March 6, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


We have a full newsletter this week with  several events in our calendar section and news on both the RIDE program and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) legislative priorities.

There is a health care update from Amber Smock on the national level.  The House plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act should come out today.  Word is leaders want to get it through both the House and Senate by April 7th.   You know what you need to do.

Lastly, we made an error in our reporting of a criminal case last week.  he defendant got two years of probation, not two years in prison.
As always  happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Net News: App-based Rides Opened To Thousands of MBTA Paratransit Users

The State House News and reported that Governor Baker announced the MBTA will open up their pilot program with Uber and Lyft to all RIDE users. There was no word on when the change will occur.  You can read more here.   
Net News: ACB Legislative Priorities

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) sent out their legislative priorities this week in an email.  The following is from that email.

The issues we are currently focusing on this year include:
  • Safeguarding services and programs for the blind and visually impaired
  • Re-Introduction of the Medicare Demonstration on Coverage of Low Vision Devices Act
  • Passage of the Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired
Each issue has a relevant congressional committee, whose members are key players toward any positive action on these three legislative imperatives. It is important to know if your Member of Congress sits on one of these committees. Below are links to the relevant committee membership pages:
The Appropriations Committee is entrusted with authorizing funds for all federal programs.  Click here for the list of Senate members, and  click here for a list of House members.
Issues pertaining to Medicare are covered under the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  Click here for the list of House Commerce Committee members, and  click here for the list of Senate Commerce Committee members.
The Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired will fall under the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It will also require the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to make a necessary legislative update to current copyright law pertaining to accessible media for individuals with print-reading disabilities.  Click here for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee members.   Click here for the House Judiciary member list, and  click here for the Senate Judiciary member list.
Finally, be sure to also leverage any social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. You can follow ACB's social media feeds, and be sure to use the hash-tag: ACBMDY17.
Let your Member of Congress know that you support the 2017 American Council of the blind legislative imperatives listed above. For questions or comments, please contact Anthony Stephens, ACB's Director of Advocacy & Governmental Affairs:

We thank you for your advocacy, and will forward along any breaking news regarding these legislative imperatives for 2017.
Employment:  BCIL Community Services Nurse      

Position Summary: Perform in home evaluations, re-evaluations and service increases for MassHealth's Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program. Maintain regular communication with appropriate BCIL and MassHealth personnel on individual consumer cases and programmatic issues related to the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program. Employee will report to the PCA Program Manager.

Essential job functions:
  • Determine type and amount of personal care assistance required by consumers according to guidelines set forth by MassHealth through face to face interviews for original evaluations and re-evaluations. Review fully with consumer before finalizing
  • Develop and follow schedule for evaluations to insure timeliness and continuity of PCA service
  • Provide timely written documentation of evaluations, re-evaluations and increases and maintain regular contact with physicians, Medicaid, BCIL staff and consumers
  • Communicate with PCA Program Administrators, skills specialists, PCA consultants and billing specialist to resolve PCA related problems
  • Report incidences of suspected abuse/neglect by caregivers to appropriate agency as mandated by state law and to the program manager
  • Provide quality assurance reviews of submissions to MassHealth
  • Other related duties as may be assigned
  • Current license as a registered nurse in the state of Massachusetts
  • Ability to travel within the Greater Boston area and gain access to homes that may not be accessible
  • Experience working with people with disabilities preferred
  • Willingness to adhere to consumer direction of services and independent living principles
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills; detailed oriented
  • Ability to maintain consumer confidentiality, adhering to standards of medical ethics and in compliance with HIPPA
  • Flexibility and ability to work as part of a team
Health Care Update:  From National Advocates

Amber Smock to Disability Power for Community Integration

IMPORTANT: Folks, believe it or not we now have a timeline for the most critical actions to defend Medicaid and fight back against attacks on the Affordable Care Act. The word is that the big federal budget bill will be released on Monday in the US House, with committee activity (Ways & Means AND Energy & Commerce) to take place on Wednesday and Thursday. 

The Republicans will do everything they can to bypass standard bill processes. The aim is to get the bill passed through the Senate by April 7. So what that means for grassroots organizing is that we need to roll out call-in days, days of action, town halls, whatever works starting on Monday for the NEXT TWO WEEKS. 

This will be the critical period. Word is that the week of March 13 will be especially important, so actions that week will be great. Let's get planning! We have to make the most of this window starting Monday.
Survey Opportunity: CHRIL Looking For Interview Volunteers

The Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is a 5-year research project funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to study how health reforms affect working-age adults with disabilities. 

The CHRIL is currently looking for individuals with disabilities to participate in their research efforts. During the months of April through July, CHRIL staff from the University of Kansas will be interviewing 20-25 adults with disabilities across the US about their experiences using and getting health insurance and/or Medicaid and Medicare. Participants completing an interview will each receive $40. The CHRIL announcement with contact information is below:

We are currently recruiting adults 18-63 years of age with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions.

CHRIL hopes you can help with this effort!

If you would like more information about participating in these interviews click here.

You can also call toll free: 1-855-556-6328 or email us:

Thank you!

American Association on Health and Disability
110 N. Washington Street, Suite 328J
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 545 - 6140 ext. 206
Calendar:  Deaf and Hard of Hearing Constituents' Annual Day  

When:  Monday, March 13, 2017,  10:00 A.M. - Noon

Where:  Great Hall, Massachusetts State House, Boston

Who:  A gathering of Statewide Advisory Council members, community members, legislators, and State Agency Directors.

Why:  Program and annual awards

F or more information and/or to request close vision/tactile interpreters:

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
Calendar:  One Care Information Sessions 

Drop by to talk one-on-one with MassHealth, Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA), and Tufts Health Plan (Middlesex County only) representatives about One Care.

Middlesex County:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Community Teamwork (CTI) Resource Center
17 Kirk Street
Lowell, MA 01852

Hampden County:

Thursday, March 23, 2017
8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Friends of the Homeless Resource Center/Shelter
755 Worthington St.
Springfield, MA 01105

See the enclosed " How to Get There" flyer for directions, or in Spanish to the information sessions.  For more information about these events, call Maggie at 617-886-8246 or email us at:
Calendar:  Museum of Science Community Partner's Day  

When:  Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.

Where:  Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114

The brain is perhaps the most important part of the human body; it is the control tower sitting at the top, sending important messages to ensure that everything functions. It is also a mystery that experts are beginning to unlock thanks to continually evolving technology. Explore this relationship between the brain and technology with scientists and engineers in the field, hands-on activities, and an opportunity to touch a real brain!

Gain insight from a whole host of activities and speakers, such as technology for brain mapping (fMRI) and other related concepts.

ACCESSIBILITY: For information or accommodation requests: 617-589-3102,, ASL interpreters will be available for this event. Please request an ASL interpreter in your invitation reply.
Calendar:  American Sign Language Classes 

When:  Wednesday evenings, April 12, 2017 to June 14, 2017 (10 weeks), 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Class is ASL Level I
  • Open to 18 and over
  • Taught by Deaf Instructor
  • Learn about Deaf Culture Too

Class is $200 not including instructional materials.

Classes require a minimal enrollment of six students.


Deadline to register is April 5, 2017.


For more information please contact:  Joan Philip, Center for Living and Working, 484 Main Street, Suite 345, Worcester, MA 01608.


Voice/TTY: 508 755-1003

Video Phone: 508 762-1164


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