From our August 27, 2020 Blog Post

Baker administration finally requiring DDS providers to test all staff for COVID-19

In the wake of months of criticism for failing to make testing of staff in group homes mandatory, the Baker administration has issued a directive that requires “baseline testing” and potentially biweekly retesting of all staff in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) system for COVID-19.

The baseline testing must be done by September 15. It’s not clear whether biweekly retesting, or “surveillance testing,” of staff throughout the system will actually go into effect. Under the directive, none of the state’s five Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions currently meets a threshold of positive cases among residents that would trigger the ongoing surveillance testing requirement.

The directive from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) defines staff as including all direct-care personnel and physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians, and all others who can potentially transmit the virus to residents.

The directive is dated August 14, just a few days after COFAR reported that even the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida had begun requiring testing of staff in group homes in that state.

Read more on our blogsite here.

We are a statewide nonprofit organization established in 1983 that advocates on behalf persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, and on behalf of their families and guardians. 

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The January 2020 COFAR Voice  

Our January 2020 issue of The COFAR Voice newsletter is now online, with stories about:

  • Our analysis last year of more than 14,000 abuse complaints in the DDS system, which shows that state-run residential facilities are safer than provider-run group homes,
  • The unusual decision by DDS to terminate the contract of a provider to operate two group homes in the wake of allegations of neglect and poor care in at least one of the residences,
  • Our meeting with a key state lawmaker in which we urged support for voluntary work activities in DDS day programs,
  • Our push for more transparency in the abuse investigation process in Massachusetts, and our finding that the process is frustratingly circuitous,

and much more. You can find the new newsletter here and on our newsletters page.  

Our Advocacy Guide

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) system in Massachusetts, or if you simply want more information about matters relating to the care of your loved ones in the system, we hope our Advocacy Guide can help. In it, you will find both tips and advice on care and services, eligibility issues, Individual Support Plans, guardianship, and other issues.

COFAR constructed this guide as part of our mission of providing advocacy information and advice to families and guardians of those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, wherever they may live.

As of March 2016, we have updated the Guide to reflect changes in DDS regulations, and have added new information on issues ranging from guardianship to getting SSI and Medicaid benefits.

You can access the updated Guide by  clicking here.  We welcome your feedback!            

COFAR is affiliated with The Wrentham Association, and nationally with VOR.