November 13, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


Our calendar is overflowing like a stuffed turkey this week.

We have a couple of job openings for your consideration. 

On the news front, Senators Markey and Capito have filed legislation to improve education opportunities and advocates came together to oppose HR 620.

Several of the meetings posted this week are very important. We urge you to take a look, attend if you can, and make your presence felt.

As always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Net News:  Senators Markey and Capito Introduce Legislation to Improve Educational Opportunities for Visual and Hearing-Impaired Students

Washington (November 7, 2017) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA) to ensure that visual and hearing-impaired students receive the best possible education. The  Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act  will improve the effectiveness and personalization of education and services for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind. The legislation would improve reporting and evaluation measures of special education in each state, increase training for teachers and other special education professionals, and reaffirm the Department of Education's mission and responsibility to ensure an accessible and quality education for all students.
This bill is named after Alice Cogswell, the first deaf student to be formally educated in the United States, and Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller's famous teacher. Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Congressman David McKinley (WV-1) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
"More than one hundred years after Anne Sullivan Macy worked with Hellen Keller at Massachusetts's Perkins School, we are coming together to ensure that students in the 21st century receive the best education," said Senator Markey. "I am happy to introduce this legislation with Senator Capito to help deaf, blind, and deaf-blind students across the country by improving access to quality education and offering them the chance to work with effective educators and trained professionals. Every student should have the opportunity to maximize their God-given abilities, and our bill will help thousands of students do just that."
"It is essential students in West Virginia and across the nation who are deaf, hard of hearing or have vision loss receive the specialized services they need to reach their fullest potential,"  said Senator Capito.  "The  Cogswell-Macy Act  would help ensure the educational needs of these students are better met."
Specifically, the  Cogswell-Macy Act  would:
  • Require states to identify and evaluate children who are visually and hearing impaired so that appropriate services can be delivered to each student, and report instances when they fall short
  • Help parents and educators stay informed and up-to-date through written policy guidance released regularly from the Department of Education
  • Encourage states to plan for and commit to specialized instruction for all deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind students, provided by trained personnel
  • Establish the Anne Sullivan Macy Center of Vision Loss and Educational Excellence within the Department of Education to function as a national resource to better support students with visual disabilities
"Since 1975, the law has worked wonders in terms of ensuring the right of every student with a disability to be included in our public education system,"  said Mark Richert, Policy Director for the American Foundation for the Blind.  "But what we've never done is to make sure that students, particularly kiddos who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind, get what they need once they get in the schoolhouse door. With Senate introduction of the Cogswell-Macy Act, we're signaling to everyone that we're not prepared to wait for the needs of another generation of students with sensory disabilities to be ignored before we work with our amazing champions on the Hill to change things."
"This bill acknowledges and supports the various ways that deaf and hard of hearing children learn. There is no 'one size fits all' under IDEA, and the Cogswell-Macy Act will provide guidance to states as to how to tailor individualized education to these students, particularly in the areas of language and communication,"  said Sandra Edwards, President of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) and Superintendent of the Mississippi School for the Deaf.
"We are thrilled that the Cogswell-Macy Act will be introduced in the Senate and thank Senator Markey for his leadership and passion,"  said Dave Power, President and CEO of Perkins School for the Blind.  "Perkins has been a fierce advocate in ensuring that blind, visually-impaired, and deafblind students have access to the highest quality services here in Massachusetts and nationally. Their ability to fulfill their unique potential requires the strongest possible IDEA and our ongoing commitment to seeing its execution."

"When it becomes the law of the land, the Cogswell-Macy Act will empower students who are deafblind to succeed in the 21st century American classroom,"said Mussie Gebre, President of DeafBlind Citizens in Action (DBCA).  "As deafblind people speaking for ourselves, we in DBCA know from personal experience how providing interveners, qualified teachers, and the whole range of instructional services and supports today will make it possible tomorrow for society to fully benefit from the brain power and drive that our community has to offer.
Employment Opportunity: Executive Director, DLC 

The Disability Law Center of Massachusetts (DLC) is seeking an Executive Director to lead this non-profit organization responsible for providing legally-based protection and advocacy services that advance the rights of individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

DLC's next Executive Director will continue to advance the high quality advocacy, legal representation and connection with the disability, civil rights and social justice communities in the state.

The complete job description and application process can be found on our Careers Page.
Employment Opportunity:  Driver 

Driver for Our Space Our Place, Inc. - Part Time - Fee for Service

Job Description

Great opportunity to join a small nonprofit Organization as a Driver for the After School Program!
The program meets Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays September - June.

The Driver is responsible for transporting (picking up and dropping off) children via a staff monitored van from school to the program, and from The program home.

The driver will:
· Pick up the van from a rental agency

· Pick up a staff monitor and travel to the Boston Public Schools to pick up children, and then drop them off back at the site

*Be available at 6 pm to arrive back at the program to transport the students with a staff monitor to their homes, finally dropping the staff Monitor and returning the van to the rental agency

· Collaborate with the Program Director and staff monitors as needed around adjusting routes and time frames

· Arrive on time for scheduled shifts

· Attend all required trainings and administrative meetings as relevant to transporting special needs children

· Attend any scheduled supervision meetings as needed, coming to the meetings prepared, and utilize feedback constructively to improve performance As needed

This is a Part Time Fee for Service position
Job Requirements
Required Skills

· Must pass CORI and SORI checks

· Must have a valid driver's license and a safe driving record

· *Must have or be willing to acquire a valid 7D driver's license and meet the criteria for same

Required Experience
· High School diploma or equivalent required

To apply for the position send a resume to:
To learn about the organization view the website:
Community News: Leaders of Disability Community Urge Congressional Delegation to Oppose HR 620

The following individualized letter was sent to all members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation on November 8, 2017

Dear Representative.

We are writing to ask you to oppose HR 620-a law that would strip the American with Disabilities Act of much of its power to make businesses comply with accessibility standards. This bill was introduced in the House on January 24 and on September 7 was reported out of committee with 73 co-sponsors.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was a hard won civil rights victory by and for the disability community to ensure our rights to equal access to American society. It was crafted with compromises that carefully took into account the needs of business owners. HR 620 specifically targets Title III of the ADA-an important provision that allows people to file lawsuits against businesses that persist in violating the ADA. The ADA has been in effect for 27 years and there are still many places of business that do not comply with ADA standards. Many of the people our organization serve still experience major barriers to full participation in their communities, including access to jobs, recreation, transportation and education.

HR 620 would require that, after being denied access to a place of public accommodation, a person with a disability inform the business owner in writing of the exact provisions of the ADA they have violated. They must then wait sixty days for the business owner to acknowledge receipt of this letter. They must then wait an additional one hundred twenty days for the business owner to make "substantial progress towards rectifying" the violation. It is unclear what the timeline would be for this "substantial progress" to be completed. It would allow businesses that have been in violation of federal law for decades to continue in violation with no penalty provided they can argue "substantial progress."

This process fundamentally puts significant undue burden on aggrieved people with disabilities, which essentially guts the law.

Supporters of this bill have raised concerns about money damage awards. But that has nothing to do with the ADA, because the ADA does not allow money damages. Such damages are only available under a handful of state laws. Amending the ADA will do nothing to prevent damage awards under state laws. Supporters of HR 620 cite concerns about frivolous lawsuits or serial litigants. But the vast majority of ADA attorneys and plaintiffs are seeking solutions to fix real denials of access-violations of civil rights! For the rare few who may file fraudulent claims or engage in unscrupulous practices, courts and state bar associations already have extensive power to deal with frivolous litigants or their attorneys. We should use those existing legal mechanisms when needed, rather than denying the civil rights established by the ADA.

Establishing and running a business necessitates compliance with many laws and rules-this is the cost of doing business. It is unthinkable that we would delay or eliminate consequences for small businesses that failed to pay taxes, or meet health and safety codes. Violating the rights of people with disabilities should be treated no differently.

We are writing to ask you to take a strong stance against the bill. For further questions please contact Bill Henning of the Boston Center for Independent Living or Christine Griffin at the Disability Law Center (contact information below).
We would be happy to provide stories from our members.
Thank you.
Bill Henning, Boston Center for Independent Living
Christine Griffin, Disability Law Center 
Paul Spooner, Metrowest Center for Independent Living (Framingham)
June Savageau, Northeast Independent Living Program
Lisa Pita, Southeast Center for Independent Living 
(Fall River)
Steve Higgins, Independence Associates 
(East Bridgewater)
Coreen Brinckerhoff, CORD
Jim Kruidenier, Stavros 
Meg Coffin, Center for Living and Working 
Florette Willis, Multicultural IL Center of Boston
Lisa Orgettas, IL Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann
Joe Castellani, Ad Lib 
Rhoda Gibson, MassADAPT
John Winske, Disability Policy Consortium
Calendar: Listening Session About Medication Switching  

When:  Monday, November 13, 2017,  5:00- 7:00 P.M.

Where:  Health Policy Commission, 50 Milk Street, 8th Floor, Boston

The Special Commission to Study Switching Medications is hosting a Listening Session to seek input from the public to inform our report and recommendations on non-medical medication switching for the Legislature. The goal of the Commission is listed below:

The commission shall investigate and study several areas including, the frequency by which patients are switched from prescription medications to other medications for non-medical reasons and without the consent or notification of the patients' prescribing physicians; the frequency of a health provider prescribing an alternative drug in response to changes in health plan policies mid-year for non-medical reasons; evaluating the role of financial incentives to pharmacists and prescribers in prescription drug switching decisions, including fee, incentive or other contractual reward for choosing a drug alternative; determining the total cost to the commonwealth when individuals are switched from prescription drugs that have been safe and effective, including increased use of services, emergency rooms visits, inpatient hospital stays and outpatient office visits; and identifying the patient populations most impacted by and vulnerable to being switched from prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.

We welcome all members of the public who wish to share their ideas with us. We have requested Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for the meeting. Other Reasonable Accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. 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. To request accommodations, email

You may submit written testimony by November 13, 2017 by emailing Please submit electronic testimony as an attached Word document or as text within the body of the email and type "Medication Switching" in the subject line. All submissions should include the sender's full name and address. Persons unable to submit electronic testimony should mail written testimony to EHS/MassHealth Publications, 100 Hancock Street, 6th Floor, Quincy, MA. 02171.

This event is a scent and fragrance free event. Please refrain from wearing fragrance products such as cologne, perfume, after shave, or using air fresheners while attending this event.
Calendar:  Hearing on Aversives Bill  

When:  Tuesday, November 14, 2017,  1:00 P.M.

Where:  Massachusetts State House 

The Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities will hold a hearing on H93 "An Act Regarding the Use of Aversive Therapy"

This is the aversives bill which would ban the inhumane use of aversives in the form of electric shocks to autistic and other developmentally disabled people.  We have been fighting this for over thirty years.  Many of you have shown up at the state house time and time again to fight this.  Unfortunately, we must do this once more.
Importantly, if you are a person with a disability, you may now be able to testify more quickly at State House hearings.  To request reasonable accommodations please email Carl Richardson, the ADA Coordinator at the state house, at least one business day (and preferably more) prior to the hearing, at  Explain what bill you are testifying for and when it is, and why you are requesting the accommodation.  

If you cannot make it that day, please email  your testimony. All testimony should include your full name, address and contact information, as well as any degrees you hold, affiliations, etc.
Calendar:  Updates on OneCare  

One Care Stakeholders,
We have four announcements to share with you:

1. Next One Care Open Meeting

Please join us at the next One Care Open Meeting; details are below:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017*
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
1 Ashburton Place, 21st Floor
Boston, MA

At this meeting, MassHealth plans to update stakeholders on the following:

· One Care quality performance
· One Care financial performance
· Preview of new approaches to improve care for dual eligible members through integrated care

We welcome attendance from all stakeholders and members of the public with an interest in One Care. Reasonable accommodations will be made for participants who need assistance. Please send your request for accommodations to Donna Kymalainen at

*Note: the Open Meeting is being held in the afternoon on the same day as the One Care Implementation Council meeting (which will be held in the morning - see below for more details).

2. Members can now enroll in One Care online!

To enroll online, visit the One Care website at and click on "I'm ready to enroll in One Care!" This will take you to a page that describes all the ways that members can enroll in One Care, including the new online option.

From that page, click on "Enroll online now by clicking here: Instructions for Filling out the One Care Online Enrollment Form"

From the instructions form, click on Enroll in One Care Now (in bold in the middle of the page), which will take you to the actual form.

If you have any questions about how to enroll online, you can call the MassHealth Customer Service Center at 1-800-841-2900, or TTY:1-800-497-4648 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled).

3. New "friendly" address for the One Care website

With the updates to, you can now use the following URL to get to the One Care website:

4. Reminder: Next Implementation Council Meeting

Details of the next Implementation Council meeting are below:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017*
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
AARP Office
One Beacon St., 23rd Floor, Suite 2301
Boston, MA

We welcome attendance from all stakeholders and members of the public with an interest in One Care. Reasonable accommodations will be made for participants who need assistance. Please send your request for accommodations to Donna Kymalainen at

*Note: the Implementation Council meeting is being held in the morning on the same day as the One Care Open Meeting (which will be held in the afternoon - see above for more details).

Malinda A. Ellwood, JD
Health Programs Policy Analyst
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
Calendar:  World of Careers

When:  Thursday, November 16, 10:00 A.M. - 2:30 P.M.

Where:  District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

Our Space Our Place and its partners are very excited to announce the World of Careers Workshop.

Cost: Free

This workshop is for students and adults with disabilities who want to know more about the types of jobs in the working world and who want to figure out how to use their interests and experiences to get a job.
Attend the World of Careers workshop and learn
  • About the many types of jobs which exists
  • Meet people working today and ask them questions about how they got their job and what they do every day at work and
  • Work together with others to find out how your interests and skills can assist you to find a job
Light breakfast and lunch will be available.

Please let us know about your accommodation needs by Thursday October 26, 2017

To get more information:
Call: (617) 459-4084
To register for World of Careers workshop


District Hall

Reader's digest- Partners for Sight Foundation
Boston Center for Blind Children

Our Space Our Place, Inc.
Calendar:  Carroll Center Technology Fair

When:  Tuesday, November 21, 9:00 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.

Where: The Carroll Center for the Blind
Rachel E. Rosenbaum Technology Center
770 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02458

Join us at the Carroll Center's Annual Technology Fair 2017

10 a.m. to 11 a.m. New Low Vision Wearables: E-Sight, Jordy, IrisVision

11:45 to 12:45 p.m. Blindness Wearables & Portables: Aira, Or-Cam, Sunu

1:45 to 2:15 p.m. Living with Non-24 sleep/wake disorder

2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Accessing College Portals-how to prepare your students!

Registration is not required to attend the Tech Fair,
however, pre-registered attendees will receive event updates. To register, fill out the form .

Sponsored by Vanda Pharmaceuticals.

Current list of Vendors:
Ai Squared
Carroll Store
Easter Seals
Logan Tech
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Mass Match Program
New England Low Vision
Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library
Calendar:  Transportation Speak Out

When:  Tuesday, November 28, 1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.

Where: STAVROS, 227 Berkshire Ave, Springfield MA, 01109

Stavros and the Pioneer Valley Regional Coordinating Council are joining forces for this year's Transportation Speak Out. Last year, over 75 community members, agencies, and advocates gathered to share their housing stories. This year, we're looking to hear from you about transportation. Have cuts to transportation impacted your community? Have you been impacted by cuts to transportation and wish to share your perspective? Are you passionate about generating more funding for transportation within the Pioneer Valley? Join us! 

Come hear from Sandra Sheehan, Administrator PTVA, Mary L. Jenewin-Caplin, Director Greater Springfield Senior Services, Patrick Burke, Rider Representative PVTA Advisory Board, and more!  For accommodations, more information or to rsvp please contact Jennifer Lee at 413-256-0473 x 213 or
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Disability Policy Consortium
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Malden, MA 02148
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