In the $56 billion state budget signed by Governor Maura Healey, significant investments in health equity were made through the funding and signing of Operation House Call into law. The Arc of Massachusetts developed this legislation and modeled it after their long-running and successful health equity program of the same name. We are grateful to our champion lawmakers – Representative John Lawn, who filed the amendment that was accepted by the Conference Committee and the Governor, and our Senate sponsor, Senator Jason Lewis. We extend our gratitude to the Governor, Speaker, Senate President, Chairs of Ways and Means Committees, and all other cosponsors in the legislature.
Operation House Call (OHC) teaches young medical professional’s essential skills to enhance the health care of persons with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The Arc of Massachusetts offers OHC families, parents, and individual self-advocates as educators in a healthcare field that seldom focuses on more than making a diagnosis. It is a rare and important training opportunity. Our community faces significant health disparities, and they are worse for those with intersecting marginalized identities.
Research shows that 85% of doctors feel that people with disabilities have poor quality of life. Only 40% of doctors feel comfortable treating these patients because of lack of training. Much of these dire statistics are due to the fact that medical professionals currently do not receive adequate training regarding the care of patients with autism or IDD. The lack of provider education and disability awareness is one of the greatest barriers to care faced by this population. The Arc’s Operation House Call will addresses these and other barriers to care.
Operation House Call has been a popular and valued course at Boston University School of Medicine, Tufts School of Medicine, Simmons School of Health Sciences, Yale School of Nursing, UMass Chan Medical School, UMass Graduate School of Nursing, and Harvard Medical School, totaling four medical schools and three graduate nursing schools.
As now written into law, Operation House Call will sustain and grow its unique programming at our medical and nursing schools and begin to grow by adding dental schools, more graduate nursing schools, and other allied health professional university programs in Massachusetts.
Of Operation House Call’s importance, Dr. Brian Skotko, Director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, observed, “Operation House Call, when the history books are written, is part of [the disability] revolution. I’m convinced the best is yet to come.”
About The Arc of Massachusetts
For 70 years, The Arc of Massachusetts has been working to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, and their families. We fulfill this through advocacy for community supports and services that foster social inclusion, self-determination, and equity across all aspects of society. To learn more, visit www.arcmass.org, follow @TheArcofMass on Twitter, or join our Facebook community.