January 25, 2016
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update

Dear (Contact First Name),

Sadly, the Patriots' pursuit of back to back Super Bowl titles came to a crushing end last evening.  Some enjoyable news is that, in only four weeks, Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Fort Myers.

Recently, we warned you about possible attempts to consolidate the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Commission for the Blind.  One good reason to be suspicious is a white paper that Governor Baker wrote in 2002.  We are making the paper available for you to download here.  We encourage you to take a half hour of your time to read it. 

This week our calendar section remains crowded.  Please note that several of the events are this week and that there are three job postings in this edition of our newsletter.  

As always  Happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Calendar :  Mass. Commission for the Blind Listening Sessions
 
The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) will be conducting a series of listening sessions across the Commonwealth between October 2015 and March 2016. These listening sessions will seek to solicit consumer, provider and community perspectives on a range of services provided by MCB, as well as allow for input and feedback on other topics of importance.

MCB is inviting consumers, families, and all key stakeholders to attend sessions nearest them. MCB Commissioner Paul Saner will be on hand to hear your insights.

For those who cannot attend in person, comments may be submitted in writing to the Office of the Commissioner, MCB, 600 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111 or email to Stephen.Berdos@state.ma.us

January Dates and Locations

Massachusetts Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired (MAPVI): Conference Call
Monday, January 25th 2016
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Carroll Center for the Blind
Wednesday, January 27th 2016
770 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02458
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Association of Massachusetts Educators of Students with Visual Impairments: South Shore
Thursday, January 28th 2016
Plymouth North High School
41 Obery Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Calendar: MassHealth Hearing Improving PCA Program  

Subject:  Overtime and Intra-Day Travel Time for Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) under the MassHealth PCA Program.

Purpose:  The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) will host a series of public statewide listening sessions on recent changes to federal regulations implementing the Fair Labor Standards Act   (FLSA) and the MassHealth PCA Program's implementation of these requirements. The purpose of these listening sessions will be to gather information from PCA consumers, PCAs, interested stakeholders and the general public on how to improve the PCA program in a way that ensures consumers receive all of their authorized PCA services while minimizing the need for PCAs to work overtime. These listening sessions will be an opportunity for MassHealth to obtain input on ways to enhance the health care experience of PCA consumers and to gather ideas on how to make the MassHealth PCA program more sustainable. We welcome all members of the public who wish to share their ideas with MassHealth and help us work through design challenges related to the recent changes under the FLSA.

Background:  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a Final Rule revising DOL regulations that implement the FLSA. The result of this new rule is that PCAs may receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per  week for one o r more consumers cumulatively and pay for intra-day travel time when traveling between one consumer employer's home and another consumer employer's home on the same day to provide PCA services.

What MassHealth is Doing:  Beginning on January 1, 2016, PCAs will automatically receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week for one or more consumers combined and pay for intra-day travel time in which a PCA travels between one consumer employer's home and another consumer employer's home on the s ame day to prov ide PCA services. To facilitate this, MassHealth's contracted fiscal intermediaries will track the cumulative hours worked by PCAs each week, even if they work for more than one consumer, and will automatically calculate any intra-day travel time.

Prior to January 1, 2016, if a consumer needs to schedule a PCA to work more than 40 hours per week, the consumer must contact his/her designated personal care management agency to make a request for prior authorization for premium pay for overtime, as described under MassHealth PCA regulations at 130 CMR 422.420(A)(13).

Listening Sessions:  Information on the three public listening sessions is below. Please note that these sessions are open to all members of the public.

Disability-Related Accommodations:  Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services and ASL Interpretation will be available. If disability-related accommodations are required for you to attend, or you need materials in other formats, please contact:  Erin.Dore@state.ma.us .

Comments:  Can be sent to:  Erin.Dore@state.ma.us.

When:  Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 1:00 - 3:00 P.M.

Where:  Community Room, Mason Square Branch, Springfield Public Library, 765 State Street, Springfield, Springfield, MA 01109

Call In Information: 866-565-6580
Participant code:  9593452 (note correction)
Calendar:  MBTA Hearings on Fare Increases and Commuter Rail Schedules
 
When:  January 25, 2016 to February 11, 2016 

Where:  Around Eastern Massachusetts

* Written comments about the MBTA Fare Proposal will be accepted through Friday, February 12, 2016, and can be mailed to: MBTA, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Fare Proposal Committee. You may also submit your comments on the MBTA website, mbta.com, by email at fareproposal@mbta .com, or by phone at (617) 222-3200, TTY (617) 222-5146.

* Written comments about the Commuter Rail schedule changes will be accepted through Friday, February 12, 2016, and can be mailed to: MBTA, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Commuter Rail Schedule Committee. You may also submit your comments on the MBTA website, mbta.com, by email at crschedules@mbta.com, or by phone at  (617) 222-3200, TTY (617) 222-5146.

* All locations are accessible to people with disabilities. MassDOT provides reasonable accommodations and/or language assistance free of charge upon request. For accommodation or language assistance, please contact Trish Foley at (857) 368-8907 or (trish.foley@dot.state. ma.us). Requests should be made as soon as possible prior to the meeting. For more difficult to arrange services, including sign-language, CART or language translation or interpretation, requests should be made at least ten (10) business days before the meeting.

* In case of inclement weather, meeting cancellation announcements will be posted at www.mbta.com .

Calendar: Mini-class "How to Talk to Your Legislature"

When: Saturday, February 13, 1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Whee: Cary Memorial Library (Large Meeting Room) 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington, MA  02420

ALDA Boston will offer this presentation by Ellen Perkins, Hard of Hearing Skills Training at the Center for Living and Working and Member of the Statewide Advisory Council.

Bring your favorite chocolate dish or item to share!

For questions or to  RSVP, Francine at fstiegli@bu.edu.

CART provided and a loop is available. 
Calendar: Our Space, Our Place Career Exploration Workshops 
 
Save the date for these upcoming workshops.

1. A Day of Science
 
When:  Saturday March 12, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Where: The Aquarium, Boston, MA

This workshop is for middle and high school students who are blind.   Are you curious? A career in science may be just the thing for you.   Join us and take part in hands-on experiments and meet scientists who are blind.

Participate in hands-on experiments
· Explore careers in STEM, interacting with scientists who are blind
· Together plan ways to continue learning and experimenting
A light breakfast and lunch will be provided
 
For more information call:  Our Space Our Place, Inc.
Phone: (617) 459-4084.  

Register at:


2.       World of Careers (NEW DATE)

When: Thursday March 24, 2016, 9:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston, MA

This workshop is for middle school, , high school  and college students and adults who are blind. Meet professionals who are blind and learn about specific tasks for different jobs.

Learn directly from professionals in a variety of fields. You will have 10 minutes to conduct an informational interview with a professional: at the end of the ten minutes a bell will sound and you now have another ten minutes to conduct another informational interview with a new professional and so on and so on.
To request an accommodation, please let us know by Thursday March 10, 2016.

For more information, please call: (617) 459-4084
Employment Opportunity: Great Disability/Elder Social Worker Wanted 
 
Licensed Social Worker

Organization:   PLAN of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Inc. (PLAN) seeks a full-time licensed social worker to provide case management services.  PLAN is a non-profit organization that proudly serves elders and people with disabilities and their families throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  We do this by managing special needs pooled trusts that allow participants to preserve assets, protect public benefits, and enrich their lives.  Trust funds are professionally managed and invested with an established trust company. Case management services provided by our social workers give participants opportunities to improve their quality of life.  For more information about PLAN, visit our web site at www.planofma-ri.org
 
Position:   The licensed social worker will provide case management services to trust participants, who are elders and persons with disabilities.  S/he will help trust participants identify wants and needs and create a life plan or a spending plan; assist participants in using their funds to obtain items and services that are important to them; and advocate for participants by assuring that their needs and wants are met within limits set by their funds and by federal and state laws and regulations.  The social worker will report to a senior social worker with decades of experience, and will serve as one of five Service Coordinators.
 
Responsibilities include -
  • Initial meeting of new trust participants to explain the trust and use of trust funds, assess participants' living arrangements, strengths and weaknesses, and ability to access funds, and to develop a spending or life plan.
  • Ongoing contact with trust participants
  • Prompt review of participant requests, and weekly decisions on disbursements
  • Resource development with the goal of giving participants ideas for using their funds
  • Maintain current knowledge of public benefits, such as Medicaid, disability benefits and housing.
  • Assist with program development and innovation
  • Participation in appropriate network / professional groups, conferences and workshops.
 
Qualifications:   The social worker should have the following experience and qualifications:
  • BSW or MSW degree
  • Experience working with elders and people with disabilities and their families
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Ability to communicate effectively and openly with a broad range of individuals and organizations
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently and interdependently
  • Ability to grow from supervision and direction
  • Familiarity with computers and computer programs, such as Microsoft Office and SalesForce
  • Integrity, positive attitude and self-direction
  • An understanding and commitment to PLAN's mission and programs
  • Experience with / knowledge of special needs trusts
 
Expected Start Date:       February 29, 2016
Compensation:                 DOE      
Benefits:                             PLAN provides excellent benefits   
 
Please submit Resume and Cover letter by February 4, 2016 to: jobs@planofma-ri.org
or
Search Committee
PLAN of MA-RI, Inc.
1340 Centre Street, Suite 102
Newton, MA 02459

Employment Opportunity: Staff Attorney - Bart Gordon Fellow
 
Fast-paced legal services office seeks full-time Staff Attorney to represent low-wage workers and laborers predominantly in wage and hour cases. Duties include representing clients in administrative and court actions against employers. Responsibilities also include community outreach and education and close collaboration with local community partners. Fluency in Spanish required. 

Applicants should have a demonstrated experience working in the public interest or legal aid environment, be passionate about achieving justice and overcoming barriers facing low-income immigrants, and be a creative team-player committed to securing lasting results for clients and low-income communities. Only recent law graduates or attorneys with 0-2 years' experience will be considered. Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include health and dental insurance, 403(b) plan, generous time off as well as training and professional development opportunities. Send resume by February 19, 2016 to:

Bart Gordon Fellow Search
c/o Executive Director
MetroWest Legal Services, Inc.
63 Fountain Street, Suite 304
Framingham, MA 01702

An Equal Opportunity Employer
Employment Opportunity: Staff Attorney 
 
South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SCCLS), a non-profit legal services program providing free civil legal assistance to eligible low-income and elderly clients in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands, seeks an attorney, admitted to practice in Massachusetts, to provide quality representation to clients in immigration and other matters. 

The attorney will serve clients in Plymouth and Bristol Counties and work from our subsidiary, the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts. The attorney will manage a substantial number of individual cases, along with special projects, and engage in impact advocacy. Fluency in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole or other language spoken by our diverse immigrant community required.
To apply, send resume and cover letter to: Jmarcotte@SCCLS.org

South Coastal Counties Legal Services and its subsidiary, the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Disability Policy Consortium
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