Cuts Imperil Most Vulnerable
While Biotech Companies
Seek Corporate Welfare

Protests loom over state cuts
Disabled, blind said unfairly hit; Mental health programs affected

By Matt Viser
Boston Globe Staff / October 18, 2008

A fierce backlash is brewing over social services budget cuts imposed this week by Governor Deval Patrick, foreshadowing potential hazards as the first-term governor attempts to navigate the economic crisis.

Advocates for the blind are planning a protest next week of Patrick's elimination of funding for Ferguson Industries for the Blind, a state-run business in Malden, which will lead to layoffs of 25 visually impaired workers. The advocates are also objecting to reductions in funding for basics like magnifying glasses and talking clocks for poor, elderly blind residents.

This morning, a group of mental health advocates was expected to demonstrate at a state conference of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Danvers over cuts to training programs for the mentally disabled.

"I've been doing this work for 40 years, and these are the most dramatic cuts I've seen to people with mental disabilities," said Stan Connors, president of Bay Cove Human Services, which serves about 14,000 people with mental health disabilities such as schizophrenia, chronic depression, and bipolar disorder. Bay Cove is losing about $3.5 million annually from a $63 million budget, and will lay off 40 of its 1,400-member staff. It estimates the cut will prevent it from serving about 760 people.

Job service centers lose funding

By Kathy McCabe
Boston Globe Staff / November 16, 2008

Putting a face on budget cuts

The national economic crisis prompted the governor to cut the state budget by more than $1 billion. To show that behind many cost-cutting moves are people or organizations whose world is turned upside down, Globe North offers a glimpse of the human impact.

Neil Barry wrote a letter to Governor Deval Patrick, urging him to restore $683,000 in state funding for Riverside Career Services, a nonprofit in Lynn and Melrose that provides job and education services for mentally disabled people…

Unless new funding is found, the Riverside centers will close Dec. 5. Patrick's cuts to mental health services included $422,000 for the Lynn center and $261,000 for Melrose. The two locations now are working with 180 people who have emotional disorders, such as chronic depression. A combined staff of 14 work to place people in jobs or education programs.

Providers: Cuts imperil most vulnerable

By John Laidler
Boston Globe Correspondent / November 16, 2008

Local human service agencies are voicing deep concerns over state budget cuts they warn could hamper their ability to serve some of the region's most vulnerable citizens...

According to agency CEO Bob Stearns, four programs are being eliminated, which will mean a loss of services for 145 people with severe and persistent mental illness. Another 135 will be impacted by a reduction in hours in the Lynn Friendship Club, a social group for people with psychiatric disabilities. Twenty jobs are being cut.

Set to be closed are an adult day rehabilitation program in Lowell; an expressive therapy and vocational training program in Lynn; and two programs in Salem, one for life skills education and an employment resources center...

Another organization hit by the cuts is the Chelsea-based North Suffolk Mental Health Association, which provides an array of services to clients with developmental disabilities, substance abuse, and mental illness in Chelsea, East Boston, Revere, and Winthrop.

Machinist training program in Lynn shuts after losing state funding

Boston Globe / November 16, 2008

The nine-month program shut down Nov. 8. The state eliminated $105,000 for the nonprofit Essex County Community Organization to run the program. The 36 students enrolled represent the most diverse class in the program's 12-year history. Five women, and one man in a wheelchair, are studying the nuts-and-bolts of basic machining.

DiMasi warns localities to brace for 10% aid cut Leaders hunting revenue sources

By Matt Viser
Boston Globe Staff / December 9, 2008

House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi said yesterday that Massachusetts cities and towns should brace for cuts of up to 10 percent in state aid next year, an ominous sign that the pain of the nation's economic crisis is still just taking hold and could result in layoffs of police, firefighters, and teachers in local communities.

Fiscal woes already mean wait, worry for ailing elders

By Kay Lazar
Globe Staff / December 31, 2008

More than 300 disabled senior citizens will enter the new year on a waiting list for basic home care services, not knowing when or whether the assistance might arrive, because of state budget cuts…

…budget cuts announced Oct. 15 sliced nearly $4 million, roughly 3.6 percent, out of the program, said Al Norman, executive director of Mass Home Care. The association represents 27 nonprofits that, in turn, oversee delivery of the care.
The budget cuts resulted in a waiting list that, on Dec. 15, stood at 320 and is expected to grow, especially after yesterday's announcement from Governor Deval Patrick that the state may face a second round of budget cuts of up to $1 billion, Norman said…

The cuts have come amid a broader range of spending reductions that diminished services for some of the state's most vulnerable residents. Programs taking the biggest reductions, nearly $300 million, include the state's Medicaid budget, which pays for health insurance coverage, mental health services, dental care, and an array of other programs for low-income children and elderly residents.

Mental health liaisons laid off
Agency loses 100 case managers; more cuts feared

By Carey Goldberg
Boston Globe Staff / January 8, 2009

The state Department of Mental Health, facing a more than $9 million cut in its budget, yesterday laid off nearly one quarter of the case managers who supervise people with severe mental illness and make sure they get the services they need.

About 100 case managers received their pink slips or will get them today, said John Labaki, president of the Department of Mental Health chapter of local 509 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents state case managers,

Drug costs soar for seniors
Cut in state funding boosts copayments

By Kay Lazar
Boston Globe Staff / January 14, 2009

Tens of thousands of Bay State seniors are facing steep increases in the cost of their prescription drug copayments, the result of an $11 million cut in a state-funded program that, until Jan. 1, helped to defray their pharmacy costs.

More than 44,000 senior citizens are affected by the cuts in the Prescription Advantage program, with many seeing their copayments double or triple, officials said.

As a result, some seniors are simply leaving their prescriptions on the pharmacy counter, rather than pay a price they feel they can't afford, said Mary Sullivan, a pharmacist and director of MassMedLine, a nonprofit organization run by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

"I am selling everything I can on eBay to help pay for these drugs," said Ralph F. Van Dean, a 77-year-old Swampscott resident who said he was hit with a $793 copayment Jan. 4 for four medications for his wife, Nina, who suffers from a chronic lung disease. Previously, he said, the copayment for the four drugs would have been about $50, because the Prescription Advantage program covered what Medicare did not.

Cities, towns expect to fire thousands
Basic services in jeopardy

By Eric Moskowitz
Boston Globe Staff / January 25, 2009

Brace yourself: Cities and towns across the state expect to lay off thousands of employees. The impact will be widespread and highly visible - shorter hours and longer waits at town halls, larger class sizes, more potholes.  Nearly every community is "going to see blood," said Mayor John Barrett III of North Adams, who expects to "limp through" June but anticipates having to close one or more schools and lay off a significant number of city workers after that.

Massive layoffs causing suicide hotlines to ring off the hook

By Jessica Fargen
Boston Herald / Monday, March 9, 2009

Calls to Bay State suicide hotlines are skyrocketing this year, with 2,600 more requests for help last month than the previous year, and experts say the tanking economy is driving dialers to despair. …

Hotline calls rose to 11,000 last month, up from 8,400 in February 2008 - a 31 percent jump. In January, the commonwealth's suicide hotline, which takes calls from Boston to western Massachusetts, fielded 2,900 extra calls - a 38 percent increase over January 2008.

Stop the Senate Sellout on Generic Drugs!!! Stop Biotech Looting!!! Genzyme = Greed A Message from IBEW Local 103 Mony for Need not Greed | Public Services and Healthcare for ALL!!!