson@state.ma.us or via phone at 857-400-5502. Requests are due by May 3rd.
Calendar: Architectural Access Board Public Hearing Dates 521 CMR

Below you will find the dates and locations for the public hearings on the proposed changes to 521 CMR. They are also on the AAB website.

The proposed updates are online at

We have been advocating for these changes for a long time. Compliance with these regulations should make more housing accessible and remove barriers for employment for people with disabilities. Please attend a hearing, and let the AAB know that we support these changes.

April 5, 2018 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
One Ashburton Place
21st Floor, Conference Rooms 1 and 2
Boston, MA

April 12, 2018 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Worcester State University
May Street Auditorium
May Street Building
280 May StreetWorcester, MA
Parking: There is on-street parking located around the May St. Building

April 26, 2018 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Salem State University
Petrowski Room
Marsh Hall #210
71B Loring Ave, Salem
Parking: Follow signs for Enterprise Center parking
Salem State University Campus Map

May 24, 2018 8:30 - 12:30
Cape Cod Community College
Science Lecture Hall C
2240 Iyannough RoadWest Barnstable, MA
Parking: Lots 8 and 9
Cape Cod Community College Campus Map

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request (note that CART and ASL services have been requested from MCDHH). Include a description of the accommodation you will need,
including as much detail as you can. Also include a way we can contact you if we need more information. 

Please allow at least two weeks (14 days) advance notice. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Send an e-mail to Thomas Hopkins at Thomas.hopkins@state.ma.us or contact him by telephone at 617-727-0660.

Our thanks to MetroWest Center for Independent Living for sharing this with us.
In This Issue
DPC Needs your Help!!! 
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Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Suite 301
Malden, MA 02148
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