Current Issues

A group of people in wheelchairs hold up their fists in front of a banner for a group photo. The banner reads "The Future is ACCESSIBLE" in large black font. The words "Save the AAB" are beneath it in red font.

Making One Care Work for Consumers
One Care is a healthcare option for consumers between the ages of 21-64 that combines Medicare and MassHealth for people who are dually eligible for both. The systems objectives may lead to better healthcare coordination and more long-term supports and services. Advocacy is essential to make sure people can keep their current providers, keep their medical services, and guarantee that consumers control their own care. There are ongoing opportunities to share priorities and needs with healthcare providers, MassHealth, and members of Congress. BCIL, with the Disability Policy Consortium, are co-chairs of Disability Advocates Advancing Our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR), a coalition working to improve One Care from the consumer perspective. To learn more about One Care, visit the MassHealth website.

Improving Healthcare Access
BCIL is continuing its campaign, with Greater Boston Legal Services and the Disability Law Center, to promote increased access to hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare facilities throughout Massachusetts. Please contact BCIL if you’ve run into an access barrier.

Problems people report have included:

  • Not being able to be weighed on a scale – important as the amount of some medication or anesthesia you may receive is based upon your weight.
  • Not being able to get on exam tables, use bathrooms, receive x-rays, have an MRI, or receive routine screenings for breast and colon cancer.
  • Doors not being wide enough to allow wheelchairs to pass through
  • Not having appropriate door handles or buttons to open doors independently
  • Not being able to get personal care such as that provided by PCAs
  • Signage for those with visual disabilities
  • Not having enough space in the waiting room areas for wheelchairs and/or walkers

Protecting the PCA Program and Supporting Affordable Healthcare
More than 30,000 people utilize over 35,000 Personal Care Attendants each year in Massachusetts in order to maximize their independence, stay out of institutional settings, raise families, pursue jobs and continue schooling. We continue to work with 1199 SEIU to strengthen the PCA program and protect it from potential cuts.

Creating Affordable, Accessible Housing
Housing remains a crisis for people with disabilities, and is the primary issue for people calling BCIL for assistance. BCIL’s advocacy efforts have generated millions of dollars for programs that support integrated, accessible, and affordable housing for people with disabilities, including the Home Modification Loan Program, the Community Based Housing Program, and the Alternative Housing Voucher Program. BCIL is currently advocating doubling funding for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP), which provides rental assistance to low-income people with disabilities. For more information about AHVP or to get involved, contact BCIL.

MASS Collaboration
Movement for Access Safety and Survivors (MASS) is a partnership between the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), and the MBTA Transit Police Department. This collaboration is working to minimize sexual violence on the MBTA, and develop trainings and policies to assist employees of the collaboration agencies on appropriate responses to disclosure of sexual violence.