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Monday, September 15, 2014
Sponsorship Opportunities available ~ contact Brenda Linden
Day Habilitation and Adult Foster Care are at risk Because of large mounting deficits in MassHealth’s (Medicaid) budget, the Day Habilitation and Adult Foster Care programs are at risk. Day Hab and Adult foster Care are facing dramatic, concerning cuts of 3.7% ($5 million in 2012) and 6.2% ($4 million in 2012) respectively. These cuts will go into effect in March and we need to take action. Please reach out to the administration and ask them to not implement these reductions. This message will reach the following offices: Gov. Patrick, Secretary Bigby, MassHealth Director Dougherty and Commissioner Morales of Health Care Finance & Policy. You can make this message more personal by adding a few sentences. It will also increase the email’s impact. But the main thing is to act if you want to protect these services. Take Action!
The South Shore Networking Professionals is a group of business men & women who own or are associated with small and medium size companies. They gather once a month, at Papa Razzi in Hanover from 5:30pm to 8pm. This month, the event will be held on Tuesday, February 15th. This group was started as a way for local business people to meet in a casual setting, over a few appetizers and discuss business and make contacts. It is intended to be very relaxed. All attendees are encouraged to bring a friend or colleague. This month, group organizers have decided to take a different approach to their group. Typically, admission to one of their events costs attendees $5. This nominal cost goes to cover the cost of the food for the group and other incidentals. Beginning this month, the admission cost will increase to only $10 per person. Why the increase in cost you might ask? Organizers have decided to direct the additional $5 per person to benefit The Arc of the South Shore! We would like to thank the South Shore Networking Professionals for their support and invite you to attend, as it is open networking event and no formal membership is required! For more information, visit: http://southshorenetworkingprofessionals.eventbrite.com/
The mission of The South Shore Networking Professionals is to help each other gain business and contacts through effective and relaxed networking in a casual environment.
Mass Health Day Hab Cuts Endanger Health and Safety Mass Health Proposes Cutting Day Hab Program that helps people with challenging disabilities function in the community. Leaders of the Massachusetts Mass Health (Medicaid) program are leading an effort this month that seeks to trim $5 million from the very program that the State is turning to in its own effort to reduce the census (and cost) of state institutions. The day habilitation program overwhelmingly serves people with disabilities who have a variety of medical and behavioral challenges that limit their ability to be employed in a DDS program or be competitively employed in the community earning an income. Over the last several years, the Commonwealth has turned to Day Habilitation programs to provide the day activity for state owned and operated group homes, as well as hundreds upon hundreds of people with disabilities who have moved from state institutions into community settings. In fact, the Administration’s Community First, Institutional Closure and Olmstead Plans make heavy use of Day Habilitation services by moving former residents of Fernald and other closing state institutions into state owned and operated group homes and private provider day habilitation programs for non-residential supports and services (the state doesn’t operate similar day activity programs). The proposed Mass Health Day Hab cuts means that there will be less staff on hand to serve many frail individuals who have a variety of challenging health concerns, as well as cognitive impairments. The participants in these programs are among the state’s most vulnerable and fragile citizens, including people with disabilities who utilize molded wheelchairs, feeding tubes, and may have challenging health and incontinence issues that require individual assistance. Since the largest part of the operation of these programs is staffing, reduced funding will make it challenging to deliver all needed therapies and assistance. Mass Health leaders have proposed to relax day habilitation regulations to achieve cost savings that will reduce the hardship on community day hab programs. ADDP members are not convinced that so-called relaxing of regulations is wise for such a fragile population or fiscally prudent. ADDP has written to Mass Health and requested that the department share it’s analysis (if one exists) regarding how such relaxation would reduce cost or better serve day hab participants. Further complicating the funding for day hab programs is the impact of the Commonwealth’s ongoing series of blizzards. Since day hab programs are not paid on snow days, many programs are rapidly losing operating capital needed to maintain worker salaries and benefits. In fact, many providers report that the fiscal loss from recent storms either match or exceed Mass Health’s proposed cuts in FY 11. ADDP has written to the Secretary of EOHHS, Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, who oversees Mass Health and asked her to reconsider; and pull from consideration Mass Health Day Hab cuts for the current year. The letter to Secretary Bigby follows:
February 3, 2011
JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary
Executive Office of Health & Human Services
One Ashburton Place
As we return to work from one more snow day, ADDP would like to formally request that Mass Health withdraw its request to institute a Day Hab rate reduction in the remaining months of the FY 11 budget.
As you well know, Day Habilitation programs are not reimbursed on snow days.
As a result of the frequency of snow days this fiscal year, many day habilitation programs have already experienced fiscal losses that are equal to or exceed the amount that is projected to be taken from their program should the FY 11 DH rate cut go into effect on March 15 (pending outcome of the rate hearing). ADDP is requesting that all Day Hab providers track and report their weather related losses. When these losses are compounded together, it places many day habilitation programs in a fiscally precarious position. If the reason for implementing a rate cut as of March 15, 2011, is to reduce Medicaid expenditures then that goal has already been achieved due to the decline in Medicaid billing.
By withdrawing the FY 11 rate reduction for Day Habilitation programs, Mass Health/EOHHS can help preserve the fiscal integrity of these programs which are fragile at best. We respectfully ask you not to push ahead with a FY’11 rate cut due to the losses Day Hab providers are already experiencing.
We do understand that you may wish to proceed with the FY 12 rate cut, pending outcome of the rate hearing; however we would request you delay the February 23-24 hearing of this request to spring, pending further action in the legislature on House One and the Mass Health budget.
ADDP would prefer to place all of our energies in working in a collegial manner to support the Governor’s program and appropriations for the department, rather than opposing your efforts before DHCFP and subsequently the legislature.
May we please schedule a meeting or phone call to discuss this request?
President & CEO, ADDP
The state budget deficit has translated into a large cut of $14 Million in Family Support along with cuts in MassHealth in day habilitation, adult foster care and elsewhere. These cuts will remain if we don’t convince our friends in the legislature to address them. State Revenue has risen over the past few months in Massachusetts and may continue to rise so we need to convince our legislators that the Family Support Cut and other cuts can be restored. The Governor has said he will support restoration if revenue is available. Of course we need to restore this cut of 32% in Family Support as it will be devastating to many. Please contact your legislator. Take Action!
After weeks of calls, e-mails and visits to State legislators by individuals with disabilities, their families, and disability rights advocates, the State Supplemental Budget Bill has cleared the final hurdle in the path to becoming law! In an informal session this afternoon, state representatives passed a Senate amendment to the bill, clearing the way for the legislation to move to the Governor’s desk for signature. The bill revises the state budget to allow for the expenditure of $420 million of FMAP funds appropriated to Massachusetts by Congress last summer. The legislature approved the bill after citizens with disabilities, their families. Thanks to the efforts of many, the federal funds will restore a significant portion of the cuts made to the state budget in June, when Congressional passage of FMAP appropriations was in doubt.
The summer is waning quickly. Yet many things are happening and in action here at the national office. You may have seen the stream of announcements about The Arc FINDS (Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports) Survey that was launched by the national office in late July. This is a free, online survey designed to tap into the knowledge and perspectives of individuals and families within the intellectual and developmental community – our community – to gain a current understanding on a host of lifespan issues that are being faced now and will be faced in the future. We have had an amazing response to date – by the end of the day, we will have received more than 2,600 hundred responses from self advocates and families. We are being flooded by those who wish to share their opinions. National organizations representing the DD Councils (NACDD), the Protection and Advocacy Centers(NDRN), Independent Living Centers (NCIL), University Centers on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (AUCD), and Self Advocates (SABE and ASAN) have been circulating the press announcements of the FINDS Survey to their membership, and encouraging their participation. Others such as the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), the National Down Syndrome Congress, Best Buddies, the National Military Family Association, and the Office on Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) have also engaged their memberships. It’s going viral through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and more and more networks are engaging every day. BUT – we need to do more. I call upon you – every Chapter of The Arc – to help promote this to your key memberships and networks. We need at least 10,000 people to participate in this effort. There are approximately 4.7 million individuals living with I/DD in the United States, and most of them have families, and their voices need to be heard on issues such as what they want for their future. This is where your expertise and connections and respected positions in communities across this country comes into play. We need your help to get more people to engage. This survey has every chance of being the largest single data collection effort specifically for the I/DD community. The findings will help us tell the government what is needed on a national scope, and Chapters will benefit greatly from targeted trending perspectives of your most important stakeholders. So please, send the brief message below along to your networks – including your Board, volunteers, families, self advocates, local businesses and your local newspapers – to get the word out. Let’s work together to make this successful effort an incredible effort. TAKE ONE AND PASS ALONG – THE ARC FINDS SURVEY The Arc seeks individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families or caregivers to participate in a national disability needs survey. The Arc FINDS (Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports) is a free, online survey designed to tap into the knowledge and perspectives of individuals and families within the I/DD community, including self-advocates on different issues across the life span. So far, thousands of people have taken the survey; more participants are being sought as every opinion will count. Results will provide greater understanding about what services are being received, where gaps exist, and what new supports may be needed from the individual and family perspective. To access the online survey, go to: http://www.thearc.org and link to the survey from the home page – and pass the word along to others. Take one and pass along!” If you have questions, let me know, and I thank you in advance for your important role in this initiative. Warm regards, Ann Cameron Ann Cameron Caldwell, Ph.D. Chief Research and Innovations Officer email@example.com The Arc of the United States 1660 L Street, NW, Suite 301 Washington, DC 20036 p. 202.534.3700 | f. 202.534.3731 www.thearc.org
After months of debate, thousands of email pleadings, letters and phone calls, both houses of Congress have now passed the six month FMAP extension. Following up on the Senate August 4th passage of the extension, the House gave its approval by a 247-161 vote at 3:26 p.m., this afternoon. The extension will grant an additional $16 Billion to states whose revenue receipts have been devastated by the Great Recession that began in October of 2008 during the final months of the Bush Administration. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Massachusetts will receive $506 million in extended FMAP funds. The extended funds will be for January 2011 to June 2011. Due to the late timing of the FMAP passage, Governor Deval Patrick vetoed over $400 million in FY 11 expenditures that had been funded by expected revenue from the original $750 million FMAP package. There remains some disagreement among state leaders regarding how the incoming FMAP revenue will be distributed to state programs. Though regarded as a political statement and not a strong position, some Massachusetts GOP legislators have suggested that the State not accept or allocate the six month extension. Both the Governor and the legislative leadership have expressed gratitude to Members of Congress for the six month extension, yet have not completely signaled how the funds will be distributed. With the Governor’s veto of programs that were partially funded by the original expected $750 million FMAP package, there is no automatic provision for the incoming $506 million to be restored to those individual accounts, thus the Governor and Legislature will need to come to an agreement on how these funds will be distributed. Options could include a special session of the legislature, supplemental budgets adopted early next year or adoption through informal sessions (though unlikely since one member could object). There also may be some degree of executive authority in the receipt of the funds with regard to the additional education dollars that will were part of the Congressional action. ADDP & The Arc will be urging state decision makers to:
- Preserve the use of FMAP (extended Medicaid) first and foremost for health and human service programs.
- Fund the Governor’s DDS FY 2011 errata budget for Residential Services to ensure that people with developmental disabilities do not lose their homes.
- Preserve human service workforce jobs.