September 5, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


I, and all of us at the DPC, hope you had a wonderful end of the summer season Labor Day weekend.  On a personal basis, I had a nice two week break and my batteries are recharged for the busy months ahead.

I am pleased to announce that the Eventbrite website for our Annual Reception and Awards Ceremony is now live.  You can buy your tickets or make a donation here.  

In this edition of the Update, we have the latest information on DPC YESHEALTH program for you.  We also have a job posting, a policy change that should make getting a reduced fare transit pass easier and two interesting articles from the web. 

As always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
DPC Update: YESHealth Discussion Groups

Dear Fellow Advocates, 

DPC is reaching out to advocacy groups across the state to gather your support for a new initiative being launched by DPC to assist us in more effectively advocating for the needs of people with disabilities and those with a history of a mental health diagnosis or trauma. We have recently brought Pili Kamenju onto the staff of DPC. Pili us a graduate of the Boston University School of Public Health and was a physician in Uganda. She possesses a number of skills, we are confident will support our community community. Pili is spearheading our new initiative, YESHEALTH. YESHEALTH stands for Your Experience: Speak Up for better healthcare.

The purpose of YESHEALTH is improve the advocacy of DPC by providing a more organized way of reaching out to the disability community across Massachusetts. We will be holding focus groups, sending out surveys and inviting conversation with the disability community to help us set the priorities of YESHEALTH. This way we can be in better touch with the issues most important to people with disabilities and address those issues in the way the disability community wants and deserves!

Our first priority will be to reach out to the disability community regarding the sweeping changes coming to MassHealth in 2018. These changes are going to transform how people with disabilities access healthcare services, including Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS).   To learn more about YESHEALTH and how you can become involved, contest Pili at or wait to get more information from your Independent Living Center, Recovery Learning Community or Clubhouse.

Dennis Heaphy
Director of Health Care Policy and Research

Dear Advocates,

Massachusetts Medicaid (MassHealth) is undergoing sweeping changes. These changes will everyone who has MassHealth as their primary insurer. Starting in early 2018, MassHealth members will be out-assigned to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs will manage all parts of a person's care through an "integrated" care model. This includes coordinating specialists and Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS).

The goal of the new ACO integrated health care is to contain costs and improve healthcare access and outcomes. The ACOs are expected to cover over 900,000 MassHealth members and include approximately 4,500 primary care providers.
The changes coming are complicated and confusing. To better understand consumer's knowledge and opinions about the ACO program, the DPC YESHealth initiative will conduct state-wide focus group discussions. We will kick off the series of discussions with the first one in the Boston area in later this month.

We are writing to request your assistance in providing us with 5 MassHealth members with behavioral health needs and 5 with long-term services and support (LTSS) needs who can attend our discussion in Boston. The group discussions will take approximately 1.5 hours and refreshments will be served.

We are happy to follow-up with a phone conversation to provide further details. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Best regards,

Pili Kamenju,
PAR Coordinator, DPC.
Community News:  MBTA and other Transit Authorities to Accept MRC Status for Pass

Hi All,

I would like to let you know that at the request of MRC, the T successfully modified the TAP card application by adding MRC clients to be automatically eligible for TAP cards (with agency verification on a letterhead). This will make the application process to DMH, DDS and now MRC customers streamlined and fast. The updated application has been posted on our website (here).

I also communicated the change to the 15 RTA Administrators encouraging them to follow suit. As of today, LRTA, MWRTA, MART indicated that they were making changes effective immediately. CCRTA had changed its application a long time ago.


Aniko Laszlo, MBA, MA
Director of Coordinated Mobility
System-Wide Accessibility
10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160
Boston, MA 02116
Ph: 857-368-8958
Employment Opportunity:  ED Rhode Island DD Council 

Position Description

The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council believes that people with developmental disabilities should fully participate in community life. Men, women, and children should be able to enjoy family life. Children and adolescents should go to school. Adults should have the ability to choose to work. All should have decent homes, have friends, and live as independently
as possible.

A Little History

In the early 1970s, Congress decided that it was in the national interest to offer people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live in typical homes and communities, and to exercise their full rights and responsibilities. It passed the Developmental Disabilities Act which, among other things, established Councils in each State to help plan services and to advocate for the civil and human rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Who We Are & What We Do

The Governor appoints the 24 Rhode Islanders serving on the Council. Most are people with developmental disabilities and their family members. Others are representatives of agencies and groups that work for people with disabilities. Council members are men and women who have exceptional insight into the obstacles that confront people with disabilities throughout
their lives. Indeed people with disabilities face a long list of problems and issues when it comes to education, employment, transportation, housing, recreation, and health care. Working as a Council we continue to discover and promote creative ways that self-advocates, families, service agencies and federal, state and local governments can work together so that people can live
independent, fulfilling lives.

Salary and Benefits

The salary range is $65-85,000, depending on experience. The benefit package includes:
* Health
* Dental
* Paid Time Off

For more information about the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council, please visit our website ( To apply, please submit your resume and cover letter to by no later than 5:00 pm (EST) on October 2, 2017.
Net News: Disabled Iowans Don't Have Limitless Rights to Medicaid Services?

In a lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Iowa, the state is arguing that despite the protections offered by the ADA and the Supreme Court Olmstead decision, people with disabilities are only entitled to Medicaid services that are spelled out in law.  

"The lawsuit contends disabled Iowans have seen drastic cuts to in-home services since Iowa made the controversial decision to hire for-profit companies to run its Medicaid program last year. Those service cuts threaten participants' ability to live in their homes instead of in nursing homes or institutions, the lawsuit says. The suit contends the service reductions violate the federal American with Disabilities Act and a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, known as the Olmstead decision, which confirmed the right of people with disabilities to live in community settings."

Net News: Colleges Testing a Broad Approach to Autistic Students  

An article, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, looked at the approaches being used by colleges and universities to create opportunities for autistic students. Of course, it also asks that time worn question "What will it cost?"

Calendar:  Abilities Expo

When:  September 8-10, 2017 , Times Friday and Saturday, 11 AM to 5 PM, Sunday, 11 AM to 4 PM

Where:Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Hall C

We will be there and hope to see you there.  
Calendar: ASL Night at the MFA

When:   Wednesday, September 13, 4 PM - 10 PM

Coinciding with Deaf Awareness Month, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston invites the Deaf community and friends to celebrate the art and language of Deaf culture. The evening's program includes American Sign Language tours and spotlight talks, performances, art-making activities, and more.

Presented in partnership with DEAF, Inc. and Boston Children's Hospital's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.

Free admission begins at 4 pm; all ASL Night events are free.

Made possible by the Bank of America Access Program. With additional support from the Maida S. Abrams Fund for Increasing Access and Educational Opportunities for People with Disabilities, and MFS Investment Management.
In This Issue
DPC Needs your Help!!! 
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Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Suite 301
Malden, MA 02148
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