The continued workforce crisis calls the Commonwealth to use a variety of strategies to address gaps in service delivery. This includes the Dept of Developmental Services (DDS) and its self-direction services’ policies (regulations not yet developed.) DDS staff do encourage participants who are unserved or underserved to use Self-Direction. However, individuals face barriers in its application, barriers which are inconsistent with the “Real Lives” law or Self-Direction statute.
Please reach out to your state senator and state representative to ask them to join us in encouraging DDS to properly implement the Real Lives law now. In the next few weeks we will identify a representative and senator who will lead the effort in each branch.
The request of our legislators: Please influence the administration to properly implement the law, and ensure that self-direction is able to be implemented properly. The present law, passed nearly 10 years ago (chapter 255 of the Acts of 2014) is adequate.
We urge you to share one example of how you’ve faced barriers due to inconsistencies experienced, limitations on your funding, lack of transparency or the lack of assistance. If you do NOT share a story make sure you delete the sentence to the legislators after paragraph 1 of the message highlighted here in italics — Let me share an example of a barrier or problem I have experienced.
For your background these are the key issues for which we need immediate action which we share in the legislative message:
- Ensure a transparent assessment and budget allocation process. For those eligible but not priority 1, use the DDS “Community Based Day Supports” tool (CDAT) with an additional allowance for family support and transportation(use a median sum based on what persons receive in traditional services). For those eligible and priority 1 (includes residential), an additional allowance can be used based on the type of residential support needed (ALTR codes).
- Ensure broad budget authority consistent with the DDS individual support plan (ISP) and end the barriers on using organizations to provide support services of all kinds (in home, physical activity, musical/arts, other pursuits. which are consistent with the individual supports plan (ISP). Set emergency regulations to exempt self-direction options from licensing regulations developed for provider or state run services.
- Authorize and promote use of independent facilitators through policy until regulations are developed for self-direction.
After you send your emails in (they automatically will go to your state senator and state representative), wait a few days to see if you get a response. If you don’t hear from them, we hope you will follow up with a phone call to ask them to join in supporting this effort (jot down the day and time of your email, as when you call, they may ask you that question, and note they will get back to you). Let us know through email – MA21@arcmass.org what their response is -even if it’s no response.
Everyone who participates will get a follow up email from us with the names of the lead state senator and lead state representative once they are confirmed.
Thank you for helping solve the barriers faced by many individuals and families!