Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update
of my editorial this week is about the latest news on the Affordable Care Act.
We also have a couple of items about dental services.
We are still seeking a Director of Operations. We always need items for our calendar section. Please send them our way.
There are two items before the Ways and Means Conference Committee. The first is the Affordable Housing Voucher Program. The House and Senate are $1.1 million apart. We need support for the House number. Secondly, the budget for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is $1.85 million higher in the Senate, than in the House. In this case, we need to support the Senate number. Make those calls.
Until next week,
as always happy reading.
Disability Policy Consortium
Editorial: Trump Message to People with Pre-Existing Conditions, "Piss Off!"
Last week. the Justice Department announced that it would no longer argue that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was constitutional. Instead, it is now agreeing with Texas and nineteen other state Attorney Generals that the ACA is unconstitutional.
It would be laughable if it were not so absurd. The Administration is arguing that since the individual penalty for not having health insurance was removed, now the law is unconstitutional. It was the Administration that urged Congress to eliminate the penalty. T
hey now state that the mandate "without a penalty" violates the Constitutional. It is akin to a child breaking their toy, and then arguing you never gave them a gift.
It is the second step (a
mandate "without a penalty" violates the Constitutional) that is likely the death penalty to some people with disabilities. The Administration argues that if the mandate is struck down then requiring coverage of people with pre-existing conditions should also be struck down.
In essence, those that are trying to tear apart the law are arguing that without all people involved, it is impossible to cover everyone's need for coverage. This has been the central argument
for the ACA all along. It was Republicans and opponents who argued it was possible to eliminate the individual mandate and still cover everyone.
The Administration is also working to cut Medicaid. This will leave people with pre-existing conditions, and lesser disabilities with only high cost, and likely useless policies.
You might ask, "How may people will be affected?" The Kaiser Family Foundation believes it is 27 percent of those under the age of 65. Think about that one for a minute.
Now we know where we fit in the eyes of the Administration, on the outside looking in.
Employment Opportunity: Director of Operations at the DPC
The DPC is seeking a proven leader to join our Senior Management Team as the New Director of Operations. After four years of keeping me and others running on time and in a straight line, Amy Kalogeropoulos is moving on to a new opportunity.
Here is a
copy of the job description
. If you think you are up to the challenge, please submit a cover letter, resume and writing sample to
As always, individuals with lived experience of disability our encouraged to apply. All postings at the DPC remain posted until filled. No phone calls please.
John Winske, Executive Director
11 Dartmouth Street, Suite #301
Malden, MA 02148.
People with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
The DPC is a AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual preference or disability.
Employment Opportunity: Grants & Foundation Specialist
If you love to write, want to make an impact, enjoy collaborating with a team, but can work independently - this is a position for you! We are looking for someone who is detail-oriented, deadline driven, with good interpersonal skills and a drive to play a key role in growing organization.
Reporting to the Director of Development, The Carroll Center for the Blind seeks a Grant & Foundations Specialist to be responsible for identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of foundation gifts. As a member of a dynamic and growing Development team, this person plays a central role in developing and implementing stewardship plans for the Foundations. The Grants & Foundations Specialist will work closely with the Director of Development, President, Board members, and Sr. Staff to ensure corporate and foundation grant goals are met each fiscal year.
Advocacy Update: Dental Therapists
(Editor's Note: One of the issues the DPC has been concerned about is the lack of affordable and accessible dental services for people with disabilities in the community. Health Care for All Massachusetts has provided most of the advocacy efforts in this arena in Massachusetts. Below is information released by the Pew Charitable Trust.)
Dear Coalition Members,
We are looking forward to working more closely with you as we continue our efforts to get our dental therapy bill, H.4454, across the finish line. We hope to set up a regular call with stakeholders to provide status updates and seek your input and feedback.
Last week ended on a positive note-H.4454 was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Health Care Finance. Congratulations to all of you and thank you for your amazing work and steadfast support! Next stop is the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
As you know, our legislative sponsors and the Massachusetts Dental Society reached an agreement after a year of conversations and negotiations. I have pasted a summary of the key provisions below.
- Authorizes dental therapists (DTs) in the Commonwealth to perform all acts of a public health dental hygienist and all acts in the Commission on Dental Accreditation's (CODA) dental therapy standards. DTs have authority to perform oral evaluations and formulate individualized treatment plans.
- Requires a master's degree for DTs, and that all DTs receive training on treating people with special health needs (people with disabilities, autism, vulnerable elderly, etc.).
- Allows for licensure reciprocity for DTs in other states.
- Requires that at least 50% of DTs' patients be underserved, including people who receive, or are eligible to receive, benefits or services through MassHealth, SSI, SSP, ConnectorCare Plans, IHS, and the VA; people who live in shortage areas; people who reside in homes for veterans or the aging; people who receive dental care services in a public health setting; people who are elderly and have trouble accessing a dentist; people who meet CODA's definition of special needs; and people who are uninsured and living at 305% FPL.
- DTs must first practice under direct supervision for 2 years or 2,500 hours, whichever is longer; then they can practice under general supervision for all procedures in their SOP except:Preparation and placement of direct restoration in primary and permanent teeth;
- Fabrication and placement of single-tooth temporary crowns;
- Preparation and placement of preformed crowns on primary teeth;
- Indirect and direct pulp capping on permanent teeth;
- Indirect pulp capping on primary teeth; and
- Simple extractions of erupted primary teeth.
- Department of Public Health will conduct assessment beginning in 2020 on safety and efficacy of full-scale general supervision for the above procedures and make a recommendation. The State Board of Registration in Dentistry (BORID) must decide on general supervision by end of 2022; if they decide against general supervision, they must re-assess annually until they approve it.
- Creates a new definition of "general supervision" for DTs which allows for DTs to treat a patient from start to finish without a prior exam from a dentist or the physical presence of a dentist. (Allowing DTs to treat a patient without a dentist exam, combined with the authority to perform oral evaluations and formulate treatment plans, ensures that general supervision will be successful in practice once BORID makes its ruling.)
- Requires BORID to establish rules and policies relating to the implementation of dental therapy by January 1, 2020. (DTs from Minnesota could apply for licensure in Massachusetts immediately after BORID establishes these rules and policies.)
- The agreement also improves oral health education for community health workers and information sharing on the importance of oral health screenings for children.
The deadline for the bill to be reported out of Ways & Means and voted out of both chambers is July 31. Our legislative sponsors are feeling very optimistic, as are we. I'm happy to answer any questions regarding the agreement or the upcoming process.
Senior Associate, Pew's Dental Campaign
The Pew Charitable Trusts
901 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004
p: 202-540-6859 | e:
DPC Issue Brief: Oral Health
Did you know?
- People with disabilities and other medical conditions are more likely to have poor oral health.
- People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have more difficulty finding dental providers who are trained to accommodate their unique needs, further limiting their options for care.
- Nearly one-third of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have untreated cavities.
- According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, in 2016:
- 62.3% of adults with disabilities versus 77.4% of adults with no disabilities reported seeing a dentist in the past year.
- 30.5% of adults with disabilities were missing 6 or more teeth, compared to 8.9% of adults with no disabilities.
- In 2014, only 35% of dentists treated a patient on MassHealth.
- The lack of dentists who serve adults with disabilities causes delays in care and more emergency room visits for dental care.
We are pleased to
share this Issue Brief with you
. Please note the document will appear odd unless it is downloaded and opened in Word.
Training Opportunity: Summer ASL Classes in Boston, Lawrence + New Bedford
Why melt outside when you can stay cool and take ASL with us?
Beginning July 9, ASL classes will be offered at DEAF, Inc. in Boston, New Bedford (classes begin July 16th), and Lawrence!
Summer classes meet twice a week for five weeks. Get class information at
Register today for class at
Complete your registration by paying tuition at
If you work or live in Allston/Brighton, you can take ASL Level 1A for free at our Boston office (textbook
not included). Register via the link above or contact
us for more details.
Questions? Contact Luke at 617-254-4041 ext. 102 or
Partner News: Upcoming REquipment Donation Drives - Drop-off Your DME!
Hey folks! Are you spring cleaning? If so, look and see if you have durable medical equipment (DME) that you're no longer using. REquipment is holding s DME Donation Drives in June and we want to see you there!
June 16th, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cambridge facility, 1575 Cambridge Street, Cambridge. This event is co-sponsored by Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and the Cambridge Commission on Persons with Disabilities.
WE ACCEPT: power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, sling lifts, shower chairs and tub seats, standers, adapted strollers, positioning and seating equipment, rollator style walkers, portable ramps and similar items.
WE DO NOT ACCEPT: canes, crutches, walkers, commodes or hospital beds. Equipment must be gently used with no rips, tears or stains.
At REquipment, your DME donation is sanitized, refurbished, it avoids the landfill, and finds a second home with your neighbors who need it. Seniors, adults and children with disabilities, veterans and others acquire equipment to live more independently. If you can't make it to one of our drives or don't have a way to transport your donation, please contact us at 800-261-9841 or complete an online donation form at
. We will arrange pick up for another day.
All donors may enter a drawing to be eligible for a $100 gift card!
Choose to Reuse Your DME!
Partner News: Action Alert
The Bay State Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts, together with the Carroll Center, Perkins, and the Massachusetts Association for the Blind, ask you to support our highest priority -- to properly fund the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.
As background, six members were appointed from the House and the Senate to a "Conference Committee" to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The Conference Committee will report a final compromise bill to the full House and Senate for a vote of acceptance in each branch.
We need you to contact the six conferees listed below and ask them for their support of the MCB 4110-1000 Community Services account. The $1.85 million increase in this line item in the Senate version of the budget is important to preserve MCB's specialized training services and support for independent living for residents of all ages who are legally blind. Among those served would be teens transitioning from school to work, college students, newly blind adults and seniors with age-related vision loss. Because certain federal funding is no longer available to support these programs, additional funding from the Commonwealth is necessary to maintain these services at their current levels.
Here is a list of the conferees along with their email addresses and phone numbers:
Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland
Representative Jeffery Sanchez of Boston
Senator Joan Lovely of Beverly
Senator Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth
Representative Stephen Kulik of Worthington
Representative Todd Smola of Warren
Please contact your legislators by email, telephone, or in-person asking them to encourage the six conferees to support the Senate version of the budget ($6,071,917) for Line Item 4110-1000, MCB's Community Services account.
You can find the contact information for your legislators at
It is vital that you make these outreach efforts this week so that your voice can be heard in time for the legislature to make these important budget decisions.
We appreciate your support and immediate attention to this request. Thank you for your advocacy!
Brian Charlson, President
Bay State Council of the Blind
Calendar: Public Meeting - Accessibility at the MBTA
When: Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Where: 10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor Board Room, Boston, MA
Judge King will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the MBTA's progress towards complying with the MBTA/BCIL settlement agreement and recent improvements to accessibility. Please join us to share any feedback you have.
Click the following link for more details, including how to request an accommodation.
Also, be sure to check out our new "What's Trending in Accessibility" page a few days before the meeting when we will be posting an updated version of our Access Initiatives report:
Hope to see you there!
Assistant General Manager, System-Wide Accessibility
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Ten Park Plaza, Suite 4470
Boston, MA 02116
Calendar: One Care Implementation Council/MassHealth Dual Demo 2.0 Presentation
When: Thursday, June 14, 2018. 2:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Where: One Ashburton Place. 21st Floor, Boston, MA
MassHealth's proposal to CMS for new demonstration authority for One Care and the Senior Care Options (SCO) program. The Council, MassHealth, and CMS look forward to sharing updates on the proposal with stakeholders, and to hearing from stakeholders and members of the public about the proposal.
We welcome attendance from all stakeholders and members of the public with an interest in One Care and SCO. Reasonable accommodations will be made for participants who need assistance. Please send your request for accommodations to Donna Kymalainen at
Please note that One Ashburton Place has now implemented security procedures requiring a photo ID to enter the building. Please allow extra time. The DPC is fighting this exclusionary policy.
Calendar: Deaf Awareness Day at Six Flags
When: Saturday, August 4, 2018
Where: Six Flags New England, 1623 Main St,, Agawam, MA 01001
Come join us for the 23rd Deaf Awareness Day. For more
information please see here
| DPC Needs your Help!!!
The DPC uses the PayPal PayFast system for your tax deductible charitable donations. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use this system because credit card payments are also accepted.
The DPC also uses the Causes program for recurring donations (as well as one time donations). This is a great way to make a smaller monthly donation.
Donate by Mail
Make check or money order payable to:
Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Malden, MA 02148