TO: The DMR Community
FROM: Gerry Morrissey
DATE: December 21, 2005
RE: DMR Update #145

Holiday Wishes

The holiday season is a time when we reflect and appreciate how much families, friends, co-workers, and colleagues mean to us and to celebrate the relationships that give meaning to our personal lives. I want to thank the staff at DMR and the staff of our providers for their tireless work and dedication throughout the year and for their contributions towards improving the lives of the individuals we support. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Continuity of Operations Plan

DMR has been working with MA Department of Public Health for several months to enhance its emergency preparedness, including the development of a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). The COOP is designed to respond to an avian influenza epidemic, something which experts say may occur in the near future. Participation in the Continuity of Operations planning has included other agencies of EOHHS, others parts of state government (especially the Executive Office of Public Safety and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)), municipal governments and the Federal Government. These activities occurred around the times when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck, and when the Commonwealth undertook Operation Helping Hand. These other emergencies have made us sensitive to additional aspects of emergency preparedness planning. For more information, contact Mark Fridovich at Mark.Fridovich@state.ma.us.

DMRIS: Meditech and HCSIS Update

As of December 5, 2005, all community DMR offices were live in Meditech. This means that all Area and Regional Offices are doing their work in Meditech rather than solely in CRS. We continue to enter critical information into CRS in order to maintain current information so that we continue to bill the federal government for Medicaid reimbursable services; however, that should stop once we are ready to switch over to Meditech to handle all the intricate billing practices processes to secure the federal reimbursement. DMR Business Analysts, Training Staff and Consultant staff are busy supporting offices in the Metro and Southeast Regions since they went live most recently.

DMR is working with provider staff to begin to prepare them for HCSIS - Home and Community Services Information System. Training is scheduled to begin on January 9, 2006 and Providers and DMR staff are urged to sign up. This training will cover the paper version of the new Incident Reporting process and Forms that will be rolled out in mid-February. The electronic Incident Reporting process in HCSIS will be piloted from March to April. The rest of the state will be phased-in using the electronic Incident Reporting process through HCSIS through the end of June 2006 when the entire state is live in HCSIS. Facilities will go live with both Meditech and HCSIS at the same time from May through June, 2006. Note that updates, called HCSIS Alerts, are being posted on the DMR website (www.mass.gov/dmr) every two weeks. For more information, contact Hans Toegel at Hans.Toegel@state.ma.us.

DMR State House Event Set for March 30th

The DMR Recognition Ceremony will be held at the State House in the Great Hall on Thursday, March 30, 2006. The event honors individuals and/or groups from each region for their work on behalf of people with disabilities and the successes achieved by individuals with disabilities. The Dybwad Leadership Award will also be presented at this ceremony. For more information, contact Ralph Edwards at Ralph.Edwards@state.ma.us.

Conference on Graying Gracefully

The Massachusetts Chapter of AAMR is sponsoring a conference called "Graying Gracefully." The focus is on supporting individuals with developmental disabilities as they age. The event will take place on April 26, 2006 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Hoagland-Pincus Conference Center, 22 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA. For more information, contact Barbara Mazzella at Barbara.A.Mazzella@state.ma.us.

Virtual Gateway and Common Intake

On September 19, 2005, the Common Intake Tool on the EOHHS Virtual Gateway website was expanded to include programs, services and providers that support persons with disabilities, elders and veterans. This tool enables registered service providers to help persons with disabilities, elders and veterans to apply on-line for the multiple EOHHS programs and services now available through the Virtual Gateway, including MassHealth, Food Stamps, DMR services, vocational rehabilitation services, and elder services. At this time, the following DMR providers are registered to take on-line applications through the Virtual Gateway: Bay Cove Human Services, Better Community Living, Cambridge Families and Children?s Services, Charles River Arc, HMEA, Greater Waltham Arc, Kennedy Donovan Center, North Shore Arc, Seven Hills, South Norfolk County Arc, and Walnut Street Center. For more information, contact Margaret Chow-Menzer at Margaret.Chow-Menzer@state.ma.us.

ARC of Northern Essex County Recognizes Ed Fitzgerald Northeast Region's Merrimack Valley Area

Director Ed Fitzgerald received The ARC of Northern Essex County's 2005 Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service on June 10, 2005. Pamela Weiner, Executive Director of Operations of the ARC, recognized Ed saying, "His leadership is quiet, firm and unassuming. His heart is always in the right place. We appreciate how Ed is far from shy in supporting people with disabilities to reach their potential. We are grateful for his leadership which exemplifies the best in Human Service." Congratulations, Ed!

Medicare Part D Medicare Part D is the new federal Medicare prescription drug plan that will go into effect on January 1, 2006. It will have an impact on people served by DMR in the following ways.

  • If you have Medicaid and Medicare (dually eligible): (a) your prescriptions will be covered by a Medicare drug plans as of January 1, 2006 instead of Medicaid (MassHealth); (b) you will be automatically enrolled in a Medicare drug plan if you do not choose a plan by January 1, 2006; (c) you should have received a letter in June 2005 from CMS explaining how the new Medicare drug plan will affect you, and (d) you should have received a letter from CMS in October 2005 explaining what Medicare drug plan will be selected for you if you did not select another.
  • If you have Medicare only: (a) you will be given the option of joining a Medicare drug plan or not; (b) you should have received a letter from CMS in June 2005 explaining how the new Medicare drug plan will affect you; and (c) you have until May 15, 2006 to enroll in a Medicare drug plan without incurring any penalties.
  • If you have Medicaid (MassHealth) only: There will be no changes for you in how you receive your prescription drugs. MassHealth will continue to cover them.

If you have any questions, contact Sharon Oxx @ 617-624-7792 or at Sharon.Oxx@DMR.state.ma.us.

News from North Central Area

The North Central Area Office and North Central Area Board held its annual recognition event, honoring a number of families and provider staff. Honorees included Lorrie Perry of Brookfield, a behavior consultant for the May Institute, who was recognized for her work with a family from Fitchburg; Gretchen Lettney from Fitchburg, who received recognition for her advocacy work on behalf of her children; Lynn and Brad Sanborn of Hubbardston, for the effective way in which they were able to use family supports; and Theresa Caputi of Gardner and Cheri Hardiman of Brookfield, a case manager for HMEA, who worked together on behalf of Caputi's daughter. Irene Kamila of Westminster and Anne Paszko of Lancaster were honored for their work on the DMR Complaint Resolution Team. Also receiving recognition were Angela Johnson, an employee for Matson Community Services, who was honored for helping to provide housing for a family in need; and Krista Joyce of Westminster, who was honored for her volunteerism on behalf of her child and children with disabilities.

Kathy Cooper Selected as Honoree for Salute to Nurses Program 2005

Kathy Cooper was selected as one of the three honorees by the 2005 Boston Works Salute to Nurses program. This award was featured in a May 11, 2005 Boston Works Salute to Nurses Globe Supplement. Kathy was recognized for the excellent, caring, and compassionate work that she does every day by educating medical and hospital staff about people with mental retardation.

Congratulations to Middlesex Community College Direct Support Graduates

Twelve students graduated from Middlesex Community College's Direct Support Certificate Program on June 23, 2005. They were honored by faculty, providers, family and friends in a graduation ceremony held at Middlesex Community College (MCC), Lowell Campus. Nancy Tyler Higgins, Coordinator of the Direct Support Certificate Program at Middlesex Community College; Pamela Edington, Dean of the Social Sciences and Human Services; Patty Lauziere, DSP Program Support, faculty from MCC; and Northeast Region DMR?s Regional Director Mandy Chalmers and Fred Nazzaro, Lowell Area Director, offered their congratulations to the graduates.


This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.