Susan's Blog

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fighting for the Most Vulnerable

It seems like a wonderful gift to those of us celebrating “Spread the Word to End the R-Word” Day that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has restored residential services for 315 people under the aegis of the Department of Developmental Services (formerly known as the Department of Mental Retardation). DDS is the agency that Nat falls under. Here is the message I received from the ARC of Massachusetts. Note that this excellent development was made possible by federal funds — increased funding to Medicaid under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Yay, Obama! Yay, Deval Patrick, and Yay, Massachusetts!!! And: let’s hope that South Carolina can do the same!

315 will have essential residential services spared

Fulfilling his promise to restore critical disability services if additional funds became available, Governor Deval Patrick today recommended restoring $21 million to the Department of Developmental Services Residential Budget.

Using his errata budget amendment authority, the Governor’s move will save over 300 people who would have lost residential services under his original House 2 proposal.
The Governor has been able to make this recommendation (and other non-DDS restorations) because of additional federal revenue made available from increased Medicaid reimbursement included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a settlement related to the so-called “clawback” decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’. That decision relates to Medicare expenses associated with the federal government’s assumption of drug costs for Medicare and Medicaid-eligible residents eligible.

Governor Patrick announced the decision in a phone call this afternoon to ADDP President & CEO Gary Blumenthal.

Blumenthal and The Arc of Massachusetts Executive Leo Sarkissian had been working for several weeks with the Administration on understanding the impact of the proposed FY 11 and annualized FY 10 9c residential cuts.

Sarkissian noted: “Throughout the recession, Governor Patrick has kept the needs of people with disabilities as a top priority for the Commonwealth. He is the only Chief Executive who has shown the willingness to understand the vulnerabilities of the people we serve and their capacity to serve their community.”

Blumenthal stated: “Once again, Governor Patrick has stepped in to make a principled and compassionate decision saving the most vulnerable citizens of the State from losing their homes.”

The Governor’s restoration of the Residential Services Account now shifts the effort of ADDP and The Arc to addressing Day & Employment cuts and Family Support reductions. Mass Families Organizing for Change, DDS Citizens Advisory Boards and other groups were part of this collaboration as well.

This development is one more positive development in the Governor’s support of developmental disability programs this fall and winter including:
October 2009—Governor Patrick protected the bulk of DDS programs from 9C FY 2010 cuts.
November 2009—Governor Patrick reversed a Mass Health decision that would have cut day habilitation programs by 23% and eliminated over $100 million from Mass Health funded programs.
March 2010—Governor Patrick restored $16 million to Residential Services Accounts preventing 230 people with developmental disabilities from losing their residential services.
The Arc and ADDP wish to thank the Governor, EOHHS Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, A&F; Secretary Jay Gonzalez and DDS Commissioner Elin Howe (and their respective staff members) for their collaboration in making this restoration possible. In addition, we are in debt to the hundreds of ADDP and Arc of Massachusetts supporters who called the Governor and legislators to express concern regarding the need to restore funding to the DDS line items.

The budget battle is a long distance marathon, and much work remains.

The Arc and ADDP are pleased with the outpouring of support we have been receiving from individual legislators who continue to demonstrate their support of our community.

The Patrick Administration has given disability advocates solid momentum to build upon with the leaders, and the rank and file of the House and Senate.

Please join us in thanking the Governor by leaving a message at his office at 617-725-4000.


This last possible budget cute worked out for the best. The past year had so many "the moneys gone, the moneys not gone" incidents that it's hard to keep peoples interest up and keep them engaged in the process. Our program has done well with the phone calls, emails, letters, and visits to the State House. Too many more threats to eliminate funding and our collective short attention span might not make it. There is such disparity between funding for children and funding for adults. I understand the technicalities, but it is not fair. The needs are just as high and in order to continue to build on the skills individuals learn as children, the funding has to be in place.

— added by Michele on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 5:40 am

How wonderful!

— added by Brenda on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm

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