TO: The DMR Community
FROM: Gerry Morrissey
DATE: September 17, 2004
RE: Update 140

SAC To Host Town Meeting With Commissioner Morrissey, September 22

The DMR Statewide Advisory Council is hosting a Town Meeting with Commissioner Gerry Morrissey and members of the Citizen Advisory Boards (CAB) on September 22nd, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Hoagland-Pincus Conference Center in Shrewsbury.

This year, CAB members from across the state are coming together to meet with the Commissioner and his Senior Staff. The Town Meeting offers to CAB members the opportunity to speak directly with the Commissioner about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for DMR and the individuals that we support.

The Town Meeting will also serve as the kick-off for the regional CAB meetings that will be held throughout the month of October. Starting on October 7th, CAB meeting for the Southeast Region will be held at the Holiday Inn in Taunton. The Metro CAB conference will be held on October, 14th at the Charles River ARC; the Western CAB conference will be held on October 19th at the Holyoke Community College in Holyoke; the Northeast CAB conference will be held on October 27th at Cummings Center in Beverly and the Central CAB conference will be held on October 28th at the Hoagland-Pincus Center in Shrewsbury.

CAB members should contact Lorraine Young at 1 888 367-4435 x7743 or lorraine.young@dmr.state.ma.us to register and for additional information.

The DMR Autism Division

At the direction of Secretary Ron Preston of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Autism Division has been established within the Department of Mental Retardation. The Autism Division will be developing a plan for assisting Massachusetts families with children diagnosed with one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Division is currently in the planning stages--creating a realistic scope by gathering information from families, service providers, experts in the field, other state agencies, and organizations that work with families and children across the Autism Spectrum. DMR anticipates that the actual rollout of the program will occur near July of 2005.

This effort lead is by Janet George, Assistant Commissioner of Policy, Planning and Children Services with project management by Cariann Harsh, M.B.A., M.Ed. Cariann received her M.B.A, with a concentration in human services, from Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Research. She can be reached at 617-624-7769 or via e-mail at Cariann.Harsh@state.ma.us.

The New DMR Web Portal is coming!

Over the next several months, the Department of Mental Retardation website will undergo some major changes. Effective mid-September, this website will become part of an Executive Office of Health and Human Services Portal that will contain centralized information in an easy-to-navigate format. This change will help consumers, families, providers, researchers and the general public find the vast array of information available about health and human services in Massachusetts and continue to find information about DMR and specialized services for persons with mental retardation.

Please visit the current EOHHS Portal at . If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at: DMR.info@state.ma.us.

OQE Adds New Feature to DMR Website
The Office of Quality Enhancement has developed a new web page to keep providers informed about interpretations, guidelines, and other protocols. The link will allow DMR personnel and Providers to access new protocols, interpretative guidelines and clarifications directly through the Internet on an ongoing basis. The new Manual and Appendices, published in April, are already posted on the web. Also available is a Quick Guide to the licensure and certification processes, a Citizen Guide, and the Training information from the March 2004 presentations to the Providers on the new processes. The most recent web page contains a list of Interpretive Guidelines, ordered by topic and date. This site contains new and clarifying information on specific issues and questions that have surfaced in the field since development of the Manual. This is a reference resource that the Provider community can readily access in preparation for planned licensure/certification visits. The page is expected to be updated quarterly to include recently developed interpretations and guidelines. Please view our new materials within the Survey and Certification section of: ww.dmr.state.ma.us/Quality_Management.html.

DMRIS Project Update

Since the start of 2004, DMR has been working on developing and implementing a new IT solution to the current data system to enable the Department to improve its capacity for managing a huge and complex service system by capturing timely and consistent programmatic and fiscal data for review, analysis and action. This new IT solution is called DMRIS (Department of Mental Retardation Information System).

DMRIS consists of two significant products: Meditech in which most of the consumer information will reside and HCSIS (Home and Community Services Information System) which will house all the active consumer events such as incidents, restraints, and medication occurrences. This new system will be used across all levels of DMR, from Service Coordinators to record and help manage the supports provided to individuals, to Senior Staff who will use the reporting tools to review and manage what DMR does and knows about the many individuals we support.

DMR has engaged the services of Superior Consultants to help us define and standardize our processes. Also, Business Analysts have been hired as our internal experts and dedicated to providing the on-going support, maintenance, and upgrade of the new system. Joining DMR as a Senior Business Analyst is Nancy Pianka, and as Business Analysts, Carol Howe, Jessica Michelsen, and Tim McFall. Over the next several weeks, additional staff will be identified to become part of the DMRIS team of internal experts. Stay tuned. You will hear more about the people and project over the next few weeks and months.

MASS Annual Meeting - OCTOBER 30th

Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, the statewide self-advocacy group, is holding its seventh annual conference at the Worcester Holiday Inn on Saturday, October 30th. The theme of this year?s conference is "Empowerment." Christine Griffin, Executive Director of the Disability Law Center is the keynote speaker. The conference will feature workshops on promoting human rights, accessibility, and inclusion, advocacy and leadership skills development, and effective political participation. For more information and registration, contact MASS at 1-866-IAMABLE or 1-866-426-2253.

Health Care Provider Assessment Fee

The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed legislation that authorizes the assessment of ICF/MR facility services and community based residential services licensed or certified by the Department of Mental Retardation ("DMR"). The assessment applies to both public and private providers. There was widespread support for enacting this legislation because the funds generated through the assessment will be available to DMR to reinvest in the residential service system and can be used to address areas of concern, such as, workforce compensation, education, training and retention, and regulatory compliance. Under the legislation, the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy ("Division") is responsible for administering this assessment fee. The Division, DMR and the Office of Medicaid are currently working on implementation plan.

DMR Contracts and Procurement Director The Department is pleased to announce that Dana Roszkiewicz has been appointed the Director of Contracts and Procurement for DMR effective September 20, 2004. Dana brings to the Department considerable knowledge related to contracts and procurement. Dana has had a distinguished career spanning both the public and private sectors. He had served in senior management positions at DMR and the Operations Services Division, and most recently he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Kennedy Donovan Center. Dana will be taking on a leadership role in representing DMR, one of state's largest procurement agencies, and working with other agencies on POS reform.

Randy Webster, who has been serving as the Acting Director of Contracts and Procurement will be returning to his former position as the Area Director in the Fall River Area Office. Randy has done a great job in his longer than expected stint at Central Office. He had been asked to temporarily fill this role after Dennis Milner Hanley took early retirement a year ago.

BCARC Celebrates 50th Anniversary On Wednesday, September 22, 2004, there will be a celebration of 50 years of service by the Berkshire County Arc, Inc. The Anniversary Dinner will be held at the Crowne Plaza-Pittsfield in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

UYCP Celebration at the State House

More than 200 young people from across the Commonwealth celebrated their participation in the Urban Youth Collaborative Program at the State House on August 12th. The UYCP has been funded for 13 years by DMR in partnership with providers and the DMR facilities and state-operated residences. The program gives young people experience in working with persons with disabilities. The interns are employed in some of the following areas, daily life activities, taking the individuals on community trips, participating in arts programs and providing support. The State House event was moderated by Commissioner Morrissey and attended by State Legislators, and EOHHS and DMR officials. Steven E. Collins a tireless advocate for human service programs was given the Paulette Anjorin Community Service Award. DMR also named after Mr. Collins, the Steven E. Collins Leadership Award, given to an UYCP alumnus in recognition of his or her continuing work to promote the ideals of community inclusion. This year?s recipients were Jorge Sierra, a young man who works as an Assistant House Manager for Seven Hills Foundation in Worcester and Tiffany Morgan who works as the Program Coordinator for the UYCP- Plus Program for Abilities Unlimited in Westfield-Springfield.

Legislative and Recognition Event in Central Region

The Central Region Citizen Advisory Board and DMR Central/West Region held its Annual Legislative and Recognition Breakfast on May 7, 2004 at Worcester State College. Six direct service employees from agencies throughout Central Massachusetts received recognition for exemplary work performance. Those individuals receiving recognition were Joseph Hall from Glavin Regional Center, Dawn King from HMEA, Kim Depiro from DMR in Charlton, Eileen Harris of Southern Worcester County Rehabilitation Center, Rebecca Stimson from The Bridge, and Holly Moores of the Seven Hills Foundation. Presenting citations were Senator Richard Moore, Rep. Karyn Polito, and Jeff Koslowski, aide to Rep. Paul Frost. Also attending were Senator Harriet Chandler and Representatives James Eldridge, Marie Parente, George Peterson, and Mark Carron. Refreshments were served courtesy of the Regional and Area Boards, Central Mass Families Organizing for Change, the Autism Support Center, self-advocates, and other family groups.

Picnic Held at Miller Park in Monson

On June 16, 2004, the Central and Western Massachusetts Coalitions of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Individuals, DMR and DMH sponsored a Picnic for DEAF/HARD OF HEARING INDIVIDUALS at Miller Park in Monson. The picnic provided an opportunity for deaf/hard of hearing individuals, their friends, families and support staff, to join members of the deaf community in a day of fun and to have the opportunity to develop new friendships.

Meet the Artist Event in Southbridge

On September 11, 2004, Regional Employment Services-Central/West hosted a "Meet the Artist" event at The Community Palette Artist's Gallery and Gift Shop at 33 Central Street in Southbridge from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The featured artist was Sheila Jardine, watercolorist, from the Franklin/Hampshire Area.

Family Support Fair, September 23 The Coalition for Respite Across the Lifespan of Western Massachusetts and DMR will be sponsoring a Family Support Fair on Thursday, September 23, 2004 beginning at 10:00 a.m. The fair will provide a unique opportunity to network with other state agencies and community programs and to share information about resources with families. For more information, please contact Gwen Gosselin at 413-562-4885.

Autism Resource of Central Mass Conference, October 23

The Autism Resource Center of Central Mass is holding its' 6th Annual Conference entitled "Tying It Together 2004" on Saturday, October 23, 2004 at Holy Cross College in Worcester from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. National speaker and author Kathie Harrington, C.C.C. SLP will be one of the featured speakers. For more information, please call 508-595-9101.

Twenty Graduate from North Shore Community College's Direct Support Program

Twenty students graduated from North Shore Community College's Direct Support Certificate Program on August 13, 2004. The graduation ceremony took place at the college's Lynn Campus. Maggie LaBella, Coordinator of the Direct Support Certificate Program at North Shore Community College, as well as other NSCC faculty, providers, families and friends were on hand to offer their congratulations to the graduates.

Jane Ryder named Bradford Fellow Jane Ryder is back in school! Jane, a 2003 recipient of the Manuel Carballo Governor?s Award and Director of DMR's Northeast Residential Services is a recipient of the Bradford Fellowship Program for Excellence in Public Administration and is earning her Master's in Public Administration at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government to select managers. Congratulations to Jane!

Lifelinks Participates in Direct Support Apprenticeship Training Program

Congratulations to Lifelinks, Inc., a Northeast Region provider! In June Lifelinks signed a sponsorship agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to sponsor the first Direct Support Specialist Apprenticeship Training Program in Massachusetts. Each apprenticeship graduate will receive a nationally recognized Certificate of Registration signed by the Secretary of Labor. This apprenticeship training program, based on the National Community Support Skill Standards- -the nationally recognized competency standards for direct support workers, matches an apprentice with a mentor and is designed to lead to career paths within the field of human service work, improve pay scales, and increase staff retention. Apprentices "earn while they learn wages", completing 423 hours of related instruction and education while they accomplish 3500 to 4000 hours of on-the-job learning overseen by a mentor. Salary increases are tied to increased competency and advancement in the Apprenticeship Training Program. The goals of nationally recognized and registered Department of Labor apprenticeship programs are: to build a 21st century workforce; enhance the competence, accountability and responsibility level of the workforce; and enhance "problem-solving" skills of the workforce. Lifelinks participating partners include the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, Middlesex Community College, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation, and Human Services Research Institute. Congratulations again to Lifelinks!


This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.