FROM: Gerry Morrissey
DATE: June 28, 2007
RE: Update 153
Elin Howe is next DMR Commissioner
Elin Howe will begin serving as the DMR Commissioner on July 1, 2007. Elin has more than 35 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities, including four years as Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities where she was responsible for policy development, planning, financing, regulating, managing and providing services to more than 75,000 people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Since 2003, Elin has served as Vice President of Consulting Services at the Columbus Organization, which helps states and private agencies provide the highest level of services to people with developmental disabilities. The organization specializes in offering a full range of services to and both state and private sector community service organizations. In addition, Elin has worked extensively with parents, consumer and advocacy groups, private sector providers, organized labor and in legislative relations. On June 14th and 15th, Gerry Morrissey hosted meetings where Elin had the opportunity to meet with senior staff and to get to know DMR better. Please join us in welcoming Elin Howe to DMR and wishing her the very best as our new Commissioner.
Commissioner Morrissey Receives NAPSA Collaboration Award
The National Adult Protective Services Association has awarded the 2007 NAPSA Collaboration Award to DMR Commissioner Gerry Morrissey for his vision and leadership in building in Massachusetts the interagency collaboration and multidisciplinary approach to reporting and investigating abuse and crimes against victims with disabilities. Through this collaboration, the Offices of the District Attorney, the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, state and local police, Massachusetts District Attorney's Association, Department of Mental Retardation, Department of Mental Health, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, Department of Public Health's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and others are working together to enhance protection for abuse victims with disabilities.
2007 Performance Recognition Winners
The Department is pleased to announce the 2007 recipients of the Performance Recognition Program Citation for Outstanding Performance Award. The Performance Recognition Program recognizes state employees who have provided exemplary and outstanding service to the Commonwealth over the past year.
Abbie E. Miller-LaFrancesca - Deputy Budget Director, Central Office
Throughout the past fiscal year, Abbie has worked closely with the regions and senior staff to ensure that DMR's $300 million payroll account is balanced at the end of the fiscal year. She has created her own tracking method, spreadsheets, and reports to provide the monthly payroll projections DMR senior staff needs to monitor and manage the account. Her attention to detail, commitment and hard work has enabled DMR to be successful in balancing the payroll at the end of the fiscal year.
Allegra E. Munson - Assistant General Counsel, Southeast Region
Allegra is a seasoned attorney and tremendous resource with a wealth of knowledge that she willingly and eagerly shares with the other DMR attorneys and DMR staff. When asked for advice, Allegra will take the time to turn it into a training experience. Allegra's words and actions speak volumes about her commitment to individuals supported by DMR. She is vigilant and dogged in assuring that consumers get every cent due them under wills and trusts. And, she takes the time to attend the bean suppers, dances and fundraisers at the Wrentham Development Center and spends personal time visiting with consumers when asked.
Greg Calloway, Tony Brooks, James McLoyd and Bobby MacDonald - MRW I, Commonwealth Program, Commonwealth Community Services
Greg, Tony, James and Bobby demonstrated exception dedication and support to George T. through his terminal illness and death. They are the support staff to George in his Northampton home. During the Christmas holidays, Greg, Tony, James and Bobby stayed with George at his Boston hospitalafter he underwent a difficult medical procedure. Through their advocacy, George was able to leave his hospital early and complete his recuperation at home. Greg, Tony, James and Bobby were strong, committed and caring advocates for George.
Carol Boushell - Program Manager, Southeastern Residential Services
Carol is passionate about her work. She has worked for the Department for more than 31 years. As program manager, Carol is responsible for helping with the overall operation and management of 60 homes in the Southeast Region and for ensuring quality services and supports for the 270 individuals who live in those homes. Through her leadership, Carol has provided guidance to DMR managers and supervisors in resolving conflicts, overcoming obstacles and getting the work done. She was key in the successful move of the program's administrative offices this year. Carol has also found time to volunteer and work with consumers, including a woman in one of the homes who was going through a difficult period in her life.
Christine E. Crowley - Occupational Therapist, Northeast Region
Christine has worked for DMR as an occupational therapist for 9 years in the Northeast Region's Occupational Therapy Department. She is a dedicated therapist who quickly assesses any situation and works effectively to bring the best supports possible to individuals with disabilities. Christine's introduction of Reiki therapy has been hit with the consumers who previously had not enjoyed much needed range of motion exercises. Many now want Christine to work with their limbs more by offering their hands, arms and legs to her. Christine is definitely a "go to" person who will cheerfully say "yes" and "bring it on" attitude when asked to take on a special project or do extra clinical work.
Colleen Richard - Recreational Therapist, Templeton Developmental Center
Colleen understands the needs of the individuals at Templeton for creative expression. On her own, Colleen developed and implemented creative therapeutic leisure programs: Beech Club Wednesday sessions, "New Beginnings," "Art and Sensory Program," and "Artistic Self Expression." These programs promote self expression and autonomy, and build coping skills for the participants. Their art work have been exhibited at the DMR Conference in Worcester, the annual Monson Developmental Center Craft Fair, the annual Templeton Ferncol Fair and other venues.
Deb Grzywacz, Bertha Young, Nancy Weston, Paul Procaccini, Kim Rivera, Kathleen Beltramello, Art Caponi, Andrea Maislen, Lynda Lewis, Gail Sheehan, Donald Harwick, Deborah Leonard, Mike Bradley, Marilyn O'Day, Damien Arthur, Kitty Small and Mark Ostrowsky - DMR Nursing Home Project Team
The Nursing Home Project Team has worked tirelessly to ensure that individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities are placed in a nursing home only when necessary and only for as long as is necessary. Through implementing a more rigorous screening, tracking and monitoring process, the Team has helped our Area Offices to divert hundreds from nursing home admissions, reduce the nursing home stays of many admissions to under 90 days, and place more than 800 nursing home residents in the community. The Team members have been relentless in focusing on the tasks needed to create positive outcomes for these individuals.
Douglas W. McCallum - Director of Family Support and Children's Services
Doug has consistently demonstrated leadership in providing support to families from diverse backgrounds, recognizing the need for and building capacity for families around leadership skills, and their need for ready access to information and resources. He took the lead in securing the federal SC@N 360 grant to develop a "one stop family center" in Springfield . The grandparents' support group that Doug helped establish is entering its 10th year. He was a catalyst for creating a multi-cultural translation center to help ensure the availability of interpreters, and translated materials. Doug is a bridge-builder who helped develop partnerships and contractual relationships with a number of multi-cultural and faith based community organizations. His "can do" attitude and sense of humor allow him to connect and engage families in innovative and progressive ways that empower them to do what they can and get what they need.
Helen P. Shea - Registered Nurse, Glavin Regional Center
Helen has been a RN for 30 years, 17 at the Glavin Regional Center . She is a person with a big heart and a lot of energy to make "things happen." Helen does not hesitate to open her home, her purse, her heart and arms when she provides healthcare to the Glavin residents. She has welcomed into her home visiting families of Glavin residents from out of town stay at her home and have served as their local tour guide as well. She often brings birthday gifts to and takes coffee breaks with the Glavin residents and always has a big smile and hug for a co-worker. Helen is a well respected nursing professional who happens to be a caring and generous person as well.
Joanne M. Lynch - Registered Nurse IV, Taunton/Attleboro Area Office
Joanne was instrumental in developing and implementing an area office protocol for tracking hospitalized DMR consumers. This protocol has resulted in improved communication within the area office and more productive relationships with treating medical professionals and hospitals. Joanne has demonstrated that it is possible to be many things to many people. Her visits to various programs have helped providers to better address consumer medical needs. Her leadership as chair of the area office Health Care Committee has helped promote greater understanding and cooperation among and between DMR and the provider agencies and their nursing staff.
Kathy Adam - RN IV, North Shore Area Office
Kathy's dedication, compassion, professionalism and tireless work ethic have made her an invaluable member of the area office team and helped build exceptional relationships with the community. The local medical community relies on Kathy's extensive knowledge when treating DMR consumers. She is recognized at the local hospitals, emergency rooms, doctor's offices, walk in clinics, shelters and hospice care. Kathy also possesses the wonderful quality for identifying and connecting with the DMR consumers and their families. She is an invaluable resource for Department, the individuals we serve, and their families. Recently, Kathy spent many hours, day and night, to provide advocacy for and support to a family and their young dying family member that enabled that young individual to leave the hospital and return to her family.
Nadia Dilibero - Service Coordinator Supervisor, Lowell Area Office
The Lowell Area Office recognized that Christmas can be a stressful time for families that have children with disabilities. Not only did Nadia suggest that the office sponsor a family and buy presents and clothing items, she also connected with the "Lowell WISH Project." Nadia spent countless hours after work during a busy holiday season to make this project a success. She rallied the office to help wrap and deliver gifts, making everyone share in the joy of giving. Her efforts provided gifts to each member of 15 families from the greater Lowell area.
Nicholas J. D'Aluisio - Facility Director, Wrentham Developmental Center
Nick has been in the human services field for more than 47 years and has served as the facility director of the Wrentham Developmental Center for over 28 years. Nick has achieved unprecedented success as a Facility Director with his unique blend of personal and professional qualities. Nick is a dedicated and tenacious advocate for the Wrentham residents. He has a positive attitude, motivates, encourages, and brings the best out of the Wrentham staff. He has remarkable relationships with families and guardians and enjoys a harmonious, respectful and sustained connection with the Wrentham parent organization. He has represented the facilities on various agency wide initiatives, most recently the statewide HCSIS Implementation Team. Nick is always available, always responsive, and is ever "in touch" with the pulse of Wrentham and DMR.
Patricia A. Montanaro - Service Coordinator Supervisor, Newton/South Norfolk Area Office
Patty has worked tirelessly to support the 19 service coordinators in the Newton/South Norfolk Area Office. She is always available to answer questions (clinical and technical), help solve problems, promptly return phone calls and volunteer to provide coverage when needed. Pat has an open door policy which she graciously extends to everyone who works in the office. In addition, she frequently attends work groups and committees to help further the work of the Department. As a result of her support of the service coordinators, Pat has made a positive impact on the lives of the individuals served by the Department.
Raylene Carleton-Wood - Residential Supervisor I, Northeast Residential Services
Raylene's efforts and work in re-energizing staff into a highly motivated, energetic and committed team have yielded positive outcomes for the women supported by that team. She has maintained a positive and productive relationship with families during turbulent times and enabled the individuals served to achieve goals identified but unattainable in the past. Raylene's dedication has been evident on the many occasions when she cancelled or made alternate plans in her personal life in order to respond to individual's personal requests, to assist staff that needed schedule changes or to respond to family requests. Her leadership style promotes all of what Northeast Residential Services and DMR stand for.
Renae Jenkins - Program Coordinator II, Office of Finance and Budget
Over the past year, Renae has gone over and beyond her job duties. She has been instrumental in developing requirements for and implementation of DMRIS; she has performed Help Desk and troubleshooting duties for eSDR; she has worked with EHS and the Central Office contract unit on the development of EIM; she has represented DMR in revenue related meetings; and, she has performed the essential analysis of revenue, attendance and contract related data for quality assurance of revenue claiming and billing. Renae is a modest and humble person who is extremely hard working and superb at her job.
Rosemary A. Bevins - Deputy Facility Director, Hogan Regional Center
Rosemary is one of our "unsung heroes." Her leadership abilities are reflected by the team that surrounds her, her belief in people with disabilities and her advocacy, direction and knowledge that enables in them to be the best that they can be. Through her efforts in working with area office and NRS staff, individuals in crises are provided a stable environment at Hogan and helped in transitioning back to the community with on-going support and resources to ensure success. There are many examples of individuals whose dreams of living and remaining in the community are realized because of Rosemary's commitment and dedication in supporting individuals with disabilities. This year, Rosemary is also DMR's nominee for the Manual Carbello Award for Excellence in Public Service.
Ruth E. Wright - MRW I, Fernald Developmental Center
Ruth has worked at Fernald since 1991 and currently works the 11 pm to 7 am shift at Cottage 9. It is rare, but staff from all three shifts speaks very highly of Ruth and the outstanding work she does. She is the total package in how interactions with the Fernald residents and her colleagues in the area of respect, dignity, teaching and giving that little bit extra when needed. She is always willing to help even when her shift is over. Ruth keeps Cottage 9 spotless and she is known to take consumer clothing home to mend or shorten. Ruth is an exceptional and caring person who has helped make a positive difference in the lives of the Cottage 9 residents.
Sharon F. Cormier- Residential Supervisor, Pioneer Valley Homes, Commonwealth Community Services
Sharon successfully manages a home of eight individuals. Under her leadership and with her "can do" attitude, the home has earned a reputation for providing outstanding health care while at the same time promoting positive community membership and integration opportunities for individuals living in the home. To her credit, staff turnover at the home supervised by Sharon is mostly attributable to staff moving on to promotional job opportunities. Sharon has also taken a leadership role in her participation on the Residential Supervisor Interview Committee, an important initiative for the Commonwealth Community Services Program. The committee is responsible for screening all applicants for residential positions. Sharon is very thorough with the interview process and has helped her colleagues develop sharper interview skills and techniques. They are able to observe and learn from Sharon 's strong supervisory skills and insights, and have seen first hand her focus on the individuals and her commitment to recommending only those applicants who demonstrate or convey a strong and genuine interest in working with individuals with disabilities. Sharon not only sets high expectations for herself and her staff but for all the homes in the Pioneer Valley program.
Theresa A. Stark - Service Coordinator, North Central Area Office
Theresa has a never ending drive to do her work well and a positive attitude in dealing with even the most volatile situations - she always has the individual's best interest at heart. She has had several challenging individuals on her caseload with complex medical and psychiatric issues. Theresa was literally there for them day and night, weekdays and weekend; visiting them almost daily, advocating for them and keeping in close contact with hospital staff and family. In many of her cases, Theresa has displayed the perseverance and tenacity necessary to get the needs of the individuals met. In addition, Theresa has become the "go to person" whenever colleagues need help with HCSIS or Meditech and has found time to spearhead a workgroup to put together a conference on Alzheimer. Her efforts and commitment have made a difference in the lives of the individuals and the families that she supports.
Veronica Wolfe - Clinical Director, Northeast Region
Veronica handled all of the many challenges that came her way in the past year. Her leadership has left a positive impact on the Intake and Eligibility Team in the Northeast. She provided the support, encouragement and motivation, and helped the team continue its work and transition when a key team member became gravely ill. Her endless dedication and professionalism, skill and knowledge, her gentle and understanding manner at work makes Veronica a highly effective and respected manager.
Gerry Morrissey Receives Richard Krant Leadership and Justice Award
At the 20th anniversary celebration of the Disabled Persons Protection Commission held at the State House on May 31, 2007, DMR Commissioner Gerry Morrissey was honored with the first Richard Krant Leadership and Justice Award for his longtime commitment and leadership in advancing victim righs and in making services more accessible to individuals with disabilities who are victims of abuse and neglect. This award was established in honor of Dick Krant, a former FBI agent and a staunch advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities. Through his service on advisory boards and commissions, including DPPC's Advisory Committee and DMR's Investigations Advisory Panel, parent advocacy groups and as guardian, Dick has had a real impact on assuring quality in the mental retardation service system.
Four DMR Managers Graduate from EOHHS Management Certificate Program
Scott Kluge, Bruce Taranski and Kevin McDonough from the Northeast Region and Colleen Mulligan from the Southeast Region are the first class of DMR managers to complete the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) Management Certificate Program. This one year rigorous program covering seven core competencies was designed to give managers the knowledge and resources needed to effectively handle the unique challenges facing every EOHHS manager. Congratulations to all.
Ricci Scholarships Awarded
Shawna M. Shappy, a UMASS-Amherst psychology student, and Lisa Comeau, an Area Director for Seven Hills Community Services in Worcester are the first recipients of the Department of Mental Retardation's Dr. Benjamin Ricci Scholarship Award. The scholarship in Dr. Ricci's name was established after his death in January 2006 and is given to a University of Massachusetts student who exemplifies Dr. Ricci's long standing commitment to improving the quality of life for individuals with mental retardation. A ceremony was held at the University of Massachusetts on June 21st.
Urban Youth Collaborative Program
This summer, the Urban Youth Collaborative Program enters its 16th year. Through the UYCP, DMR seeks to honor diversity, provide an educational opportunity, and develop future leaders from the 300 student interns who will be hired in state and provider operated residential and vocational settings across the Commonwealth tol provide support to individuals with disabilities. The interns are high school and college students from diverse backgrounds who will work in 20 different locations throughout the Commonwealth. As part of this program, the annual retreat will be held on Wednesday, July 15th at the Templeton Development Center and the annual State House Event on Thursday, August 9th from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm where the interns share their thoughts about their summer experience.
The HCSIS Investigations Module went live on April 30th. This module captures abuse and mistreatment information on Complaints filed with the Disabled Persons Protection Commission and Action Plans developed in response to the Investigations findings. The information being captured include the complaint filed with DPPC, the DPPC intake sent to DMR, whether the complaint is to be investigated or reviewed administratively, the action plan issued, actions tracked and whether any appeal had been filed and the decision. The Investigations Module is integrated into HCSIS and allows for greater access and analysis of information with the Incident Management Module. With the roll-out of the HCSIS Investigations, there will no longer be a need for many of the paper notices, letters and transmittals formerly exchanged amongst DMR, DPPC, provider agencies, and human rights committees. They will have access to the module and will get appropriate alerts. This module also introduces a new role, "Provider Investigations Designee." Only provider staff given this role will be able to access the sensitive information captured through the Investigations module.
Provider Reports on DMR Website
Provider Reports that are produced as a result of the DMR licensure and certification process are now available on the DMR website. Information posted includes the provider Executive Summary, Level of Licensure and Certification, and Outcomes and Indicators by Quality of Life Area for all public and private providers subject to DMR licensure/certification. This information will provide individuals, guardians, and families valuable information about the array of services and supports available across the state, including the unique attributes of each provider agency's services. On the DMR home page, simply click on "Provider Reports", under "What's New," or go to "Spectrum of Services" and click on "Services for Adults," then on "Learn about Licensed and Certified Providers." For more information regarding the survey and certification process, you can go to the Provider Licensure and Certification link on the DMR web site.
CMS Approves Renewal of DMR's Home and Community Based Services Waiver
The Department of Mental Retardation received approval, from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), of its application to renew its Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver. This federal approval means that the Commonwealth will be able to continue to receive reimbursement for services provided to eligible individuals. The approved renewal is the product of a cooperative effort with the Commonwealth's Medicaid Agency and follows months of preparation and clarification to federal questions and queries.
DMR Human Rights Conference Held on June 12th
Over 1200 people attended the 23rd Annual Human Rights Conference held on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 at the DCU Center in Worcester , Massachusetts . The theme of this year's conference was "Making a Difference." Keith Jones, Disability and Community Advocate and Entrepreneur, gave the keynote address, "The Inherent Dreamer, Everyone has a Right to Dream." This year's Human Rights Award recipients were: Heather Culter, a human rights employment services at the HMEA for her creativity and dedicated research on presenting the "Right of the Month" in multiple formats for staff and individuals , Colleen Ryan, DMR Director of Training in the Southeast Region for her support of self-advocacy, including volunteering time to provide the support individuals served by DMR need to travel to conferences, Mary Lou Stankiewicz , chair of the Monson Developmental Center's Human Rights Committee and volunteer for her time and commitment in being a friend and guardian for two individuals at MDC who have no family members to support them, and Sandra Menard , a self-advocate from the Central/West Region of DMR for her efforts in getting appointed to her the West Boylston Housing Partnership, and in that capacity, was able to secure set-asides for very low income persons in affordable housing in her town and help guide the development of accessible housing for a family in need. Also new at this year's conference was the Art Show where one hundred pieces of artwork by individuals receiving DMR supports were on display throughout the day.
North Shore ARC Recognizes DMR Staff
The North Shore ARC presented Gerry Morrissey, DMR Commissioner, with the 2007 Edward C. O'Keefe Award and Mary Beth Coyne, Central Middlesex Area Director, and Beth Donovan, Central Middlesex Service Coordinator Supervisor with the Partnership Award. The award to Gerry was made in honor of his leadership and his lifelong achievements that have had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of disabled individuals and their families across the Commonwealth. The Partnership Award to Mary Beth recognizes her work as the area director in consistently placing the interests of individuals with disabilities in the foreground of every negotiation, review and discussion, and to Beth who in her capacity as the service coordinator supervisor, ensures every parties' perspective is heard and valued and appropriate services are delivered.
Robert V. Agoglia Community Living Award Presented to Gerry Morrissey
At this year's Annual Dinner and Award Celebration held by the Association for Community Living, Commissioner Morrissey was presented the 2007 Robert V. Agoglia Community Living Award. This recognition is given to a role model who, by daily example, demonstrates what it takes to be dedicated to promoting dignified community living for people with developmental disabilities.
This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.