TO: The DDS Community
FROM: Elin M. Howe, Commissioner
DATE: November 4, 2009
RE: Update 166

Governor Patrick Announces 9C cuts to FY 2010 Budget

On October 29, 2009, Governor Deval Patrick announced $600 million in further spending cuts and other cost controls to bring the Commonwealth's operating budget in line with the revised consensus revenue estimate for FY 2010. The 9C cut announced for DDS was $7.7 million. This reduction reflected the value that the Governor and Secretary Bigby placed in protecting safety net services for the Commonwealth's most vulnerable citizens.

The $7.7 million reduction was taken primarily in 3 accounts. The account and the amount cut from each of those accounts are listed below.

  • 5911-1003 Administration and Operations: $1,388,429
  • 5920-2000 Community Programs (transportation): $1,500,000
  • 5920-2010 Community and State Operated Residential Services (community residential): $4,870,369

Other DDS accounts that fund state management positions were also reduced by amounts corresponding to the value of the mandatory management furloughs announced by the Governor. At this time, the impact of the 9C actions on the DESE/DDS (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education/Department of Developmental Services) program has not been determined.

Over the next few weeks, the Department will be working with providers and others to develop strategies for implementing the cuts that would preserve services and staff to the greatest extent possible.

Paul B. Murray is Recipient of 2009 Carballo Award

The Department of Developmental Services is proud to announce that Paul B. Murray is a recipient of the 2009 Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service. This award is given annually to no more than ten individual or group of state employees that exemplify the highest standards of public service. Paul is the Director of Nurses at the Hogan Regional Center and during his tenure has transformed the position into a true Clinical Services Coordinator who works with all disciplines to assure excellent care. During the 38 years that Paul has devoted to supporting individuals served at Hogan and the Northeast Region, he has found the time to mentor direct care workers to become nurses, work with Hogan's medical staff to reformulate clinical practices and routines that have resulted in both extraordinary cost savings as well as excellent clinical outcomes. Paul has also implemented a hospice program and an enhanced medical interventions strategy that have allowed individuals at the end stage of life to die at home and he has succeeded in getting the local medical community to use alternative diagnostic evaluations, such as breast ultrasounds instead of a mammogram, that are less invasive and traumatizing for the individuals being treated. Congratulations to Paul.

2009 Performance Recognition Winners

The Department is pleased to announce the 2009 recipients of the Performance Recognition Program Citation for Outstanding Performance Award.

DDS Day and Employment Procurement Team - Central Office

The Procurement Team of Dana Roszkiewicz, Sandon Shepard (Office of Management and Finance), and Margaret Van Gelder (Office of Policy and Planning) provided the leadership on 2 large procurement projects. One was a Secretariat wide procurement of Employment Services using a new methodology of standard rates and the second was a DDS procurement of Day and Employment Services. The amount of work involved to complete both procurements was staggering in light of the tight timelines set for completing the projects. Dana, Sandy, and Margaret exemplify what makes for excellent team work and their efforts provide an excellent example for DDS in future endeavors.

Donna M. Pickett - Paralegal, Central Office

Donna is a paralegal in the Northeast Region's legal office. Throughout a challenging FY 2009 with turnover and changes in attorney staffing, Donna was the glue that held the office together. Throughout the year, Donna kept the Northeast Regional legal office on track by continuing to prepare guardianship petitions and Rogers pleadings to ensure that cases were heard and the needs of the individuals be met in a timely manner. Donna's perseverance, great attitude and professionalism have earned her the gratitude of Operations and Legal staff alike.

Adaptive Design Team - Central/West Region

Over the years, the Adaptive Design Team has been an extraordinary resource to individuals and families in the Holyoke/Chicopee and Springfield/Westfield offices. They bring together a team of engineers, clinicians, individuals, families, staff from the school, the employment, day or residential programs and durable medical equipment companies to get the most out of each piece of equipment in helping individuals to be more independent and to gain better access to their home, their classroom, their yard, and the community. Their goal is not to duplicate but to modify what is commercially available to suit the unique needs of the individual and if it is not commercially available to create what is needed.

Carol A. Rollins - Service Coordinator, South Valley Area Office

Carol is an outstanding service coordinator whose dedication to the individuals and families that she supports is a way of life for her. She is a true professional when it comes to working with families and providers. Carol brings understanding and knowledge to each Individual Support Plan meeting and directing the team to focus on strengths and positive goals centered on the individual. Carol's exemplary work and her willingness to go above and beyond the regular duties of a service coordinator were particularly evident in her work in supporting a young woman throughout her pregnancy and in mentoring a young man who got a job working in an area office. Carol's spirit and enthusiasm add much to the office, and the office would not be the same without her.

Daphne K. Randolph - Developmental Service Worker, Connecticut River Valley Programs

Daphne provides support and individualized care to the residents of a DDS-operated home in Western Massachusetts. She helps these individuals who have challenging health and behavioral issues with their daily living tasks. In the case of a young resident with complex medical issues, Daphne helped his physicians diagnose a potentially life threatening syndrome by taking the initiative to videotape his symptoms for the physicians. Her commitment and ongoing efforts on behalf of the individuals in the home is exemplary.

Dawn Watson - Developmental Service Worker, Commonwealth Community Services

Dawn has an outstanding interpretive ability with the residents of a state operated home who use nonverbal modes of communication. Combined with her commitment to take the time needed to thoroughly get to know and understand each individual who lives in the DDS operated home in Western Massachusetts and to stay attuned to the things they'd like to do, Dawn has truly enhanced their lives. Dawn has also demonstrated her leadership skills by taking on extra duties such as ensuring that the home's vans are well maintained and prepared for the residents' frequent medical appointments.

Karin Howard - Developmental Service Worker, Commonwealth Community Services

Karin is a direct support professional working in a state operated home that serves individuals with major health and behavioral needs. Her energy and willingness to put in the extra effort to get things done makes her a leader in the eyes of her peers. For example, Karin often helps the residential supervisor with healthcare coordination and medication to prevent medication errors. Karin has taken the initiative to learn about the many medications administered in the home, and then take the time to teach her peers on why a medication is needed; understand how it works, what side effects to look for and how to collect data related to their usage.

Shannon M. Griffin - Developmental Service Worker, Commonwealth Community Services

Shannon is a direct support professional as well as the Human Rights Advocate in a DDS operated residence. Shannon excels at looking at the residents and seeing opportunities, not challenges, for them to live full and enriched lives. Shannon believes that these residents with complex medical issues should not live their lives in a living room and watch the world go by through a window. Her example has inspired those around her to tackle obstacles and push the envelope to help everyone in the home to lead a full and active social life. She helps them to reject, "it can't be done, " as the answer but rather to ask, "how do we make it happen? "

Tanya J. Stonehouse - Service Coordinator, Worcester Area Office

Tanya is a service coordinator who, over the past nine years, has gone over and above what is typically expected of service coordinators. While Tanya has a varied caseload, she has found ways to uniquely give the individuals and families she supports her utmost attention. Recently, Tanya helped two vulnerable women on her caseload break the cycle of victimization and mistreatment by showing tact, patience, skill and kindness. Tanya is a role model for how to help those we serve live the best lives possible. In addition, she finds the time to serve as a union steward who actively advocates for her co-workers. She is also an invaluable resource to everyone in the office who readily shares her computer skills and expertise.

Grafton State Operated Program Staff - Central Residential Services

The staff in the Grafton state operated residence, under the strong leadership of residential supervisor, Jen Carter, has succeeded in making the residence a home. This past year, this home has seen its share of changes, challenges and chaos, but through it all, the staff has worked like a well oiled machine, moving from one challenge to another with what seems like a seamless transition to those outside. The staff takes immense pride in the care they provide to the ladies. This has especially been evident in the past year when two of the women began having significant health challenges requiring staff to learn to work closely with hospice services and to learn new medical routines such as G-tube management. Kudos to the Grafton staff for getting the training, knowledge, and expertise that has helped to improve the quality of supports to these women.

Elizabeth Sheehan - Service Coordinator, Lowell Area Office

Becky is a Rolland service coordinator who has been instrumental in ensuring that individuals at the New England Pediatric nursing facility receive active treatment. She has succeeded in bringing her training expertise into a partnership with this facility. This is a remarkable achievement given the challenges faced in establishing the systems needed to help this nursing facility come into compliance with the legal standards for active treatment. She has also mentored a second Rolland service coordinator while carrying a caseload of 48. Her written treatment plans for individuals needing active treatment have been commended by the Court Monitor as examples of best practices. Her transition service plans for individuals expected to move into community settings have been used also as best practice examples. Becky's unflagging determination and positive attitude stand as a role model for her peers.

John E. McNamara - Service Coordinator, Metro North Area Office

Jack has been the Rolland service coordinator for Metro North Area Office since 2004. He has worked diligently with the specialized services provider Bridgewell and nursing facilities to develop transition plans for nursing facility residents to move into the community. This has been no easy task but Jack forged forward by arranging for the director of Hogan Regional Center to train Bridgewell and Everett Rehabilitation, and then transcribed the information into a power point presentation that he used to educate the nursing home staff. For the last two years, through his efforts as the team leader and with the assistance of the specialized service team, active treatment was achieved for one individual and made a significant positive change in the person's life. Jack's powerful teamwork has brought positive changes and has been inspirational.

Jean W. Herrick - Occupational Therapist, REACH Clinic, Northeast Region

Jean has worked for DDS as an occupational therapist for over 30 years. Her specialties are numerous, including home and community access and safety, equipment and strategies related to bariatric challenges, pre-driving skills screening and computer access. Jean is also both a pioneer and a leader in the Commonwealth in the areas of dining and swallowing safety and skills assessment. She has a brilliant, practical, problem-solving, analytical/clinical mind. Her expertise, professionalism and dedication impacts hundreds, if not thousands of individuals in the Northeast region. The data tracking system she had developed and maintains ensures that referrals and intakes are processed accurately and efficiently.

Gina G. Hunt - Medication Administration Coordinator (MAP), Northeast Region

Gina is an exemplary employee who takes her role as the Regional MAP Coordinator very seriously. She monitors and supports, in a positive and constructive manner, all DDS and provider agency staff in the region on the complex regulations relative to administering medication to the individuals we serve. She provides regular MAP certification and re-certification trainings for direct support staff, and training for provider agency staff to be MAP trainers. She is a great communicator and makes every attempt to keep all involved parties informed of evolving situations. Her attention to detail and diligence is remarkable. Gina is well-liked by providers and community nurses who see her as a great resource who is always willing to lend a hand to solve a problem or provide guidance.

Debra Santheson - Service Coordinator, Brockton Area Office

Debra is recognized for her outstanding performance, extraordinary work ethic, knowledge and understanding of the Department's resources, limitations and business, all the while maintaining relationships with the individuals and families on her caseload. Her skills in addressing her individuals' medical needs and her advocacy to ensure that they are safe and receiving the care they require are her major strengths. Debra has such empathy for families that she helps them secure Mass Health services, takes family members to their appointments and rides to summer camps. The Area Office has heard from family members and agency staff about how they appreciative they are of her follow through, advocacy and support during difficult times, and her overall genuine caring. Debra is well liked within the office and has been a mentor to new staff

Patrick Burke - Service Coordinator Supervisor, Brockton Area Office

Pat's work ethic is without comparison and his attention to task and detail is exceptional. Pat has always been an independent worker - managing all the responsibilities associated with a job and making sound judgments independently. His efforts have gone above and beyond this past year with the opening of "Dan Shea Art Gallery" at the Area Office on May 4, 2009. The gallery brought to fruition Pat's vision to provide a venue for artists of any age or ability to share their artistic creations with others. As the area 688 Coordinator, he establishes positive relationships with each student and their family as he assists them through all the complexities of 'transition' from special education to adult services. Pat is also an original member of the "MAI Band" which is comprised of individuals, parents, community members, provider and DDS staff. The band has provided wonderful musical experiences for many in the past 10 years in the Brockton area.

George Rantzaklis - Developmental Service Worker, Fernald Developmental Center

George has been a state employee for over 30 years and it is refreshing to see that after this many years his positive attitude has not wavered. George believes in providing the best possible to the individuals served at Fernald by giving them what they cannot get for themselves. George is compassionate and committed to the people he serves and would fill in readily when staffing issues arise. At the same time, George is committed to the Department. He is a leader and a respected and reliable peer. He has superior interpersonal skills and works effectively with many disciplines and support services on grounds. In a world where we hear ever so frequently "hey that is not my job", George steps up and says "Hey, I can do that " and never looks back.

Oscar Rodriguez - Developmental Service Worker, Fernald Developmental Center

Oscar has been the key person in the placement process for several individuals served at Fernald. George has an intimate understanding of the everyday needs of the individuals he supports. He is committed to making sure that each individual is given every opportunity to succeed in their new homes. Oscar is and always has been an influential team leader and has worked hard to be a role model to other staff. He has a very natural nurturing manner when working with individuals and tailors his interactions to each individual specifically. Oscar has been an exemplary worker for many years. His friendly personality and willingness to go over and beyond expectations are what makes him a joy to work with. The individuals that Oscar supports have a variety of disabilities, and they are fortunate to have someone such as Oscar to advocate for their needs.

Joyce D. Ford - Vocational Instructor, Fernald Developmental Center

Joyce works with a group of behaviorally challenged Basic Skills individualists in the Woodside Day Program at the Fernald Center. She demonstrates motivation, creativity and energy in whatever environment she is in. Joyce excels at her job by looking at each individual and challenging them in every aspect in the day. She provides them with the encouragement, steps of success and the overall positive approach needed to meet the daily challenges in their lives. She provides active treatment to them in the areas of behavioral interventions, communication needs, mobility training, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, direct care services and classroom teacher. Joyce is also a positive role model for her peers. She is always assisting other clinicians and direct care providers with program development and hands on programming. Joyce is one of the most outstanding worker, friend, and teacher of the Fernald community.

Anna M. Appiah - Developmental Service Worker, Fernald Developmental Center

Anna has worked for DDS since 1989 in a variety of residential settings across the Fernald campus. Her primary focus is the needs of the individuals that she serves. Anna is an excellent team member who serves as a role model for her co-workers. She is often the first to step up and volunteer to assist with any aspect of programming. Her coworkers, clinicians who work with her and family members all agree that Anna is their "go to person"; they know that she will listen to them and assist them with any project. Anna has been instrumental in the placement process for several individuals in her residential area. She has a positive, enthusiastic approach that helps to reassure them. Her pleasant, friendly attitude and "TLC " has helped them to have a positive transition experience. Each individual is well aware that while they are with Anna that she is fully engaged and at that point in time that they are made to feel "special ".

Maintenance Department - Fernald Developmental Center

The Maintenance Department consists of many trades, electricians, plumbers, painters, carpenters and trades workers, but they all work as one. They are Scott Childs, John Duke, Tony Wozniak, John Robillard, Peter DiGiovanni, Jim O'Neil, Carl Miller, Charles Hoffshire, Al Gauthier, Lou Spadafora and Carl Richemond. Under the head Carpenter's leadership, the team rises to the occasion and takes pride in their work and works in solidarity with each other. They handle all the emergency needs and still keep up with the daily maintenance. This year's winter started early and Fernald's Farm and Grounds Supervisor had a severe accident and was out for many months. The Maintenance Department gentlemen jumped right into service. They took on plowing and clearing roadways, sometimes staying over night and on weekends to make sure that Fernald was safe and the food service and emergency vehicles had complete access to buildings. We got through a very bad winter with minimal difficulty thanks to the work of these men.

Susan Harper - Clinical Health Care Coordinator, Southeast Residential Services

Quite simply, Sue is the teammate who makes everyone around her better. She sets the expectation that every individual receives the highest quality of nursing and health care and she works tirelessly toward that goal. When someone moves into a SRS home, it is not unusual to see her there late into the evening ensuring that all physician's orders are written correctly and the staff have had an opportunity to have all their questions answered. During the SRS's expansion in the 1990s, Sue coordinated nursing services at each home as it opened. She developed a SRS specific MAP Manual for the staff and had coordinated nursing services through the last five Quality Enhancement Surveys. Most recently, her focus has been on transitioning many homes from one pharmacy to another that is better able to meet the individuals' needs. Sue is available twenty four hours a day seven days a week, a resource much appreciated throughout SRS.

12th Annual M.A.S.S. State Self-Advocacy Conference on November 21st, 2009

On Saturday, November 21st, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong will hold its 12th annual conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10 Lincoln Square in Worcester. This year's theme is "Reach Out for a New Tomorrow." Commissioner Howe will present the opening remarks and John Anton is the keynote speaker. For more information, call 1-617-624-7549

News from the Central/West Region

SCAN 360 Family Center - This is a program of the New North Citizen's Council funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities through a grant to DDS. On September 30, the program's impact on over 500 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families was celebrated. As the federal grant came to an end, the accomplishments of the small group of staff was discussed by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, agency director Caroline Wenck, family members, and friends of the center.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month - the Springfield/Westfield Area Office and local provider agencies honored Meadow Farms/Bolducs of Agawam at the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce Greater Springfield meeting on October 7. The business has consistently demonstrated their commitment to providing employment opportunities to those with intellectual disabilities and has created an environment that fosters and supports their continued growth and development.

Regional Recognition Award Ceremony - The Central/West Region recognized the work of 10 individuals/teams on October 8. They were Paul Duga, Carl Johnson and Daniel Trenholm of the Adaptive Design Team, Carol Rollins, Daphne K. Randolph, Dawn Watson, Karin Howard, Shannon M. Griffin, Tanya J. Stonehouse, Linda Bak and Lynn Gregoire of the Franklin/Hampshire Administrative Team, Vivian Brehaut, and Rosemarie Stebbins. Also receiving recognition was the Grafton State Operated Program Staff which included Lisa Bishop, Patricia Cardin, Jennifer Carter, Kathleen Clark, Heather Hatfield, Cynthia Jones, Julie Keller, Juliana Kouassi, Marie Leroy, Delsa Melendez, Jennifer O'Reilly, Nicole Pires, Dawn Symes, and Debra Tarpey.

News from the Northeast Region

Diversity Fair - The Northeast Region's Diversity Committee, the Northeast Residential Services and all of the unions representing employees in the Region, sponsored a Diversity Fair on October 1, 2009. Several hundred people from the facility, area offices, and provider community attended the event at Hogan. Display tables represented different cultures including Cambodia, China, Ireland, Vietnam, Uganda, Haiti, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Greece. Entertainment, including a West African drummer, a troupe of individuals performing Latin dances, a belly dancer, and dancers representing Native American, Rwandan and Zimbabwean cultures, was held throughout the afternoon. More than 90 people from all parts of the region donated food from their cultures for others to enjoy. A DJ and outdoor games were available. The day concluded with an international fashion show. The fair provided an opportunity for people to get to know each other and to learn about each others' cultural traditions that enrich the Northeast Region's community.

August 2009 Nutrition Conference - On August 5, 2009, NE Area Office Nurses and Allison Herrick, the nutrition intern for the summer, held a half-day conference for individuals, families and staff on healthy eating. It was called "Healthy Present, Healthy Future " and attended by nearly 90 people. The topics covered were: healthy eating and portion control, food labels, the heart healthy diet, and the diabetic diet. Attendees sampled various homemade snacks (made by area office nurses) for people with specific dietary restriction (low carb, low potassium, gluten free) and recipe books were available. There were resource lists of web sites for free down load of recipes, diets, and information on healthy diets.

Graduation Ceremony for Middlesex Community College Direct Support Program - Northeast Region DDS - 11 students graduated from Middlesex Community College's Direct Support Certificate Program on September 24, 2009. Julie Mirras, Coordinator and Faculty Member for the program hosted the ceremony at Middlesex Community College (MCC), Lowell Campus. Regional Director Mandy Chalmers, Fred Nazzaro, Lowell Area Director, and Pat Cronin, Northeast Region's Director of Staff Development all offered their congratulations to the graduates. Faculty member Sharon Dunbar-Link presented the keynote address.

To date over 400 students have participated in the Northeast Region's three community colleges' Direct Support Certificate Programs: Middlesex Community College, Lowell; North Shore Community College, Lynn; and Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill.

Northeast Families Organizing for Change Family Leadership Series - From February - April 2009, the Northeast Chapter of Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) held their 16 th annual Family Leadership Series. Approximately 20 families attended the intensive 3-weekend training series facilitated by MFOFC Northeast Regional Chair Susan Nadworny. The series has a two fold purpose - to offer information about best practices for people with disabilities and to assist families in creating a vision for their family member. Sessions focused on topics such as Initiative and Leadership; Creating a Vision; and Policy Making: Local, State, and Federal. Families in the Northeast who have completed the Series over the past 16 years have had tremendous impact on systems change for families and individuals with disabilities in Massachusetts.

This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.