On Saturday February 16th, members of the Family Council and the MDS Children’s Service Coordination team joined together to host a Family Fun Day. The event, held at the Keene Recreation Center, featured games and prizes for children and a free on-site workshop for parents.

The KHS Interact Club joined Council members, staff and other volunteers at the play stations for children: face painting, temporary tattoos and nail painting; crafts; cupcake decorating; a tumbling and climbing area; ball toss and a music area. Children had fun dancing, running, eating and playing while those parents who attended the training learned how to promote positive behavior in their children.

The Council hopes to do more family-friendly events where families can connect with one another and meet their Council representatives.

The Division of Family Assistance (DFA) has announced a 1.7% increase in SSA/SSI Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2013. There will be no effect on individual program budgets. This 1.7% increase relates to Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and the Standard of Need (SON) for individuals receiving financial assistance under New Hampshire’s Adult Assistance categories. It will have minimal impact: the Bureau of Developmental Services in Concord (BDS) has chosen to allocate the 1.7% / $12 per month increase to the monthly Personal Needs Allowance (PNA).
Click here to read the December 12th letter sent by BDS.

Commission Nick Toumpas has written a letter responding to families' concerns about Medicaid Managed Care. Click here to read the letter.

A Keene Sentinel editorial from Sunday, February 19, 2012: "A Shift To Managed Care Has Some Medicaid Beneficiaries Worried." Click here to read the editorial.
From the Monday, February 13, 2012 Keene Sentinel, an article on Managed Care: "Medicaid Overhaul Leaves Questions."  Click here to read the article.

The Concord Monitor continues coverage of the Managed Care issue with a February 14th article by Commissioner Nick Toumpas: "Managed Care Will Help Lower Medicaid Costs: Our Goal Isn't Less Access to Care." Click here to read that piece. The Monitor recently published its view that the Department of Health and Human Services should hold off making quick decisions on Medicaid Managed Care. The Sunday, February 5th edition ran an editorial entitled "Table Contracts to Manage Medicaid." You can read the editorial by clicking here. In that same edition, Betsy McNamara, mother of Samuel Habib (of Including Samuel) wrote a powerful "My Turn" piece from a mother's point of view:  "Parents Like Us Are Watching and Worrying." Click here to read that article. For more information on Medicaid Managed Care, visit our Advocacy page.

Effective January 1, 2012, there has been a change in the rule for co-pay on medications. Individuals who are Dual Eligible (having both Medicare and Medicaid) and are on the Home and Community Based Care (HCBC) waiver, either Acquired Brain Disorder (ABD) or Developmental Disability (DD), are no longer required to pay a co-pay for their medications via their Part D plan. Some individuals are still being asked for co-pays because updates to records have been delayed, but it is expected this will be cleared up by the end of February.

The Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the provision of this change as of January 1, 2012, the earliest date permitted by the statute, so states are now officially required to include HCBC status in their submissions to CMS. However, CMS urged but did not require states to send a special submission in December so that HCBC status could be noted on CMS and plan records by January 1.

It is not clear how many states made this special December submission or where NH stands with this, but from what we've heard, the update to records is not fully made. Some individuals are still being asked for co-pays on their medications.

Your pharmacy may not know about this new rule, so it is best that we help them process the information. If you are asked for a co-pay, you can remind the pharmacist of the rule and the status of the individual. Ask what further documentation they require in order to not be charged a co-pay.

We're hoping the systems will be 'caught up' with each other by February, and we will see less and less of this problem. If the problem persists, please contact Sandra Metivier so that a report can be made to the Division.

CMS has not submitted any plans about reimbursement for those co-pays that were paid out in error. We expect information regarding those situations in the near future and will pass that on to you. As a best practice, please save receipts for purchases where co-pays were required.

If you have any questions or require assistance, please call MDS Benefits Coordinator Sandra Metivier at 603-352-1304 ext. 290 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Interested in learning about a vocational training program for individuals with developmental disabilities?  Project SEARCH will host an Open House at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene on Tuesday March 15th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Project SEARCH is a community-based vocational training program for individuals with developmental disabilities. Participants in Project SEARCH become Interns, learning skills on-the-job, and gaining practical experience in the healthcare field as they rotate through internship sites at the hospital/clinic.  Internships are structured to teach skills that are competitive, marketable and transferable.  The goal of Project SEARCH is employment that matches the Intern’s experiences, strengths and skills.  Project SEARCH starts each year in September and ends in June.

Qualified applicants are students who are 20 years old and in their last year of high school eligibility or adults who have graduated from high school. All applicants must be eligible and receiving services from MDS.  Students transitioning from high school must turn 21 before the end of their Project SEARCH program.  Priority is given to those transitioning from high school.

Project SEARCH partners include Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene, Keene School District, Monadnock Center for Successful Transitions, Monadnock Developmental Services and NH Vocational Rehabilitation. Learn more from representatives of these partners at either Open House. RSVP to Molly McNeill at 352-1304 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

familycouncillogowebThe current leadership in Concord is looking at reducing the Department of Health & Human Services budget by 500 million dollars. Our families and individuals will be monumentally affected if this happens.We need your help! The Family Council of Region 5 (a group of volunteers designated to help advise MDS) asks you to become involved in the legislative process over the next few months. For updated information, check the Advocacy page.

The Keene Sentinel's Steve Hooper, photographer and videographer extraordinaire, has created a video shot at the Keene Rec Center’s basketball program. Monadnock Developmental Services DSP Pete Tenney is front and center as coach, and you'll see lots of friendly and familier faces. Take a look by clicking here - you’ll like what you see!

fc.olive200_6868webJanuary 2010: Olive Garden has donated $1,000 to First Course Culinary Training. Liz Hardison, General Manager of the The Olive Garden restaurant in Keene, chose First Course to receive the $1,000 charitable donation allowed each restaurant in the Olive Garden family.

“It was important to me that the money go to a smaller organization that might not get the big funds. I just love what they do. They take people from all walks of life and teach them real skills so they can work. They’re giving people a  chance  they otherwise might not get.”

Chef Matt McIntyre thanked Hardison on behalf of First Course. “This donation means a lot to us, to have a professional in the industry recognize the work we do and want to help out like this is great. Thank you.”

When Hardison learned the Olive Garden donation was the first of its kind to First Course, she said she hoped that she had started something. She'd like others in the restaurant and hospitality industry to see the value of supporting the training program, and “add some money to the pot.”

Do you know someone with disabilities who has an exciting idea for having his or her own business, who has ever thought about being his or her own boss? MCST and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) are collaborating with community business partners to pilot the My Own Business (MOB) program that will begin in April.

The My Own Business (MOB) program helps individuals with disabilities who are interested in self-employment to become people who are self-employed. This program will help turn an idea into a business, with the right supports for starting-up a business and then growing it.

The pilot program is for individuals with disabilities who qualify for or are already working with VR. Individuals will work with VR to develop vocational plans and to learn about the VR supports available, including the potential to receive funding toward starting-up a business.

Once the self-employment decision is made between an individual and VR, individuals and their support teams will work with trained business consultants to understand the potential of the idea: Is the product or service something people will buy? They will also explore how and where to market their products or services; how to set goals, save money and budget for the business, and see how self-employment income works together with benefits (SSI, SSDI and Medicaid).

For more information, contact Molly McNeill at MCST at 603-352-1304 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

plungewebFebruary 2010: A dozen hardy souls from MDS will head over to Hampton Beach on Sunday morning to take part in the eleventh annual Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics. Each of the plungers has raised at least $350, which provides much needed funding for the program.