January 29, 2018
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


Last week,  Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights, (DAAHR) had an open forum on MassHealth and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO's)  The weather outside was terrible, icy, rainy and cold.  And once again you reminded us of why the disability community rocks.  You filled the room!  You spoke up!

In the newsletter this week, we feature the information you'll need to understand these changes.  We have an article from DAAHR Co-chair, Dennis Heaphy, copies of his PowerPoint presentation and a fact sheet from the forum.  There is also information to help us track the roll-out. 

We have a job posting, and a couple of interesting stories from the net.

As always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
DAAHR Forum: MassHealth reform; Is MassHealth Ready? Are the ACO's Ready? 

Is MassHealth ready to enroll children and adults with complex physical, intellectual and behavioral health needs into the new network of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) starting March 1?  Based on the MassHealth ACO databook, in FY 2015, there were approximately 131,000 managed-care eligible children and adults represented in the Rating Category II category for persons with disabilities.

If the DAAHR forum held in Boston on January 23rd is any indicator, the answer is no or at least not yet. Extending this question to the level of ACOs, the answer is the same - no, not yet.

At the DAAHR forum attended by many consumers, advocates and leadership from MassHealth, there was a considerable amount of confusion, anger and fear expressed. Concerns raised by consumers included loss of access to hospitals, specialists, primary care providers and medications. Several participants spoke about the years it took them to assemble their care teams, and how changes to their situations could be potentially life-threatening.

A number of questions were raised that MassHealth could not answer with any satisfactory response. These included questions about misinformation provided by the MassHealth information line, when and how ACOs might be reaching out to consumers regarding their unique network needs and/or what streamlined process might be available to people with complex needs to protect them from potential harm that might result from being locked into an ACO.

The two-hour forum did not provide enough time for in-depth conversation about the new Long-Term Service and Support and Behavioral Health Community Partner system. Nor was their time to have any meaningful discussion about the impact of the Third-Party Administrator on consumer access to Long-Term Service and Supports. Also missing from the conversation, and all conversations is what this Walmarting of the healthcare delivery system will mean to people on MassHealth. As MassHealth pushes for expansion of One Care and SCO, and moves forward with consolidation of large hospital-driven insurance and delivery systems across the state: what is the future of consumer control, choice and dignity of risk?

DAAHR looks forward to grappling with MassHealth to protect consumer choice, control and dignity of risk, at this larger systems level, but for now our most immediate concern is working with policymakers to minimize harm to consumers with complex physical, intellectual, developmental and behavioral health needs before the impending March 1 ACO deadline. Our first priority is making sure people with the highest levels of medical, behavioral health and LTSS needs have access to the information required to make informed choices that do not require them to put themselves at risk of harm because of narrow provider networks or their being locked into ACOs that do not meet their needs. As for the ACOs, DAAHR will be setting up more forums around the state so that ACOs can hear your concerns. It's important that both MassHealth and the ACOs hear firsthand why commercial insurance practices are not appropriate for people with complex needs.

Dennis Heaphy
DAAHR Forum: Documents 

We want to share with you three documents related to the Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR) forum on Affordable Care Organizations (ACO's).

Advocacy Update: Is MassHealth your primary health insurance? Have you received an envelope with a green stripe?

If you answer either of these questions with a yes, you need to take immediate action! If you are confused about what to do, here is where to start:

* Contact MassHealth at 1-800-841-2900.
* Visit the new MassHealth website at www.masshealthchoices.com.
* Go to https://my.mahealthconnector.org/enrollment-assisters to find an enrollment assister in your community.

If you are not receiving satisfactory answers, we want to know! We may not have the answers, but we will be logging the issues and bringing them to MassHealth.

BCIL (Shaya French: sfrench@bostoncil.org
DPC (Lenny Somervell: lsomervell@dpcma.org or Maggie Sheets: msheets@dpcma.org)
Employment Opportunity:  REquipment Donations Coordinator

We have a part time position for a person who would like to work from home. 


The Donations Coordinator plays a pivotal role in the daily operations of REquipment, a durable medical equipment (DME) and assistive technology (AT) reuse program-serving people with disabilities and seniors across Massachusetts. This is a key role in assisting people with disabilities to self-select and receives refurbished DME to assist them to achieve independence at home and in the community. The Coordinator ensures process efficiency and continuity between consumers, donors and reuse partners.

Facilitate timely intake and transportation of donated DME. The Coordinator provides customer support and coordinates transactions between program users, donors and partners. Key responsibilities include:
  • Represent REquipment to consumers and donor inquiries via phone and email, returning user contacts within one business day
  • Educate consumers about REquipment OME or making referrals to other reuse affiliate and MassMATCH programs as appropriate
  • Handling donor inquiries, intakes and entering into Donor database
  • Working with program partners to schedule equipment item deliveries and donation pick ups
  • Creating and sending personalized forms to consumers and donors, including program forms and tax letters
  • Maintaining and updating user and donors records (online and hard copy); trouble shooting as required to keep records accurate between systems
  • Reviewing online postings, researching MSRPs if not included and troubleshooting as required to ensure data accuracy
  • Creating monthly reports, updating online data as required
  • Participating in monthly Operations meetings, preparing reports as required
  • Solicit consumer satisfaction information and log into database
  • Supporting marketing and outreach activities as requested
  • Other duties as requested by Manager.
Net News: Government Watchdog Warns of Group Home Dangers

According to DisabilityScoop, an audit of three states, including Massachusetts, found " officials routinely failed to follow up on incidents ranging from head lacerations to loss of life in violation of federal and state policy."

This is according to a report issued jointly by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Administration on Community Living and Office for Civil Rights.

Net News: Five Practices To Increase Self-Identification

Diversity Inc had an excellent article this week entitled " Is Your Company Using 5 Critical Practices to Increase Disability Self-Identification Rates?"

The article is both informative and thought provoking.  We should all share it with employers.
Survey Opportunity: Sexual Health Empowerment  

Easter Seals Massachusetts and a Northeastern University student are developing a workshop designed to bring about sexual health empowerment for young women with disabilities.  They have asked us to help  distribute the survey.  If you are a young woman with a disability, please fill out the survey and make your voice heard.  You can find the survey here.
In This Issue
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Disability Policy Consortium
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Malden, MA 02148
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