March 12, 2018
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


MassHealth is rolling out the new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) system.  We need to hear your voice.  Tell us about how things are progressing for you.  Have you heard anything?  Do you know who your doctor is?  Do you have all the information you need?  Please take a moment and fill out the survey below.

We have a captioned video about the Rotenburg Center.  Will this place ever go away?

It's that time of year, legislative education time.  We have some events on our calendar for you.  

Until next week,  good reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Ad Your Voice: Important Survey

Is MassHealth your primary insurer? Do you have a disability? Are you the guardian or surrogate for a person with disability? If so...

We ask you to complete this YesHealth Survey. The survey contains questions about the new ACO plans that began on March 1. These new ACO plans now affect people who have MassHealth as their primary insurer.

We are asking people with disabilities (or their guardians/surrogates) who have MassHealth as their primary
payer to complete this survey. The survey was created in the
spirit of "Nothing About Us Without Us," and "About Us, By Us."  So, it reflects feedback from consumers who participated in
outreach done by DAAHR, including at a forum held in Boston. 

Why the YesHealth survey?

The purpose of the survey is to help DPC and our allies in DAAHR better understand just how much consumers know about the new ACO plans. We also want to know about your experiences getting information about the new ACO plans from MassHealth and your plans.

Your feedback on this survey will help DAAHR in our work to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Please click on this link to complete the survey:
Community News:   Important Reminder About MassHealth New ACO Plans

Over the last several weeks the DPC newsletter has been providing information about the new health plan options provided to MassHealth members. These plan options are only available to people who have MassHealth as their primary insurer. These ACO plans offer benefits not covered in the fee-for-service system. These include coordination between doctors, behavioral health providers, and LTSS providers. There will also be greater accountability for the quality of care consumers receive from their providers.   
It is urgent that consumers understand their rights and responsibilities within these new ACO plans.
Consumers' access to specialists, hospitals, and other providers may be impacted by the new ACO plans. Here are two important deadlines to remember and act on:
With the exception of the behavioral health services, MassHealth consumers only have 20 days left to continue receiving services from providers that are not part of their ACO plan.

MassHealth consumers will be able to continue receiving behavioral health services from their current behavioral health service providers who are not part of their ACO plan until May 31.

These new plans can be very complicated. Here are just a few things consumers should know:
  • MassHealth has worked hard to assign consumers to plans based on who their primary care physician. However, the assignments were made using information from MassHealth records and therefore may not always be accurate. For example, if a consumer has a specialist acting as her primary care provider MassHealth records may not reflect this fact. For this reason it is very important that consumers contact their plans and MassHealth to find out which of their providers, including hospitals, they will continue to be able to receive services in their plan.
  • It is very important that consumers, their care providers, and their friends and family members have the information needed to make decisions about what matters most. For example, a consumer may have to choose between access to a hospital and access to a specialist.  Or, a consumer may have to choose between their social worker and a home health agency. In making these decisions it is imperative that consumers have all the information they need.
  • Consumers should reach out to their plans, their providers, and MassHealth to find out what their options are as they make their decisions. For example, it may be possible for a specialist to sign a single case agreement with an ACO plan. This will enable the consumer to continue getting services from the specialist.

There is not enough space to provide all the details consumers need. To become fully informed of the changes that might affect them here are the next steps consumers should take:

If consumers are not receiving satisfactory answers, The Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) and Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL) will be logging their concerns and bringing them to MassHealth. Please contact:

DPC: Lenny Somervell:
BCIL: Shaya French:
Net News: Rolling Back Civil Rights Harms Us All

The Hill had an editorial by former Governor Tom Ridge, a  Republican, criticizing House 620 and attempts to roll back the ADA.  You can read his editorial here
Net News: Jennifer Msumba recounts Seven Years at Judge Rotenburg Center

Thanks to ADAPT, a video about living at the Judge Rotenburg Center has now been captioned.  The contents are obviously disturbing.  But it certainly pales in comparison to what passes as "treatment" at the Center.  You can see the video here.  
Calendar: Blind Legislative Informational Networking Day

When:  Tuesday, March 13, 2018, from 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM 
Where: The Great Hall, at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

The Governor's proposed budget for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) for fiscal year 2019 has recommended essentially level funding. However, MCB faces a $1.55 million annual deficit despite significant recent cuts. This is due to historic practices and systemic issues triggered by several recent external factors. 

Early this fall Federal Vocational Rehabilitation funding was reduced and MCB was monitored by the Federal Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The audit exposed fiscal issues going back more than 30 years and a finding ignored by MCB when last audited by RSA in 2009. MCB is working with the Baker Administration and Legislature to secure additional funding beyond that proposed in the Governor's budget in order to eliminate this deficit.

The Governor's proposed budget for FY2019 for the Perkins and Worcester libraries has recommended another year of level-funding for these important programs. Advocates will be asking for an appropriation of $454,966 for the Worcester Talking Book Library line item 7000-9402; and an amount of $2,588,155 for the Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library line item 7000-9406 - the amounts requested by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to support both of these important library programs.

Funding support is also needed for special education for students with disabilities for FY2019. Support for special education circuit-breaker funding for Chapter 766 private school tuition rates is also needed.

This is a critical year to make your voices heard at the State House - services as you have known them are clearly at risk and must be preserved! Please add your voice to our advocacy efforts!
Calendar: I.L. Education Day at the Statehouse

When:  Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 10:30 - Noon 

Where:  Grand Staircase, State House Boston Massachusetts


Registration:  10:30AM 
Speakers:  11:00AM to 12:00PM 

Join MASILC Members, Independent Living Center members and staff along with community allies in a day of Independent Living Education with legislators.  

This event is sponsored by the SILC Public Education and Information Committee, Massachusetts 11 Independent Living Centers, MRC State Rehab Council and Disability Policy Consortium.

To request or confirm communication access or other reasonable accommodations for the speaking event email  or call 508-620-7452. 

A SL and CART have been confirmed.  We will fill other access requests that are possible within the current timeline.

To request communication access for visits with legislators contact:
State House ADA Coordinator Carl Richardson
Phone: (617) 727-1100 x35502 Fax: (617) 727-7700
Calendar: Off the Rails at the ReelAbilities Film Festival

When: Thursday. March 29, e2018, 7:00 pm

Where: Brattle Theatre, Cambridge

Off the Rails 

The remarkable true story of Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger's syndrome, whose love of transit has landed him in jail 32 times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors. Although Darius has never damaged any property or hurt anyone, he remains imprisoned in Rikers Island in New York. Darius' story embodies the criminal justice system's failure to channel the passions of a mentally challenged man into a purposeful life.

Discussion to follow with film subjects Sally Butler, Esq., lawyer for Darius McCollum; and Liz Loebman, Forensic Social Worker.

Co-presented with Asperger/Autism Network, Roxbury International Film Festival, Disability Law Center, Aspire, and Harvard Law School Project.

Tickets $10 each online at

Share this event on Facebook:
Calendar:  One Care TeleTown Hall

When:  Tuesday March 27, 2018, 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Join us on the phone.

Tell the Implementation Council:

What is working?

What needs to be fixed?

Call Toll Free 1 (877) 300-1240.

Calendar: Architectural Access Board Public Hearing Dates 521 CMR

Below you will find the dates and locations for the public hearings on the proposed changes to 521 CMR. They are also on the AAB website.

The proposed updates are online at 

We have been advocating for these changes for a long time. Compliance with these regulations should make more housing accessible and remove barriers for employment for people with disabilities. Please attend a hearing, and let the AAB know that we support these changes.

March 22, 2018 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Fall River Government Center
The Atrium
1 Government Center (if this address doesn't come up on GPS use 30 Third Street, building is across the street)
Fall River, MA
Parking: Third Street Parking Garage, 157 Third St, Fall River, MA 02721
1 Government Center Fall River MA

March 29, 2018 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
UMass Amherst
Lincoln Campus Center
1 Campus Center Way Room 163C
Amherst, MA
Parking: The parking garage is located next to the Campus Center
UMass Campus Maps

April 5, 2018 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
One Ashburton Place
21st Floor, Conference Rooms 1 and 2
Boston, MA

April 12, 2018 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Worcester State University
May Street Auditorium
May Street Building
280 May StreetWorcester, MA
Parking: There is on-street parking located around the May St. Building

April 26, 2018 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Salem State University
Petrowski Room
Marsh Hall #210
71B Loring Ave, Salem
Parking: Follow signs for Enterprise Center parking
Salem State University Campus Map

May 24, 2018 8:30 - 12:30
Cape Cod Community College
Science Lecture Hall C
2240 Iyannough RoadWest Barnstable, MA
Parking: Lots 8 and 9
Cape Cod Community College Campus Map

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request (note that CART and ASL services have been requested from MCDHH). 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. Send an e-mail to Thomas Hopkins at or contact him by telephone at 617-727-0660.

Our thanks to MetroWest Center for Independent Living for sharing this with us.
In This Issue
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Disability Policy Consortium
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Malden, MA 02148
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