S1179 / H1932 passed through the Joint Committee on Public Health and is on its way! We have had great support this session for the medical and health professional training bill focusing in on the unique health care needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism. This legislation provides a certification through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts using the Operation House Call training model. Thank you to our dedicated leaders at the state house, Senator Jason Lewis, Senator Barbara L’Italien, and Rep Carolyn Dykema for their insights and collaboration. The Arc is thankful for the support of our constituents, the Operation House Call families across Massachusetts and our Government Affairs Committee.
The Conference Committee, chaired by Rep. Brian Dempsey and Senator Karen Spilka, released a very positive report last night, July 7, 2015. Thank you to all conferees. As we went into Conference Committee we were concerned about potential shortfalls entering this fiscal year (which started on July 1). We hope and trust that the full legislature will approve the budget and that Gov. Baker will not veto any of our line items.
The Senate budget included several high points for the disability community — it addresses the Family Support reduction originally in House One with funding that restores proposed cut in House 1 and adds, $1.45 Million for needed services; an additional $500,000 above House 1 for Turning 22, additional dollars for Children’s Autism Waiver Services and safeguards AFC caregiver respite for 2016 among other things (EI-$1 Mil. shortfall fixed, etc.)