October Reminds Us Our Work is Far from Done!

In November 2013, the Massachusetts “Blueprint for Success” was released. The plan changed day and employment services for our constituents served by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The state moved away from sheltered work and segregated settings to more individualized employment and community-based day support for those who weren’t going to be able to work full-time independently or with intermittent assistance.

Sometimes It’s Just Simple

Why is The Arc so strongly behind S. 1169, a bill that would allow dental therapists to operate quasi-independently in our Commonwealth? The reasons are simple:
  • Because of the lack of dentists who serve adults with disabilities (intellectual, developmental, autism, etc.); we hear stories about long delays in dental care which result in emergency room visits and extractions.
  • Because even fewer dentists are available for those on MassHealth – imagine the impact not only on our constituents but on all families who rely on MassHealth dental coverage for their children and themselves.
  • Because prevention and ongoing monitoring are neglected.
  • Because it’s so bad that the state has a contract with Tufts Dental Clinic (thank you, Tufts!) to address the needs of thousands of our constituents. We may always need that additional support, but it will never be adequate to meet the needs of all our constituents, who should have local options regardless.

Maura Sullivan testifying.

This is a national problem –  see this 2016 NPR story. Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs, has been working with the Pew Foundation, Senator Harriette Chandler, and others to pass S. 1169. This bill would develop a new category of dental therapists who would be quasi-independent under general supervision. The bill also requires their training to include working with our constituents. The Arc moved that clause forward. Continue reading

The Arc of Massachusetts Celebrates New Statewide Headquarters

It was a beautiful day for celebrating the opening of The Arc of Massachusetts new statewide headquarters. More than 80 donors, family, and friends, as well as representatives of our chapters and human service agencies, joined us to cut the ceremonial ribbon and celebrate the milestone. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy spoke about the impact that The Arc has had locally and across the state. After the speaking program and ribbon cutting, guests were invited in for tours and refreshments. Continue reading