From our August 6, 2020 Press Release
EOHHS emails show apparent consensus on reducing public reporting of COVID-19 data in congregate care facilities
Despite the passage of legislation in June to increase public reporting requirements for COVID-19 in congregate care facilities in Massachusetts, top human services administrators in the Baker administration appear to have reached agreement at that time on a proposal to reduce transparency regarding COVID-19 test results in those facilities.
That apparent consensus in internal emails reviewed by COFAR appears to have led to decisions in June to stop publicly reporting cumulative COVID testing data and not to report test data on provider staff working in group homes for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state.
The email discussion is concerning because it appears indicative of an overall lack of transparency by the administration in its response to the pandemic, particularly with respect to Department of Developmental Services (DDS) clients.
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.
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.
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.