Funding for the Mass Accessible Housing Registry Restored

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), is pleased to report that the Senate included an amendment to restore funding for the Mass Accessible Housing Registry ($80,000 for 4120-4001 included as amendment 53) just before they passed the budget late last night.  We now have funding in both the House and Senate budgets and will be guaranteed funding for FY’11 as long as Governor Patrick does not veto the appropriation.

A special thank you Senator Berry and Senator Jehlen who led the charge, with Senator Eldridge, Senator Tucker, Senator Kennedy, Senator Menard and Senator Fargo also very helpful.


Beneficiary information about the $250 Part D Rebate

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted at (under “What’s New”) a brochure that describes details about the tax-free, one-time check for $250 for people who enter the Part D donut hole and are not eligible for Medicare Extra Help.  The first checks are being mailed June 10 and checks will be mailed monthly after people have entered the coverage gap.


To help fight fraud and protect beneficiaries from potential scams, Medicare is reminding seniors there are no forms to fill out to receive this benefit. Medicare will automatically send a check.  The envelope will have the US Department of Health and Human Services symbol on it and will say “Medicare Part D.” Beneficiaries don’t need to provide any personal information.  They don’t need to provide any personal information like Medicare, Social Security, or bank account numbers to get the rebate check.  They are reminded not to give any personal information to anyone who calls about the $250 rebate check.


People with Medicare should call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to report any suspected fraud or scams or with any questions.





Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 20, 2010





Each year during hurricane season, Americans living in our coastal and inland communities face the danger of these powerful storms. From high winds and storm surges to tornadoes and flooding, the hazards of hurricanes can destroy communities and devastate lives, and we must aggressively prepare our shores and protect our families.


During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, I urge individuals, families, communities, and businesses to take time to plan for the storm season before it begins. While hurricane forecasting has improved, storms may still develop with little warning.


For Americans in hurricane-threatened areas, knowledge and preparation are pivotal to ensure emergency readiness and responsiveness. The National Hurricane Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recommend taking several important steps to ensure safety. These precautions include: developing a family disaster plan; maintaining an emergency supply kit; securing homes, businesses, and belongings; and learning evacuation routes.


I urge those in hurricane-threatened areas to visit to learn more about what they can do to protect themselves and their property from hurricanes.

Emergency preparation resources for hurricanes and other natural disasters are also available at:


To help Americans meet the challenges of severe weather, my Administration is focusing on preparedness and response –before, during, and after hurricanes. We are improving accountability and coordination between all levels of government, modernizing our emergency communications, and empowering more families to prepare themselves.


Thanks to advancements in hurricane forecasting and tracking, the National Hurricane Center is working to give citizens more notice before impending storms. With the right planning and preparation, we can safeguard lives, protect property, and enhance America’s resilience to national weather emergencies.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United  States, do hereby proclaim May 23 through May 29, 2010, as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. I call upon all Americans, especially those in hurricane-prone areas, to learn more about protecting themselves against hurricanes and to work together to respond to them.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.



MassHealth benefits and Health Safety Net (HSN) copayments

Other pharmacy copay rules stay the same. Some examples of the rules that are staying the same are as follows:

The copay for covered brand-name drugs will stay $3 for both first-time prescriptions and refills;

Sometimes a copayment is not required. The rules for when a person does not have to pay a copay have not changed;

If your prescription is covered by MassHealth and you are not able to pay a copay at time of service, the pharmacy sill must fill your prescription. However, the pharmacy can bill you later. Your should not go without necessary medications because you cannot afford the copay now;

The cap on the amount of copays you must pay within a calendar year is not changing. The total amount you can be charged for pharmacy copays within a year is still $200;

Copays for the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP) and Healthy Start are not changing;

The MCO pharmacy copay rules are the same as for all other MassHealth members.

This change will affect MassHealth members including MassHealth enrollees and HSN patients.


If you have questions about copayments and are a MassHealth member, call MassHealth Customer Service at 1-800-841-2900 V, 1-800-497-4684 TTY.

If you are enrolled in a MassHealth MCO, you may also contact the customer service center at the MCO.

Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan (BMCHP): 1-88-566-0010 (English and other languages) or 1-888-566-0012 (Spanish) TTY: 1-877-608-7677.

Fallon community Health Plan (FCHP) 1-800-341-4848, 1-877-608-7677 TTY.

Health New England: 1-800-786-9999, 1-800-439-2370 TTY.

Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) 1-800-462-5449, 1-800-655-1761 TTY.

Network Health (NH): 1-888-257-1985, 1-888-391-5535 TTY.

If you are a Health Safety Net patient and have questions about your copayments, call 1-877-910-2100.


Acute inpatient hospital stays

Effective for acute hospital admissions beginning October 1, 2010, MassHealth plans to no longer cover acute hospital inpatient stays after the first 20 days for MassHealth members who are 21 years of age or older. This change does not apply to inpatient stays provided in a Department of Mental Health (DMH)-licensed acute psychiatric unit within a Department of Public Health (DPH)-licensed acute hospital or in a rehabilitation unit within a DPH-licensed acute hospital.

MassHealth will continue to cover all medically necessary inpatient stays provided in a Department of Mental Health (DMH)-licensed acute hospital or in a rehabilitation unit within a DPH-licensed acute hospital.

If you have both Medicare and MassHealth, and MassHealth pays for your Medicare premiums, copays, and deductibles, and Medicare pays for the hospital stay described above for you then MassHealth will pay its portion of the coinsurance and deductible for that hospital stay.

A hospital may bill you for the portion of a hospital stay that is no longer covered by MassHealth.


If you have questions about his change, call MassHealth Customer Service at 1-800-841-2900, 1-800-497-4648 TTY.


Nonemergency transportation

Effective for transportation on or after July 1, 2010, MassHealth is changing certain nonemergency transportation benefits.

MassHealth is changing certain nonemergency transportation benefits. These changes will affect individuals currently eligible to get nonemergency transportation benefits.

Effective for transportation on or after July 1, 2010, you will no longer be able to get paid back for personal vehicle mileage costs or costs for arranging your own ride when going to MassHealth covered services. You will still be able to get paid back for the cost of taking public transportation to MassHealth covered services if the ride you take meets MassHealth requirements. If MassHealth decides that there are exceptional circumstances, you may be able to get paid back for transportation costs that are not for public transportation.

Individuals currently eligible to receive nonemergency transportation benefits may still get a ride to MassHealth covered services if the ride you need meets MassHealth requirements. If you need help getting to your MassHealth covered service you should talk to the doctor or other person who is providing the MassHealth covered service about how to request transportation services.

If you have any questions about this change call MassHealth Customer Service at 1-800-841-2900, 1800-497-4684 TTY.



Interfaith Workshop Service for People with Special Needs, Their Families & Friends An Invitation






CONTACT:           Marblehead Disabilities Commission

                                Mary Levine





Interfaith Worship Service for People with Special Needs, Their Families & Friends An Invitation


You’re Invited!


When: Thursday, May 13th from 6 -7 pm

Where: UU Church of Marblehead, 28 Mugford St

Who: All people with special needs, their families & friends

What: A one-hour gathering to connect, share a meal, learn a story or lesson from a world religion and contribute to the Marblehead Food Pantry.

What to bring:  Something to share  & something to donate to the pantry.  (Organizers can decide whether or not this will be pot-luck or often, we order pizza and supplement it with whatever others bring)




Questions:  Feel free to be in direct contact with Marblehead Disabilities Committee:


By attending worship, participating in social activities and finding ways to serve the larger community, organized religion offers its participants ways to connect, to grow and to serve.   While many faith communities have made great strides toward inclusion of people with special needs, for some, full participation is difficult or impossible.  At times, participation also requires some self limitation of expression and often comes at some price to the individual and their family.  As a result, some families are forced to either opt out of organized religion or attend without a piece of who they are as a family.  In response to this reality in the Greater Haverhill area, an Interfaith Worship Service for People with Special Needs & Their Families & Friends was created.


The program addresses each of the three components offered by organized religion: connection, growth & service.  Each month, services are held and last for 60-90 minutes.  They begin with a social time including the sharing of a meal.  The set up is very casual.  Participants are free to select from the potluck offerings, choose to sit alone or with others, and choose where they dine in a large room set up with a variety of seating options (table with chairs, a bench, a couch & chair area, on the steps to a stage).  Following the meal, participants are invited to gather in a circle.  Names are exchanged and sometimes a brief check-in of sorts happens (i.e. share one word about how you are today).  Based on the sharing, some response might take place (i.e. Sam is sad about his grandfather being ill.  Let’s join hands and send him a gentle squeeze).  After that, a story or lesson is shared.  These range from a story from a religious source (i.e. a parable like the Good Samaritan or lesson from Buddha) or a visual lesson (i.e. helping squeeze out an entire tube of toothpaste, asking “how can we get it back in?” and then connecting that to how it’s just like our words — once out, you can’t take them back). Often this is a repeated story so it becomes part of a base of knowledge the group shares.  These are participatory rather than a story or lesson that is being ‘told to’ a group.  The group steps into the story or lesson.  Following the story, a shared time of silence takes place.  Often, this is introduced by sharing why we do this in our lives and things that might help us (i.e. once we used singing bowls and everyone got to try feeling the vibrations, another time we used battery operated votives and focused on the flame, etc.).  Finally, a service component is introduced and everyone participates.  This might be placing food donations for an organization into a basket and then carrying it to the door.


What is important to note, is that the focus is on creating this as an intentional community formed around the identity   “Interfaith” with the purpose of connecting, growing & serving.  It is intentionally designed in a manner that it can and must adapt to who is in the room and what their unique ways of being in the world bring to that space.  By design it celebrates the different ways of communicating, of moving and being in the world that are present in each gathering but intends to do so in a way that connects each person with something larger than themselves.  Impulsive behaviors, reactions to overstimulation and other realities that arrive in this setting are managed by altering the way the story is told rather than altering the behavior.


The program in Haverhill just celebrated its one year anniversary.  During that time, we’ve addressed the death of one of the community, established a service relationship with a program in Haverhill that serves adults with special needs, adopted the name “Helping Hands,” made a banner with everyone’s handprints and truly established a connection unlike other bonds this community already shares.  Those who have been involved have no doubt that the program is filling a much needed niche and will continue for many years to come.


FEMA – Flood Disaster Assistance

For homeowners, renters and business owners in the Counties of Essex, Middleses, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bristol, Plymouth and Worcester who were affected by flooding beginning March 12, 2010.

Apply by phone: 1-800-621-3362 voice, 1-800-621-3362 TTY

Apply online:

Please have the following information available when you call:

  • A phone number in case we need to call you back
  • Social Security number
  • Current mailing address
  • Address of the damaged property
  • Brief description of the damages
  • Insurance information (if you have insurance)

Deadline to apply is May 28, 2010.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national orgin, age, disability or economic status..

Free Medical Advocacy Training Seminar

If someone you care for could not undersatnd their doctor’s instructions, what would you do?

Learn the art of polite persistence and a proactive way to get understandable answers at medical appointments.

This two part seminar is being presented by At Your Side Medical Advocacy Program.

The seminar will be held on May 12, 2010 and May 20, 2010, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m..  The location is North Shore Elder Services 152 Sylvan St. Danvers, MA.

Reservations required: 978-750-4540 ext. 227 or TTY 978-624-2244 or