March 21, 2016
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update

Dear (Contact First Name),

This has been an interesting week  We thought we were taking a principled stand on the issue of the Office of Health Equity.  Well, you let us know that we had missed the mark.  Below you will find my atonement, mea culpa, m ea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Our calendar section is full this week.

We hope you have a great week..

As always  happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Editorial:  Crow and Humble Pie

Those who know me, will tell you that I like a good meal. For me, Restaurant Week is a high holiday that ranks right up there with  Opening Day at Fenway Park. Well, this week I am sitting down to a huge helping of crow and humble pie. As you know, last week I wrote an editorial opposing Senator Barrett's bill S1114 "An Act to Eliminate Health Disparities in the Commonwealth". I spent the rest of the week answering livid emails and phone calls about my stance on the bill. 
I want to start by apologizing to Senator Barrett. I broke one of my golden rules, always telegraph your punches. Put simply, this means let people know when you are going to oppose them on an issue. I did not follow my own rule. I did not discuss the bill with the Senator ahead of my editorial, and I was wrong. The Senator has been an important partner in championing the causes of people with disabilities in the Commonwealth.

My second sin was forgetting to make sure I was moving with our supporters. I looked up and realized almost no one was following us. As a leader this is a place you never want to be. Without supporters and followers a leader is in a very lonely place.

We will be represented at the hearing on Tuesday and will be supporting S1114. We worked with Senator Barrett a few years ago to make sure people with disabilities were included in the Health Equity Council. His bill will ensure that the Office of Health Equity carries the same mandate as the Council, which it will staff.

Please know that we fully recognize that people with disabilities face health care disparities. We thought we had a bright idea on the best way to tackle the challenge of encompassing all those affected by disparities. You, our members, let us know you did not agree with us.

We heard you, thank you,

John Winske
DPC Update:  Our Health Care Agenda  

Last week's DPC editorial on Senator Barrett's bill Senate 1114, "An Act to Eliminate Health Disparities in the Commonwealth" of the Office of Health Equity, created an unnecessary distraction from more pressing issues.  It was wrong. 

To avoid further distraction caused by last week's editorial, DPC will refocus its attention on the impending MassHealth Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 1115 waiver application. While we support the creation of an Office of Health Equity, in whatever form it takes, it is urgent that DPC prioritize our efforts the hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities in the state who rely on Medicaid and will be directly impacted by the restructuring of MassHealth taking place right now. These priorities include but are not limited to:
  • Advocating for the right of disability advocates and community based providers of (Long Term Support Services (LTSS) to have a place at the table in shaping the new LTSS "prior approval" entity rapidly taking shape. (More to come as information is released)
  • Fighting against a 12 month "lock-in" of consumers into an Accountable Care Organizations (ACO)
  • Advocating for single case agreements with "out of network" providers for consumers
  • Advocating for access to conflict free LTSS care coordinators
  • Urging MassHealth to establish a public facing dashboard that provides consumers with information needed to make informed decisions when choosing an ACO-including information about LTSS
  • Holding MassHealth accountable to making sure ACOs comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead and requirement services be delivered "in the most integrated fashion, in the most integrated setting and in a way that offers the greatest opportunities for active community and workforce participation"
  • Fighting for the creation of an independent ombudsman program for people with LTSS and behavioral health needs, to "address complaints and advocate for improvements in the long-term care system"
DPC looks forward to working with legislators, advocates and MassHealth to promote a healthcare delivery system that improves healthcare access and outcomes for people with disabilities in the state, particularly those people with the most complex physical, cognitive and behavioral health needs.


Dennis Heaphy
Director of Health Care Policy
Calendar: Blind Informational Networking Day 2016
When:  Thursday, March 24, 2016, 11:30 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Where:  Massachusetts State House

The Governor's proposed budget for FY2017 has recommended level-funding for most of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) state appropriations, along with the Perkins and Worcester Library programs. Funding support is also needed for special education for students with disabilities.

Program Schedule
  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Light buffet lunch with legislators/access product demonstrations
  • 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. - Awards/consumer presentations
  • 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and beyond - Networking, walk around the State House to visit representative and senators' offices

Your participation is critical! Please complete the online registration form.

Thank you for supporting and being a part of the 8th annual "B.L.I.N.D." State House event on Thursday, March 24.

See our Blind Informational Day page for more details.
Calendar:   Merrimack Valley ADRC Partners NILP & ESMV Annual Legislative Forum
When:  Friday, March 25, 2016, 9:00 A.M - 12:00 Noon

Where:  Mass School of Law, 500 Federal St.,  Andover, MA

"MassHealth Reform and It's Impact on Community
Long Term Services & Supports"

Attendees Include: Consumers, State Senators and Representatives, and Local Officials

For more information please call 978-687-4288

Calendar: Purple Day for Epilepsy

When:  Saturday, March 26th, 11:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. 

Where:  The Epilepsy Foundation New England Parking Lot (behind Boston Sports Club), 540 Gallivan Blvd
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Did you know? 1 in 26 will have a seizure in their lifetime. 

Join us in celebrating International Purple Day: a block party filled with music, food, and activities to celebrate our community and raise epilepsy awareness and funds for the Epilepsy Foundation New England. We will have entertainment, food, and fun! This event is free for the whole family!  Remember to wear Purple!

Contact Betty at for questions about this event.
Calendar: Open Caption Showing Batman vs. Superman
When:  Sunday, March 27, 2016, Noon

Where: Regal Cinemas at Solomon Pond in Marlborough, MA

Mass AG Bell is pleased to announce the scheduling of an  open-captioned version of Batman v. Superman, the latest movie blockbuster  that will hit theaters in late March.

On Sunday, March 27th, 2016 at 12:00 pm, Regal Cinemas  at the Solomon Pond Mall in Marlborough, MA, will display  Batman v. Superman in 3D, with open captions available  on the screen.

Despite the wonderful technological advancements made in  captioning movies at theaters in recent years, it can be an  harrowing experience because the technology currently  used is far from reliable. With open captions, the text is  displayed right on the screen, view-able by all without any need  for additional technology.

The movie is open to the public, and all can attend. Given it  is the opening weekend of the movie, it is be advised to purchase  tickets in advance if you intend on going, to ensure you will  have a seat. You can purchase tickets through Fandango or  your website of choice.

The   Fandango link is here:

Please be sure to select the 12 pm showing that Fandango marks  as open captioned.

The Solomon Pond Mall in Marlboro, MA is located just 
off rts. 290, 495, and 90, making it a very central location for  many residents in the state. The theater is 50 minutes from  Boston and 20 minutes from Worcester.

Mass AG Bell would like to thank Regal Cinemas for helping  facilitate the first of what we hope will be several  open-captioned movies throughout the year.

We hope to see you there!

Evan Brunell, Past President
Mass A.G. Bell: Massachusetts Chapter of the Alexander 
Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
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Calendar :  MOD Andover Regional Disability Commission Meeting
When:  Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 11:00 A.M. - 1:45 P.M.

Where:  Massachusetts School of Law, 500 Federal Street, Room 206, Andover, MA

 The Massachusetts Office on Disability will be holding a regional meeting for members of local Commissions on Disability and interested people hosted by the Andover Commission on Disability.

It will be an opportunity to hear from David D'Arcangelo, Director, Massachusetts Office on Disability.

Discussion will include the impact of the budget on people with disabilities and an update on what MOD has been doing throughout the state as well as other initiatives that involve the COD's. There will also be time allowed for a general discussion among commission members to network with one another.

This will provide an opportunity to share what your commission has accomplished in the past year as well as time to discuss any roadblocks you may be encountering. Light refreshments will be provided.

We hope you all can join us. Anyone who is interested in this Regional Commission meeting should contact me by April 21, 2016 at the above number. Please advise me no later than April 21, 2016 if you need an accommodation.

Please be aware of the following:
1. This meeting is open to all COD's and their membership; however, physical mailings only went out to COD's around the Andover region.

2. For other Regional Commission on Disability Meetings, please visit our website. There may be an upcoming meeting closer to your region.

3. Pre-Registration is required. Contact me if you are interested in attending this meeting by the dates listed above.


Jeffrey L. Dougan
Assistant Director for Community Services

Massachusetts Office on Disability
One Ashburton Place, Room 1305
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617-727-7440
Fax: 617-727-0965
Employment Opportunity: Spanish Bilingual and Outreach Ombudsman (SBOO), One Care Ombudsman (OCO) Program

SUPERVSIOR: OCO Deputy Director
WORK HOURS: 40 hrs/wk

SALARY: $42,000 per annum
FUNDING: Funds committed until 12/30/16 
Funds anticipated through 12/30/18
BENEFITS: Worker's Comp, Health Insurance Premium Coverage: 50% Family and 75% Individual, Sick Leave, Vacation Pay, and Business Travel Mileage Reimbursement. Non-robationary full-time employees have the option of telecommuting two days per week.
TRAVEL: Required, moderate
CORI Check: Required

Principle duties of the Spanish Bilingual and Outreach Ombudsman:
1) Identify, investigate, resolve and report complaints
2) Work with One Care Plan eligible individuals and enrollees as well as One Care Plans to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns and assist in filing appeals and grievances.
3) Address the Ombudsman concerns and needs of Spanish speaking individuals, families and communities
4) Manage the OCO's outreach strategy and planning, with special focus on the delivery and evaluation of the success of the program's outreach.
5) Bring systemic concerns and patterns to the attention of the OCO Director

The Spanish Bilingual and Outreach Ombudsman concurrently provides ombudsman services and manages OCO Outreach and Marketing activities. The Ombudsman operates in a manner to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of those seeking services and maintains an independent, neutral/impartial position with respect to the concerns raised. The OCO Ombudsman operates under the general direction of the OCO Deputy Director and in accordance with contractual requirements.

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Disability Policy Consortium
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Malden, MA 02148
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