Message From the President & CEO
Mass Health is seeking feedback about a new Federal Demonstration Waiver to sustain Medicaid services in Massachusetts. The cost of services is extremely high & difficult to maintain over time. The current Federal Medicaid Waiver ends on July 1st, 2017. Without rewriting the waiver, Mass Health will lose over one billion Federal dollars. Therefore, Mass Health is in the process of rewriting their waiver for health care & behavioral health care.
This Waiver is for people who are only on Medicaid. Mass Health is selecting ACOs & MCOs, managed health care organizations, to manage all health care & behavioral health care for people on Medicaid. The MCO is the payor of bills & the ACO, manages the health care coordination of services. They both are the decision makers of the costs & the services provided. One major issue is the high cost of service in the use of Emergency Rooms. It is projected that by changing from a fee for service method, that’s used now, to a Care Coordination method, there will be greater savings generated along with a better managed system of care & coordination of services.
Individuals on Medicaid will have a choice as to which PCP they select, but PCPs will be under one ACO network & our Individuals will have to remain within a specific network of specialists & hospitals.
Later down the road, our Life Skills Day Habilitation program will come under this system of care. Other recommendations include having outside assessments being conducted which are conflict of interest free.
Residential & Day Supports & Services are excluded at this time if an individual is on the DDS Medicaid Waiver.
WCI is having a Family Forum in September to address this & other issues regarding the changes occurring in Mass Health. Please join us, learn about the future of services and look for the WCI Mass Health “Save the Date” announcement coming soon. You won’t want to miss it.
Northeastern University’s ASL Immersion Summer Symposium – by Paul Arrighi Jr.
I recently had the pleasure of taking part in Northeastern University’s American Sign Language (ASL) Immersion Symposium, a week-long experience, led by Deaf instructors, designed to immerse beginner-to-intermediate ASL students in an ASL-only environment. Joined by two of my WCI colleagues, Aneta Hazen and Sally Roach, this fantastic experience allowed us the opportunity to interact with people from all over the country, all of whom shared two common goals – the desire to build upon their sign language skills and further their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Deaf culture.
At the start of the program, participants were assessed and placed into 3 groups based on skill level. Then, throughout the week, each group spent considerable time each day improving their ASL skills by attending a sequence of skill appropriate classes, viewing presentations by a variety of Deaf professionals, and interacting with the local Deaf community. On the final day of the program, the participants of all 3 groups worked together to demonstrate their improved ASL skills, performing several well-known scenes from a number of animated movies.
During my time immersed in ASL at Northeastern, I was asked often about why I was interested in improving my signing. This, of course, lead to a lot of discussion about WCI and our program’s work to support Deaf individuals at home, work, and in the community. As I did my best to explain my role as Assistant Clinical Director at WCI using ASL, the response from others was resoundingly similar – Wow! You get to work with Deaf people every day? I wish I had your job! This dialogue served as a reminder of just how fortunate I am to work with so many amazing people at Rumford Ave.’s Day Program, in addition to residences such as Huntington St. To all the staff and individuals who continue to encourage and support my learning of ASL – thank you! I have much more to learn, but I look forward to the many more years of daily practice I’ll enjoy at WCI.
WCI’s New Support Challenge: Shared Living! – by Joe Donati
WCI is always on the lookout to be able to provide the best possible supports in the best possible ways. With that drive in our hearts, WCI became authorized to provide Shared Living as a supports model. It truly is my pleasure to announce that WCI now has its first two placements as of June 30th. Paula Dunn-Meadows has been instrumental in helping WCI to start this program and has made it a mission to make the right “fits”. In both of the situations, the Individuals moving to Shared Living were able to move in with people they have known for years. People who have had the Individuals visit their homes, shared holidays, shared experiences, and shared their lives. It was with great excitement that both moved out of their group homes, where they both have lived for many years. One lived in their home for 11 years and the other was almost 17 years.
The Shared Living Providers had the same look and feel of excitement to be able to offer up their homes and lives to the Individuals. In both situations, the Shared Living Providers already had vacations planned for themselves and the Individual moving in well before their furniture even arrived. WCI is excited to watch this service model grow and thrilled that people are eager to become providers. We look forward to sharing the wonderful experiences with everyone and we are very grateful to Paula and all that have assisted to make this goal a reality.
Brand New Stars at WCI!
The Employee Recognition Committee recognized three Brand New Stars at WCI. The Brand New Star Award is given to recently hired employees who have reached above and beyond their required job duties since their very first day. These new employees shine with enthusiasm, dedication, and the willingness to accept responsibility. The Employees recognized with this award were Erich Shafer, Paul Arrighi and Hassan Mayambala. Erich and Paul were treated to cupcakes and delicious vegan truffles at Rumford Ave. Hassan was recognized at Hammond Street with his coworkers and the Individuals he supports. The next category for recognition will be the Steady Eddy Award.
Each year for the past three years, Social Supports Director Cutie King holds a fundraiser at WCI’s Main Office in order to raise money for school supplies for school age children in Jamaica. It was held on June 22 this year. Anyone can donate an amount of their choosing. A luncheon of homemade food & a raffle drawing are included in the event. This year $822.00 was raised to purchase school supplies which will help children served by the organization, and among the items raffled off were a night at Best Western and dinner for 2 at Sichuan Garden. We’re already looking forward to next year’s fundraiser! Thank you Cutie, Trenita, daughter & Adrian, grandson for all of your hard work in putting on this event for such a worthy cause.
Happy Birthday, Ray!
On July 29th, Ray P. celebrated his 81st birthday. Ray hosted a party at his apartment with his wife Nancy, and many good friends. We enjoyed a nice dinner, and of course birthday cake! Ray and Nancy also recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. Congratulations, Ray and Nancy!
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